I remember very vividly my father trying to explain Space and Time and the theory of relativity to me one night. Many nights, actually -- but this was the first of such conversations.
I couldn't comprehend how space doesn't have an end or beginning (age 10-13ish?)--- nor how time could change depending on gravity...
I remember tears welling up in my eyes because just for a second, just a blip of a second, i Understood. Then I lost it and went back to not understanding.
People who are blessed with the ability to understand infinity itself are curious beings, and we should be thankful that they exist. My father --and everyone brags or puts down certain family members, so excuse what I am about to say --my father is a genius. No. Not smart or talented, but a genius...that word we like to toss around too much. I am definintely Not a genius.
We two love one another, but there is recognition in the family in general that all "heavy" questions should go to Dad, as he always seems to have a wealth of knowledge no one else can compare to --but.
For instance. He would be utterly useless if caught in the jungle. He can't do very basic things --or forgets to pay attention to them...he doesn't match his clothes. He can't open a bag of chips without them all ending on the floor, and what I am trying to say is that for a man who Can understand Hawking, Einstein, Darwinism and its derivatives --he has no "common sense" at ALL. NONE.
So. To each their own with what kind of brain is deposited in their laps. I remember crying over some problem I couldn't do in Trig once and he could not understand my frustration. Yet. I am "supposed" to understand and accept his deficiencies.
Plus. Some wiring went wrong --as all of you are saying. I write a lot of bad poetry, and its been a compulsion for most of my life. My one parent doesn't understand them (i mean not a single one) -- and my father doesn't care for the more...mmm...sentimental aspects of such an undertaking.
So while I wish I knew more about Nature, and realize that I may never grasp Physics the way Mr. Genius has, I can TRY.
Plus. I'll add one more thing. You are drawn to take interest in certain subjects, and sometimes it's a short -lived interest and sometimes not. I Do think most kids in their early teens already are leaning into their own areas of interest. I don't think math should be "forced" on teens after maybe some very basics. (checkbooks, etc.) I think this because I think the kids who LIKE math/physics/science --should be allowed to shuffle along into those territories, while kids who LIKE english/humanities should be allowed that route. I'm not saying people shouldn't understand how to balance a checkbook, but after that, unless you are going into science as a profession, you don't Require algebra for your life. Therefore, while I think people should Want to be as expansive in their education as they can be -- that is a moral I have, and not a moral everyone shares.
What I am trying to end with is what Montessori schools go after -- letting kids discover their own strengths and interests without bludgeoning them into Calculus.
I think it would be interesting if someone started a thread titled "What to teach" --so I could ramble on and on and on as I just did...