Our youngest is a whiz at all things that require memorization. Math is his thing. He reads well. Composition, not so much. He requires lots of "help" from mom and dad. It's the only spot where he's significantly behind academically. We've been gradually teaching him story flow, topic development, etc. One of the ways we do that is by guiding him with the question "then what happened". It works well, and he's learning. Doing this also gives us a brief window into his brain. It shows us how he perceives things, what has influenced his thinking and opinions, etc. My wife is a brilliant educator and has the patience of a saint. She guides. He learns.
He was assigned a "science fiction short story" this year. The term science fiction took a bit of explaining, but he soon realize that it encompasses virtually everything he likes. Finally!!!! We got assignment that is tailor built for our boy. We knew this would remove much of the usual tedium for this assignment, at least for him. I'll present the story development in dialog form. Our setting is our family's home. Mom and youngest are on the couch, working on assignment. I am preparing dinner in the kitchen. The stove is on the back side of the bar. While I cook, I can clearly see into the living room where the scene unfolds.
Mom: "What's your story about?"
Youngest: "Aliens come to Earth."
Mom: "What do they do when they get here?"
Youngest: "They abduct people, Mom."
Mom: "Where do they take them? Abduct means to take away. Where to they take them?"
Mom: "What do they do when they get to Mars."
Youngest: "That's where they anal probe them."
Were this a TV or even radio program, this would be the point where the sound effects guy would insert the sound of screeching tires and crunching metal, or even the sound of a phonograph needle being violently ripped from the LP. Here was our teaching moment for social context. The moment was ours to seize. I, amazing father that I am, turned my back, shoved my hand over and somewhat into my mouth, and tried desperately not to let him hear the fact that I was laughing uncontrollably. Mom was on her own!! I'd been rendered useless by my own love of scifi and my son's brilliant, albeit scholastically unacceptable plot line!!
I became useful again after a few minutes and then tag-teamed with her in an attempt to get the boy to understand that this plot was really not appropriate for his target audience. "But that's what they do Mom" is a hard piece of logic to stare down!
Our life remains one of very polar opposites. I've never laughed louder, cried harder, or stood taller, and every now and then I'm forced to admit. I wouldn't change a thing.