A first look at her and you may be quick to regard her as a child who knows little or nothing about life or any other thing, but then you would be wrong. Esther Okade is not your typical kid, she is a marvel wrapped in a small package.
At ten, Esther has travelled the distance most adults dread to tread and pushed boundaries almost everyone thought were immovable.
While most children her age go about singing rhymes or trying out a few Tom and Jerry tricks, Esther has already bounced several strings into the future and taken amazing snap shots.
“I’m going to do my PhD in financial maths when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.” She tells CNN
Now you see what I mean.
In January, Esther enrolled at the Open University, a UK-based distance learning college, where she already has a shining ace record, having recently scored 100% in an exam.
Esther’s mother noticed her daughter’s passion for figures shortly after she began homeschooling her at the age of three. Little Esther had been enrolled in a private school, but she soon asked to be withdrawn when she found that she could no longer cope with the system.
“One day we were coming back home and she burst out in tears and she said ‘I don’t ever want to go back to that school — they don’t even let me talk!’
“In the UK, you don’t have to start school until you are five. Education is not compulsory until that age so I thought OK, we’ll be doing little things at home until then. Maybe by the time she’s five she will change her mind.” Efe recounts in an interview with CNN.
Home school progressed beautifully, with Esther always miles ahead with numbers. By four, she had jumped the ranks enthusiastically to algebra and quadratic equations.
“At four, I started teaching her numbers and the alphabet, then I taught her addition and then she learned subtraction and then she learned multiplication,” Efe tells Yahoo Parenting. “Then one day, as a joke, I said ‘I know what to teach you next, I’ll teach you algebra.’ I wrote my engineering thesis on how to make engineering math easy, so based on those principles I sat Esther down and taught her the basics. And she absolutely got it. She didn’t just get it, she loved it. She asked for more and more. She kept saying, ‘can I have more yummy yummy algebra?’”
Two years later, Efe began looking around for a school where her precocious 6 year old would be permitted to sit for her first high school qualification exam, as it was usually reserved for 16-year-olds. She was later admitted at Ounsdale High School in Wolverhampton where she received a C-grade. A year later, she outdid herself and got the A-grade she wanted.
“When Esther was 5, I started calling schools and you can imagine the response — people had to remind me that this is a secondary school. A lot of them laughed and put down the phone,” Efe recalls “When I was about to give up, at the last school I called, the lady said ‘Wow! I’m so impressed. Bring her in and we’ll take her for the exams.’”
And that’s not all about the algebra princess, she is also drafting a workbook that she hopes will help other kids understand and enjoy math as much as she does. Her main objective for writing the book is to show other children how special they are. “As long as you can add or subtract, you’ll be able to do it,” she says of the four volume book she plans to title Yummy Yummy Algebra.
Interestingly, Esther is not the only one that has the thick algebraic blood running in her veins, her six year old brother, Isaiah also does. He plans to sit for his first A-level exam in a couple of months.
Meanwhile, Esther’s parents share a burning passion to groom other geniuses like their own in their home country Nigeria.
The couple have just established a foundation and are in the process of building a nursery and primary school in Delta State, Nigeria, with a capacity of 2,000 to 2,500 students with up to 30% of the local students offered scholarships to attend.
The school will be named Shakespeare’s Academy, and is billed to commence in September.
Its curriculum will consist of all the usual subjects, as well as more unusual additions like ethics, morality, etiquette, public speaking, and entrepreneurship.
“Some children learn very well with kinesthetics where they learn with their hands — when they draw they remember things. Some children have extremely creative imaginations. Instead of trying to make children learn one way, you teach them based on their learning style,” explains Efe.
However, she doesn’t think that her children are climbing heights that other children are precluded from. Efe believes that every child can be excellent in anything especially maths and that every child has a genius potential in them. But then, parents must devote time to their children and never forget to tell them how special and loved they are.
For Efe, that’s the master key that unlocks amazing potentials and abilities in children.
Key lesson- Devote time to your children, love them, listen to them, teach them and most importantly, learn from them.