The brainy bunch The Harding family's method to college ready by age twelve

Kip Harding

Book - 2014

"Two parents share the extraordinary and inspirational story of how they sent six of their ten children to college by the age of twelve--and how any parent can achieve the same amazing success"--

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Location Call Number   Status
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New York : Gallery Books 2014.
Main Author
Kip Harding (-)
Other Authors
Mona Lisa Harding (-)
First Gallery Books hardcover edition
Physical Description
xviii, 222 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • 1. Meet the Brainy Bunch
  • 2. How Did You Do It?
  • 3. Motivated for More
  • 4. No Do-Overs
  • 5. Keeping Track with Transcripts
  • 6. All for One and One for All
  • 7. Bring on the Naysayers
  • 8. Three Little Ladies
  • 9. The Rest of the Bunch
  • 10. The Brainy Bunch Method (Some Practical Advice)
  • 11. From Mom to Mom-Keeping It All Together
  • 12. A Day in the Life of a Thirteen-Year-Old Sophomore in College
  • 13. Tips for Non-Homeschooling Parents
  • 14. Ideas, Exercises, and Experiments
  • 15. Questions and Answers with the Brainy Bunch
  • 16. A Beautiful Dream
  • 17. Everybody Has Tough Times
  • 18. Teaching Can Be Exciting
  • 19. What Led Us to Write Our Book
  • 20. A Mother's Encouragement
  • 21. Final Words from a Proud Father
  • Appendix A. Resources
  • Appendix B. Sample Transcripts
  • Appendix C. Sample Kids' Schedule
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Motivated by their Christian faith and dissatisfaction with the lack of personal attention children receive in the classroom, plus being a military family who moved frequently, the Hardings chose to homeschool their children-all 10 of them. Starting with early reading, writing, and math workbooks from Christian homeschooling enterprises and tutorials from Mom in Spanish, social studies, read-aloud literature, and Bible study, the Hardings then added music lessons, individual reading, and AYSO soccer to a year-round curriculum later enhanced with online university offerings, Internet courses, and, eventually, classes at local community, state, and private Christian colleges. Dedicated to teaching their kids "to love Jesus first and others second," the Hardings believe accruing knowledge and faith is better facilitated at home until kids reach a level where college classes are appropriate. Their program is heavy on practicality and light on intellectual rigor, but the work ethic and family bonding are impressive, as are the children's career successes: an engineer, an architect, the youngest female surgeon in the Navy; an entrepreneur, a musician and a historian still in college; and little ones just learning to read. The book includes the Harding children's essay about why they preferred and appreciated homeschooling, as well as suggested resources and basic reading lists. Eight-page photo insert. Agent: Steve Troha, Folio Literary Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The Hardings were high school sweethearts who married a few weeks after prom and went on to raise ten children. They made the choice to homeschool their kids and sent six of them to college by age 12. With a navy doctor, an architect, an engineer, and one superhero in training among their ranks, the Hardings share their incredible journey, from early fears to resounding success. Early on, they address the reader's obvious questions ("We are not geniuses") and align their decision to homeschool with their Christian faith, as well as their thoughts that age-segregated environments are not the most effective way to develop social skills. Never judgmental and not without humor, the coauthors intersperse their story with strategies and advice for anyone considering a homeschool curriculum. -VERDICT This fascinating read transcends the -Christian homeschool market. Written in an engaging and relaxed style, the book tells how all 12 Hardings have accomplished much, and their account is inspirational and uplifting. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

