The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, February 05, 2007

A letter to Parliament

In Singapore, the nomenclature for politicians is styled after Britain, which used to be its colonial ruler. Thus, the first rung of political power is the Member of Parliament, then above that are Ministers of various ranks, and the Prime Minister, at the top.

Ainan needs an educational provision out of the norm. We don't know quite where to get it but are trying several avenues simultaneously. One avenue is to write to the Ministry of Education to seek permission to homeschool - that is covered below in First Steps to Homeschooling. The other approach is to write to our local Member of Parliament (M.P.).

On the same day that we wrote to the Compulsory Education Unit, we also wrote to our local MP, who happens to be a Government Minister. The Compulsory Education Unit replied within three hours, our MP, though, has yet to reply.

Again, we will see how responsive Singapore is to the particular needs of its citizens. Ainan could do good things for Singapore science, one day. Let us see if Singapore will do anything to help him get there. If not, of course, there is always the whole wide world to go searching for what he needs, to advance. First, however, we will exhaust the local options, for that is the easiest to approach, initially. If those prove satisfactory, then we shall have succeeded on his behalf, but if they don't, then we will be forced to look elsewhere.

Ainan is developing fast, so we need to address his educational future very soon. That is why we are trying several approaches simultaneously, in the hope that at least one will improve his situation.

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, seven years and two months and his gifted brothers, Fintan, three, and Tiarnan, twelve months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:34 PM 


Anonymous Anna Stanton said...

Hello Valentine.

I'm very interested in your endeavors to homeschool. It is a route my family are also preparing to go down because Jack is just advancing so fast his school have stretched as far as they can go really.
It's a very frightening proposition I must say. Would you take up the mantle of primary educator? It's looking increasingly likely that this will be my role and I have to say it terrifies me!
As you've said securing homeschooling permission in the UK is surprisingly easy. The education Act 1996 states parents are responsible for educating their children with education being compulsory and not school necessarily.

I wish you every luck in securing permission to homeschool Ainan. Would you be looking to homeschool Fintan and Tiarnan as well?

Also I know what you mean about baby mountaineers. My youngest has recently discovered door frames.
Absolute madness in this house!


5:50 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Anna

Thanks for your comment, which is, as usual, informative.

You are lucky that the situation is more open in the UK: the choice is yours to make. Here I have to be very sure to secure permission first, which may or may not be forthcoming. Singaporean children can only be schooled in government schools - or in very rare instances homeschooled, by permission. They cannot be schooled in private international schools. Thus we are very limited in our choices: either we are allowed to homeschool, or we have nowhere else to go (unless an exception can be made, which leads us back to special permission).

Yes, I would be the primary educator for Science, English and Maths (and a whole bundle of subsidiary things). My wife could teach them Art and Malay, among other things.

Fintan's needs are likely to be different to Ainan's: he shows creativity, gregariousness, leadership, courage, a very good memory, imagination and would I feel make a good actor - quite a different set of issues there. We will see what other skills come to the fore in the next few years - he is only three now.

Tiarnan, well, maybe we will have to homeschool him - we will wait and see what he develops into, but he is definitely revealing an interesting young mind at work.

As for Jack being homeschooled...from what you have said of him, I think it is a good idea and he is likely to find greater fulfilment more easily in that environment. Also, his teacher - you - is much more likely to be able to adapt to his individual needs since you will be so much more aware of what those needs are, than any other teacher could be.

School cannot really cope with children who are highly gifted and above: there are just too few of them for the schools to adjust to their presence. Homeschooling is the obvious solution therefore.

I wish you luck in your decision. I will write something about homeschooling soon, I think.

Best wishes there in the UK.

7:06 PM  

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