Now, first, I'd like to say that I admire this woman and this family and I am not in anyway trying to downplay their accomplishments. In fact, I see many similarities in their homeschooling philosophy and in ours. We, obviously have not taken it to a newsworthy degree, but whenever my kids have had an interest in something we've allowed them to explore and study it. Sunshine just took her first workshop advanced knitting class and she was the only teen there. But we've also required a healthy amount of things that they might not have naturally gravitated towards like handwriting and phonics practice but always with the attitude that the curriculum was made for the child and that if it doesn't work for them, we try something new.
"If they're going to be working at my kitchen table,” Mona Lisa says with a smile, “why not earn college credit for what they're doing?"
My first thought when reading this article was skepticism. This article indicates that their college experience is distance learning college (maybe it isn't but that was the impression that I got from the kitchen table comment) which makes me wonder more about the quality of education in distance learning. I don't think even an above average 11 year old could have kept up with the education I remember from college.
Now someone pointed out that their children's homeschool education prepared them so well that their first two years at college were repeats of their high school year. That was not my experience at all. I went to a public high school and took mostly (not all) AP and honors classes. When I got to UD as a freshman, I had never read The Odyssey or The Iliad or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. But The Professor who is finishing up his freshman year has (and he's read much more, too). So, I guess it depends on what your high school preparation was like. Now, would I say that he did a college level study of those works? No. But maybe I'm too hung up on what's college level, I don't know.
Someone also pointed out that a college education at a private Catholic college is just too expensive nowadays especially for a family with many children. That might be true. I know it costs a lot more now that it did when I graduated and I graduated with $14,000 in debt. But can you really put a value on things like finding my faith... and my husband? That's a tough question.
A community college is so much less expensive and so much more accessible to all... but that also includes registered sex offenders and people much older and more worldly than a sweet 18 year old homeschooled child. Did you know that most community colleges are the reentry point for people who have been incarcerated? It makes sense since most community colleges also offer post secondary continuing education (PCSE) to inmates. It's something to think about. Now, I don't believe in sheltering my children, in fact, if they aren't ready to handle the world by the time they have to go out into it, then I haven't really done my job, but it still gives me the heebie jeebies to think about who my child might be sitting next to in an English 101 class.
Back to this article... it makes it sound as though this phenomenon just happened naturally, but I just can't even begin to imagine how that happens. My brain suspects that there must have been some kind of pressure or encouragement from the parents. I'm not saying that was negative pressure mind you. I'm kind of tempted to purchase her e-book just to find out more about their philosophies but also the practicalities. Did her children only take the college entrance exams? Did they take the SAT or ACT? In order to do college credit classes during their middle school years, does that mean they did high school courses during their elementary years? Aren't there college prerequisites in most states for what is considered credit for high school and what isn't? Or did they basically count their children's college work as their high school work too. Truly. I am baffled as to how they accomplished this. Not because I want to imitate it, but because it sounds like they have somehow "worked the system" and I'd like to know what that looks like. And it might speak volumes as to the flaws in the current system. Are the first two years of college just a repeat of high school ? Does that mean that the high school years are unnecessary?
So, a lot of things that I'm thinking about, but not really any answers...
You will notice that I haven't even broached the issue of emotional maturity and all that brings with it because frankly, that is such a personal thing. I don't want to seem as though I am judging badly these parents and their decision to allow their children to go to college at such a young age. Everyone has to do what's right for their children and their family and there is no one right way to do it.
Now that I've brain dumped here with questions and concerns, tell me what you think... please!