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family of 10 starts college at age 12


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They begin taking high school level subjects at age 8, the ACT around age 10. They dual-enroll on a college campus at age 11 and 12. They do a very accelerated form of homeschooling, but they don't give specifics. One of the boys said after they learn how to read, they begin reading textbooks very early on (didn't say which ones). They seem to emphasize a very nurturing environment. "Kill 'em with love," the father said. The father said he is currently creating software to help families do this at http://kickstartercollegeby12.com/ though I don't see it on the website yet. The kids seem very well adjusted and confident. One of the daughters is the youngest doctor ever at 22. The family is very loving and supportive and they discover early on what the kids love and seem to guide their education based on each child's interest. 6 of their 10 kids have already graduated by age 12. They emphasize they do everything at their "own pace," but it is obviously accelerated. They don't say "why" they did this, but why not? They don't state reasons for why they try to graduate specifically by age 12.

 

From their website:

 

Rosannah completed a 5 year architecture program and California College of the Arts at the age of 18. Serennah completed a BA in Biology at the age of 17 from Huntingdon College. She hopes to be a physician by May of 2013. Keith is a senior and music major at Faulkner University at the age of 14. Hannah was Auburn University Montgomery's youngest graduate at the age of 17 with a BS in Mathematics. Seth is a freshman history major at Faulkner University at the age of 12. Katrinnah is preparing for the ACT at the age of 10. Kip is the hardworking Daddy. Mariannah is a bright little homeschooler at the age of 7. Heath set a new record when he graduated with a BA in English from Huntingdon College at the age of 15. He will be done with his MS in Computer Science just after his 17th birthday.
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Thanks for the summary.

 

I wonder though if they are doing some of their children a disservice. Acceleration is needed by some kids--I am not arguing that. But I also believe in finding the right fit for a student. Looking at the student body at Huntingdon, we see that the 25th - 75th percentile for ACT scores of recently admitted students is 19 - 24. Nothing to write home about and not a crowd of highly accelerated peers for an accelerated kid. Faulkner has an open admission policy and an abysmal retention and graduation rate. Again, peers? And do those folks with accelerated kids really want to follow a path into a mediocre college experience when their kids might be capable of so much more?

 

This is one of those cases where I think a family has found something that may work for their family but it is potentially disingenuous to sell it as a model for others.

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I also wonder how much of it is applicable to other kids/families. IQ tends to be pretty close between siblings, and usually, if you have one really advanced kid, you'll have others. Maybe they just have a family of smart kids who are wired for early academics and no matter what the parents did they would have seen acceleration.

 

I suspect that had I actually tried to teach my DD to read/do math early, or that if I'd done some program that set out to accelerate, I'd blame the program or feel like I was some sort of educational genius who created this ideal situation for my kid. As it stands, since I didn't, and if anything, it took until this year for me to feel comfortable with letting my DD set the pace, I'm well aware that DD's current level of acceleration is more in SPITE of what I did than because of it.

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Only on the WTM boards could a family that provides an education that permits their child to become the youngest female dr in the USA be considered to be doing their kid a disservice bc they didn't take a more ivy or challenging route to do it.

 

Whatever.

 

I don't think they did any kind of disservice at all.

 

I also don't think it means anyone else has to follow their example. Which I suspect if I delved into it wouldn't be as revolutionary as people think. I know it wasn't for the Swanns.

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I don't think it is a disservice, but that they could be missing a large part of the learning experience. I personally believe that the conversations and learning that takes place in a college classroom is great for developing a deeper level of thinking and approaches to life problems. I want my kids to go through those four years as young adults just to be able to be a part of that.

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Only on the WTM boards could a family that provides an education that permits their child to become the youngest female dr in the USA be considered to be doing their kid a disservice bc they didn't take a more ivy or challenging route to do it.

 

Whatever.

 

I don't think they did any kind of disservice at all.

 

I also don't think it means anyone else has to follow their example. Which I suspect if I delved into it wouldn't be as revolutionary as people think. I know it wasn't for the Swanns.

I was not taking them to task for having the youngest female doctor in the US! I am questioning whether acceleration of the type they are doing is appropriate for every member of the family. From what I gather, it is their standard protocol to have children begin college at age 12.

 

Another consideration is that not all young teens are sufficiently mature to handle the content of college classes. I am not discussing work load but the nature of the material itself. A mention was made of a fifteen year old earning at BA in English. Not all thirteen and fourteen year old teens are sufficiently mature to handle certain themes in modern literature. Apparently their son was. When my son took a Basic Comp class at our CC at age 16, he had to read and comment on the papers of other students in the class. One was from a woman who had been relocated to our county because of an abusive spouse. We had long discussions about this. I am not sure my son would have been prepared to have had the same discussion at age 13. This is where Duke TIP or Hopkins CTY fills an important gap in giving preteens and young teens appropriate age level material.

 

I celebrate achievement. Please do not get me wrong. I just wonder if their family formula will translate to many other families with accelerated kids.

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They don't say "why" they did this, but why not?

 

I don't know, personally I can think of a lot of reasons "why not": Because most children have not developed enough for it to be possible to know what they really want to do and be at age 12, because most children at that age don't have the maturity to really *understand* great literature and history (they are just beginning the logical stage), because there is value in similarly aged peers and childhood pursuits, because I dont think your job is so important that it has to be started nearly a full decade early, I can name a few more but I think I've made my point. However, that's the great thing about homeschooling- we all have different values, abilities, and methods, and we are all free to pursue them. I don't believe in vastly accelerated education to the point that I'd actively fight against it in my kids. But that's me, you do you :)

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Only on the WTM boards could a family that provides an education that permits their child to become the youngest female dr in the USA be considered to be doing their kid a disservice bc they didn't take a more ivy or challenging route to do it.

 

AmericanMaid

:lol: :smilielol5: :lol:

 

Jane, please don't take offense at me laughing at this! You made some good points. but I just think this post is SO funny in response the general climate of this forum.

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They emphasize they do everything at their "own pace," but it is obviously accelerated. They don't say "why" they did this, but why not?

