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BOARDING UPDATE

(22 Posts)
msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 11:48:53

I have read dozens of threads about parents looking for boarding schools for there children. I would like an update on what you have learned over the last few years. I would like a thread where parents of current boarders could give advice to parents of prospective boarders. (The stuff that you wish someone would have told you at the beginning.) please no anti-boarders as all of these children will have been at school for at least a few years already.

Thanks for your advice Huntzoey

mouldycheesefan Thu 23-Feb-17 11:51:49

Such a thread already exists I believe, it's called support for boarders.
is that the tower at the entrance to Kew Gardens? I like that tower. But I can't see a connection with your thread.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 12:07:53

My name is Raeann, I am visually impaired. I attended the Indiana School for the Blind, a day and residential school, for blind and visually impaired children, ages three to nineteen years old, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

When I was four years old, I began attending the school. The local public school, lacked the facilities for me to attend there school, they did not have the adaptive technology that I needed to succeed in the classroom, an aide or a vision teacher, so my parents enrolled me in the blind school. The school considered me a residential student, during the week I stayed at school. A bus would take me to school on Sunday and not bring me home until Friday. My dormitory had eight other girls. Weekends, Christmas, spring, and summer vacations, were the only times I went home. The school was like my home away from home, the people in my dorm were like my family. On the weekends I had a nice visit with my family. Summer vacation was like a breathe of fresh air, three whole months with my family at home. The only time I remember going home during the week is when I was seven years old. My dad was taking classes, he would pick me up after school, take me home over night, bring me back early the next morning. Being able to go home during the week to see my family was like a rainbow. It only lasted a few weeks before it had to end, I was so tired at school that I started falling a sleep in class.

My school was a weekly boarding school, where the whole school closed on the weekends and everyone went home. My family lived an hour and a half from the school. My best friends Jessica and Lisa, lived at the other end of the state, had to ride the bus for five hours twice a week, just to attend school.

The photos above are of my old school.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 12:10:48

I want this thread to be a Q&A for parents of prospective boarders.

ItchyandScratchyb Thu 23-Feb-17 14:02:34

Boarding parent here. Ds1 full boards. I can't really think of anything that's happened that I wish I had known if you see what I mean. I got a lot of information form threads on here as there are a lot of mums with experience. This is ds's 3rd year of boarding. He's very happy and doing well. DS2 currently flexinboards at his prep and will go onto do weekly boarding later this year. He's very excited.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 14:13:54

What is the one thing that you would tell the anti-boarders?

ItchyandScratchyb Thu 23-Feb-17 14:19:54

1. If it's the right school and affordable and the only thing standing in the way is boarding, please, please go and see the boarding environment, meet the houseparents and the boarders before discounting it.

2. Unless you are overseas, don't choose a boarding school that's more than 1 and half (in my case 1hour) from home.

happygardening Thu 23-Feb-17 14:46:53

"What is the one thing that you would tell the anti-boarders?"
That the vast majority of boarders are very happy, receiving a wonderful broad education surrounded by caring dedicated staff and come from loving families.

MrsBernardBlack Thu 23-Feb-17 14:58:30

What is the one thing that you would tell the anti-boarders?

Long years spent on these pages has shown me that whatever you say cuts no ice with them. I sometimes feel that some of them just Ike pitching in for the fight, and I frankly don't have the time or energy for that any more.

I am happy to give advice to parents who are considering boarding for their DCs, but have no actual experience of it themselves.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 15:24:27

I will start the question part of this thread.
What do you look for in the boarding house?
The bedrooms?
The activity area?
The study area?

If you think of others just add them to the list.

Raeann
You have posted regularly about boarding school over the years.
I wonder if you are still trying to process your boarding school experience.

