George Lucas Educational Foundation

Home-schooled and college by 12

Home-schooled and college by 12

More Related Discussions
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
You've probably seen the story about a large home-schooled Alabama family where each goes to college around the age of 12. If not, give it a read. I find the concept tantalizing as I was a person who found school extremely boring. As a child of the pre-Internet era, I was left with crawling the shelves of the local library in my small home town. My personal passion was physics and you can imagine that my selection was limited. Kids these days have it a lot easier with the Internet, but after school learning only goes so far. I had a few friends who skipped grades and was a bit jealous of them. However, the one that skipped the most grades had the most issues with integrating with the other students. Now that I have a child of my own, the dilemma of how to balance advancement and social/emotional integration is regularly on my mind. How do we support personalizing education, allowing advancement, and keeping things interesting while also keeping students with a common level of social/emotional development together?

Comments (8) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

i actually really enjoyed this article by Will Richardson about it:

Love this part:

"The secret to their success? "I don't have any brilliant children," Mrs. Harding reports. "We just find out what their passions are, what they really like to study, and we accelerate them gradually."


It's not rocket science. As Andrew Mangino, co-founder of the Future Project says, "When young people are not deeply passionate about their education, nothing else is going to really work."

Is it really that easy?

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Senior Editor at Large

I haven't read the details of how this particular family does it, but the idea of finding the passions of 12 kids and accelerating them gradually is still a ton of work. Maybe it's better in a co-op type of situation but this really isn't "that easy"!

Rob Wohleb's picture
Rob Wohleb
Software Engineer

Even if it was as "easy" as helping each student follow their passions and keeping things fun, how do you manage the different rates of progression? A couple of students in one thing, but a large family or class? It's intimidating.

The kid in the article go to college early and do really well academically. They appear to go on to good jobs. One of them is now married. How do they accomplish this level of social/emotional integration with such rapid advancement? I have to wonder how they got time to play with kids the same age.

Jenifer Fox's picture
Jenifer Fox
Strengths Consultant, Author, School Leader

I have recently designed a 7-12 grade program (The Global Strengths Program at The Clariden School where we follow each student's passions and interests. We do not have silo based content classes but instead we have project strands. Each strand is tied to a theme based on developing humanitarians, entrepreneurs, and innovators; we just had an 8th grader apply for a US patent on some wearable tech, a belt buckle thing he invented. Granted, our school is still small, but we have found a great tool to track all this called Project Foundry.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

And I think there's the issue of development and maturity as well- I've seen that with my kids- smart, but need time to learn other social lessons in school beyond just academics.

Meg Montgomery's picture
Meg Montgomery
Embarking on a Homeschool Adventure with my 9 year old son

That is, of course, the Montessori approach and has been proven over and over again to create productive members of society. I personally feel that the drawbacks to educating your own children pale in comparison to the drawbacks of educating your child in today's public schools, with the fear doctrine and the shootings and the vaccinations and the testing and the unhappy teachers, and in our district, a huge poverty/incarceration rate. I would be THRILLED if my son finished his schooling by age 15! That would give him several years to invent something!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I know my own child has spent time extending his own learning through Google and YouTube, but it gets tricky to help support this extension in school- that's what I think we need to help teachers do- harness kid's interest and let them run when they hit something that excites them.

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.