John Larrysson's Column: Early to University (3 of 3): How to Get It Right

In the last two articles, I wrote warning stories about children who went to university early, skipping most (or all) of secondary school. I related disastrous stories about cases of very gifted children. Not every child going off to university early, or being kept back, meets a sad end. After these sad stories, I can report on one that turned out well. 

[audio 1]

When told that their son could skip all of secondary school the parents were proud, but practical. They moved to a new house near the university, so that he could live at home. For the first year they walked him to the campus and gave him a packed lunch. They met him after school. Between classes he had to stay with someone who worked there, unless he had to go to the library. After school he had a set time for homework, just like any secondary school student. After the first year he was gradually given more flexibility. His parents signed him up for children's sports teams and Boy Scouts* after school. He had social and physical activities as well as school work that he found challenging, but not impossible. He grew up well and graduated from university when his friends graduated from secondary school. Even though they went to different schools, he had friends.  

[audio 2]   

If you ever face this situation, please do the parent's work. Your child might do some university distance education courses, but physically stay in secondary school. If so you are asking the teachers to do extra work; at least buy them a second copy of your child's university textbook. If you send your child off to university early, you need to plan most aspects of their life in the same way it would be for a child in secondary school. Even if a child can go to university early, they are still a child. 

[audio 3]

Footnote: Today Scouting is no longer segregated by sex and girls can be in Scouts too. However at the time it was Boy Scouts.

Related articles: Early to University (2 of 3): What the Police Told Me

Early to University (1 of 3): My School Mates

by John Larrysson [email protected]

A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.

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NOTE: Starting in 2016, this column has been published once every two weeks, on every other Tuesday.

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