Any boarding school mums with new boarders this term? (all boarding mums welcome)

(77 Posts)
SoggySummer Tue 04-Sep-12 18:56:22

I thought I would start a thread for boarding mums with DC either new to boarding or starting boarding at a new school this term. Seasoned BS mums also welcome - your wisdom will be appreciated.

I am a mum of 2 DDs aged 11 and 13. Both full board and have done for a few years now. Eldest DD has just transferred from her prep school to a completely new senior school (into year 9). My youngest DD is still home for until she returns for her prep school next week.

Anyone else have a new boarder or a current boarder just returning or returned back to school?

HolofernesesHead Thu 06-Sep-12 19:58:47

Hi SoggySummer smile (Great name! Very appropriate!)

No, not particularly seasoned yet - the dc started at their school just after Easter. They are getting on really well there; we've had a good 45 mins on the phone this evening, with a blow-by-blow acoount of everything that ds has had to eat since we spoke to him yesterday! He judges the school entirely on its food....! Dd is pleased to be back; there's such a lot going on that she really enjoys. I hope that you're feeling a bit less wobbly today! Have you spoken to your dd today?

Colleger, your ds's school sounds lovely!

SoggySummer Fri 07-Sep-12 00:24:00

Yes DD called this evening and sounded alot better although there definately was a wobble in her voice at the end when we were talking about her coming home next weekend.

Today at school went alot better for her and she now has 3 "fun" days as tomorrow is a trip and then they have an action packed weekend.

Despite her boarding for several years at her prep - I am really really missing her and dying to give her a hug.

Youngest DD has started to mention how excited she is to be going back at the weekend but also saying its going to be strange without her older sister there.

I think I will be totally lost next week when they are both back.

happygardening Fri 07-Sep-12 06:57:45

Dint get upset Soggy but is it wise to keep ringing every HM we ever had told us not to do it and every child I've known who struggles to settle has a parent ringing everyday and "popping" in to take their DC out to tea even when they're not meant too.

HolofernesesHead Fri 07-Sep-12 08:57:55

I think it depends on the individual really, doesn't it? We speak to the dc every day and it would unsettle them (and us) if we didn't. (Having said that, we didn't speak the other night as they were out swimming until just before bed.)

Just be kind you yourself Soggy, trust your decision to send your dd to that particular school, and allow time and the school to do their workand your dd time to settle in. Plan some nice things to do next week! smile

SoggySummer Fri 07-Sep-12 09:04:42

HappyGardening - I know where you are coming from. I dont call her. She calls me. They get given the option to collect their phones at the end of school and can keep them until bedtime (have to switch them off for prep and meals though).

When she started her prep we had no contact for a week which was hard. She never used to call every night at her old school, as she was usually so busy. I dont think I could say to her, dont phone me. I like to think I am giving her some practical solutions (or at the very least encouragement to chat to her housemistress about her feelings/confusion) to her issues and reassuring her that she is doing fab, considering the massive change from small prep to large secondary.

I hope that once next week gets underway and she actually has a "proper" school week that all the clubs and activities will be up and running, she will get into a proper routine and she will have her time filled alot more.

IndridCold Fri 07-Sep-12 15:37:48

I think that sometimes the DCs ring home because they are feeling a bit homesick, they have a chat and go off feeling much happier but the parents are left to spend the rest of the evening in pieces worrying if they are OK.

Soggy the DD of one of my friends rang every day for over 2 weeks when she went up to big school, but once she had found her group of friends it slacked off significantly. I hope that when your DD is settled into her new routine with lots of things to keep her busy she will feel happier.

I was fairly confident about DSs move into big school, but it was still good when he rang yesterday evening and sounded totally happy. There are only 9 new boys in his house so I think that makes it a bit easier to make new friends.

ILoveChocolatePudding Fri 07-Sep-12 16:13:38

All I would say to all the BS mums out there is do what is right for YOUR child and don't worry about what others think. My own DS is in his third year of weekly boarding and was really looking forward to it. I have not heard from him all week which tends to suggest he is having a good time.

Over the summer holiday he struck up a conversation with a stranger and when he said he went to boarding school the first question they asked was did he like it. You get the look from casual acquaintances of almost "don't you like your child" because what everyone needs to remember is less than 1% of children of school age attend boarding schools, you are providing your children with a unique opportunity. Some children have difficuly with school whether day or boarding. At a local highly selective state girls school, one teenage girl is believed to have committed suicide due to work pressures. You just never know.

