Raising Not So Ordinary Children

By: Dr Karin Barcelona-Calderon

(Dr Karin B Calderon is a mom to three young achievers who all attend PIQC. Her children Ysabel (Grade 10) and Sebastian (Grade 6) have won numerous medals in various local and international competitions. The youngest, Kaylee, is showing great potential in following the footsteps of Ysabel and Sebastian. Dr Karin B Calderon is also the President of the PIQC Parents Council since 2016.)

Don’t get me wrong, Sebastian Barcelona Calderon, or Basti is a typical child. Just like most young boys, he would rather play or use his ipad rather than study. Being an only boy,  he has good relationships with his sisters, often joking around with them.

Like any parent, we want our children to do well in school. And I am no exception.  Chaperoning my children in international competitions is not new to me. My eldest, Ysabel Calderon, a 10th grader also competes overseas.

But having experienced several competitions doesn’t make it any easier for parents, especially during awarding when we are more anxious than our kids. But our first one is different with my son.

Relaxed is how I can best describe Basti during the International Mathematics Open for Young Achievers (IMOYA) held in Singapore last September 2017. His first ever international meet.

I cannot say the same for myself. My heart was pounding in my ears. Not knowing what to expect – I was hopeful for a win, but also dreading disappointment.

For a 5th grader at Philippine Institute of Quezon City, he really was calm, playing with his gadget even after the Bronze and Silver medalists were named. I was resigned to come home rich in experience.

Suddenly, his name was called as one of the Gold medalist. In a flash, he headed towards the stage to claim his prize. We were both elated. I was so amazed at how calm he was the whole time that I had to ask him if he ever felt that he would come home empty handed. He gave me a big smile and humbly said, “Based on my test, I knew I’d get a silver or a gold. And when I wasn’t called for silver, I was sure I got a Gold.” That is my Basti, confident in his performance. I jokingly told him, “You could have told me that earlier to spare me from having a heart attack”.

At present, he is on his 3rd year as a Mathematics Trainers Guild (MTG) trainee, better known as MTG kids. He trains the whole year round. He spends 5 weeks of his summer vacation in Math training and enjoys it. Part of it is meeting new friends from different schools with the same interests as his. He has gone on to 2 more international competitions – International Mathematics Contest in Singapore (IMCSG) and Challenge for Future Mathematicians (CFM) in Indonesia, winning Silver and Bronze respectively.

He has also joined numerous international correspondence tests in Math, Science and English mainly from Australia. His performances in the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) has shown that he is not only good in Math but also in Science, with his score being in the top 1-2% in the Asia Pacific region for 2 years in a row.

I guess we parents have to accept, kids are different now from during our time. An MTG instructor once said during a Science Camp training orientation, “these kids may look like they are not focused on the speaker or lecturer but you will be surprised, they absorb what is being taught. They may be engrossed with using their IPads but they are also learning”. True enough, Basti learned more advanced Science watching Youtube and can even contribute to discussions with his older sister.

It’s the sign of the times especially these high tech times, kids are more naturally techy more than the parents.

However, technology cannot replace the basic interpersonal nurturing.  It is still the key to building confidence and discovering plus maximizing the potentials of our children.

Photos grabbed from Dr Karin Barcelona-Calderon Facebook page.

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