Boarding school parents support forum?

(86 Posts)
Merlinswife Thu 29-Nov-12 12:14:25

I have a friend whose two children are now boarders and she's feeling a bit cut off. I wondered if there was a forum she could join- like MN- but for parents of children who do termly boarding?

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 12:22:47

tbh I feel like Mumsnet is missing a trick on the private schools front, they could add about 50 private school boards and have them do well.

milkshake3 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:28:27

Cut off from what Merlin? How old are her kids?

grovel Thu 29-Nov-12 12:49:48

Nice idea, joanbyers, but I suspect the schools would hate it!

Merlinswife Thu 29-Nov-12 12:56:13

Cut off from her kids! There are complex family reasons why boarding is the best way forward for them, but she's missing them and just wondered if there are other parents in the same boat.

difficultpickle Thu 29-Nov-12 19:36:44

There are quite a few posters with dcs who board. Ds does weekly boarding but so far only three consecutive nights each week.

happygardening Fri 30-Nov-12 07:21:38

My DS has boarded since yr 3 we will soon going into our 9 th year of full boarding she's wellcome to PM me! But we've been very badly flooded and have been forced to move so am using others internet connection so am erratic replying.

Tell your friend that it does take a period of adjustment to get used to it and develop other ways of still feeling involved in what your children are up to at school. Happy for her to PM me if she would like someone to go over some of the issues with.

Rosetti Fri 30-Nov-12 17:06:12

My daughter started this September in year 7 and at first I was so worried about how she would get on - she moved to mixed from an all girls school for a start! I do miss her but nowhere near as much as I thought I would as I know she is really happy - the days are flying by and I try to watch as many sports fixtures as I can. Just seeing how she is settled and doing so well has dispelled any doubts I had about boarding - I have been totally converted in one term!

IndridCold Fri 30-Nov-12 17:57:27

My DS in his second year of boarding. He started at his prep school, so it was somewhere he knew well, and he is just about to finish his first term at 'big' school.

It was more difficult for him to contact us at his last school, as he had to wait for the public phone to be free, and the school email never worked properly. But now he has a mobile and laptop he can keep in touch much more easily, and I send him funny youtube clips and we text most days.

It's hard to be too involved if you live a long way from the school (as we do) but you do get a big catch up in the holidays, and we try to go to all the school and house social events to keep in touch with other parents.

I agree with Rosetti, if you know they are busy and happy you don't miss them so much. I'm sure if your friend started up a thread on MN about things that are worrying her she would find some sympathetic replies smile.

happygardening so sorry to hear about your flood. Never happened to me (thank goodness) but some friends were flooded and it was truly awful. Hope you manage to get reasonably straight in time for Christmas.

Mutteroo Mon 03-Dec-12 08:41:21

I'm a boarding parent survivor! Don't know of any forums but I felt as your friend did. I honestly thought when I told DS the school was too far to be a day pupil it would put him off. How wrong was I? DS weekly boarded (Sunday eve to Saturday lunchtime) and that helped us both, however ultimately neither of us enjoyed boarding and after 3 years DS has now moved to a local 6th form college. Boarding works for some but not all, however, my relationship with DS is as strong as it ever was and don't let your friend feel that aspect will change.

difficultpickle Mon 03-Dec-12 08:47:56

I was talking to other boarding parents at the weekend and our common view is how hard it is to be involved in the school compared to when our dcs were at day school. That makes it hard to get to know other parents. Ds is at a school that does day and boarding and nearly at the end of his first term I've only met about three parents from his school year. Compared to his previous day school where I reckon I knew most of the mums by the end of the first term.

Not sure what the answer is so I'm focusing on the fact that ds is very happy at school and very happy boarding. I feel a bit resigned that my relationship with other school parents will never be like it was at his previous school.

PeriPathetic Mon 03-Dec-12 08:49:56

Marking my place.

DD and I are off to visit a school tomorrow with a view to her starting there after Easter. IF she passes the assessment.

I've cried so many tears about it, but she really wants to go and her current school is crushing her in so many ways (we're overseas, no other options here). I'm sure I'll be back for help in coping if/when she goes.

wheresthegin Mon 03-Dec-12 09:01:00

If you ds full boards, from 13+, presumably there must be quite a change sometimes as to his maturity when you see him? How does this make you feel?

(have a full boarding school on options list for senior school.)

goinggetstough Mon 03-Dec-12 18:16:29

Bisjo I know what you mean about meeting other parents and it was especially difficult as I was an overseas parent too. In order to meet other parents from our DS's house we arranged to meet for coffee in the local town before we used to collect at Exeats or half term or end of term. Initially the housemaster sent out the invitation on our behalf. It was very useful to be able to speak to other parents in the same house to get their views on a variety of topics that affected our sons.

wheresthegin my DCs boarded from prep until they left school. We spoke or communicated to them almost every day if they wanted too, so it was never a shock when I saw him. You asked how I felt, well I just felt proud of the way my DS had grown up and matured as I would have done if he had been at day school.

peripathetic good luck with your visit. Do check how many full boarders there are at the school if your DD is likely to be in most weekends as you are overseas. Schools as I mentioned on another boarding thread today can be very clever with their statistics for full boarders and their actual definition of full boarding. So it can be a good idea to ask how many DCs were in on a couple of specific weekends. So you can get an idea of how many friends would be in with her and therefore you wouldn't have to rely on friends taking her out every weekend.

derekthehamster Mon 03-Dec-12 18:20:12

I feel very lucky that our school has a forum, just like mumsnet grin except no where near as busy. I've met a few parents this way and it's very supportive.