 

Why not? Acceleration without depth is not my cup of tea, not the type of education I'm seeking for my kids.

 

I also suspect that such a path would be available to only a tiny, tiny percentage of kids. The kids are likely to be highly or profoundly gifted - not just the top 2% but the top 0.1%.

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AmericanMaid

:lol: :smilielol5: :lol:

 

Jane, please don't take offense at me laughing at this! You made some good points. but I just think this post is SO funny in response the general climate of this forum.

 

And just to add to the irony of the situation, bear in mind that I am a poster who sees real value in hands on experiences. I taught my son to sew and often sing the praises of those kids who learn carpentry, welding, and farming.

 

To me, a full life is not just about checking off the boxes.

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When I was younger I would have thought this was really cool, but now - well, I'm not an old woman or anything, but I have a different perspective.

 

I started DE at 15, and did DE pretty much full-time for jr. and sr. year, and got 2 years off my BA. It was the only way I could afford to go to the small LAC that I had my heart set on. And I didn't know what else to do, high school annoyed me, and my mother didn't have a clue what to do with me at home.

 

So I did College Algebra fall of jr. year and declared myself done with math. I never took a chem course, or a physics course, not even on a lower level. I didn't think I needed those things, I knew exactly what I wanted to do (it shifted a bit, but not drastically). But when I hit Grad school it dawned on me that those gaps were a chain around my neck. Grad school is a weird place where usually what you do looks super specifically narrow on paper, but in actuality you do a lot of cross-disciplinary research, and are expected to have already done the basic work to get that research done at double-time. I remember for my thesis I suddenly found myself trying to figure out the intricacies of a quasi-lunar festal calendar - without any good basis in astronomy or math I was pretty lost.

 

When I read SWB's outline of Rhetoric stage it was like reading everything that I wanted/should have done in high school instead of accelerating OUT of it. Once you get in college you don't have time to just read a whole book and spend some time thinking about it. When you get to grad school you are expected to have already done that (and if not, stay up all night and cram it in, thankyouverymuch).

 

Maybe this family is managing to get the basics of everything in before CC. But from what they say about "following passions" it sounds like they are picking a track early and letting everything non-integral to that slide to the wayside. And I have a problem with that.

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I really liked that article. She sure doesn't sound like someone set on a track just going through checking boxes to me.

 

I will agree with you. Maybe the family could demonstrate that sort of vibe on their blog for greater effectiveness.

 

Pax.

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Here's my concern: Typically developing kids usually aren't intellectually ready to do well on the ACT by age 10 or in college by 12. In fact even many average to bright kids have to put in effort and still struggle with some high school courses at traditional ages. I don't believe there is a "secret" parenting strategy or curriculum that avoids that reality. Algebra, chemistry, research papers - they really involve effort and work for most students. Anyone who doubts this could spend a week on the high school forum here. Homeschooling parents work hard and so do their kids because high school and growing up can be hard work. It isn't "behind" to need the high school years to do high school.

 

There certainly are highly and profoundly kids who do well entering college early. There are students who are well served by radical acceleration. Where I get uncomfortable is with trying to say kids who do well on the ACT at age 10 are just "average" kids who have parents who figured out a "secret." I fear that this could result in families feeling a lot of pressure that their kids should move through K-12 faster or they have somehow failed them. We already put enough pressure on parents without adding the additional idea that homeschooling should take years less than going to school.

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I will agree with you. Maybe the family could demonstrate that sort of vibe on their blog for greater effectiveness.

Pax.

 

I didn't get any vibe from their website. It was too blah to really give me anything pro or con. Just buy our book, we'd like to help. But nothing to really give me any idea what that help would look like or if it would be for us.

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Hmm. Here is more info on one of the big sisters.

 

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/05/how-the-harding-family-sent-six-kids-to-university-by-the-age-of-12-2644094.html

 

Hannah, now 24, set the bar for the rest of the family when she sat her college

exams at the age of 12.

 

At 17, she became Auburn University Montgomery’s youngest graduate, leaving

with master’s degrees in maths and mechanical engineering and designing

spacecraft by the age of 22.

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From their website (sorry, I can't get rid of the green):

 

As they are quick to point out, their children are not exceptional. They merely followed an exceptional set of steps to ensure they could accelerate their education. Because of Mr. Harding's career, these steps were taken in 3 different states and required extensive research to ensure that all 5 children could enter college by 12.

 

Your child can do the same. Our online program will allow you to navigate the educational system to get your child the fastest education possible.

 

It seems unlikely that the bolded is a truthful statement.

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From their website (sorry, I can't get rid of the green):

 

As they are quick to point out, their children are not exceptional. They merely followed an exceptional set of steps to ensure they could accelerate their education. Because of Mr. Harding's career, these steps were taken in 3 different states and required extensive research to ensure that all 5 children could enter college by 12.

 

Your child can do the same. Our online program will allow you to navigate the educational system to get your child the fastest education possible.

 

It seems unlikely that the bolded is a truthful statement.

 

The linked thread really discusses this article at length. But, this selection that wapiti posted just makes me go :confused: Why navigate to get your child the fastest education possible. Aren't we adults the vast majority of our life? Why rush to get there? There is no need to rush and graduate. There is a world to explore that can take an advanced student their childhood through adulthood to explore. No need to try to finish by 12. :blink: Why would I want that as a goal for my kids?? No way!

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I can understand going quicker, not for the sake of speed per se, but for the sake of not wasting time.

Most of our current educational model is a waste of time that performs no higher function nor imparts any skills.

I can understand why someone would want to skip that to get on with doing what they do want to do with their life.

I don't think that means they don't value education. The exact opposite! I think when done well it can show a tremendous love of genuine learning and developing life interests.

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I can understand going quicker, not for the sake of speed per se, but for the sake of not wasting time.

Most of our current educational model is a waste of time that performs no higher function nor imparts any skills.

I can understand why someone would want to skip that to get on with doing what they do want to do with their life.

I don't think that means they don't value education. The exact opposite! I think when done well it can show a tremendous love of genuine learning and developing life interests.

