'We're Just Average Folks': The Family Sending All Ten of Their Home-Schooled Children to College by the Age of 12
by Margot Peppers
A mother who home-schools her ten children in Montgomery, Alabama, has opened up about how six of them began their college degrees by the age of 12.
Those of the Harding siblings who have already graduated from college have gone on to become a doctor, an architect, a spacecraft designer and a master's student. Another two – 12- and 14-years-old – are still finishing up their degrees.
But despite the Hardings' incredible achievements at such young ages, their parents – Mona Lisa and Kip – insist they are a family of 'average folks' who simply find and cultivate their children's passions early on.
Hannah was the first to take her college entrance exams – at the young age of 12. 'I didn't expect to pass,' the 24-yead-old told Today.com. 'So I started crying, because I was thinking, "Now what?"'
She passed the exam and, at just 17, became Auburn University Montgomery's youngest ever graduate, obtaining a BS in mathematics.
Hannah went on to get master's degrees in math and mechanical engineering, and she was designing spacecraft by the age of 22.
The other Harding siblings, spurred on by their parents' encouragement and their older sister's success, were quick to follow suit.
Seth, 12, is the latest to begin at college. At seven, he announced that he wanted to be a military archaeologist. He is now a freshman at Faulkner University, where he studies the Middle Ages.
Just down the hall is Seth's 14-year-old brother Keith, a college senior with a passion for music who is studying finite mathematics.
His ambitious younger sister Katrinnah, ten, plans on taking her college exams next year.
Still, despite the exceptional talents of her brood, Mona Lisa – who studied to become a nurse before staying at home to educate her kids – said: 'I don't have any brilliant children. I'm not brilliant.'
The mother-of-ten also explained that her husband, who flew helicopters in the army and didn't graduate college until 25, is not brilliant either. 'We're just average folks,' she insists.
People who know them, however, would beg to differ.
Seth's assistant professor Grover Plunkett, for instance, said of the 12-year-old, who lives at home rather than in a dorm: 'He's got the highest average in the class.'
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