Teen Who Graduated College Before High School Is No Role Model

Jeanne Sager
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graduateTalk about making us all feel slightly inadequate with our kid's educational progress. A 17-year-old from California is currently making the rounds of the "weird news" reports because he graduated from college BEFORE graduating from high school. Ay carumba.

Here I thought "reads at high first grade level while only a kindergartner" was something to brag about. If I wore one, my hat would be off for Spencer La Favor and his mom, who he says supported him as he juggled high school and college classes. What he's accomplished is incredible. But that's not to say I'd let my daughter do it.

Call me a meanie or perhaps just a realist. I don't mean to denigrate what this kid has accomplished, but reading about how Spencer spent every year from ninth grade on trying to keep up with classes at both Independence High School and Taft Community College made me sad. As he said:

I would take three online classes at Taft Community College. Then I'd go to school and take advanced-placement classes in English and history and honors chemistry. It was pretty rough.

I remember ninth grade. I was taking tenth grade coursework, and it was HARD. But that's just it, I was taking tenth grade coursework and having a hard enough time trying to fit in friends, family, and extracurriculars. I can't imagine if I'd piled college on top of that. What kind of life would I have had? What kind of fun?

Today's kids have a benefit that kids just a few short generations back didn't. They get to be kids on up through their teen years. They get to balance school with fun. Sure, many of them have jobs, but there is still time left over to enjoy the simplicity of hitting the mall or poking around on Facebook.

If it sounds indulgent, consider this. Kids who learn to play by themselves are shown to do better in college, because they have developed the ability to think outside the box. And workers who cave to the allure of "me" time are better employees in the end. Teaching our kids to "work, work, work" may seem like it has real world application, but in the end, it can seriously backfire.

Congratulations to Spencer La Favor on college graduation, on high school graduation, and on having just a year and a half left to finish his bachelor's degree. Here's hoping he finds some time to relax too!

Would you let your kids take this route?


Image via Tulane Public Relations/Flickr

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