I began using the phrase, �Shut up and color� when my son was in second grade as gentle reminder that I understand his perspective and frustration, but that he has to play by the established rules in order to get to the next level. Eventually the rules will seem less arbitrary and random. We still remind him of this phrase when he receives worksheets that are marked as incorrect when they really shouldn�t be. He hears it often.

Ex: Yesterday he brought home a reading worksheet where they were required to read a very short story on the top of the page and then answer four questions. The one that he got wrong asked if this story had happened �today�. The story had briefly referenced the season, which was late spring or summer (I�d have to find the paper). Since he had completed this worksheet last week, he wrote �no� followed by the explanation based on season. He understood that the question might also be referring to �present time�, but since it specifically (and only) used the word �today�, he answered based on that meaning.

If this had been a test, we might have asked the teacher to reconsider his answer. We have been told that he takes things very literally. It�s not as if he doesn�t see the forest through the trees. He understood both possible meanings to the poorly presented question and made a decision based on what he had to work with.

We remind our son that grade school is a �means to an end� which seems to help him keep up the effort. He is very focused on what he wants to do in his future career and knows that he has to continue to do his best, even when the work seems pointless and in some cases, stupid. This is not the type of parental advice that most teachers would think is proper, but our son, like your children is not a typical student. His perspective and perception are very different and I can�t ignore that fact.

There is a really different type of parenting book that I would like to recommend by Roger Schank, Ph.D. entitled Coloring Outside The Lines. This book has had the strongest influence over the way I evaluate my children�s educational situation and how I counter the effects in some cases. Has anyone else read it?