Anyone with a first time boarder starting next term? How are you/they feeling about it?

(18 Posts)
DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 07:56:28

It's not really a thread about the pros/cons of boarding. I know people have very strong views on it.

For us it was about finding the right school and it meaning she would have to board to be able to go there. For others it might have been the other way around, wanting/needing your DC to board and having to find the right school.

Either way, it's a big deal. We spent so long working towards entrance tests, wondering if she would be accepted. It always seemed so far away. But now, here we are, almost end of term, and I'm dreading next year. I will miss her so much, I'm worried about how she will feel, cope with travelling and questioning- are we doing the right thing?

I don't really doubt that we are but DD is my youngest, the last child at home ( other 2 grown up now) and I just feel overwhelmed with it all. Anyone else going through this?

Somethingyesterday Wed 10-Jul-13 08:20:50

3 things

1) But now, here we are, almost end of term, and I'm dreading next year. I will miss her so much, I'm worried about how she will feel, cope with travelling and questioning- are we doing the right thing?

The most important thing is to talk to her about how you feel and how she feels! I'm sure underneath it all you're both excited and looking forward. It's very helpful to openly discuss all potential difficulties. If she's ready for this step she will probably be able to reassure you.

2) Do keep her busy over the holiday so she doesn't have too much time to spend feeling nervous or watching you feeling nervous.

3) Encourage her to keep up with any local friends. It's really important that she has friendships to come home to and doesn't feel isolated when she's not at school.

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 08:24:39

My DS2 has full boarded since yr 2 he goes into yr 11 this September we do it because we're crap slack parents we genuinely believe for the right child its a positive life changing experience. But we've never got used to it, he broke up this Saturday and from Thursday thats all I think about, on Saturday I got up all excited "...coming home" I keep looking at the clock counting down the hours till he's home. His school has such long holidays but as we come to the end of August knowing we've only got a weekish to go I start to feel sad and of course the day he goes back to school is always hard and then we're left with a gap in our lives.
OP despite this I wouldn't change it we have on a least two occasions seriously considered day schools or schools with more flexible boarding arrangement but we stick with it because it come back to what I said at the beginning I really do believe its a positive life changing experience not available in any other setting; what he has and what he gets he could not get any where else.

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 09:20:30

Thank you for your replies.

It's not our first experience of boarding. DD 1 boarded at a different school for very different reasons. There were lots of ups and downs with her and I am conscious not to project those problems onto DD2s experience.

This is a completely different set up. She has a long distance to travel but it's only weekly boarding and she will be home every weekend. I think I feel flat about it because she's the baby. We do talk about it, although I don't express the strength of my feelings, and she does reassure me, she is, at the moment, looking forward to it.

She has been at the school for the last two terms, I relocated for 6 months, and so already has friends, has stayed in the boarding house etc, so she is prepared. It is a specialist school and this was the only way of her being able to attend. My concerns are really about me I suppose, which sounds selfish and probably stupid.

Somethingyesterday Wed 10-Jul-13 09:54:08

Neither selfish nor stupid! It would be weird if you didn't feel strongly about such a big (and in a way final) change. And of course you have the added "complication" of re-relocating yourself as well; are you worried that you'll now feel more "out" of her daily life than you would have done if you had not spent the first six months with her? (Long-winded - hope it makes sense...)

The beauty of having shared those six months is that you'll know exactly what she means about everything. That's an advantage most boarding parents don't have.

I'm starting to waffle. What, in particular, are you worried about for yourself?

bico Wed 10-Jul-13 10:07:26

Ds has done some boarding and will be doing weekly boarding from next term (Sunday morning to Friday evening). Fortunately we are local so I will be able to get to school matches etc. He's loved the boarding he's done so far and is really looking forward to next term. He's a chorister so he's part of a close knit group of boys which I'm sure helps.

He thrives on the structure and routine. I'd have hated to board but it is something he wanted to do and loves it. Interestingly he started very enthusiastically, had a dip in enthusiasm the second term but rediscovered this last term.

Some people have been critical of him boarding at his age (he is at prep school) but they soon revised their opinions when they saw how happy he is in his new role.

Good luck. I miss ds but I don't miss the rush to fit everything in in the evenings. Boarding saves him an hour's travelling a day and he says the food is nicer than at home (and I'm a good cook!).

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 10:13:58

I understand what you mean about us having this 6 months. In some ways it has made it worse- for me- and yet it was the right thing to do -for her.

I have been a SAHM since she was a baby. Before that, with my older two, I worked on and off, part time/full time. I have had children for 25 years.vDH and I have really never had time without DCs. I suppose my life has been about the DCs for so long I am not sure what my roll will be anymore.I am lucky not to have to work, I know that, but equally this will leave a huge gap in my life.

Everything I have done for the last few years has been involved with the DCs, PTA, committees at out of school clubs etc. Suddenly there will be a big void and I'm not sure how I will fill it. For obvious reasons I can't be as involved in this school as I have been in the past. I suppose it's empty nest syndrome,, but sooner than I expected. She is 11.

She is so happy though, and has taken it all in her stride. I feel I should be grateful for that, and I am. I will just miss having her around.

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 10:30:47

Bico we nearly went down the chorister route a couple of years ago. She auditioned, and passed but we didn't feel the school was quite right for her. It was a specialist music school and although she plays two other instruments, neither would have been up to standard for a first study. So at some point she would have had to leave.