 

At 12?? 12 yr olds do not know enough about who they are or the adult world or careers to skip ahead and "do what they want to do with their life."

 

It is rare that a high school student starts high school with that clear of a vision. High school students graduate from high school attend college and change majors multiple times or even start undeclared.

 

I have raised 4 kids to 17+. One knew what they wanted to pursue by 11th grade, one by 9th, one not until freshman yr, and one still has no clue!!

 

What a burden to place on an "avg" 12 yr old!

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Okay, so, I ran a search on them to see if I could find more about their method, and surprise! Penelope Trunk has an opiniom about them, she who wrote a blog post about steering our daughters towards optometry or whatever. The title of her blog post is "National nut jobs."

http://homeschooling.penelopetrunk.com/2013/04/19/national-nut-jobs-homeschoolers-put-6-kids-in-college-before-age-12/

Whoa. Very hostile post. Apparently she once dated a young doctor so she is in a position to evaluate the wisdom of their arrangement. :huh:

 

I also found this review of their ebook

http://healthy-family.org/college-by-12-review-harding-ebook/

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The linked thread really discusses this article at length. But, this selection that wapiti posted just makes me go :confused: Why navigate to get your child the fastest education possible. Aren't we adults the vast majority of our life? Why rush to get there? There is no need to rush and graduate. There is a world to explore that can take an advanced student their childhood through adulthood to explore. No need to try to finish by 12. :blink: Why would I want that as a goal for my kids?? No way!

 

Yes, yes, yes, and again yes.

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But is that bc of our educational system? Maybe if they didn't spend so much time doing so many other things, they'd have the time to find their interests.

 

What does age have to do with knowing themselves or choosing careers and interests? My dh is almost 40 and having a complete career change that he never planned on or had any experience with prior.

 

It's not like we ever stop learning who we are or who we can become.

 

Dang. I'm nearly 40 too. I think it's tremendously easier to take a career risk at 12 or 21 than 40!

 

And there's a huge plus young people have that I miss. They aren't hampered by the fear of failure or risking their family stability like many adults are. In many ways some of the best decisions I made in my youth, I found easy to make bc I was inexperienced and naive about it. It gave a sorta false courage to take risks.

 

I know so many people in their 40s who don't know themselves or their career choices much better than a 12 or 18 year old.

 

*shrug*

 

At 12?? 12 yr olds do not know enough about who they are or the adult world or careers to skip ahead and "do what they want to do with their life."

 

It is rare that a high school student starts high school with that clear of a vision. High school students graduate from high school attend college and change majors multiple times or even start undeclared.

 

I have raised 4 kids to 17+. One knew what they wanted to pursue by 11th grade, one by 9th, one not until freshman yr, and one still has no clue!!

 

What a burden to place on an "avg" 12 yr old!

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Okay the CNN interview was creepy and patronising, Turk was spouting the same stuff that high IQ kids get told in order to hold them back (which is generally rubbish). My son

attends public school here and I would love to eliminate the busy work and time wasting. There is also good evidence to support skipping years but 6 years seems a bit much. There are heaps of subjects you could add in without the busy work without going full tilt. It reminds me of a full time karate course that the people I knew used to call the "jet black dojo", the took troubled youth and got them to black belt in 6 months. The problem was they were then troubled youth with black belts rather than having had 5 to 10 years to develop self discipline, patience and self control.

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...http://kickstartercollegeby12.com/ though I don't see it on the website yet. The kids seem very well adjusted and confident. One of the daughters is the youngest doctor ever at 22. ...

 

 

 

I have a couple of relatives and a few friends who did accelerated programs. Some successfully, some not. One become a doctor at 23, and one at 21. the 21 year old did it in Europe, so maybe they are not counting European programs for saying their daughter is the youngest? European programs, some at least, allow for much acceleration not by starting college at 12, but by having medical school be part of what in USA would be college, so that 5 years after starting college one may have an MD. If college starts at 17, as it did for my relative, then graduation can be at 21. We have that to some degree in USA with Med-Ed programs though they tend to make it 7 years rather than 5.

 

On the positive side it can save a lot of money, and it can get someone to where they are able to do things more interesting more quickly. Also, when not many do it, it becomes something that is itself a feather in their cap and can lead to yet more opportunities.

 

On the negative side the emotional maturity may not be there. The very smartest kid I ever knew started Cal Tech at age 12, but did not manage to graduate because he was not emotionally ready. Moreover, not only may the maturity not be there for the person him or herself to do well in the university environment, but also it may not be there to be a good doctor or good ______ at that young an age, even if the person successfully graduates.

 

Many fields require a good bit of judgement and maturity of the neocortex, which simply may not be there at age 21 or 22.

 

It is interesting, for example, to contemplate doctors practicing medicine at ages when driving insurance rates where I live may still be more costly due to poor judgement tendencies at that age.

 

PS I just realized the 22 year old in the Harding family is an osteopath not an MD--not sure how that relates, and for the older girls, teacher and architect, the younger age is perhaps not such an issue in those areas.

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Much as I generally dislike writers like Penelope Trunk, I did agree with this:

 

Parents misunderstand childhood. It is not a time when your kids are emissaries to the world to show the world how great you are as a parent. Childhood is for exploration. There is no point in teaching kids to stick to rigidly linear paths because linear paths don't work in adult life. And there is no point in celebrating your child's prodigy in a way that will encourage people to ask, with an impressed voice, "How old are you?" Because this is not a long-term plan for someone who will be 20 and 30 and 40 and 50.

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But is that bc of our educational system? Maybe if they didn't spend so much time doing so many other things, they'd have the time to find their interests.

 

What does age have to do with knowing themselves or choosing careers and interests? My dh is almost 40 and having a complete career change that he never planned on or had any experience with prior.

 

It's not like we ever stop learning who we are or who we can become.

 

Dang. I'm nearly 40 too. I think it's tremendously easier to take a career risk at 12 or 21 than 40!

 

And there's a huge plus young people have that I miss. They aren't hampered by the fear of failure or risking their family stability like many adults are. In many ways some of the best decisions I made in my youth, I found easy to make bc I was inexperienced and naive about it. It gave a sorta false courage to take risks.

