Tonight, January 6th, Child Genius appeared on Lifetime. The show follows brilliant kids as they prepare for an eight week child genius competition, in which they can win a $100,000 college fund.
We got a glimpse of kids preparing for the competition, and we also saw
the competition. This week we first saw the math portion. It was absolutely
amazing seeing the kids do complicated math problems really quickly.
Some of the kids kicked butt (Katherine got seven questions and Ryan got 11 right) and
some didn't do as well, with one of the kids only getting one question
Next was geography. The results of this portion really matter for the underperformers in the math round because only fifteen of the twenty competitors would move on. Like with the math round, results were mixed - but really, how the heck would the kids know some of these things? This involves a lot of memorization.
The competitors with the highest combined scores were Vanya (23 correct), Jason (24 correct) and Ryan (25 correct, but a whole lot of pressure on him from his mom).
The five kids who didn't move to the next round were Liam, Eden, Christopher, John and Izzy.
I have mixed feelings about this show. On the positive side, it's nice to see kids who are smart and proud of it. Often in America, being smart isn't cool, so it's nice to see kids who are proud of their academic abilities.
Seeing the kids on the show is fun. You want to really root for these kids. There's a girl with a ton of energy, a girl who's won a national spelling bee, a ten year old college freshman and a lot of MENSA members. What's really cool about this show is the diversity of the kids - girls, boys, different backgrounds, different parenting styles, different geographical locations, some kids homeschooled and others in public schools - and all of the kids come off as likeable.
Izzy, one of the kids, was hilarious. She was bouncing all over the place during her segments, and when she was asked a math question, she told the judges that kind of question wasn't on the example sheet. Her parents hid their heads in their hands...you could see them being like, "Really, Izzy? Are you really calling the judges out on things?"
This gives us a cool look inside the lives of child geniuses and their families. One parent's lament was that his daughter would have to learn about humility if she wins this contest because it'll go to her head.
On the negative side, some of the parents are very intense, although this is a show so that may be played up for the cameras. There's one mom who told us that her kids must be Christians above all else, and a parent who insists she's not a "tiger mommy" but clearly is.
What was heartbreaking was to see the kids look so sad when they didn't win, and to see parents pushing their kids so hard. I understand this is part of life, but these kids are so smart - I hope none of them give up on their dreams because of a televised competition.
My rating for this show would be somewhere around a B+. It's entertaining and it has a primarily positive message. But watching these kids work so hard and seeing overbearing parents is tough. Kids should be allowed to be kids...even if they are smarter than most adults.
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