A fair few from her last school do go on to board, at 9,10,11. So it didn't seem unusual to DD, also she saw her sister do it. However from her year group, she has been the only one. There were some with po faces when we left, and we had a comment from a child that her parents felt her education was too important to mess with like that- ie moving school mid year, and I know some people think we are mad sending her away. I certainly can't talk to those people about how I feel as they disapprove already.

Somethingyesterday Wed 10-Jul-13 10:37:26

Hah! OP You won't have much time to miss her - even if she were termly (iPhone says 'trembly'!) boarding there would be so much to-ing and fro-ing..... With weekly boarding you may well find that you are almost more busy with school business than you were before.

You haven't mentioned how other members of your family are responding to this imminent change. Are you all excited together or.....

Will she be travelling on her own? (And is there any likelihood of full boarding later on? In my fairly extensive experience full boarding is strangely less disruptive...)

You mentioned being a SAHM - this is outside my area of expertise - but I'm sure you can (or will eventually) see possibilities that couldn't really exist before?

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 11:01:58

Yes DD1 was a full boarder. It still felt like we were up and down there all the time.

DD2s school is not a boarding school, as such. It's not a normal school. But she will live in a boarding house, which she was able to choose, with about 20 others, who then travel to and from school, by bus, together. There is no option for full time boarding. Also no sports fixtures, but there will be times when I perhaps need to be there for one thing or another, or there may be extended spells when she needs to be there over weekends and can then stay and be chaperoned or I will go and chaperone her. Hence, I'm not sure about committing to anything when I've no idea how much or how little I might be needed.

It's complicated. So although we've done the traditional boarding thing, which had its ups and downs, this is different. I did mean this to be a general thread about boarding, and it is really, but equally this isn't a normal situation and I don't know anyone who is in the same boat as us.

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 11:03:47

Oh, and yes, full boarding is less disruptive for them. This is where I see difficulties as she will board 4 nights and be home for three.

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 11:25:32

From your description you've obviously decided that this school offers her something extra something you and your DD want.
WHen my DS first started boarding he said after a few weeks "I realise life is a compromise I cant have what St X provides and be at home" these are wise words for a 7 yr old and so very true.
You and your DD have to hang onto this it doesn't matter who different you situation is for some reason you decided that this is what you both want more than having her at home.
The other thing that has always shocked me is how quickly the terms/years fly by. I cleanly remember my DS's first day at his boarding school he was the smallest and youngest child in the school and they had to cut down the smallest track suit to fit him and I was thin, in what feels like the blink of an eye I've put on loads of weight and he's leaving and moving to his senior school and now we've done two years there, he's now taller than my tall husband and in his school suit rather than looking ridiculous he looks so grown up l and I realise there's only three years to go and we are nearly on the home straight and before I know it we'll all be driving home for the last time and it will all over; the end of an era. Can someone please tell me where the time has gone?

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 11:26:25

"it doesn't matter who different "
how not who.

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 11:29:10

Haha * happygardening* where has the time gone? Agreed.

happygardening Wed 10-Jul-13 11:44:26

"This is where I see difficulties as she will board 4 nights and be home for three."
Dont see difficulties believe its workable and that it will work. You must have a strong reason for doing this slightly unusual arrangement that you describe make it work. If you think this then so will your DD.

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 13:00:00

I suppose I mean it's just something to overcome.

One the one hand, as you know, a longer run helps them settle quicker. Coming back wards and forwards gives the opportunity for lots more Monday morning battles if there has been an issue. I won't be dropping her off and saying " see you in three weeks." it will only be a few days.

But it is what it is. She wants to do it. We want to give her the opportunity and will support her. DH is fully behind it. Everyone else is excited for her. At the end of the day though, it's still a school with all it's ups and downs. Being away seems to magnify a problem. I've had months to come to terms with it, it's just the closer it gets the worse I feel. It is my problem to get over though, because she is happy and it is undoubtedly the right place for her.

Dancingqueen17 Wed 10-Jul-13 13:45:54

I work in a boarding school. My advice is to really buy into the experience as parents. Kids pick up on their parents anxieties, even if you have to fake it to start be positive all the way. Secondly post! Yes we all know there is little need for snail mail these days but kids absolutely love to receive a letter and a parcel even more!! Thirdly text them but let them phone you when they want to. Some wll phone daily others only when they want something but for some phone calls can trigger home sickness. Next make sure they have all the gear needed and that it's all named! Keep your eye on the Callander and make an effort to get to big events, also make sure they have any extra bits they need - a fancy dress costume or prize for the school fete.
Lastly your relationship with the house staff is crucial. Keep in close contact but trust that they know how to do their jobs, if you are worried about anything let them know, if your child needs anything let them know.
Good luck, modern boarding can be wonderful enjoy!

DowntonTrout Wed 10-Jul-13 14:16:45

Thanks dancingqueen

The post thing is a good idea. I had forgotten about that. It can be a nice little pick me up midweek.

I will certainly go to all events- although, like I said, there are no sports fixtures, but there should be some performance related things and I can always offer to help on trips and the like. Also I can do a day down there once in a while to take her out for tea etc.

She has her own phone and there is wifi to Skype/FaceTime. IME she will not ring if having a good time- only if she wants something or is feeling a bit low- and those calls are the worst!

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