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(Mother Nature Network)   How to send a kid to college by age 12, and make sure his or her teeth are extra bright   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, Mona Lisa, teeth, colleges  
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7055 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jun 2013 at 12:28 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-06-29 07:49:23 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: rugman11: Yeah, there's no reason a wealthy family couldn't put 12 years worth of education into 6 or 7 years.  Especially when you've got only four or five students at a time.  The problem is that public schools have to target the median and run a class that doesn't leave anybody behind.  Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to let anybody get ahead either.

And it's not always a good idea.  These kids seem to be doing fine, but they also have a natural, built-in support structure that a lot of students don't have.  It worked for them, but I'd hesitate to push it as a recommended course.

If public schools teach at the median's pace, won't they leave 50% of kids behind?  I think the target is set just above "potato" these days.  (Thanks, GW!)

This family does not seem wealthy.  The only working parent (in a family of 12!) seems to be dad, retired military and a FEMA functionary.  Mom claims to be a physician, but I can't find a word about any practice; I don't believe she could earn any significant money as a doctor will tending 10 kids, let alone home-schooling them.  She sells phone consultations; maybe that's doing well.    Oh, and she writes for "Mormon Times," which is telling but hardly lucrative, I imagine. In any case, she claims to have schooled the kids herself, not hiring expensive tutors.

I don't think "1% wealthy" parents would choose home-schooling.  Much of their kids' career preparation depends upon schmoozing with other rich brats and their families.  (Note that a "career" does not involve productive work, necessarily.)

I really don't know what to make of this extreme outlier family.  They're selling the message that home-schooling is easy for any (two-parent) family and can produce extraordinary results.  Smells like "get rich quick in real estate" seminars.

Oh, I don't think they're "1% wealthy," but between his pension and salary they're probably pulling down six figures, which goes a long way in Alabama, far enough to raise 10 kids anyway.  My point about "wealthy" was less about being Bill Gates rich and more about being rich enough that one parent can stay home full time to do the teaching.  Personalized learning plans (which is what it seems like they use) work best when the teacher knows the student really well, like when it's the parent doing the teaching.
2013-06-29 10:38:14 PM  

Aidan: I read a longer version of this article a couple months ago and while I'm hugely interested in knowing how they did it, I have some doubts. It seems to me that younger children learn best by doing things - being able to touch the blocks they're counting, etc. Then at some magic age they resign themselves to learning by book (because that's how we teach). How do you teach a 12 year old by book?

This is not an academic question, either. I've got a 7 year old electrical engineer.  His toy box is a bunch of legos and the parts for every computer and piece of electronics that we've allowed him to take apart (and some we didn't). But there's a huge cognitive leap between sticking a lightbulb and a battery on a piece of wire and rebuilding a remote control. How does this family do it? I really don't understand.

We let them tell us what they're interested in so their motivation level is very high,

Kids are smart, as in their intelligence level exceeds most adults. Intelligence is the ability to deal novel information and retain it as well as making connections between such information. Adults don't really think much because they know almost everything they need to already. So really their intelligence goes down year by year. It's social and biological, a double whammy. But kids, their brains are fresh and empty. What they want to do is fill them.

But they don't want to fill them with what you want them to know, they want to fill them with what THEY want to know. That's why you've got kids running around who can't read cursive or tell you the capitol of the US in 1800, but who could tell you the name and stats of every single Pokemon ever. They care about the pokemon, not the history.

The secret to truly successful education is to find some way to make the student want to learn. Once you find that, you can teach almost anyone anything to the nth. Think about language. Chinese is farkin' hard. English is farkin' hard. Spanish is farkin' hard. Afrikaans is farkin' hard. All human languages are at least a master's degree worth of vocabulary, grammar, history, and culture for true native fluency. All farkin' 10 year olds, barring some kind of disorder or head trauma, can usually manage at least one. Often more than one.

If you could somehow take a toddler and find something they want to do as much as speak, and provide them the means to explore that avenue, you can easily train them up to the same collegiate level of proficiency because they learn so damn quick and with such zeal. It's waaay to resource intensive to do on a societal level, but with couples like this who are home schooling their kids, it shouldn't be surprising their children are making it to college early. The only surprising thing is why we as a society still have 12 years of ,mandatory grade school instead of a meritocracy where anyone who can moves on to the next level if there is one.
2013-06-30 05:34:31 AM  

SarcasticFark: Most people get the socialization of children wrong.  You're not raising (most) children to be able to interact with other're raising children INTO adults.  Childhood is such a short period in a person's life.  Why put so much emphasis on interacting with other children when the goal is to be able to interact positively with the peer group you will spend the vast majority of your life interacting with?

Quite. The social skills taught only at school are the social skills needed only at school.
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