College by 12 Review: A Look at the Harding Family Homeschool Journal

The Harding Family, authors of the ebook: College by 12. It's a look at the lives of a family that has sent 6 kids to college by age 12.
The Harding Family, authors of the ebook: College by 12. Pictured from left to right: (back row)

I’ve done a College by 12 review of the updated Harding Family ebook currently available for purchase online. Homeschool families have likely heard of Mona Lisa and Kip Harding. They are homeschool parents well known in their circles for sending six of their 10 kids to college by 12. Their ebook is written to encourage homeschool families in accelerating their children’s educations.

Healthy Family was in contact with Mona Lisa about doing a College by 12 review. Mona Lisa is a stay at home mom with unique homeschool techniques. She and her husband Kip graciously offered to send a complimentary copy of their book for a College by 12 review. Mona Lisa and Kip are still homeschooling their youngest 4 children, so their story isn’t finished yet. This was evident in my College by 12 review process.

All the older Harding children started college by age 12. Most obtained a bachelor’s degree before 18. They are leading their adult lives now. One’s already married. The crew includes an architect, a graduating medical student (this May), a musician, a mathematician, and a graduate student in computer science. In my College by 12 review reading I discovered what makes the Harding family tick.

Take a look at the high achieving homeschool family:

The Harding Family, authors of the ebook: College by 12.
The Harding Family, authors of the ebook: College by 12. Back row from left to right: Sergio (husband to Rosannah), Rosannah, Serennah, Keith, and Hannah. Front row from left to right: Seth, Katrinnah, Kip (Dad), Mariannah, Mona Lisa (Mom) holding baby Thunder, Lorennah, and Heath. (Photo is courtesy of College by 12 and the Harding family).

Remarkably, the Harding’s oldest child isn’t quite 25 years old yet.

That’s quite an academic success rate. It sounds like a family of achievers with high IQs.

Mona Lisa says otherwise in the College by 12 ebook:

We have all seen those “genius” kids who are in college very young. We have found that very often they are an only­ child or have parents with doctoral degrees. Of course, this is a wonderful thing for them. But, many of us average folks may not have been able to “relate” to their stories. We are so excited to be sharing our story because we believe you WILL be able to relate to us. Further, you will see that with God’s leading, you can greatly accelerate your homeschooling.

Mona Lisa and her crew created this ebook for the curious. My College by 12 review considers this. The ebook comes in two parts. The first was published in 2008. Part 2 was penned in the three years following and includes essays from the kids. It has more complete biographical information. College by 12 part 2 captures a more personal tone. It doesn’t exactly start where part 1 leaves off. Part two fills in the gaps for a more detailed story, somewhat out of order.

College by 12 Review from an Editor’s Perspective

College by 12 review: a look at Serennah Harding, the youngest physician in the U.S. at age 22.
Serennah Harding, the youngest U.S. Physician at age 22, is a featured author in College by 12.

From a literary perspective the book is really nothing more than a rough draft. Folks interested in reading it have to realize that it’s a work in progress being completed in bits and pieces. It’s not yet a real book. College by 12 is only available for download as a PDF file from the Hardings’ website. In my College by 12 review I discovered it lacks a table of contents, index, proper book formatting, and in most cases transitional flow.

My College by 12 review editorial side believes the book needs work.  I don’t think a lack of finesse is going to bother the Hardings’ target audience one bit, though. And that’s completely okay with me.

I understand the Hardings are quite busy these days. It’s obvious their college by 12 legacy isn’t over yet. There are 4 more kids in their homeschool program still under 12. Mona Lisa promises formal editing and future publishing of her book: College by 12. And that’s going to happen at a later date. Curious onlookers serious about accelerated homeschooling should consider buying the $20 College by 12 ebook. It offers a rough idea about how they’ve done it. The book is more than just a how-to on accelerated homeschooling. It’s also a testimony for their strong Christian beliefs and lifestyle.

College by 12 Review from an Educator’s Perspective

If you’re looking for a syllabus, sample lesson plans, or a specific curriculum plan you won’t find that in College by 12. You will get an ongoing glimpse into their lives from several perspectives. College by 12 is a series of short essays, experiences, stories, photos, and pieces of advice by Mona Lisa, Kip, and their older kids. You’ll learn about their strong Christian faith and how it shapes their family values. You’ll also vicariously experience how they manage the house, motivate their kids, and organize those various educational paths. You’ll hear what homeschool life is like from the perspective of the Harding kids, too.

Mona Lisa also offers families advice on how to navigate college entrance exams, community college enrollment, extracurricular activities, and socialization.

The Hardings do their best to dispel common homeschool myths in College by 12.

Mona Lisa says in College by 12:

They have high GPA’s but this is a sign of good study habits and lots of hard work. I mentioned earlier that our oldest had to go to the tutoring center all through her undergrad years. Our third daughter always studies and gets help from fellow classmates. People think that it must be genetics. But, what are the chances that four of our kids have “genius genes”?

They candidly reveal their controversial views on their Christian faith and education without apology. If you are currently homeschooling or thinking about it, this ebook may give you a glimpse into the style and philosophy Mona Lisa and Kip use in educating their 10 kids.

Mona Lisa says they homeschool to avoid constant repetition:

There is a lot of “dumbing down” going on in American schools as James 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. She cannot move forward with the kids that are ready to move on and she does not have time to really help the kids who are falling behind.