 

I know so many people in their 40s who don't know themselves or their career choices much better than a 12 or 18 year old.

 

*shrug*

 

In my view, it has nothing to do with our educational system and everything to do with maturity.

 

And that is a completely separate issue from the obvious fact that 99%+ 12 yr olds are not ready for college level work.

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At 12?? 12 yr olds do not know enough about who they are or the adult world or careers to skip ahead and "do what they want to do with their life."

 

It is rare that a high school student starts high school with that clear of a vision. High school students graduate from high school attend college and change majors multiple times or even start undeclared.

 

I have raised 4 kids to 17+. One knew what they wanted to pursue by 11th grade, one by 9th, one not until freshman yr, and one still has no clue!!

 

What a burden to place on an "avg" 12 yr old!

In previous years, when I have suggested that we raise the bar in junior/senior high education, I have been called draconian. It would not surprise me to hear the term again.

 

The disconnect that I am sensing is that there are parents who want their students to receive college credit for material that is essentially high school level. I am thinking about courses like Precalculus or beginning foreign language. If a student finds Spanish to be a breeze, wouldn't it make sense for a parent to encourage another language as well as a literary study in Spanish? My son is not the most talented student in foreign languages but he studied four years of Latin in high school as well as two and a half years of French. My son would be the first to claim that he is "non-mathy"--not true though. He just does not like Math. Nonetheless he studied beginning Calculus as a high school student.

 

Yes, there are some exceptional students who are ready for college at age 12. No denying this but I will argue that they are few and far between and most are probably ready for a subset of college material. For example, there are young teens who take Differential Equations in university classrooms, but they are often not capable of taking Basic Composition or Organic Chemistry simultaneously.

 

There have been people on this board who have suggested that the reading lists offered by TWTM are unnecessary since students may see these books in college--as though exposure to Augustine, Dante or Melville a second time would be redundant.

 

I just see something else in education. For me it is not solely about a career but then I have gone from graduate student to autodidact which is probably why homeschooling suited my personality so well. As homeschoolers we are in a wonderful position to offer our students coursework that meets them at their level--whether that is remedial in one course and exponential in another. I am grateful for the flexibility of homeschooling.

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So, I haven't explored the web sites and articles, so this might be off base, but here is a quote that Wapiti found:

"Our online program will allow you to navigate the educational system to get your child the fastest education possible."

I could write a book about that. : )

 

This makes it sound as though their online program will tell you things like how to DE, how to CLEP, how to sign up for the ACT, and how to work the legalities of not sending a child to a regular school program. Perhaps it does not tell you how to produce a child who has the academic skills and brain power to do well in a college level organic chemistry when they are 13 and how to teach a 12 yo to write an acceptable college level research paper, which is what we are all doubtful about being able to teach every child, and doubtful about teaching every parent to do. At a guess, I would say that most of us might well already know how to do what is in the book - homeschool in order to avoid "busywork" and in order to allow our child to do the sixth grade math book when they are in 4th grade, do school year round, test out of chapters in any textbook to avoid the review section at the beginning, double dip, start the next math book as soon as the old one is finished instead of waiting for the next fall, sign up for community college classes... most of us know how to accelerate things when we need to accelerate them. Most of us even know that one can teach many children to read at 3yo and can substitute the GED for the required four years of high school math and English. I can even tell you something about restricting tv and other media, restricting books to make the textbooks look more attractive, not answering the child's questions but instead making them find the answer for themselves, keeping them inspired by letting them specialize early and by minimizing the general education requirements and finding mentors. That is not the same thing as having a child for whom it is suitable to do all those things.

 

But maybe I am way off. As I said, i haven't read the article.

 

Nan

 

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I don't know, personally I can think of a lot of reasons "why not": Because most children have not developed enough for it to be possible to know what they really want to do and be at age 12, because most children at that age don't have the maturity to really *understand* great literature and history (they are just beginning the logical stage), because there is value in similarly aged peers and childhood pursuits, because I dont think your job is so important that it has to be started nearly a full decade early, I can name a few more but I think I've made my point. However, that's the great thing about homeschooling- we all have different values, abilities, and methods, and we are all free to pursue them. I don't believe in vastly accelerated education to the point that I'd actively fight against it in my kids. But that's me, you do you :)

 

:iagree:

The linked thread really discusses this article at length. But, this selection that wapiti posted just makes me go :confused: Why navigate to get your child the fastest education possible. Aren't we adults the vast majority of our life? Why rush to get there? There is no need to rush and graduate. There is a world to explore that can take an advanced student their childhood through adulthood to explore. No need to try to finish by 12. :blink: Why would I want that as a goal for my kids?? No way!

:iagree:

 

I agree with both the above quotes. I don't think the majority of kids know what they want to do at 12 and specializing at that age can end up very limiting for the future.

 

Plus, from the green quote above, it appears that this wasn't the kids idea, it was the parents. They did "extensive research to ensure" the kids could go to college by 12. Why? Just for the bragging rights?

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Well idk either nan.

But given that they have children who grew up to be drs and mechanical engineers and archeticts - it doesn't *sound* to me like they just CLEPed through the tough stuff.

 

*shrugs*

 

Personally?

 

I'm happy with the academics I've tried very hard to give my teens.

 

But I do feel that despite not having busy work they have spent a tremendous amount of time in stuff they aren't interested in. And I do wonder if that sacrifice has been worth it. They are great productive kind kids. So it's not at all like a feel a failure. Academically or otherwise.

 

Just wonder what else they could have done with the 10k hours they missed using towards a passion, yk?

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Just wonder what else they could have done with the 10k hours they missed using towards a passion, yk?

 

I can maybe give a perspective on this, as I grew up in a system that specialises earlier than does the US one. Brief recap:

 

The traditional English education system runs about 39 weeks a year. This adds up to an extra year of school time compared to the US model. At the age of 16, college-bound English pupils take 8 or more subject exams (publicly administered) called GCSEs - these are very roughly equivalent to SAT Subject tests but are mostly essay-based, rather than machine-marked.

