11-year-old boy in college, not middle school - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

11-year-old boy in college, not middle school

Most of us graduate high school when we're about 18 then head off to college.

Children in one Alabama family are well beyond their years, starting college by 12 or earlier.

Sally Pitts has the story.

At 4'-6" and 73 pounds, Heath Harding is smaller than his classmates.

He said, "Everytime they see me, they call me big man."

But academically he's on their level.

The 11-year-old should be in sixth grade, but he's a freshman, not in high school---but college.

He said, "I really like economics."

Over-achieving academically runs in the family.

His 16-year-old sister, Serennah is a senior at Huntingdon college.

She said, "It's very exciting. I really look forward to the future and how many more things I can accomplish."

Their professors say it's not just their size that stands out in the classroom.

"It shows what parents can do."

Serennah and Heath's two older sisters also started college by 12, but their mother insists they are just an average family.

Mona Lisa Harding home schools all eight of her children.

"We really believe they can be anything they want to be."

But are they growing up too fast and missing out on certain life experiences?

Mona Lisa said she tries to find the right balance between school and social activities.

"We are involved in the church. They take part in sports."

Heath says to him, learning is fun. And at 11 he's on track to have a college degree before most kids have a high school diploma.

"I have been blessed with a good family that encouraged me to move on."

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