PeriPathetic Mon 03-Dec-12 18:53:56

Thank you, going - it is full boarding, even the local kids tend to stay at weekends too. And she knows at least 4 other expat kids there already.

She's really excited; I'm bricking it blush I just hope she copes with the flight OK so isn't fuzzy from ear pain as per usual.

PeriPathetic Thu 06-Dec-12 18:20:17

Well, we made it! It was a massively hectic day.

DD didn't have to do a test (phew!) and we were offered a place straight away - she starts in the Summer term next year.

Fabulous school with a very 'can-do' attitude ie for certain subjects she's never covered before, they will bring her up to speed, and for a language she's been learning for 6 years, they will bring in a tutor to continue this grin She met her friends there, so that was nice for her. And she is so excited about it.

Now I'm poring over the lists of all stuff we have to get shock

difficultpickle Thu 06-Dec-12 19:10:21

As someone who decided to sew all her ds's name labels I would highly recommend using a sewing service if the school have one. The worst thing about boarding is every single item of clothing, both school and casual has to have a sewn label.

socksnottights Thu 06-Dec-12 22:34:39

Curious to find out which school you visited as sounds good.
Any clues if you don't want to mention actual name.

PeriPathetic Thu 06-Dec-12 22:40:15

Oh sorry! I thought I'd said (should probably name change, but hey I don't know how to ) It's Windlesham.

I've just realised about the label sewing, doh! I'd already ordered a squillion labels 'cos there was a discount. And I've delegated the job to mum when she arrives for Xmas, BUT I don't have the damn clothes yet. Idiot!

derekthehamster Sat 08-Dec-12 08:25:53

IMO socks are the worst sad We also have to sew sock ties on so the don't get lost in the laundry system

peppapigpants Sat 08-Dec-12 09:52:42

Zip up laundry bags are the way to go, derek smile

happygardening Sat 08-Dec-12 10:56:28

I am boarding parent survivor
I've thought long and hard about this comment. Why do I not feel a boarding parent survivor? Am I a callous bitch who couldn't care less about my DS? If you knew me you wouldn't say that.
I personally believe and not only do I have a DS in a boarding school I work with boarding children that to really thrive in a boarding school and for us as parents not be "survivors" then you need to have consider the following.
As a parents you are always going to struggle if you are the sort of person who has to know if your DC has eaten his five portions of fruit and veg a day, flossed his teeth three times a day, a spent five hours learning latin vocab for Mondays test. Boarding is definitely not for those who feel a need to be involved with their children's education/life at every turn. If you are like this them you are going to drove yourself/DC and HM up the wall. There are plenty of excellent day schools out there don't inflict boarding on yourself.
Secondly your DC has to have a certain type of personality. Those who like lots of privacy and personal space are definitely going to struggle. Those who don't make friends easily may find boarding difficult as will the thin skinned. Lets be realistic you need to be quite robust. Those who cant think of anything worse than being made to stand on a rugby pitch five afternoons a week come hell of high water will also struggle unless they have other options; ask. You either need to be team player or such a lone wolf that you couldn't give a stuff about other people and what they think about you. Boarding is obviously organised but I think you do need to be self motivated as well. Remember its often 3-4 staff and maybe some older children supervising 60 others no one is going o stand over every child and make sure their prep is done and not only done but done to the required standard. Many children do prep in their room with a couple of other mates and no direct supervision; an excellent opportunity to piss around!
Thirdly and ultimately most importantly we as parents need to be absolutely 101% convinced that the benefits of boarding out weigh the disadvantages. We sent our DC's at 7 and 8 yrs old to a full boarding school becasue I felt the sort of education being offered not only in the state sector but the independent day sector was not the sort of "education" I was looking for this does not mean ots not what all want not just what I wanted. I personally don't believe that education is about the "three Rs" I was looking for an all round "education" that can only be offered in a boarding environment. We decided not to send DS2 to two top performing grammars at yr 7 and 9. also a localish selective day school and a fantastic highly selective London day school with a more flexible approach to boarding at yr 9 but carry on with school fees and full boarding for the same reason and have not regretted our choice. But I know from personal experience (at our boarding prep) that the moment the balance tips and the disadvantages out weigh the advantages that the education we want is not being provided then as parents we become unhappy and thus boarding ceases to be what we want and I suppose ultimately you become "survivors."
Finally and I know I've said this over and over again but again am speaking from personal experience it doesn't matter what boarding you want; flexi, weekly or full but if it is going to work for your DC then at least 80% of the school need to be on the same boat.

wheresthegin Sat 08-Dec-12 16:47:46

HG - interesting post. Thanks.

Can I ask you the same question I asked up thread about missing the development of you dc? Did you/Do you feel as though you missed them grow up?

Boarding school we are considering is only 5 miles away from where we live, but whole school is full boarding. DS keen to go.

Am dithering somewhat.

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