 

This gets 'general education' out of the way and the pupil then chooses subjects to study from age 16-18. When I was at school, it was three subjects. Now, it is normally five: three at higher (A) level and two at lower (AS) level. No other subjects (except for PE, social ed. and RE, usually) are studied over those two years. None.

 

A levels are very roughly equivalent to AP exams but they are necessary, not optional, for university entrance. English universities are also very specialised: I studied French and Drama at university, and took not a single course outside of those two subjects. The standard degree takes three years because there are no general requirements.

 

Advantages of the English system: precisely the kind of efficiency that you talk about - not having to mess with subjects for which the child has no passion; having the time to dive really deeply into areas of interest.

 

Disadvantages:

- closing off areas of utility. If you 'complete' your maths education, for example, at 16 (I was accelerated, so I actually stopped at 15) I think that there is an awful lot of forgetting that one can do before suddenly, in business ten years later, you need to use that maths. Keeping going with a subject through the teenage years, when the brain is plastic, may fix it more strongly. There's certainly evidence, for example, that bilingual children who stop one of their languages in their early teens lose it completely. On the other hand, if they continue using it until they are young adults, then it becomes something they can drop and revive easily later.

 

- narrowing the options of the child. I chose at the age of 16 to study English, French and History for A level. At that point, I de facto decided that I would not study science at university - with those A levels, I would not have been accepted to study science. If I had later changed my mind, I would have had to go to night school to repeat the equivalent of two years of 'high school' in order to obtain the A levels needed to attend university.

 

I'm in two minds about this system. I think it's absolutely brilliant for children who have specific, narrow talents. For those who have more general abilities, it forces them down one track at an age when their aspirations are likely still to be fluid.

 

I have one of each kind of son: Calvin is absolutely an arts/humanities child - he is perfectly fine at maths, but his passion is for words; Hobbes is more of an all-rounder, and I think his choices will be much harder.

 

Laura

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Disadvantages:

- closing off areas of utility. If you 'complete' your maths education, for example, at 16 (I was accelerated, so I actually stopped at 15) I think that there is an awful lot of forgetting that one can do before suddenly, in business ten years later, you need to use that maths. Keeping going with a subject through the teenage years, when the brain is plastic, may fix it more strongly. There's certainly evidence, for example, that bilingual children who stop one of their languages in their early teens, lose it completely. On the other hand, if they continue using it until they are young adults, then it becomes something they can drop and revive easily later.

 

- narrowing the options of the child. I chose at the age of 16 to study English, French and History for A level. At that point, I de facto decided that I would not study science at university - with those A levels, I would not have been accepted to study science. If I had later changed my mind, I would have had to go to night school to repeat the equivalent of two years of 'high school' in order to obtain the A levels needed to attend university.

 

I'm in two minds about this system. I think it's absolutely brilliant for children who have specific, narrow talents. For those who have more general abilities, it forces them down one track at an age when their aspirations are likely still to be fluid.

 

I have one of each kind of son: Calvin is absolutely an arts/humanities child - he is perfectly fine at maths, but his passion is for words; Hobbes is more of an all-rounder, and I think his choices will be much harder.

 

Laura

 

:iagree:

If I wanted my kids to go to university earlier, they would be able to go at a younger age by prepping for the A levels. I also have one of each. My older is intense and more or less decided on his path since he was a toddler (and have not changed his mind), my younger is more of a Leonardo Da Vinci personality and would have more career options.

 

The bilingual children theory is interesting to me though. I had to be able to translate from chinese to english for my ESL elderly relatives all through my life, guess that kept my chinese language skills sharp indirectly.

 

ETA:

I also remembered the massive debate on the accelerated board.

 

Will go and do reading later. But my son is in the top 0.1% and I still can't imagine him compressing all his pre college education into 6 years or so.

 

I have a cousin who cruise through university, never had to study and did homework in class. He choose not to be accelerated but instead to get as many academic scholarships as he can as well as winning as many district level chess competitions as he want. He was headhunted before he graduated with 1st class honours for engineering so he did not even had to apply for jobs. He just prefers to enjoy his life going at the normal pace with his peers. He was not homeschooled. He retired before 50 without pension and now is doing volunteer work for fun. His oldest son is just like him and now on university scholarship.

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It's interesting that this thread has begun so much more negatively than the previous one, but I have to admit that I'm far more likely to think negatively of this family now that I know that they're trying to market their approach. Doing something radical because it's the best thing for your family is far different imho than trying to sell that approach to other families with a lie that "average" children will be capable of performing (emotionally and academically) at a college level at age 12.

 

There is no 'secret' to education or parenting that will turn every child into a prodigy and I'm disturbed that they claim that there is.

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Well idk either nan.

But given that they have children who grew up to be drs and mechanical engineers and archeticts - it doesn't *sound* to me like they just CLEPed through the tough stuff.

 

*shrugs*

 

Personally?

 

I'm happy with the academics I've tried very hard to give my teens.

 

But I do feel that despite not having busy work they have spent a tremendous amount of time in stuff they aren't interested in. And I do wonder if that sacrifice has been worth it. They are great productive kind kids. So it's not at all like a feel a failure. Academically or otherwise.

 

Just wonder what else they could have done with the 10k hours they missed using towards a passion, yk?

