Child Genius, Channel 4

November 11, 2011

in Child prodigies, Home schooling

Child Genius, Series 3

Unfortunately, Child Genius, Series 1 and Child Genius, Series 2 are not available on the Channel 4 website.  You will find some of the older clips on veoh.com.

From a journalistic standpoint, I can’t recommend the documentary – the questions the journalist asks the children are quite shallow and boring and they really don’t make use of the amazing characters they have on the show to portray interesting issues facing child geniuses, especially as they grow up. But you will find some funny characters, for which reason I still recommend watching the documentary.

Adam Napier-Smith is a very kind and smart boy who is incredibly advanced in maths, especially during the time that he is home schooled by his parents. Once he goes of to the boarding school Horris Hill, he enjoys the sports and friendships so much that his mother worries he is becoming “normal”. He’s a good example of a profoundly gifted boy who seems well adjusted socially and emotionally. The programme didn’t follow up long enough to report that Adam Napier-Smith eventually gained admission to Eton College.

Dante Mighella is a very quirky and precocious young teenager who comes up with the wittiest comments and questions on the show. It is almost disappointing to see him turn into a much more mellow 16 year old in the last part of the series, but good for him that he has overcome his quirkiness and now has less conflicts with parents and teachers.

Peter Williams is a young chess prodigy aiming to become world chess champion. He is home schooled and dedicates most of his time to maths and chess. He could probably benefit from more contact with the outside world as his plan to become world champion appears less realistic as the programme progresses – apart from the fact that it seems to be a somewhat narrow end goal in life. He is extremely funny as well though and I wish him all the best. I especially loved his observation that it didn’t matter that the other children in his school didn’t want to be friends with him and he only had adult friends “because in the long run, everyone will be an adult so children don’t matter” – you can’t argue with that!

and many more… Unfortunately the programme seems to hop from one young genius to the next without really following them much, which would have been more interesting. You might also be interested in reading Why Child Prodigies Fail!

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