College at 14? Here’s how we did it.

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At age 2, we thought she might be slow. She spoke very little. She was quiet and still.

At age 2.5 she wrote the entire alphabet. In crayon. Upside down and backwards. The way she had memorized it sitting across the table from her older sister as she was writing.

At age 3.5 she began shouting out the answers to her older sister’s math problems.

At age 4 she begged me to teach her to read because, “Everyone in the house can read!!!” In two weeks she learned up to 2nd grade reading level. I stopped teaching her to read. She no longer needed me.

We bought her her first math book. She completed two years of math in a couple of months, then moved on to 3rd grade Saxon Math.Kenya2013B

As the years progressed, we realized she had something different in her. She was driven to learn. For several years, we held her back, trying to keep her at or below her older sister’s school work. It seemed wrong for her to soar ahead. But after a few years, we gave up. I would just hand her the next year’s school work when she completed one year. And then another and another. I did not teach her. She taught herself using the textbooks we provided. I graded her w
ork and her tests.  We started her on memory work, memorizing large portions of scripture, eventually memorizing whole books of the Bible. Ask her to recite one sometime. She went on her first mission trip.

By age 13 I realized she was at the end of the high school curriculum. We had a few subjects left to complete, but not much really.

I started searching for enrichment things she could do. She loved music. We added another instrument, then another. Then voice. We had her volunteering to help moms each week. Still she plugged ahead in everything and kept up with her usual level of schoolwork.

College at 14? Here's how we did it.Finally, at 14, I decided to let her start taking dual credit classes.

Dual credit means that you take a class while in high school that counts toward high school AND college credit. In her case, we started with an online class, English 101. She finished it and did very, very well.

Then, she took a j-term (an intensive one week college class on college campus that covers the same material that would usually be covered over a semester).

Then, she took her “practice” ACTs and scored a 31. We considered her finished and did not encourage her to take it again.

Next, she took additional classes as dual credit. These were taken on college campus with other college students. There was no differentiation between she and the other students.  She performed just like she did at home, she was a serious student who has gotten perfect grades in her classes.

She will continue taking dual credit classes until we decide she is ready to enroll full-time, which will most likely be next fall. For most schools, there is a limited number of courses you can take at a time and still be considered dual credit. There may also be a maximum number of dual credit classes an institution will allow you to take. Also, there may be a maximum number you are allowed to transfer. Check all this out at the school level before you put out any money or effort.

It’s substantially cheaper than the same class once they are enrolled in college. For example, English 101 $100. English 102 cost $250 for a dual credit student. These classes at the regular price are $1000. Each.

It’s a way to introduce homeschooled students to the structure and demands of an outside teacher and class environment while still being at home for most classes. Time management is an important skill.

Getting some of the basics out of the way while still in highschool will help keep some semesters a little lighter in college when the classes are tougher and require more time.

You can try out a college, get a real feel for how it would be to be there full-time without having to make a huge commitment of money and time.

You can take classes that may not be offered in your school or homeschool. You can follow your interests in a unique way.

College at 14? Here's how we did it.The drawbacks:

Some classes may not transfer if you decide to go to another college. Choose wisely. In her case, we chose some classes that were solely for her education and benefit. We don’t care if “Worldview” does not transfer. We want her to take it for her own sake. Orchestra may not be her calling in life, but it is an excellent way to get regular, rigorous practice on violin. English 101 and 102 will transfer to other colleges. We checked.

Exposure to much older students, conflicting worldviews, questionable literature at a young age. In her on campus classes, she is attending a Christian college. We are not foolish and believe she will be inside a safe bubble there, but at least the classes and teachers agree with our faith. For her online class (taken from a local community college), she was asked to watch a movie we ordinarily would not have chosen for her. We watched it with her. It was not the best, but she is old enough to have discernment and maturity and we made the best of it.

So would college at 14 be a good idea for all students? Certainly not. None of our other children have taken this path, and I am not sure any of the younger ones will either. But it’s our choice for her for this year.




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