 

 

As usual, I am rearranging to put the short version first and the book version second lol:

 

SHORT FORM

 

Ok - having written that all out, I just figured out how to say what I want in fewer sentences lol. I won't erase all my meanderings though, just in case they are comforting in some way. Here is what it comes down to: I totally understand why a family with ten children might value efficiency highly. Educational efficiency resulting in acceleration probably resulted in extra attention, help, and scholarships for their children. It also allowed them to focus on giving their children a good start in being able to support themselves and chopped four years off the amount of child support they needed to provide for each child. They could have done that by having everyone do part-time jobs but since their children were pretty bright, this allowed them to spend the time becoming a doctor or a musician rather than delivering newspapers. I don't think this would work unless you had children bright enough to accelerate and you were willing to create a family culture that supported that sort of narrow focus on academics. So I can see how it could be done and I can see why one might want to do it. I think it depends on all the children doing the same thing (in this case, academics). That way the adults are not spread too thin. This idea is attractive because we wonder whether if we were that efficient about education, it would leave our children time to put ten-thousand hours into something and become experts. If you did that, unless that 10k was in an academic field, it might not result in academic acceleration. It might just result in a very skimpy education in order to increase the working life of a dancer (for example) or young computer guru. Those are probably two cases where the skimpy education was justified (maybe?) but it could also just result in a young engineer who had the college training to be qualified but who lacked the practical hands-on training needed to be a good engineer. Engineers usually get that by putting hours and hours (10k?lol) into building things and taking things apart on their own as children. Accelerating their education, unless they are pg enough to do it without it taking lots of time, might mean that part of their education was skimped. In the case of our particular engineering-minded son, we chose to be efficient about his education in order to give him extra time to do that sort of thing AND to do several other things, things that added richness to his education, like travel. We also deliberately chose not to be too efficient about his education because by being inefficient, we could provide an academic richness (foreign languages and The Iliad and Chauser) that we thought would add richness to his life. We would rather our children did not put 10k into one thing, but instead, split it into several things. We also wanted to lay in the foundations for some things that might become hobbies later, like music. I most definately would not have traded music for finishing college early or for becoming an expert in something by putting 10k into it. The same goes for gardening lol. Or sailing. Adults in my family need these hobbies to act as stabilizers. These things aren't much fun until you get fairly good at them. Childhood is a great time to work your way through The Farmer in the Dell and to learn your weeds and to get a feel for how a boat behaves.

 

 

 

This is the long version (and a reply to AmericanMaid):

 

I'm sure they didn't clep through the tough stuff. It is one way to shortcut some "extraneous" general education requirements, though. If you have picked a focus early and are wanting to cut out "fluff" and are headed for a college that will take CLEPs (one of the things that one would mention as important to check if one were writing that book), then they are one way to shorten the path to your goal. That's why I mentioned them. I would put them in such a book if I were to write one.

 

My two younger ones, the ones who homeschooled from an earlier age, put lots of time into their passions and I streamlined their educations in order to do that. Just to be clear, the following is to try to help you lay some ghosts, not to advocate one way of doing things or another. That ten thousand hours figure works out (roughly) to 5 hours M-F ten months a year for ten years. I know children who by the time they were 17 had put that many hours into something. I did not want to do that. Those children are fabulous at that thing and still had time to do a reasonable job at school and have fun with a friend on the weekend. (This wasn't an academic thing.) These particular children's experiences aren't as narrow as you might think because by the time they got towards the end of their ten thousand hours, they were meeting and working with others like them from all over the world. It still wasn't as varied as my children's experience and I'm not sure they knew as much about themselves as people. They also at some point had to make the switch from being a very advanced child whom adults were fussing over to a more ordinary adult. Some of them made that switch better than others. There was the problem of how the adults felt if they decided they didn't feel like persisting for a little while. How do you tell when that feeling will pass and when it won't? By pushing. For awhile, at least. That isn't an easy line to walk.

 

Both of my younger ones probably could have been guided to put ten thousand hours into doing something by the time they were 18. They have the sort of intenseness which can be harnessed to do something like that but we discouraged it. We didn't think it was that healthy and it usually takes a devoted adult to make it happen. That means you have either to give your children up to other devoted adults for that amount of time or you have to devote yourself to the child for that amount of time. This works ok if all the children are doing the same thing (as in the case of the family in the article) but gets really tricky if one child is doing one thing and the rest are doing different things. It gets even trickier if one child is doing one thing and the rest are doing less high-stakes things. When you've had all your eggs in one basket, the stakes tend to get high and the pressure gets pretty great when you get towards the end of the ten thousand hours. Unless all you are doing is simply trying to do something earlier than the normal time frame (as in the case of the family in the article).

 

I'm meandering around and not really saying what I want to say. I guess part of my point is that I can see why the family might want to do what they are doing. I only have three children (and a few extras that I aquired after they were 18). We meander through chaos lol. But I should think that with ten, efficiency would seem highly, highly desirable. Time and money would not exactly be in great supply. By doing things unusually early, one could garner more outside help. And scholarships. Obviously the children are bright. This is a way of setting them apart from all the other bright kids out there. And ensuring that the parents' time is well spent on things that matter. And ensuring that all their children receive a good start in life. *I* don't have ten children. Who am I to judge what needs to happen in their family? Another part of my point (trying not to meander too much here) is that I did, however, make some of the same decisions about whether to steer my children towards focusing on one thing intensively and how much to streamline their educations. Mine were usually working on one thing intensively enough to require their educations to be streamlined quite a lot (TWTM was the key to doing that for us). It was usually not an academic thing, so that streamlining didn't result in much acceleration, and the thing itself wasn't the same thing for ten years, so it didn't result in much expertise. We're fine with that. As just-brightish-not-brilliant-but-fairly-intense people ourselves, we spend lots of time trying to tone down the intensity and teach how to live more relaxed way. That is my family's reality. And we're STILL struggling lol. I hate to think of how much of a mess some of us would be if some of us had decided they wanted to put their ten thousand hours in. I myself have decided to put 10k into something now that my youngest is finishing up and already it is causing tremors. And I am not putting it very high on the priority list.