ItchyandScratchyb Thu 23-Feb-17 15:43:56

OP you haven't responded to any of the answers posters have given, is there a reason for that? confused

happygardening Thu 23-Feb-17 15:48:05

Sadly I have to agree with MrsB it docent matter what I anyone else says it "cuts no ice with them".
Over the years I have had to put with implications that we are bad parents that we don't care about our children and they are or will become dysfunctional adults. If they accept that we are a happy family with well adjusted children then we are the exception which proves the rule. It doesn't matter how many anecdotes I tell of children who are obviously happy at their boarding schools and who also have very loving strong relationships with their parents the anti boarding brigade will continue to telling me I deluded or blinkered to the obvious damage being done. They also continue to paint this idealised view of family life; of everyone sitting round the dinner table at 6 pm happily discussing their day, skipping off to do their homework and then all snuggling round a film, at the same time these parents have all the time in the world to effortlessly drive their children to a myriad of extra curricular activities that are conveniently on their door steps oh and never a. cross word is spoken. Maybe its just the parents I know but most are really struggling to balance work/finances/schools/elderly parents/hobbies/housework etc and are not leading this perfect 2.5 kids and dog existence.
The irony is that I work with children in a professional capacity I sadly see many unhappy children with dysfunctional relationships with their parents very few board.

happygardening Thu 23-Feb-17 16:01:31

"I will start the question part of this thread.
What do you look for in the boarding house?
The bedrooms?
The activity area?
The study area?"
I'm totally uninterested in bedrooms/dorms, activity area or study areas, I've never looked at a bathroom in my life. Its the people the HM's AHM's and the teaching staff in general that interest me do I like them, are they people I'm happy to entrust my DS too, do I believe they are fair, caring, strict when necessary but understanding and tolerant of adolescent boys (in my case), do I feel that they will be by my DS's side when if it goes wrong saying and doing what I would do and of course the ethos of the school does it chime with my own is it providing the sort of education I want? If you can answer yes to all of this stuff single rooms/study areas etc, these really dont matter that much.

PatriciaHolm Thu 23-Feb-17 16:46:23

OP, your experience is going to be significantly different to the vast majority of parents looking to send children to boarding school (mostly in the UK on this board as well). Your OP doesn't sound as if you were too happy either.

There are several long running established threads talking about boarding and supporting parents of potential boarders.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 16:51:12

It sounds like the schools that you selected for your children are wonderful, caring and cozy environments.

MrsBernardBlack Thu 23-Feb-17 19:50:59

I agree with happy, the dorms etc should come pretty low down the list when choosing a school.

Some years ago I read an article on the subject by Jeremy Clarkson (of all people) who was choosing a school for his daughter at the same time we were looking for DS. He said that he soon got quite bored of looking at spiffy swimming pools and glitzy theatres, and instead observed the pupils who were already there. Think of him what you will, it is actually pretty good advice.

Do they look happy and relaxed? Do they look alert and interested, or bored and switched off? What is the general vibe of the school? Do the staff engage with families and parents or are they a bit stand offish?

You can do lots of research and narrow down the list of schools you like the look of, but when it comes down to it you have to trust your instincts.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 20:02:40

What do you think about going on the advice of people at the schools, or are they just selling the school?

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 20:03:50

Is there anyway to contact current parents at the school for advice.

happygardening Thu 23-Feb-17 20:16:25

DS2's school has been criticised on here for not selling itself, many feel it has a "this is us; take it or leave it" attitude, its over subscribed so it can afford to be.
We were never offered the opportunity or indeed asked if we could contact current parents. In my now extensive experience of boarding schools and I worked for 5 years in them, one mans meat is another mans poison, you'll find detractors and lovers at every school, the same child in the same year/house can have a completely different experience. I would sometimes hear parents say that their DS felt under considerable pressure to achieve at DS2's school, that wasn't his experience in fact I sometimes used to think a bit more pressure might have been good grin.
Always go on your gut feeling. But if something really matters to you be it golf courses or a flexible approach to boarding do check that its there or that you can do it never assume.

msabmsad Thu 23-Feb-17 20:56:52

What advice would you give to international parents looking to send there children to the UK for prep years?

msabmsad Sat 25-Feb-17 16:40:50

I am a student looking for parents experiences, seeing as I come from a family that makes 30K a year, this is pure academic for me, unless you know of schools that offer full scholarships.

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