When people find out I have two kids with a very high IQ, the first question they ask is, “Is the smart gene from you or your husband?”
The truth is, we have no other academic standouts in either family (Sorry, relos). My 13-year-old daughter, Amy, is a maths genius, while I count using my fingers. My husband only reads newspapers, while our 10-year-old son, Maxwell, was reading Sun Tzu’s Chinese military text The Art of War when he was just five.
Amy was a demanding baby, but what baby isn’t? At four to six months old, she was craving constant attention. I would spend a long time explaining objects in detail and where they fitted into a puzzle. For example, the spoon goes with the fork, or the envelope goes with the post box. Amy loved it, and a few hours later she correctly placed each pair together.
Amy’s daycare identified she may be gifted at around three years old and suggested a formal assessment by a specialist Gifted Child Psychologist.
From a very early age Maxwell had a passion for history. He had absolutely no interest in superheroes or talking trains. He would sit for hours watching documentaries about Tutankhamen or Vikings, even if they weren’t in English! I decorated his room with posters detailing history and medieval architecture.
As Maxwell has a completely different nature and personality to Amy, I really didn’t put two and two together until we were at a GP check-up. Maxwell’s exact words were “Do I have the 1-3-3-4 plorj?” We eventually worked out that Maxwell had taught himself to read, and was asking if had the Year 1334 Plague! He was just three years old at the time. The doctor suggested Maxwell also be assessed, which then confirmed him to be of high intelligence.
People might think I am ungrateful, but when I read the 40-page assessment that confirmed and outlined their extraordinary ability, I immediately felt sick. Bricks of intense pressure and strain lumped on my shoulders. I didn’t want my children to have a similar schooling to me. I was the under-achieving kid left alone by teachers. I was a bored misfit that did not have a place in mainstream schooling, which led to poor outcomes.