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I have a nephew who, when he was nine or ten years old, used to sit and read through all my sports pages from the newspaper (I used to collect and keep all articles about our school's basketball team for a couple of years). He would just sit there reading for hours while the other kids were outside playing. His love of reading sports pages stuck with him and he became a sports journalist for a large mid-Ohio newspaper, then went on to become head of the sports department of that newspaper. He found something he liked at that young age stuck with it.
Ryan has always had a gift of taking whatever he likes and learning all about the subject. When he was four he could tell you the weather patterns, and what the forecast was for the next week, and the difference in the types of clouds. He was into weather then. We got him a couple of learning games, one with all the presidents and the other with the states and all their capitals. At age five he could tell you each state, the capital, what their state bird was... the same with the presidents. He knew all of them by number, who their vp was, their wives names, etc. When he started school, and was forced to integrate things he didn't really care for into his learning, he lost most of the knowledge learned previously and struggled to stay within the set parameters of the school lessons. Looking back, I wish we could have home schooled him and maybe structured his studies to get the most out of his potential. These last few years he's shown that he still has that same aptitude for learning things to the extreme... except now those things are Guitar Hero and half a dozen bloody Nintendo games. Oh well. He's probably not so different than most kids his age, I just wish he'd put a little more focus on other, more important things. If anyone knows how to get a fourteen year old to do that please let me know.