Julia raises some points that I have thought a lot about. So here are my thoughts--for whatever they're worth.
First, I don't think I was ready to leave home and go to BYU when I did. I don't know if you remember Ju, but I was so incredibly homesick I almost didn't come back for the second semester. Now, I would have been homesick a year later, but I think the extra year at home would have made a big difference. However, I think my initial plan of going to BYU with my parents close by so I could go home all the time was a good one. They just happened to move to NoDak randomly.
As for the rest of my family, Megan and Lindsay and Derek did a lot of early college stuff but they lived at home while they did it and that was fine. The academics aren't the problem--the being out on your own is the problem. With my own children, I'm going to counsel them to push themselves academically (without making it the only thing they are doing) which may or may not include early college classes (but I'm sort of leaning that way myself for them), but I will VEHEMENTLY oppose them moving out before they've hit 18, or even 19. I think the extra years in the bosom of the family is helpful. I realize that Kayli left home a year early and didn't find it nearly as overwhelming as I did but I think that is mainly because Kami went with her and to a much lesser degree that I was also there. And, she might have just matured a little faster than me. Who knows all the reasons she did so well that first year (falling in love with Brett might have something to do with it . . . but I don't really think so . . I think her doing so well allowed her to fall in love with Brett).
Anyway, ramblings about my own family aside--I do think that pushing kids out of the nest too early is a form of negative "hurrying."
However, ACADEMICALLY I think most of our youth are ready for a lot more challenging curriculum at every level except elementary. I don't mean more homework. You all know that I don't believe in homework. Eight hours at school is PLENTY. But, the coursework offered at school is in general not very challenging. That's where our students flounder and fail to get the educations they need.
My philosophy is that you demand, from the very beginning, that students do their absolute best work all the time, and then have them spend less time than is currently in vogue doing the work. So, higher standards of achievement without more time. I haven't finished the book so I don't know what the author says about that, but as a teacher, I found that my students met all the expectations I set for them within the class time allotted and their grades and test scores reflected the amount of work they had done without ever giving any homework. I don't believe in busy work. So if I have a sixteen year old who can write well enough that she doesn't need high school college prep writing and instead can excel in an actual college writing course--I'll be encouraging her in that direction. That way, she'll learn to navigate the demands of college while living in the security of our home, and she can still attend high school for other classes and participate in all the high school extracurriculur options. In short--she'd be reaching academic goals without being hurried and without spending too much time studying. I'm all about being well-rounded while still excelling while still allowing time to just veg a little. I think, with my new frame of mind that encompasses combining home school/high school/early college options--that isn't an unrealistic goal.
There you have it. I would love to hear what the rest of you have to say on the matter.
PS As for clothes, I have long been lamenting the trend in clothing to dress kids older than they are. I think, despite the cost, that Miriam is going to be a Lands End child from now on for that very reason. Because she is so tall--she's into those terrible tweenie clothes already and I can't stand them. She's six for heaven's sake--she doesn't need to be showcasing her body like a . . . well, like a you know what.