So fellow BS mums, wear your child's boarding status as a badge of honour, say it loud and be proud. Don't give a monkeys what the doubting Thomas's out there have to say.

HolofernesesHead Fri 07-Sep-12 16:47:41

Thank you, Chocolate Pudding! I have had my fair share of hmm looks and barbed comments. And downright condemnation, actually! Sigh.

I don't wear it as a badge of honour though - I just see it as the best choice we could have made as a family. Other families decide what they feel is best for them, and that may well mean something completely different to us. But we all want what we feel is best for our dc...

Loopy4got Sun 09-Sep-12 12:19:07

Hi, another boarding school mum checking in! Both at different prep schools, both fine. House quiet. House tidy! Food in fridge!
I don't phone them they phone me,but I do try to write, always in the first week of each term. I didn't know about Amazon and am very interested in that and sending something exciting to school for them.
I go to matches but none have started yet, think my first one is next Saturday. Can't wait!
Hope everyone else is doing ok?

SoggySummer Sun 09-Sep-12 13:18:09

Have finally just finished packing for my youngest to return to her prep school this afternoon.

Eldest seemed alot happier yesterday. Went to her first Lacrosse training and love it. She seems to be enjoying the boarding side but finding the school side tough, she said she was dreading Monday.

Youngest seems excited about going back and keeps asking when we are setting off. She is a little sad though because she wont see her Dad again after today until after his deployment as he leaves next week.

My youngest is too far away to go to matches really 2 1/2 hours drive. I am hoping eldest will get into a team so I can go and see her and take advantage (before we get posted) of only being an hour away from school.

happygardening Sun 09-Sep-12 13:46:07

We too are packing up today. The holiday seems to have gone on for ages and his going back to school will leave a huge hole in our lives. I comfort myself with the knowledge that it's the right place for him and that he's doing well participating in loads of activities that I could never offer in a million years and that at his school he at last feels free to be himself oh and my food bill will drop!! As a non team sports player the competitions for his choosen sport are all away for the next few weeks so we won't see him before the exeat at of September. But I do know how frighteningly fast the weeks/term/year will go in fact how frighteningly fast the remaining four years will go and then it will be the end of an era which has so dominted our lives in so many ways.

HolofernesesHead Wed 19-Sep-12 16:51:06

How's everyone doing on this thread? Hope your dcs' terms are going well. smile

All fine at this end. DD in last year at school so mad busy trying to get stuck into A2 subjects, do some AS resits in Jan and has a lot of responsibilities in school so hanging out for exeat weekend on Friday- haven't seen her for four weeks!!
DS settled in well- he was allowed home as a special treat last weekend ( even though not leave out) just for one night and he has settled back in well to school and that year older means he is now much better at managing his time and arranging activities etc at the weekends when they have quite a bit of downtime.
All good so far!!!
How are yours settling in now?

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 18:35:00

DS tired but happy.

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 19:06:51

DS was not impressed with me today when I picked him up from bording for a music lesson and then nice supper at home. Spent ages asking if I can take him back as his best friend was bording tonight and then glued himself in front of his laptop. And his only 10.. I wonder if its time for the another baby grin

Not a BS mum but very interested in why parents make this choice for their dc. Always read Blyton as a child and particularly loved boarding school stories smile

Not a hostile question, honestly!

BCBG Wed 19-Sep-12 19:25:41

Another BS mum popping in grin! We have one DD at senior school and i DD at Prep school, plus two DS who have both gone through: one at uni and one on a gap year. My littlest is 10 and i think that is a bit young sad but she is a) practically an only child as she has a 7 year age gap and b) is very very dyslexic/dyspraxic and only a boarding prep offered to meet her needs for routine, laptop support and no evening journey/homework (she gets tired v easily). Happy to support anyone who wants support - just fed up with the usual bunfight grin

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 19:32:35

The answer for us is full time work and a lot of extra-curriculum activities that boarding school accommodates (including homework). Mine flexi-boards though, sometimes 2 sometimes 3 nights. And neighbours are relieved from listening to his music practice as he does it at school. DS1 used to weekly board until 6th form as his sisters were in 2 diffrent schools. I remember coming to see him in the middle of the week only to find he was too busy with something or rather.He really enjoyed it until he turned 16 and wanted more freedom.

