Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homeschoolers in college at 12- crazy or genius

A friend linked an article to her Facebook about a family sending all 10 of their kids to college at age 12. Click here to go to the article. I read the article as well, and it really got me thinking. Then, I read the comments people had left and was pleasantly surprised at how many people were encouraged and/or supportive of the family. Let me just state that I don't plan on sending my kids to college at age 12, but I think this family is fantastic that they did. If you read the article, you'll see it says the kids are taking college classes, but live at home. It's not like their 12-year-olds are out drinking at frat parties. I think this is a great example of letting children reach their potential and not stifling the potential because of their age or where their birthday fell on the calendar.

I'll be the first to say I am overprotective of my children. I can't imagine right now sending a 12 year old to sit in a classroom when I am nervous with my 9 year old running into the gas station alone. However, I at the same time, can respect greatly that this family didn't put their kids into the lie that you have to be a certain age to learn. Baloney. Kids are capable of so much more than the same cookie cutter education that is given to each and every enrolled school child.

We decided to homeschool for many, many reasons. We want our kids to have a Catholic education, we want them to learn in their style and to their potential, and at their own speed etc. etc.
I would be lying, however, if I didn't say that one reason that we decided to homeschool is the cookie-cutter education system. Every child is different. Every child learns in different ways.

We had some issues with the education our kids were receiving when they were enrolled in school. I won't go into all the issues here and now, but a perfect example that fits this story is Grace in 2nd grade math. First off, they never even began multiplication. Lots of curriculum's for 2nd grade actually include this. Homeschool sidenote- Cian is 6, in 2nd grade and he is on division! Anyhow, Grace's 2nd grade class had to memorize their additional facts in fall semester and subtraction facts in spring semester passing all the number time tests to move on. Grace was done with ALL of them (addition and subtraction) by Thanksgiving. This is where she should have been given multiplication and moved on to her potential. Parents, you've got to advocate for your child(ren). I'm not saying the answer is that everyone has to homeschool, but if you know your child can do more, find a way to let them. There are some rare, amazing, wonderful teachers out there who go out of their way to make more work for themselves by seeing that all their students get work at their own level. I know a couple myself. I also know one who was scolded by her principal for getting her 1st grade student 5th grade material to read. "What would he do when he got to 5th grade," scolded her principal. That is the difference between the school system and the homeschooling parents in this article. What would they do in 5th grade? What a fabulous question to have to ask! The sky's the limit! Why not take High School level classes if he capable of the work!
 I have a friend who loves the public school her 2 girls attend, but if the girls have an interest in learning something the school isn't teaching she's got them at the library or they do it at home. To me, that's what this article is all about. Letting kids achieve what they can- not by pushing them where they are not able, but by guiding and encouraging them in what fascinates them and excites them.
My 6 year old loves to study world geography - he can tell you where every single country goes on a map. I couldn't do it for a million dollars. I didn't get a bad education, I went to college, graduated college summa cum laude, but I don't ever remember being excited and inspired to learn something until I was in college. I know I never got to have something I was passionate about and just learn it for fun. We are studying world geography this year because he loves it. My 4 year old is learning it right along side them. Why? Because she can and she is capable of it. Last year at 3 she learned all the US states. My others didn't learn that in "regular" preschool, but she did because it interested my kids and we decided to learned it. Learning is FUN. Somewhere this has gotten lost and learning has become this mundane, ritual that most dread. I am a homeschooling mom now, but my kids were in a school until last year and I taught high school for nearly a decade. Someone has sucked the fun out of learning and it is truly disheartening. So, I guess what this helicopter mom has concluded in my ramblings is that if a child of mine wants to start college courses and they are capable of it, I'm on board. (I will probably also be hiding in the back of the class the first few weeks making sure my "baby" is okay though!)

A college friend of one of the boys in the article says, "It makes you wonder, are they advanced or are we just really behind?" Well, as a country, we rank 17th in education. I think that says enough.