7 January 2015 | atlasmb
An Academic Competition
I thought the first episode was almost like a documentary, with interviews showing the diversity of these students with high intelligence. There are some similarities, but the children have different home dynamics, different interests and hobbies, and distinctly different personalities. For example, one boy is interested in weather. Another enjoys playing chess with his older brother.
The competition is in stages, involving different academic subjects--e.g. math, geography, spelling. In the first episode, they eliminate 5 of the 20 competitors.
Behind the scenes, we see how each student/family prepares for the competition. Most are very focused. And they seem to enjoy learning for the sake of learning.
The parents will probably become the focus for some viewers. They are as different as the children. And they deserve credit for the issues they cope with, like concern for the other children in the household who are not on the same track as the "gifted" child. And how do you encourage your child without becoming pushy? Children with exceptional talents often have challenging personality traits, like a desire to achieve perfection, or a high energy level. The parents have learned how to deal with these personality traits.
One Asian mother does come across as very pushy. As if defending herself, she insists she is not a "tiger mom". But she argues that her son should spend less time on games (like speed chess) so that he can achieve more academically. Fortunately, her son seems well-adjusted and appears to have a healthy outlook.
During competition, viewers don't hear every question posed to every child, but one can play along, attempting to answer the questions that are heard. Those who like to watch the national spelling bee will probably enjoy this competition as well.