How a group of children attended college at an early age.The Hardings claim that their 10 children are not special or brilliant or geniuses in any way. And yet, six of them were in college by the age of 12. The couple outline their methods for achieving this success in a straightforward, practical guide that takes an anyone-can-do-this approach. Their strong faith in God is the foundation for their achievements, they believe; another pillar is their deep love for their children and for each other. The Hardings turned away from public schools, where they contend too much time is wasted doing unproductive things like standing in line and children work at a pace set by the teacher, not the student. They wanted to gear the studies toward what interested their children, not what was deemed appropriate to learn at specific age levels. They also wanted to incorporate prayer and Bible studies into their curriculum. Through home schooling, the Hardings were able to attain these goals and much more, as evidenced by the success of their children. The kids, whose essays are included here, had a voice in their education, branching out and diving deeply into topics that interested them, limiting time spent on those subjects that did not. The Hardings outline what worked for them, answer potential questions people contemplating this route might encounter, give readers an idea of a typical daily schedule, suggest ways to incorporate math, science, history and art into a routine, and include an extensive section on resources for further information. However, they don't closely examine the social dimension involved in sending children to college at such an early age.Although strongly Christian-based, the methods defined here could work for others willing to buck convention and go the home-schooling route. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The Brainy Bunch Introduction The Greenhouse Effect Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. --PROVERBS 22:6 This isn't a story about geniuses or driven parents obsessed with their children. We like to think this is a love story, about how an ordinary couple met in high school and were eventually blessed with an amazing set of children. It's a story of faith, and how that faith defined how we chose to parent. It's also a story about dreams, about instilling them into kids with average intelligence and allowing them to blossom. We thank God for our family and for inventing this wonderful thing called homeschooling. Our true hope is that you'll be inspired reading about all the possibilities homeschooling has to offer. Before sharing with you who we are and how we got to this point, we want to start by talking about why we choose to homeschool. We realize there's a stigma attached to this word. But homeschooling has come a long way in the last couple of decades. When we first started homeschooling in 1997, we did not have all of the online resources that we do now. We felt like we had to find the material for our kids and try to supply all of the answers that their little curious minds could come up with. Now when they have a question we can't answer, we say, "Wow, that is such a good question." Then we suggest they Google it and tell us since we really want to know the answer, too. They usually come back a few minutes later with so much interesting information. And even if we're not too interested in the subject matter, we are so thrilled to see that spark in their eyes that this newfound knowledge has put there. Our kids teach us something every day and they are learning to find answers on their own. We do not have to worry about what they are missing in their education. We, as parents, just have to make sure that they have access to the Internet, good books, and our attention. The amount of resources instantly available is remarkable. There are tools and techniques for homeschooling that we will share with you later in this book. But for now, we'd like to share the eleven primary reasons why we (and many other families--over 2 million kids as of 2013!) choose to homeschool (our source for the homeschooling statistics is ): 1. There is a lot of "dumbing down" going on in the American school, as John Taylor Gatto explained in one of his books. Kids are not allowed to learn at their own pace in public and most private schools. Many kids get bored in school because the teacher has to teach to the middle of the class. He or she cannot move forward with the kids who are ready to move and doesn't have time to really help the kids who are falling behind. 2. There are places like Selma, Alabama, where 40 percent of students do not graduate from high school. The public school system is failing. If you have doubts, just watch the documentary Waiting for "Superman." As an early private school kid who later worked as a high school math and science teacher, our oldest daughter clearly saw how little learning actually goes on in a classroom of over twenty-plus kids as opposed to the quality of the education she got at home with personal attention. 3. We believe in a Christian worldview and creation. We believe that there is scientific evidence that supports intelligent design. Uncle Sam will pay for kids to learn only a single theory, which limits diversity of opinion and growth. 4. Our right to pray in school is being challenged everywhere (and has already been taken away in many places) even though it is still our constitutional right. Thirty-six percent of homeschooling families say that providing religion to their children is their first concern. 5. We believe teaching kids in an age-segregated environment is not the most effective way to develop real-life social skills and exposes them to peer pressure. It is not the way the real world works. In the real world, we encounter people of all different ages. We want to teach our kids how to interact with people of all ages. Homeschooled kids are less peer-dependent and better socially adjusted for the real world. 6. We were both educated in the public school system and we know all about how much time is wasted sitting around, standing in line, and excessively practicing concepts. Our daughter had to ride the bus for forty-five minutes each way to and from the private school that she attended for her first four years of school. At home, we can be done with our school day by lunch and have time in the afternoon to read more books for pleasure, to play, to go on field trips, or to have bonding time with the family. No homework for Dad to deal with when he gets home. 7. We do not have to worry about school shootings or any other kind of school bullying and violence, which has recently been in the media so much and is scary for all parents. 8. Now that we have kids graduating from college at the ages of seventeen and fifteen, we can't turn back. Not even a private school setting could give us the results that we are getting--results that our children have worked hard for and desire themselves. 9. We are free to tailor our curriculum to match the interests of each child. For example, we can study one subject in depth and with great continuity, teaching how it may relate to other subjects. Kids really learn better when they can see the big picture of how each subject integrates with the others. 10. Homeschooling works. On average, homeschoolers score in the eighty-seventh percentile on standardized tests. Seventy-four percent of homeschoolers continue on to college, as opposed to 49 percent of the general population. Ninety-nine percent have read a book in the last six months, as opposed to only 69 percent of everyone else. And as you'll see from our story, you can achieve amazing things through homeschooling. 11. You cannot pay for a better education outside of your home. Homeschoolers on average spend $500 per child per year, whereas the average public school spends almost $10,000--for worse results. What is the greenhouse effect? Think of your home as a greenhouse where your new little seedlings can begin to take root and grow into big strong plants. Once your plants are mature enough to be transplanted outside to face the elements, you will be able to take them out of the greenhouse. We use this precious time before our "little plants" start college to teach them all we can about the outside world. Kids have so many questions, questions like "Where do babies come from?" The answer you give your five-year-old is so different from the answer you give your ten-year-old. This will open up discussions about biology, psychology, and sociology. Why would you want them to get their answer from a textbook and an overworked and underpaid schoolteacher who really doesn't know your child? Or, even worse, what if they get the answer from another child on the playground like many of us did? It's a beautiful thing when we're able to be the ones there to give our children the best answers. And not only the best answers, but the love and bonding that comes in providing those answers. This book is the story of our journey into homeschooling and how we managed to achieve the success we've had with our children. Our desire is not for others to imitate us but rather for them to be encouraged. We want others to follow their dreams and know that attending college early may be an option. For our family, attending college early is the best option we know. And it really is something that can be achieved with hard work, perseverance, and faith. A recent report ( in Education News states that since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75 percent. Though homeschooled children represent only 4 percent of all school-age children nationwide, the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than in a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year. Source: ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ There is no school equal to a decent home, and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent. --MAHATMA GANDHI Excerpted from The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve by Kip Harding, Mona Lisa Harding All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.