 

I can totally see why you might have regrets about not making your children's education more efficient so that they had time to study something THEY wanted to study. Totally. I think my biggest homeschooling regret is the time we wasted because I didn't know what I was doing (time that we truly wasted because it didn't result in any learning, not time we spent learning not-very-useful things or following rabbit trails or doing thing inefficiently but more pleasantly). At one point I was tempted to buy a book that told how to do high school in two hours a day. I didn't because I suspected it would just tell me to skip lots of things, things that I thought were important, like pre-calculus and reading The Iliad and becoming proficient in a foreign language. I suspected that it was either going to tell me how to study just enough to pass the GED or it was going to tell me how to learn just enough to pass the community college placement exams (low college level reading, writing 5 paragraph essay, basic algebra). You could focus on that and voilá - you are through high school and in college. One of mine passed these in 9th grade and probably could have passed them quite a bit earlier if I had been more efficient about teaching writing. He could, at that point, have gone into the community college. He wouldn't have done very well there because we didn't prep him to succeed in taking a full load of college classes until later, but I probably could have done that, also. He knew what he wanted to do - engineering. I can see how he might conceivably have been able to transfer to an engineering program at the end of 10th grade and been done with his engineering degree at 18 or 19. I seriously doubt it would have worked, though, because he's not pg, not bright enough to do it easily, and the exact reasons he *might* have been able to manage it (fairly good analytical thinking skills) would also have allowed him to analyze the situation and wonder why on earth he was working so hard when all his friends weren't, all in order to have to start being tied down to a 8-5 with only two weeks off schedule. We had some of that as it was, taking a (barely) full load of cc classes in 12th grade. And even more importantly, he might have had an engineering degree at 18 but he would have lacked the other things that make a good engineer. He would only have had the math skills. He would have lacked the basic knowledge of how to design, build, and fix things that comes from trying to design, build, and fix things. He would have had to stop improving his French (a nice skill for an engineer). He wouldn't have had less experience working in a group. His choice of engineering schools would have been very limited. We would have encouraged him to do a coop program in order to try to make up for some of those deficiencies and they probably would have been a struggle because of his age. As a future engineering student, I really wanted to get some of the classics read in high school because he wasn't going to do much of that in college.

 

I think we all wish we could be more efficient about school. The possibilities as a homeschooler are almost endless. We probably would all benefit from more efficiency. I just think we have to be careful not to overdo efficiency to the point where a true education is skimped. We don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

 

Hugs,

Nan

 

 

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It's interesting that this thread has begun so much more negatively than the previous one, but I have to admit that I'm far more likely to think negatively of this family now that I know that they're trying to market their approach. Doing something radical because it's the best thing for your family is far different imho than trying to sell that approach to other families with a lie that "average" children will be capable of performing (emotionally and academically) at a college level at age 12.

 

There is no 'secret' to education or parenting that will turn every child into a prodigy and I'm disturbed that they claim that there is.

 

I think it's entirely that reason. There are prodigies in most areas, and while it's amazing to see a young level 10 gymnast, it's no secret that some kids are just plain athletically talented and motivated, and, if they get the right training and support, can soar. Without it, they flounder-they NEED that level of intensity. But another kid can start at the same age, do the same amount of gym time, and never reach level 10 at all. There's no "Secret" to becoming a good gymnast that can be sold via an e-book. Ultimately, it's natural talent, plus good training, plus lots and lots of practice. And it's not a path that most people, even those who have raised kids or gone through it themselves, would necessarily recommend to others.

 

The kids I know who are radically accelerated are the equivalent of the young level 10 gymnast. And it's the same thing. Natural talent, plus a ton of motivation and drive, plus a parent/teacher/school who has really, really worked to give the kid the opportunities they need. There's no secret that can be sold that makes an "Average" kid perform at that level.

 

When I first saw the media on this family, I was more than willing to be supportive-because I know that giftedness often does run in the family. I also know the tendency to try to minimize a DC's accomplishments, because in this culture, it's not considered "good" to be smart. So I can understand saying "my kids aren't geniuses" for that reason.

 

But I can't understand packaging and marketing and trying to sell your "program" and claiming that any, average kid can do this. Or that it would be a good idea to try for any random kid who ISN'T demanding that level of intensity. To me, that crossed the line from family attempting to meet the needs of their out of the box kids to snake oil salesmen. And snakes don't need oiled.

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I think it's entirely that reason. There are prodigies in most areas, and while it's amazing to see a young level 10 gymnast, it's no secret that some kids are just plain athletically talented and motivated, and, if they get the right training and support, can soar. Without it, they flounder-they NEED that level of intensity. But another kid can start at the same age, do the same amount of gym time, and never reach level 10 at all. There's no "Secret" to becoming a good gymnast that can be sold via an e-book. Ultimately, it's natural talent, plus good training, plus lots and lots of practice. And it's not a path that most people, even those who have raised kids or gone through it themselves, would necessarily recommend to others.

 

The kids I know who are radically accelerated are the equivalent of the young level 10 gymnast. And it's the same thing. Natural talent, plus a ton of motivation and drive, plus a parent/teacher/school who has really, really worked to give the kid the opportunities they need. There's no secret that can be sold that makes an "Average" kid perform at that level.

 

When I first saw the media on this family, I was more than willing to be supportive-because I know that giftedness often does run in the family. I also know the tendency to try to minimize a DC's accomplishments, because in this culture, it's not considered "good" to be smart. So I can understand saying "my kids aren't geniuses" for that reason.

 

But I can't understand packaging and marketing and trying to sell your "program" and claiming that any, average kid can do this. Or that it would be a good idea to try for any random kid who ISN'T demanding that level of intensity. To me, that crossed the line from family attempting to meet the needs of their out of the box kids to snake oil salesmen. And snakes don't need oiled.

 

I agree. We know some of those gymnastics kids, too. : )

 

As I keep saying, I haven't read the article or looked at the program's website, but I hope it is being marketed to parents who are desperate for a way to deal with their struggling and miserable pg kids, NOT at parents who are desperate because their children are struggling because they have LDs. Maybe, if it emphasizes learning basic academic skills and then abandoning one's poor high school and going to the local excellent community college instead (if it exists) then it would be a good thing? Haven't looked at the website to see, though, and having just shepherded one of my extras through the college enrollment process, I am once again struck by how difficult college is if one has no experience with that sort of thing and how much support it takes to go to college unless one is very competent and confident. The advice to enroll in teh community college might not be so easy if the parents did not themselves go to college?

 

Nan

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Ahuh.

 

Ya'll feel the same about SWB selling her claims? Do you also discount the possible value of her insights or suggestions bc she sells materials based on it?

 

I don't care that they are selling their ebook, which is described as simply an on-going journal of what they have done so far, that they will add to as they bring up the rest of their children.

 

I don't care that they are offering, for a price, to tell other people how they can implement some of the same methodologies.

