Tuesday is museum day for 7-year-old Romanieo Golphin Jr. So one recent afternoon, the boy and his father visited the National Gallery of Art. As they approached works by neoclassical painters, Romanieo Golphin Sr. spoke to his son about technique in a hushed tone.

“Typically, you’ll have the master in the room and then his students,” the father said.

Golphin quizzed his son about a painting across the exhibit. A correct answer, he promised, would mean extra french fries at lunch.

“That’s John Singer Sargent,” Romanieo said. He was wrong — but it was difficult to see the painting from that distance. After that, he easily picked out works by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and J.M.W. Turner.

The home-schooling session was typical for the Silver Spring boy, who has shown what his parents, and some academics, say is an unusual intellect. He loves art and shows an aptitude for music, but Romanieo’s passion is science.

Though he’s still into Legos and candy, Romanieo recently had an opportunity that many scientists dream about. He and his family were invited to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest science experiment, in Switzerland.

“It was excellent!” Romanieo said of the November trip, which he called as awesome as a hundred thousand ginger squares, a favorite treat.

To Steven Goldfarb, the experimental physicist at CERN who invited the Golphin family to tour the facilities, Romanieo is no ordinary boy.

“Romanieo Jr. looked like he would be a lot of fun to host, and my hunch was correct!” Goldfarb wrote in an email.

Struck by the boy’s age and interest in physics, Goldfarb named him a CERN “ambassador” to the Washington area, with the prospect of attracting more young people to the experiments there and to science overall.

One reason he likes science, Romanieo said, is the “big words,” like “cyclohexanecarboxylic acid,” which would be a mouthful for any adult. “They’re not a mouthful for me,” he said.

Romanieo Golphin Jr., 7, whispers to his mother, Cheri Philip, a personality psychologist. His parents home-school their only son. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Romanieo Golphin Jr. visits the Smithsonian American Art Museum with his parents. They often use area museums as learning tools in their home schooling. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Romanieo has never been enrolled in a public or private school. His father is an adviser for the music department at the University of North Carolina. His mother, Cheri Philip, is a personality psychologist and serves as the research director for their educational consulting firm, the Robeson Group. Dissatisfied with the outcomes in traditional education, both parents have committed themselves to home-schooling Romanieo and preparing him for the future their way.

“Enough with the Industrial Age approach to education in the 21st century,” Golphin said.

Golphin spent some of his youth in the projects of Brooklyn and remembers other gifted young African Americans who felt trapped by their circumstanhttps://wordpress.com/post/peanutbuttersunrise.com/2337ces. Some had broken homes and parents unprepared to handle their children’s thirst for knowledge.

Roughly 3 percent of students are home-schooled in the United States. When Romanieo was born, Golphin and Philip discussed an advanced education for their only child, knowing that studies have shown that infants and toddlers possess a greater capacity for absorbing information than previously thought. Romanieo’s mother was skeptical at first. But as he grew, their son seemed to grasp the high-level concepts his father was feeding him.

 

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