Aired January 24, 11 pm
–What do you think about when you’re in school?
–I think about getting the work done so I can come home and play.
Transcript excerpt as just posted to the intertubes, no video that I see yet:
Well, you may not know this, but an estimated 1.5 million students are home schooled in America. In tonight’s “Perry’s Principles”, you’re going to meet one of them who’s considered a whiz kid. He wants to graduate college at the age of 16.
Here’s our education contributor Steve Perry.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Like any typical teen, Stephen Stafford loves video games. But unlike his peers, this 14- year-old is a sophomore at Atlanta’s Morehouse College.
STEPHEN STAFFORD, SOPHOMORE AT MOREHOUSE COLLEGE: Teenager?
PERRY: What is it like to be a Morehouse teenager?
STAFFORD: I’ve been doing this for a while now so it seems like (INAUDIBLE) for me normal. It’s not that big of a deal.
PERRY: Well Stephen and his sister Martinique were home schooled by their mom when they showed early promise.
STAFFORD: When I was in kindergarten, she had me reading second and third grade books. I was doing multiplication and division when I was in kindergarten.
PERRY: What you would do is you — on some level accelerated your children’s learning by not stopping.
MICHELLE BROWN STAFFORD, STEPHEN’S MOTHER: Exactly. You have to be resourceful. It’s just no way — I mean because you become the teacher, the administrator; I mean you just really have to pull the resources together. You have to invest time in doing that.
STEPHEN STAFFORD, STEPHEN’S FATHER: If you’re not actively participating in their education in school, they’re not going to succeed.
PERRY: You have been straddling this world of being a kid and being an adult. How do you feel about being in that world?
STAFFORD: When I was 7 years old I used to always hang out with 15, 16-year-olds. I’m used to people being older than I am and taller than I am. When I hang out with kids my age, I can socialize with them, so it’s — I think it’s pretty cool to be able to go back and forth with that.
PERRY: There’s a social life that we expect when we’re in college. There’s boys and there’s girls; there’s dreaming about your careers and families. What do you think about when you’re in school?
STAFFORD: I think about getting the work done so I can come home and play.
PERRY: What about those critics who say that you’re just pushing your kids too hard, let them be a kid?
M. STAFFORD: We acknowledge that we have to develop the whole child, ok. But a lot of times parents tend to focus more on the socialization than the intellectual. We let them grow at their own pace emotionally.
PERRY: When you’re in school, are the students there still caught up in the fact that you’re four to ten years younger than them?
STAFFORD: Maybe the first day the class starts, but probably by the third or fourth day they really just calm down and get used to it.
PERRY: Do they recognize that you might be able to help them with their homework?
STAFFORD: They ask me for help a lot.
COOPER: It seems like the Staffords are certainly very focused on helping their kids. What do you think the best way for parents to support kids is?
PERRY: Parents have to leave all options open. They can’t just depend on the school system sometimes. In fact, the Staffords understood that their child was special and they were not going to allow anybody to stop them from pulling a child’s gifts out. So they home schooled.