What would you say to boarding school?

Kelly - posted on 05/16/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My oldest recently posed the question of boarding school. We know that she isn't happy with her current school (and, quite frankly, neither are we). The other schools in the area also leave things to be desired, but I'm not sure how I feel about boarding school as an alternative. We've agreed to look (and stressed to her that this was in no way us agreeing to let her go), and have started a little bit of research. She has found a couple of schools that she is completely enamored with, but both are in Massachusetts (far, far away from where we live). So, given the situation with her current school, what would you say to boarding school?

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JC - posted on 05/17/2012

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I will respectfully disagree with Deaunna. Certainly homeschooling is a great alternative, but boarding school is a great option too. I and my older brother both attended boarding school, and we both loved it. It was different, of course, and the adjustment was a bit difficult, but after my first semester, I had to be dragged off campus kicking and screaming.



That said, just like homeschooling is not for everyone, boarding school is not for everyone. Students already need to be independent and able to function well without their parents looking over their shoulders. It is expensive (I've heard that current tuition, room, and board rates are comparable to those of high-end universities), but financial aid is almost always available.



Dorm life is incredible. The dorm parents and your dorm-mates become like a second family. And students are in contact with their parents more than you'd think. At least at my school, parents would get weekly reports from dorm parents on their child, on top of letters and phone calls from their child. Every school will have a parents weekend, and many have grandparents weekends too.



There are many schools outside of the Northeast, if distance is an issue (and it sounds like it is). The west coast has Cate School, Stevenson School, The Webb Schools and The Thacher School in California. The Mid-West has Culver Academies, Western Reserve Academy, and Cranbrook Schools. The Mid-Atlantic has Mercersburg Academy, Emma Willard School (all-girls), George School, Hill School, Lawrenceville School, Millbrook School, Peddie School, and St. Andrew's School DE. The South has Baylor School, Chatham Hall (all-girls), Episcopal High School, and The Madeira School (all-girls). The Southwest has a great little school called UWC-USA, which is part of a global network of schools known as United World Colleges. And there are many, many more schools all over the US, I've just listed a handful.



I'll direct you to boardingschoolreview.com and http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep... You'll get a lot of great advice and information, even if you are just looking.



Also, what grade is she in right now? If she is entering eighth grade in the fall, you'll want to start visiting schools and applying at the beginning of the school year. If she is entering ninth grade in the fall, do the same, but know that entering schools as a tenth grader is much more difficult that entering as a ninth grader.

Deaunna - posted on 05/16/2012

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Hi Kelly! As a mom and a parent coach my answer is unequivocally no. I would home school if school is the issue. Here's an option if you can't...I have a friend that hired a 'Nanny Educator' (my term) to home school her son and it worked out great! Family is such an important and key element to a child's emotional and spiritual (not necessarily religious) development. Do you want your child to be raised by strangers in some dorm room? Where's the warm and fuzzy feelings in that? My advice is to keep her close so that you can love, teach and mentor her into a strong and capable young woman! She's going to grow up so quickly anyway and college is really just around the corner. Hope this helps!

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Colleen - posted on 08/24/2013

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My son attends boarding school about 90 minutes away from home. He is a rising junior and started in 9th grade. Amazing experience. I think boarding school is a terrific option and that more parents of teenagers should consider it.

Jessie - posted on 05/23/2012

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Last year my oldest started boarding school and it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. For us we were lucky because the school is only 1 hour away so I get to go to things like sports days/ teacher/parent meetings and am still involved to a certain extent.
It is heart wrenching to not have him at home, but the rewards have been amazing, I am so proud of the young man he is becoming, he is much more responsible, respects us more (although he is still a teenager.......) his grades have gone from d's to b's in the first 6 months, he has more focus, and we come from a tiny country town so his opportunities have expanded the school he goes to have a better range of subjects, more one on one teaching and is meeting other like minded driven students. Its cool to be smart and try your best in all subjects which seems like an excellent learning environment! but at the end of the day go with what your heart tells you. You know your daughter and youd know best if you and her could cope with her going away to school. All the best with your decision xx

Kelly - posted on 05/23/2012

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Thanks for the feedback. We've decided to visit some of the schools that she really likes (those centered around Boston) because we have some friends in the city that we're visiting this summer. We're still stressing that we aren't saying yes to her going, but that we're only looking.
I figure that if this is something she really wants, and it's not just a phase, she'll still be excited about it this time next year when she'll have decision letters in hand (assuming she applies).
JC and Mary, what schools did you attend? Thank you so much for the help. Firsthand experience is always extremely helpful.
And thank you to everyone else for your opinions.

Deaunna - posted on 05/22/2012

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It really all depends on what your family goals are. Do you want to be a parent that gets emails or reports about your child once a week/month? Why would a parent want their child to live away from the family anyway? I just do not get it. Children were born into a family by divine design. It's one thing when accident or divorce separates a child from his or her parents but it is altogether a different thing for a parent to send a child away. To each his own but I feel very sorry for a child who's parents will not do whatever it take to create a peaceful home and a happy family. It really is a child's birthright.

Charmaine - posted on 05/22/2012

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My husband went to boarding school which he throughly enjoyed. He found it quite sports orientated and as his parents were in the forces he chose to go as he hated being moved from school to school. He loved the whole thing.
However when we had our children he did not want them to go. He is not very close at all to his parents and most of his childhood memories revolve around school not his family. I have always been very close to my family and find it hard that he is so independent from his parents, he would not think to phone them if I didn,t suggest it. He is has a great relationship with our children now 20 and 24 and even turned down promotion so we would not have to move.
The other thing I have noticed is he has no old school friends as most of them boarded were from far a field and so unlike my children and I don't see to have kept in contact with any of them.

Mary - posted on 05/18/2012

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Hi Kelly,

I have had first hand experience of boarding school. I found that my education from my days were great experience over all. Its not easy to leave home and live away but you get used to it.
I'd say if all of you agree I wouldn't hestitate sending her to one. Because of the many boarding schools choices out there, catholic, militery, arts schools and others you want to thouroughly check out what is available for your daughter. Talk to a guidence counselor or school administrator in your area who may help guide you to ones that fit your needs and choices.
My experience was great! If you can do it I wouldn't hestitate as long as all of you do agree with boarding school and can afford it.

Jane - posted on 05/18/2012

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I have a friend to teaches at a boarding school. She is also a dorm parent. She loves teaching and being a second mom to these kids. IAs long as your daughter is happy there it would be ok. Just remember you will miss her probably more than she will miss you.

Ramona - posted on 05/17/2012

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I say why not? It isn't a prison sentance, you can always change your mind. My parents are from Europe and it is more commen there than here.

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