by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
Mona Lisa Harding describes her typical day as “organized chaos”. The homeschooling mother of 9 says the key to homeschooling a large brood is “they must learn to love to learn on their own.”
This philosophy seems to be working. So far, all the Harding children have begun college courses by the age of 12. The oldest, Hannah, is 21 and working toward her PhD in Material Science and Engineering. She was enrolled in college full-time and playing on the women’s soccer team by age 14. She earned her BS in mathematics by age 17 and her master’s at 19. Her goal is to work for NASA and go to Mars.
Rosannah Harding is just 20. By age 18 she had completed a five year architecture program at the California College of the Arts. She was married this May. Her husband is also an architect and they live in California.
At just 18 years of age the third Harding sister, Serennah, was recently commissioned as an ensign in the naval reserves. By age 11 Serennah knew she wanted to be a physician. She was in college full-time by the age of 12. At 17 she became one of Huntingdon College’s youngest graduates. She has completed a year of graduate school and has earned a Certificate of Graduate study in biomedical science. She recently began a four year Doctor of Osteopathy program. When the four years are up she will be an intern in the Navy. Her goal is to work with the underserved in Latin America.
The Harding’s oldest boy is just 13 and already a junior at Huntingdon College. He is scheduled to graduate at 15. His goal is to produce and direct films.
At age 11, Keith Harding is keeping up the family tradition. He recently finished high school and is now taking music classes at Faulkner University. His dream is to play violin professionally and to teach music at the university level.
The four remaining Harding children are still young enough that they are just beginning to dream about their futures. Seth is 8 and, like most boys his age, loves sports and video games. But even at the young age of 8 he is already starting to dream big. He is talking about being an “Imagineer” at Disney World.
Mona Lisa and husband, Kitchener, say they talk extensively with their children about their goals and dreams. No matter what those dreams may be, they take them seriously and guide their children. They show them what they can do right now to make those dreams a reality.
They do not believe in “busy work” and say that education in their home is very much child led. They cover the fundamentals and never skip Bible study but otherwise the children are free to focus on their own interests and those things that will matter to their future.
I have been greatly inspired by this family. These children are excelling, not because they are being pushed but because they are being nurtured and allowed to explore their own interests. No one is telling them what they must learn but they are guiding them as they decide what it is they want to learn.
Mona Lisa referred to public school education as “canned”. I agree with that label. It is a one-size-fits-all approach and not only does it not work, but it is completely unfair to our children. Learning is a natural, organic process and when children are allowed to grow in their own way, rather than being forced into a mold, they have no limitations. The Harding children are a wonderful example of this.
The Harding’s youngest children are 6 year old Katrinnah, 4 year old Mariannah, and 19 month old Lorennah. Mona Lisa also announced that they are expecting blessing number 10 in May. No doubt we will be hearing much more from the Harding family in the future.
To read more about the Harding’s you can check out their website.
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