My 10-year-old boy loves to play a lot. Although he is smart and was in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program, I have now discovered that the play is getting over him and distracting him. He is no longer in TAG and his present teacher referred to him as an average student. This made me sad. What can I do to reinstate him in the TAG program? I work evening shift daily except weekends. His dad picks him from school, but can't help.
The purpose of Talented and Gifted programs is to provide extra opportunities to students with high levels of ability, talent, or potential.
This is important to keep in mind, because the fact that your son was referred to as an "average student" is irrelevant to whether or not he would benefit from a TAG program.
Many gifted children wind up being average, or even poor, students. This is due to a wide variety of reasons, ranging from boredom with the standard curriculum to poor study habits/discipline, peer pressure, or uncooperative or even hostile school faculty.
If you think your son belongs in the TAG program, then you should do a couple of things.
The first is to review why and how he was selected for the TAG program in the first place. Was it academic performance? Was it performance on standardized tests? Was it something you initiated? Was it due to an evaluation performed independently of the school? Whatever the reason(s), you should start by seeing if it is possible that the reasons your son was placed in the TAG program no longer apply.
If they still apply, then your second step is to determine what goals you and your son want to achieve by being a part of this program.
Your son's participation in this step is pretty important. If he doesn't know why he wants to be in the TAG program, then he's not likely to get much benefit out of it. Talk with him, and find out what he wants. Maybe he is bored. Maybe he wants to learn a musical instrument. Maybe he wants to read more, or likes math, or wants to get away from people who treat him differently because he does well in class. Or maybe he wants none of those things, and is happy where he is.
If his goals (and your goals) seem to go beyond what the standard curriculum offers, then the next step is to talk to the people running the TAG program.
Ask why he is no longer part of the program. Explain what your goals are, and why you feel that those goals would be better achieved through the TAG program. Ask for their feedback, and their help.
Together, you can hopefully come up with a plan that works for everyone; however, you're going to have a hard time getting him back into the TAG program if the TAG faculty doesn't want him in there, and it will be pointless even if you do if he doesn't want to be in there.
I think you need to do one or more of the following:
- Get the father involved. I am sure he can spare at least 45 minutes to his child every day.
Every person that is around the children is partially responsible for its education (not instruction, different things).
- Put the child on a daily schedule. Have a set time for everything. Bath, meals, playtime, school, grooming, household chores. Stick to the schedule at all costs!!!
A schedule item that involves someone else (playtime with daddy is mandatory) must be followed by all. I think you should set some time (maybe 30 minutes) aside in the morning schedule before school to you and the child do something together.
Praise must be honest. Do not exagerate. State exactly what he did right. Do not criticize much. The other side of the coin is that you have to talk to him of his shortfalls too. Show exactly where he did wrong, and what he should've done instead. At all costs avoid the "dental hygienist" guilt trip (nobody deserves that kind of treatment).
- Talk to the teacher a lot. Talk to the school counselor or the TAG program supervisor or pedagogic advisor (or whomever fill a similar role). Maybe TAG is not for him, and that is totally OK. Since you have time in the morning, try to schedule visits the school.
- If possible, check how the other kids in TAG are, and their activities. This is absolutely not supposed to become a comparison. Your goal is to get more acquainted to the program.
- Talk to the children about his former experience in TAG (and now you already know more about the program). Ask him what he liked and what he disliked, and if he misses it or not. Do not project any expectations during this talk. He will be reading your body language for signs of what to say (and there is no right or wrong in this talk). This is supposed to be an honest talk, not a scalding or anything.
Only by talking to everyone involved back and forth is that you will get to the root of this problem.
- Boys be boys is dead. Do not let him run loose. Talk to him a lot. Set boundaries.