New   book   "Accidental   Genius"   now   available

Accidental Genius, the story of Michael Kearney the world's youngest college graduate, has been published by Woodshed Press. Experienced Home schoolers, Kevin and Cassidy Kearney, explain in an easy-to-read guide-packed with examples-how you can take charge of your gifted/special needs children.

Experts Kevin and Cassidy Kearney show you:

~How you can have a more normal home life by tapping and redirecting the boundless energy of brilliant children...

~14 undocumented characteristics of the highly or severely gifted that put them at risk for being mislabled as Learning Disabled or ADD/ADHD...

~How smart girls are at special risk of not reaching their potential...

~How children with high intellectual capacity are at great risk of developing destructive behaviors..

~How to make a brighter future for your own pint-sized genius!

Michael recently received his fourth Guinness World Record at the age of fourteen by graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Masters degree in Chemistry. And his sister Maeghan at the age of ten began college and is currently a sophomore.

This 240 pages trade paperback, with index and bibliography can be ordered by calling 1-800-437-1579. The purchase price is $18.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

Woodshed Press 1784 W. Northfield Blvd. Suite 262 Murfreesboro, Tn 37129-3271

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Children are appearing in college classes in larger numbers than ever before. Although largely unrecognized and unpublicized, this is not a new phenomena. At least four American colleges have dedicated early college entrance programs for children ranging from ages eleven to fifteen. Many other American colleges have dual enrollment programs for talented high school students.

California State College in LA has had the Early Entrance Program (EEP) for eleven to fourteen year olds for over nine years. They routinely enroll between forty to fifty students and graduate 9 to 10 each year. The University of Washington at Seattle has a high school right on the campus. Their youngest student ever was only eleven years old. Mary Baldwin College in Virginia operates a residential program for young gifted girls. Baylor College in Massachusetts has been organized since the nineteen sixties to admit and support fourteen and fifteen year old students.

Ohio State University has also pioneered accommodating the educational needs of the prodigious early learner. The problems associated with having learning enabled (LE) children on campus are perhaps counter-intuitive. According to Dr. Ray Swassing, Associate Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University, getting the teaching faculty to accept that children, like MTSU's Michael Kearney, are often more informed than graduate students is not easy. It is so easy to underestimate the abilities of children like Michael that it is hard to get across the idea that his abilities are beyond the "regular" students in a graduate class. Dr. Swassing suggests that the content of the courses may not be tough enough and that the faculty will have to examine their own expectations.

Dr. Swassing's advice to us is to make sure that the teaching faculty both want Michael in their classrooms and accept the challenge. At the University level it is easier to choose faculty than in the lower schools. Dr. Swassing says to be sure that any child in college have a contact person, that there be adequate academic advising and that there be strong social/personal support. The child in college also needs an advocate with his professors.

To Swassing the issues are more of logistics than ability to do the work. One person should be established as the contact at any time. The student should be given the contact's telephone number both day and evening. Assignment as contact might be an appropriate responsibility for a graduate or doctoral student.

On a large campus it can be difficult getting from one building to another. Ohio State University gave two or three math education students credit for meeting their prodigy at his classroom and getting him to the next class. Their problem was more one of transportation as their twelve year old prodigy was still attending high school.

MTSU is the third college which Michael has attended. It was much more difficult to have a six year old in college than to have a twelve year old in graduate school. We have developed several techniques over the years to ensure success in college for our learning enabled prodigy. By success, we mean that Michael will be likely to develop into a happy, social, productive twenty-five year old.

Prodigies are "hothouse" children. They succeed or fail depending on how well their parents prepare and control the environment around them. The three issues that the parent has to control are to:

1. Ensure that Michael always is learning something new, 2. Ensure that the learning is fun, and 3. Ensure that Michael is with intelligent people.

The other environmental factors that we take pains to control is to ensure that academically Michael is always under positive expectations. Whenever Cassidy and I didn't know whether or not Michael could perform at the adult level, we shrugged our shoulders and said "He's always succeeded before. Let's find out." We've had some professors that couldn't help but prepare Michael to their own children. They couldn't therefor make the leap of faith that children are in fact more intelligent than previously thought. The negative expectations resulting were almost a tangible force. Michael in that environment couldn't even recite his own name much less logarithmic tables. We remove him from that environment and he reverts to his usual behavior as the top student.

Recently at MTSU, several professors have suggested that Cassidy and I should feel that Michael will be safe in their care and just leave him to his own devices. They wonder why we wait outside his classes for him. Our strategy for integrating Michael into campus life has been to cater to his emotional and psychic safety by escorting him to his classes and sitting with him for a week or so. Our plan was to remove ourselves as Michael made friends and got used to being a college student again. We assumed that he would make the transition by February.

After Michael graduated from USA (with a 3.6 average at age ten) we arranged for him take eighteen months off from formal schooling. Instead of letting him attend USA Medical School on the five year fellowship he was offered, we decided that there are as many, if not more, educational opportunities outside of a college setting. We continually ask ourselves, "What does a successful person have to really know?" Inside our own family we hold to an equation that reads {BA + MS + Ph.D. = 0}.

Unlike parents with regular students, we have to both raise Michael and educate him at the same time. We now allow Michael to attend graduate school in order to help him become as normal an individual as he is likely to be. Those on the teaching staff that have gotten to know us realize that we don't consider Michael a genius. On the other hand, he may in fact be this century's Aristotle, Plato or Einstein.

If anyone has ideas on how to successfully raise a genius we are most ready to discuss it with you. Until then we intend to continue with our own program of ensuring Michael is comfortable, happy, challenged, emotionally secure and by planning appropriate childhood activities for him. As a secondary issue, somewhere down the line he'll earn a Master's degree or Ph.D or two.

Spiffy Links

Hoagies Gifted Resources
Books, articles, links, advice for parents of the gifted
Dr. Breggin's alternative to ADD/ADHD
Dare To Be Off Ritalin
Order Accidental Genius NOW through
Read the Reviews. Don't delay, your child's future maybe at stake.
Chemistry club for elementary school
Virtual Chemistry Club
Chemistry club site for secondary schoolers
the National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children
Another source for gifted education information
Learn in Freedom
School is dead!
A site for inquiry into intelligence
Bill Beatty's Homeschool Resources
A huge collection of resources and experiments
Great Thinkers and Visionaries on the net
The best and the brightest
Basic Rules for Cats that have a House to Run
For cats that have people to train
Chemical manipulation of the brain.
Chemistry Magazine online
Find articles about the scent of swine, find a URL for demon coffee
Education and Society
Glossary of Gifted Education Issues
Amusement Park Physics
The forces behind the fun
Professor B's Math Program
For children/teachers having trouble with Math
A Theory about Genius
Innovation website
Science Daily Magazine
Latest Research News
Reverse Speech
Unusual theory about your children's babble
Bad Science
Myths that teachers believe
The humblefarmer
A humorist that observes the world
Top Ten Mistakes in Education
An e-book for the reengineering of education
Michael Kearney Photos at MTSU
Photos of graduation from Masters Degree
Daily Calfornian
News Article of Michael Kearney
Mobile Press Register
The Nature of IQ and testing
Oak Ridger Online
News story of Michael and Maeghan

More pages

Priorities for raising gifted children: Some thoughts on why we parents do what we do!
The lost tools of learning: A speech delivered at Oxford in 1947 by Dorothy Sayers
The lost tools of learning (part 2):