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 19:36:57

I do it because my DS has many more opportunities than he would ever get in any day school. This is education in the broadest sense of the word from the moment he opens his eyes till the moment he goes to bed. He can attend everyday clubs both sporting and non-sporting, at least four plays a term and usually about 30 concerts a term, there are lectures often weekly by eminent famous professors/professionals in their fields, he can attend the art room on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon and teachers are there to help. This is not a 3R’s education this is a true all round education.
Boarding is also I believe a positive life changing experience you learn to live with all different types of people some who you may not like, you learn to work and live as a team, do things that you may not want to do, organise yourself and your work and you learn to not be afraid of trying new things. Boarders also learn self resiliance they learn that thye have within themselvs the ability to solve their own problems.

Everything Happygardening said. My DS ( 14) boarding for a year has gone from a slightly food fussy, reluctant to try anything, grunting at adults kid to a kid who is tolerant of others, can deal with situations where things go wrong and sort them out for himself, get on well with a variety of adults ( not all of whom he likes!) and try new things and experiences.
For DD (17) she was in a very small school on the edges of a clique- boarding has given her a bonding experience with other girls she never had before, new and exciting hobbies ( both of which I could not offer her at home), on tap homework/study advice on her subjects available all the time.

They both chose to go- not our suggestion. They are not in the same school. They get on better than they ever have, text and email each other when away and really enjoy being together when they get home.

Thanks smile

All your experiences sound thoroughly positive.
Dd had the opportunity to go to a specialised school as a boarder (dance), but chose to attend our excellent local Academy.May still be an option at 14 or 16 so lovely to hear other's experience of educating their children away from home.

Emandlu Wed 19-Sep-12 20:06:01

I would be very interested in hearing your experiences. My dd is expressing a wish to go to a specialist music school which would involve boarding and tbh it fills me with dread.

We are going to an open day soon to have a look around.

What sorts of things should I be asking and thinking about?

pianomama Wed 19-Sep-12 20:44:42

I would think about non-music issues : i.e. - will your DD be missing out on academic work as this will be limited.Would it matter to her? Music issues - is she really commited, (I do apologise) is she really good at it? Is she up for super-competitive environment? Can she take all what comes with it?
Specialist music schools cater very well for certain type of children but will not automatically suit everyone.
Don't take me wrong - my DS is a musician and sometimes I feel he is missing out by not being in the specialist school full time. We might consider it when he is older However I dont think this would be a good choice for my DS now.He goes to JD on Saturdays.
There are some children who really need to be in a school like that because they would not fit/be able to fulfill themselves anywhere else. Is this the case with your DD?

happygardening Wed 19-Sep-12 20:50:52

After 7 years of boarding I believe the housemaster/mistress/house parents are everything. The HM is literally acting in your abscence and on your behalf. I am proud to say Ive never looked at a loo/bathroom in my life but spent a along time talking to the HM trying to work out what sort of person he is how he runs his house what standard he sets how he deals with problems and issues that are inevitably going to arise.
My DS's school is exeptionally housecentric (its famous for this) The HM is just "like us" we can relate to and feel comfortable when talking to him hes a problem solver no matter how trivial a big personality he has a clearly set out approach and an system to running his house he makes it clear what's expected of the boys they know where they stand and like him and are proud of their house. He also really cares about the boys.

Emandlu Wed 19-Sep-12 21:16:25

Thank you piano mama.

She is very committed. She does around 2 hours practice a day at the moment without being nagged into it. She will spend more time if she has exams or competitions coming up.
As for how good she is, well not being a musician it is difficult to say, I know in competitions she tends to be either 1st or 2nd and has passed every music exam she's done with a distinction. People say that her musicality comes through when she plays (musical people do anyhow). Naturally I think she is brilliant, but I'm her mum.

I'm not sure how she would cope with a super competitive environment. She really just isn't very competitive. It certainly wouldn't have suited her when she were younger but it might be good now.

I think she needs to try - not for me, but so that she knows that she has tried. She seems quite realistic about it though.

She currently attends the Sage Gateshead for their weekend school and though she loves it, just wants to be immersed in music for the rest of the week too.

Happygardening - the point about housemasters is a useful one too. Thank you.

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