 

Obviously no one has to buy from them.

Obviously some people aren't going to think it's for them.

 

But I don't discount that it might be worth learning about just bc it's for sale or might not be for me.

 

I'm glad I did some research into how Joyce Swann did things bc I learned some valuable to me things.

 

For example, one of the things I had never really done the math on was the simple "acceleration" involved in just year round schooling and having a set plan. That blew my mind and there's nothing particuliarly hard or crazy or even above average smart about it.

 

Learning how people do things radically different doesn't mean I have to do it like they did or buy the farm to get one hay bale.

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I think we all wish we could be more efficient about school. The possibilities as a homeschooler are almost endless. We probably would all benefit from more efficiency. I just think we have to be careful not to overdo efficiency to the point where a true education is skimped.

 

I think we need to be careful when we talk about efficiency. I don't see efficiency as a race to get the minimum amount done in the minimum amount of time. I see being efficient as giving me extra time to follow rabbit trails, and cover more ground in the same amount of time. For example, out of the blue, studying the American revolution, I was asked -- when did the colonies switch from using English pounds for money to American dollars, and how did that work? I had never thought about this, but we took a detour and learned lots of new things. I'm certainly not the most organized person in the world, but I think homeschoolers have a built-in advantage, timewise here -- there's no time wasted in "classroom management", or commuting to school, etc.

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I think we need to be careful when we talk about efficiency. I don't see efficiency as a race to get the minimum amount done in the minimum amount of time. I see being efficient as giving me extra time to follow rabbit trails, and cover more ground in the same amount of time. For example, out of the blue, studying the American revolution, I was asked -- when did the colonies switch from using English pounds for money to American dollars, and how did that work? I had never thought about this, but we took a detour and learned lots of new things. I'm certainly not the most organized person in the world, but I think homeschoolers have a built-in advantage, timewise here -- there's no time wasted in "classroom management", or commuting to school, etc.

 

I have been thinking about this thread. Part of my thoughts are encompassed in GG's comment, but my thoughts have also expanded on it as well. Since this type of education is only really possible via homeschooling, I am limiting my thoughts to that educational approach.

 

Beyond the fact that homeschoolers have the opportunity to see education as something beyond subjects and lists, I think the difference also encompasses beliefs as to the purpose of education---is it to form the whole person.....body, soul, and mind...... or is it a simple list of skills that need a tick mark checked off.

 

For our family, the former is how we define education. The latter is not even close to our definition of education, so arriving at the "12 yr old graduate" is defeating our role as parental educators. Our teens spend exorbitant amts of time with us discussing philosophies of life, religion and theology, morality, mortality, relationships, etc. Those conversations don't really start really taking shape on a "lifelong deep level" until 14 and even then, they are limited in perspective. 11th and 12th graders are precious souls that are really starting to cognitively make that "real" leap into adult understanding. I cannot imagine not having my child at home for these formative yrs. Nor can I imagine having a 12 yr old in most of the humanities courses my kids have taken in college since they can be incredibly "adult-themed."

 

Not to mention that most universities are not going to have accommodations for 12 yr olds and that means that the child is limited to local options and living at home. (which is a good thing for a 12 yr old, not suggesting that it is not.) Who are the students on the local campus? What is the academic standard? Are truly gifted children served by the local school? (our experience is that local options are limiting and don't really offer the greatest level of challenge or peer interaction on equal level.)

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...

Who are the students on the local campus? What is the academic standard? Are truly gifted children served by the local school? (our experience is that local options are limiting and don't really offer the greatest level of challenge or peer interaction on equal level.)

 

This is rather off topic, but 8's last bit struck a nerve. We went through a similar thought process when deciding what to do about science for youngest, who is headed for engineering. We opted to offer some basic foundation in 7th and 8th, do something scarily loose in 9th and 10th in order to build some practical skills and encourage interest, and then do classroom academic skills and cc classes in bio, chem, and physics for 11th and 12th. The down side of this was that the classes were at the cc with cc students. Another path we could have taken (and that I agonized over not taking) would have been to do basic foundation and classroom academic skills in 7th - 10th and then do AP classes at the local high school in 11th and 12th. The advantage of that route would have been better classmates and a teacher who was adding the extra level of interest and challenge that such a class needs. My son's cc intro bio class was nothing like his cousin's ap bio class, although they look rather similar on paper. The general bio class is a weeder class for the cc's nursing program, not something I thought was a good idea when one's only grades are one's few cc classes and one is trying to get into college with scholarships, so he was stuck with intro bio. He was interested in the chemistry part but his own chemistry was better than the prof's. I don't regret doing it the way we did it, but I can see why somebody might choose to do it a different way AND this is a perfect example of a different use for efficient. We opted to go for the efficiency of learning classroom skills and basic science at the community college (2 years for classroom skills and bio, physics, and chem) SO THAT WE COULD DO TWO LOOSE HANDS-ON/NON-TEXTBOOK BOOKS SCIENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL. The alternative would have been a more structured 4 year challenge (two years of basic science and classroom skills then two more years of challenging AP science classes) OR two years of classroom skills and cc science plus more challenging community college science classes. We opted for the rabbit trails and hands-on experience rather than the more formal accelerated path or the more formal slightly less accelerated path with the more challenging classmates.

 

I had the exact same doubts about doing cc pre-calc and calc rather than sending him to do his higher math classes at our local public school. He would have gotten more interesting math at the public school but it would have taken a bigger chunk out of our day because of the transportation involved and because it seemed unreasonable to mix two quite different school schedules.

 

I'm still wondering if we did the right thing, not so much about the science, but about the math. I have a horrible feeling my son is going to be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to math compared to all his classmates, not so much because of the basic math skills involved but because of calculator and problem-solving skills. We'll soon find out.

 

Nan

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Sigh

 

It's really rather insulting to equat efficiency with box ticking. The implication being that efficiency isn't compatible with quality. Which I think is not an accurate equation or conclusion.

 

Anymore than taking twice or thrice as long automatically means they learned more or in more depth. In fact, it usually doesn't.

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