Homeschooling family from Alabama gets 7 of their 10 kids into college by age 12

They call them the Brainy Bunch
They call them the Brainy Bunch

Here’s a wonderful story to cheer everyone up from the Christian Post.

They write:

An impressive seven of 10 homeschooled children from a Christian family in Montgomery, Alabama, which now boasts a doctor and New York City architect among them, all started college by the time they were 12; and now their parents have written a book about how they managed to pull off such staggering academic success.

The parents of the 10 children, Mona Lisa and Kip Harding, are described as high school sweethearts on a website dedicated to The Brainy Bunch Book.

“After four kids, they decided to turn to homeschooling, and their success paved the way for their children to start college by the age of 12, and go on to great careers in medicine, engineering, architecture and more,” explaines the website.

Hannah, 26, is the oldest Harding child. She earned her bachelor of science in mathematics from Auburn University Montgomery and a master’s degree in mathematics by the time she was 19. She is now working on a PhD in material science.

Rosanna, 24, is now an architect in New York City and became the youngest member in the American Institute of Architects at age 23. Serena, 22, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Huntingdon College at 17, and became one of America’s youngest female doctors at 22. She is now a resident at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda.

Their brother Heath, 17, has an master’s in computer science. He earned a BA in English at 15, and he is currently working at building his tutoring and online computer business. Keith, who is 15, is pursuing a bachelor’s in music at Faulkner University. Seth, just 13, is a history major at Huntingdon College, while Katrinnah, 10, is a student at Faulkner University.

Their other siblings, Mariannah, 8; Lorennah, 5, and Thunder, 3, are still being homeschooled.

In an interview with KSL Kip and Mona Lisa noted that their children aren’t geniuses. They simply found a way to accelerate their learning by making it fun. One-on-one sessions with the mother who is working on her bachelor’s degree at home also helped immensely.

“One teacher has 30 students on average,” said Kip. “We can do better than that. Kids get left behind in a classroom. … This is where homeschooling really takes off because those kids are getting extra attention. And who’s more loving than a mom and dad teaching them things?”

And for parents considering homeschooling, Mona Lisa had some sage advice.

“I personally would like to tell the moms that if moms read, they can teach their child to read,” she said.

“Then their kids have the ability to teach themselves. I basically teach them to love reading and the basics of math, and from there, they can have a lot of their own answers. … The model at home is more a tutoring model.”

Despite their success, however, Kip acknowledged the importance of teachers in a traditional classroom setting.

“Teaching is a hard job and teachers still have a place,” said Kip. “But government money comes with strings attached. … We’re just relying on God and he keeps coming through and it’s working out well. Truly, we’re just average.”

Sigh! I would really like to have executed a plan like this, but before you can, you have to find a woman who thinks that marriage and children are more important than binge-drinking, hooking-up, and flying around the world to be photographed with malnourished children, etc. I think Christian men do have a plan for making their marriages into a project that gets results like this, but you can’t do it unless you find a woman who is willing to do the work that’s required. Finding one who wants to have kids and manage their progress so that they will have an influence in the world is much harder than it ought to be.

What’s your plan to make a difference, Christian man?

12 thoughts on “Homeschooling family from Alabama gets 7 of their 10 kids into college by age 12”

  1. I know this is a question directed at men. But as a homeschooling mother of 2 daughters and raising them to be keepers at home as their careers, I am curious. How would you advise a man vetting one of these women to convince them to give up their lucrative careers, in order to put husband and children in front of said career? Also, haven’t they basically blown off their best husband hunting and child bearing years by focusing on degrees and careers?

    I’m really NOT trying to be cheeky. I don’t understand how it is possible. Please explain.


    1. I cannot answer your question at all, but thank you in the Name of Jesus for homeschooling! We came to homeschooling a bit late but it was an amazing experience once we got started.


    2. Robyn,

      I was thinking the same questions as I read the article by WK.

      Some young women do college and career because they want to be busy while waiting for a good man to show up and are willing to give it up. But many others do it with a desire to keep doing it forever. A woman with an MD would get a lot of grief if she gave that up at a young age. She would probably have a lot of doubts that she did the right thing when home life became repetitive.

      I would advise a young man to put his cards on the table at the second or third date. “I am looking for a wife who wants to have many children and wants to stay home and raise them. What do you really want to do?” If she wants to do both I would advise the young man to drop her and look for another. No matter how smart or accomplished a woman is, young men should not put any young woman up on a pedestal.


      1. There is such a huge cultivation of independence while getting a degree of any kind. When a woman steps out from underneath the authority of her father, it will be a struggle for the rest of her married life to continue to surrender it. Yes, it is possible, and even if she knows it is best, it will still be rough. There are so many other positive things a young woman can be doing to cultivate herself until marriage.


    3. Homeschooling mom is good, but college degree (preferable in STEM) is a guard against divorce:

      I think the safest option is wife with a STEM degree who saves a nest-egg of her own, who is fully aware of the research that shows that children do best with a mom at home. STEM is vital because it trains a woman to be logical, and equips her to be able to homeschool the children in math and science and other skills that will get them jobs. I actually prefer a woman with a graduate degree, so that she can shepherd the children through that, as well.

