Talk about child prodigies.
Two brothers, Carson Huey-You, 14, and Cannan Huey-You, 11, both graduated this past weekend. Carson graduated from Texas Christian University (TCU) with a bachelor’s degree in quantum physics and minors in Chinese and math. His younger brother graduated from high school.
Speaking with the Washington Post, the duo’s mother Claretta Kimp said although her sons are smart, it’s just a small part of who they are.
“My boys have more social skills than most adults,” she said. “They are just normal little boys who do normal little boy things,” she told the paper.
Kimp adds the brothers, who are also best friends, love puppies, wrestling and Star Wars.
According to TCU, Carson came to the private coeducational university as an 11-year-old student after graduating as co-valedictorian of his senior class. He scored 1770 on his SAT (the average was 1083 for college-bound students in 2016), and now plans to go to graduate school to work on a master’s degree in physics.
Cannan, the Washington Post adds, will head to TCU next fall to study astrophysics and engineering. He eventually wants to become an astronaut.
Advice for other parents
Last week, Humans of TCU, a Facebook group dedicated to highlight the campus’ staff and students, had a feature on the brothers and their mother. Since Carson is TCU’s youngest graduate, the group asked Kimp how she raised her sons.
“Don’t limit your kid’s imagination. The journey starts when they are toddlers,” she said.
“If you have the support that you need, you can do anything. Surely, you will face challenges, but if you have the right support group, you will keep going. You can do anything, so can your kids. We are blessed.”
According to the Washington Post, Kimp had converted a spare bedroom in the house into a classroom before Carson walked. She home-schooled him until he was five, and by then, he was learning at an eighth-grade level.
Cannan, on the other hand, started the education system more traditionally with students his age, but by Grade 2 he was bored and asked his mother to home-school him as well.
Other success stories
In 2015, 16-year-old Eugenie de Silva became the youngest person ever to receive a master’s degree from the Harvard Extension School, the Boston Globe reports.
At 18, she left the U.S. to attend graduate studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
In Toronto, Xiaoxiao (Maddy) Zhang became the youngest person to attend the University of Toronto. The 14-year-old from China is currently a student at the university’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering department.
“Now that I’m 15, I’m starting to feel more like a teenager or young adult – people here, my classmates and friends, don’t treat me like a child. My age is not an issue,” Zhang said.
Zhang is currently interested in physics or aerospace.
Raising smart kids
But experts will say, there are no clear-cut ways to raise geniuses.
Lisa Bunnage, parenting coach of BratBusters Parenting Services in Vancouver, says children who have a high self-esteem and confidence can do anything.
“You can’t mould children in what you want them to be, you can only encourage them to do their best and strive,” she told Global News.
However, Bunnage says there are some things you can try at home to get their brains working.
Push them out of their comfort zone, teach them how to constantly ask questions and allow them to try things once, even if they fail. And most importantly, make sure they are happy.
“When you learn how to fail, that’s when you learn how to succeed, too,” she said. “Be there to laugh with them — a lot of the reasons why children don’t excel is they are scared to fail.”