Faith also plays a huge role in their decision to homeschool. The Hardings are staunch opponents of secular science classes teaching evolution exclusively. They believe in intelligent design and the need for closely raising your children.

Do you have something to add to this College by 12 review? If you’ve read College by 12 and would like to comment, please do.

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16 Comments on College by 12 Review: A Look at the Harding Family Homeschool Journal

  1. Thank you so much for your kind review. I believe that you were very fair. I have been considering using the word journal instead of ebook. I am a homeschooling mom who happens to have written something of interest. Maybe, I will be a writer when I grow up =) I started writing in response to all of the kind people who would ask, “how did you do it?” I could never give them a short answer. This journal is my long answer and can’t wait to write more! Blessings, Mona Lisa Harding

    • You’re very welcome, Mona Lisa! I can’t imagine when you find time to write. We’ve got four kids in our house and the hustle and bustle keeps me busy all day. Blessings to you too. I know when you get a moment the book will emerge and it will be fantastic. You’ve accomplished quite a bit and your willingness to help others is obvious within the pages of College by 12.

    • Hahaha…I could care less HOW you wrote you notes. I just learned about your family today and I am FASCINATED! I am going to research your family more and more. I am especially interested since I hear that you all let your children just go with whatever interests them. At least, I think that is what I understand so far. I have been so afraid to do this, but here I am, finding myself drawn to it again. Blessings to you for taking the time to even jot down your journal for others. With being a wife and mother to many young ones, I know time can be short. I hope to meet you someday, either online or in person.

    • Yeah, this happened to me too. I realized MSNBC (the article I read) forgot a crucial space. I think it was meant to be read “email them at Omit the “at” at the beginning. Once I figured it out and emailed them at that address I got a response from them 🙂

  2. I am very very impressed as to how God miraculously led you and your kids.

    I have a 12 year old and a 9 yr old – they will be 13 and 10 soon.

    My older son, Daniel David wants to become a doctor and loves music. I am very interested in finding out how Serennah went to medical school at a much younger age?
    Did she write the 9th,10th, 11th and 12th grade school exams after studying the material in advance.
    How did she complete the Pre med courses? Did she do them online or went to a local colledge.
    Did she just sit for the medical board exam after completing the pre med courses?

    My 9 year old son in very interested in Maths like Keith. He goes to a class called Kumon.
    He completed the following levels.
    • Level K: Functions: Quadratic, fractional, irrational, exponential
    He has to complete the higher levels – he wants to complete them in 6-10 months. After that can he just take college courses?
    Should he write exams for other subjects like Science, English and History etc to skip few grades? Kindly explain how he can go to college in few years?

    God bless you abundantly,
    Thank you so much for helping us,

    • Hi Hannah David!
      Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure why the email bounced back. Maybe it’s a server issue? There is a lot of traffic today for the Hardings. If you follow the link to their ebook Journal “College by 12” and purchase it you’ll get a ton of information about how they went about it. It’s well worth the money for someone like yourself that is looking for a road map so to speak about how you’d go about it. Mona Lisa also does paid phone consultations. But I’d recommend you take a look at the book first, because it explains a lot in there about how the kids did it. Yes, they took entrance exams and yes, they were enrolled in actual brick and mortar classes at different colleges. Best of luck raising and educating your kids. It’s wonderful to see kids eager to learn and motivated at such a young age.

  3. How were they able to afford to homeschool all their kids with the Calvert Program? It looks like it runs anywhere between $150 and $350 per grade level! I would love to homeschool my girls (schools in Florida are AWFUL, especially in Volusia County), but I am a full time student and my husband is an OTR truck driver. He makes decent money, but I don’t think we could afford $300-700 for programs.

  4. I would be interested in the cost too. This is something my daughter-in-law and I have discussed. They have 5 children and are strapped financially.

  5. If you are interested in homeschooling at a lower cost, I would recommend The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. If you are educating through the classics, many of the materials are available at lower cost through the library, used book stores, and online. E.D. Hirsch also has a series of books, What your (1st through 5th) Grader Should Know, that would provide a great deal of material and guidance. Look at some options, don’t be afraid to modify programs. The Harding family did what worked for them – It’s a great benefit for other parents to know they can do the same.

  6. Don’t let money hold you back. The scariest part is the first step. Used book stores, ebay, homeschool conferences, the library and a TON of free websites and apps will have you on your way. God will provide. Most curriculum you can plan on cutting the price in half and find used. Then use it for all your other children. The money you will save in gas, school clothes, etc…will help pay for consumables, Check out Art Robinson homeschool…similar idea as the Harding family. His curriculum is $200 for 12 years. He has a YouTube video with details. Oh, and the College by 12 PDF is worth the $20.

  7. I just heard about the Harding family today…through No Greater Joy. I’ve been trying to track down their e-book that you’re talking about in this review, but haven’t been able to find it. Do you know of any links of where I can go to purchase it? Thanks so much!


    • Hi Jamie,

      It looks like they’ve removed the link, but they are going to release it next year as a complete book. They are also promoting an online curriculum resource that they are linking to as well. You may want to sign up for that if you are interested in learning more about what they do and how they do it.

  8. Thank you so much for your quick reply…..what an interesting topic! How fun that you have been able to read their e-book already! Blessings to you!

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