      I’m not making a point about you and your personal life choices, I’m making a point about what works generally. I’m all for homeschooling, or at least private schools.


    4. Robin,

      You hit the nail on the head. This story shared by Wintery Knight is really bitter sweet in my opinion.

      I love homeschoolers – my mom homeschooled my niece and nephew after she adopted them at a young age and they were not doing well in regular school. I know many home schoolers.

      While a father has his role to play – really the vast majority of the success for homeschooling will come down to the dedication and discipline of the mother.

      I think as you said in another comment here – once a woman leaves the authority of her father’s home to go off into the world and she gets that degree of independance it is VERY hard for her to give that up again when she gets married. I know for a fact from experiance and talking to many Pastors that women with degrees and careers often have a terrible time submitting to and obeying their husbands and fulling dedicating themselves to the service of their husbands, their children and their homes.

      You also raise an excellent point that if a woman is spending her youthful years at university and establishing a career before marriage that she is in essense giving up her best childbearing years.

      It is politically incorrect to say this – but a woman’s fertility peaks at age 24. That is why so many women that wait to start having children into their late 20’s and early 30’s have to seek out fertility clinics.

      Our ways do not agree with how God made women.

      I am encouraging my daughter(who is turning 14 soon) that when she graduates at age 19 I want her to begin in earnest looking for a Godly husband(probably 4 to 5 years older than her) that is mature and established and can support her. This is the way marriage has been for thousands of years and we have just turned it upside down in the last century.


      1. I agree it gets very hard for her to give that up, and so the man has to make that a big part of his selection criteria.

        Fertility peaks at 27, not 24, with a major decline at 30 and a drastic decline at 35.

        Here is the research on marrying early:

        “For instance, someone who marries at 25 is over 50 percent less likely to get divorced than is someone who weds at age 20.”

        If you marry before 25, with no college degree, there is huge risk of divorce. You can actually get the divorce risk really low if you time things up right. The STEM degree is especially good because it counteracts the postmodernism and relativism that is out there in society, and it also helps young people to think in terms of problem solving and practicality.

        But she can’t wait too long to marry either!

        “My data analysis shows that prior to age 32 or so, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent. However, after that the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent per year.”

        I recommend grad school in STEM, and 2-3 years of work, then marriage and kids. Just enough so that she can explain all this to her kids and shepherd them to success and influence. I know two women who did exactly that. One married at 30 and the other at 24. 25-32 is the window, and in my view, 25 is ideal.

        The advice to your daughter to look for a husband early and not play the field is GREAT advice. And we should tell sons to study STEM and get high-paying jobs right away and save their money.


        1. Wintery Knight,

          Honestly I would have to respectfully disagree with pushing women into STEM fields in mass numbers. I work in a STEM field and i have also looked at the stats on STEM fields and gender and I find that they comes close to matching up.

          About 75% of STEM field works are men, and even in colleges it is about the same. Despite the push to get women more into STEM fields most women’s minds just don’t work as well in these fields. It is like trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

          I can tell being a software developer – that yes I have worked with a few brilliant female developers – but the key word is “few”. Most female software developers I have worked with are far below their male counterparts is problem solving and debugging skills. I don’t say that to be sexist, I say that based over 18 years in the software business.

          In fact many young women were pushed to do exactly what you are saying and become programmers because it makes good money. They barely make it through college and they get to the job and cannot compete with the men most of the time. Again not trying to be sexist – just be real. And again not saying it that way with all women – because I have known some brilliant female coders – but they are rare gems in the field of computer programming.

          What I tell young people at my church is do NOT go into a STEM field unless you love the work – unless you are driven by it. Do not do it for the money – rather do it because you love it or do not do it at all.

          Not all young people are even made for college – for instance one of my teenage sons is struggling even to graduate from high school and honestly I think it is a waste of time for him(even though I won’ tell him that). He is great with his hands and is very mechanical and he will be going into the family plumbing business with his uncle after he graduates.

          Some people are not made for higher education(whether they be men or women) – some are made for skilled trade work and we need to recognize that with our kids.

          Sorry for the rambling – but the STEM fields and “college is for everyone” stuff is very near and dear to my heart.


          1. OK OK OK OK. Well STEM can be math, science, engineering or technology, but there are also good vocational jobs that count like nurse, midwife, and other awesome things. The main thing is that she does real hard work, and makes real money, and has real sympathy for what her husband has to do, and is really able to teach the kids science and math and stuff.

            You sound excellent.


  2. I’m suprise you didn’t mention anything about the girls finding husbands. The oldest daughter is 26 the youngest is 19 and are most blogs ppl normally say they should be finding husbands unless there are already married.


  3. “flying around the world to be photographed with malnourished children”

    Into your Hall of Quotes, WK! :-)


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