And this sort of thing, at least at first, is not a willful deception -- it's just a kid trying his best to meet the expectations of others. I made it most of the way through first grade without anyone detecting my severe (literal) nearsightedness. I didn't know there was anything wrong with my eyes; I just knew people expected me to know things I didn't -- the things written on the chalkboard, which I couldn't see at all. I guess we start life assuming that the expectations of the authority figures around us are reasonable, and we try to work with that. But I was beginning to think that teachers were just crazy people. Silly teacher, writing things and drawing diagrams way over there that no one could possibly see. I just sighed and tried to humor the crazy people. Eventually I got caught out when I got up to sharpen my pencil (and glance at the chalkboard) one too many times. They got me glasses the next day, these awkward thick plastic things that made everything look sharper than it really was.
It's hard to learn to commit time to a project when for years you've been able to do your homework from the previous day in the first few minutes of class before the teacher collects it. So there's a very rude awakening whenever the kid hits a grade level where the work gets hard enough to actually require a time investment.
I think I finally gave up around late middle school; seventh or eighth grade. At that point, I learned the very dangerous lesson that you could procrastinate until the last minute and... then just *not* do it, and nothing really terrible would happen. I used my talents just enough to keep from being griped at. In high school, I used sleep deprivation as a mind-altering cure for the drudgery, and learned how to prop up a book just enough that you couldn't tell I was asleep sitting up, rather than intently studying. If called upon by the teacher, the startled rush of adrenaline and a quick scrambling through the few seconds of short-term auditory memory would allow me to put together the answer, or at least a convincing attempt at one.
cross-posted from another thread