"Mommy, Kitty Galore is the anty-gonist in Cats and Dogs 2."
We scratched our heads a little at that one--"Anty-Gonist? What's an anty-gonist?"--and then realized he was trying to say "antagonist." But even then we continued to scratch our heads. Where'd my 8-year-old learn about antagonists?
"Evan, you are right. Kitty Galore is definitely the antagonist. But where did you learn about antagonists?"
"From reading about the Zelda characters."
Oh. From there we had an approximately 15-minute discussion about the protagonists and antagonists in various stories Evan knows. My trusty literary sidekick (a.k.a. my daughter Caitlin) assisted greatly in defining and applying terms, and Evan learned something that I don't think most children learn formally until middle school.
Who knew those Zelda strategy guides would be so educational?
P.S. I am not knocking textbooks. We use some textbooks, and they can be a great tool. But I love it when learning happens in this way, naturally, as an outgrowth of the child's life and interests. It is one of the very best things about homeschooling.