NBC – Today Show American Story Alabama’s Harding family
Military archeology, finite math, mechanical engineering and computer science are just a few fields some might follow in more advanced educations. One particular Alabama family – the Hardings – have those interests intertwined in their lives because this family has the freedom to follow their many passions.
From NBC‘s American Story with Bob Dotson - Meet the family who sent six kids to college by age 12
Seth Harding grabs a two-handed rubber sword, adjusts his helmet made with electrician’s tape, and starts to teach. “Try to block her sword with the base of your sword.”
“Why aren’t you wearing shoes?” I wonder.
“En garde!” Seth yells. The battle begins. He is bringing light to the Dark Ages.
At 7, when many kids figure they might be firemen, Seth announced he would be a military archeologist. His mom, Mona Lisa, encouraged that curiosity. “Wow! That kid was into this!” she marvels.
Mona Lisa teaches her kids the basics, but discovered they were less bored if they followed their passions studying subjects they loved. This Navy family’s wise parents said they themselves aren’t “brilliant” and they don’t have any brilliant children.
Part of the family plan was also laid out by dad, Kip Harding: The expectation is you’re going to have a fun day, not that you’re going to come home with A’s.
Each of the Harding family members have different and most importantly – recognized – interests. One loves music, another architecture. The 12 year olds might attend college, but they live at home and as the reporter noted, are not treated like itty, bitty adults.
This media piece is a glorious representation of interest or passion-led learning. Some might call it unschooling. Some might feel that description isn’t accurate. It doesn’t really matter, as what this family is doing every day is what’s important. They are loving and learning.
Video: The Harding family in Montgomery, Alabama with NBC’s Bob Dotson.
Fourteen year old Keith’s college friend pondered whether: “They’re advanced or we’re just really behind.” It seems the Harding family had wonderful opportunities and choices laid out for them by homeschooling. Some time, hopefully soon, our society will have to figure out whether our school system is broken, and openness to successful educational choices is key.
The Harding family has created a website promoting their new book - College By Twelve
More details and pictures of the family are posted at Daily Mail.