Boarding School…yes or no?

 

Hey mums and dads, ever consider Boarding School for your kids? No…hmmm…ok. Boarding School is quite popular in a lot of countries and I know the U.S. does not really subscribe to the idea but it’s not all bad.

My son is in Boarding School and before you throw stones at me, hear my story. I’ve pretty much raised my son alone and yes I am not the only single mom out there however, when we moved out of New York (I moved back 2 years ago) to Delaware a few years ago, I never imagined I would have to commute for close to 6 hours daily.

Unfortunately, my client (a D.C. Gov agency) needed me to be onsite in D.C. everyday so I would leave the house at 5am, with a cranky little boy who was always too tired to even understand what was going on, to drop my son off at the babysitters and then rush to the train station (Amtrak). The babysitter would then drop my son off at the daycare and would later pick him up.

We did this for a few years and the worst part was changing babysitters like every two months because they would get tired of my long hours. I’m not making an excuse her or trying to say other single moms don’t work and take care of their children, I am just explaining the situation that led me to consider boarding school.

Unfortunately, my mom does not live here in the U.S. if she lived here, it would have been a lot easier. So one day we were talking and she suggested Boarding School. I wasn’t too comfortable with the idea but given my background with different people helping to take care of my child and the enormous stress I was going through with commuting and trying to spend the little time I did have with my son, I considered it.

I remember visiting different schools who had Boarding accommodations and interviewing them. It was definitely a tough decision. I also didn’t know how my son would feel being away from me for an extended period. The good thing was that he was, at the time I make up my mind, already in Private School. He also suggested a school one of his classmates was was thinking of attending…this actually made it easier for me. The thought of another parent considering Boarding School and the thought of my son having a familiar face with him there.

Well, I think I picked one that we both liked and luckily enough two of his classmates also enrolled at the school. I was a nervous wreck the first month my son was away from home. I would literally call out his name every night to come downstairs for dinner and then realize he was no longer in the house. I wonder if this is how parents feel when their kids go off to College? I thought I was going to lose my mind. I won’t lie it’s not easy sending your kids off anywhere…

I remember on Visiting Day checking my son out to see if there was a scratch on him. When I call him on the phone my first question still is: “are they feeding you well?” “Talk to mummy, let me know if there’s anything wrong”.  He has repeatedly told me he loves it there and is fine.

They have a rigorous schedule though and it’s all about learning, which i love. They also engage them in lots of extra-curricular activities. My son has two different tutoring sessions: one is general one with all his classmates and the other is a private one-on-one session.

I am also proud to announce, that my son was recently given a “Double Promotion”. This is when he is advanced two grade classes. My son should be graduating at the age of 16 and if he get another grade promotion, he’ll graduate even earlier.

You and your child might be a candidate for Boarding School if you’re a busy single parent and the following applies to you:

  • You’re a single mom/dad and work long hours. Your child spends more time with strangers than s/he spends with you
  • You are raising a young teenager who has suddenly become rebellious because you are not there as much as s/he wants
  • You can barely make it to soccer games, basketball games, baseball games, football games, etc. because of your schedule
  • You no longer allow your child to engage in extra-curricular activities because you don’t have the time it takes to drive s/he there all the time
  • You’re a single mom/dad and have actually never seen your child play their favorite sport
  • Your child spends more time in front of the TV simply because that’s all there is to do now with your new job
  • the list goes on…
Instead of depriving your child, why not have your child go to Boarding School instead. This way you can schedule your vacation around his/her vacation from school and spend quality time with your little one (they’ll always be your baby regardless of how old they get).
If you are considering sending your child off to Boarding School, there are a few things you will need to teach him/her like the proper etiquette of hygiene. I remember buying my son some grown up personal care products like Old Spice deodorant, and a small case so he could keep all his personal effects in. Little things like that make them feel grown up. The good thing about him being away from me is that he has become a lot more independent and mature.
And if you child doesn’t like it there, you can simply bring him/her home. You’re not obligated to leave your child there. After-all, you didn’t sign your child away.

Depending on where you live, local schooling options can compare to boarding schools in several ways. Nearby private day schools, magnet schools, or public high schools can naturally have very bright student bodies and qualified faculty. Academic and extracurricular offerings can also be equally challenging and diverse.

If you’re considering local options besides boarding school, compare these important considerations:

  • Attention to students – boarding schools generally have small class sizes that help teachers engage every student in the classroom. Classroom settings are often specifically designed to encourage student participation and eye contact among everyone in class.
  • Quality of faculty – the majority of boarding school faculty have advanced degrees in either education or another specialty.
  • Quality of resources – student resources at boarding schools – such as the library, theater facilities, or athletic complexes – can often be superior relative to local options.
  • Challenging academics – academics at boarding schools operate at high standards. Students are pushed to “ask why,” become inquisitive, and tackle challenging problems.
  • Broad and diverse offerings – course selections at boarding schools tend to be quite diverse, have plenty of AP options, and offer a wide range of topics. Athletic and extracurricular options tend to be broad as well, which encourage students to try new things. Many boarding schools also offer opportunities to study in different countries for a term.
  • College counseling – college counseling departments at boarding schools are generally well-staffed and taken quite seriously. Counselors often have plenty of experience in helping applicants identify appropriate schools and advising them on getting-in at competitive institutions.
I’m not saying you have to send your child off to boarding school, but it’s worth considering especially if your work schedule is uber busy. Boarding School…yes or no?

 

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