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Boarding school

Still struggling with idea

13 replies

darcybear15 · 13/04/2023 09:47

Hello Everyone with boarding school children.

My daughter wants to go to boarding school in Yr 7.
We have applied and been to look at the school and she loved what she saw.
She is due to have a sleepover in a couple of weeks at the school and then we can make final decisions.

I would like to know how everyone is coping with the idea of their child not being around. Sometimes I'm OK and other times I'm so low.

(I'm hoping to not get any nasty remarks or comments as my question is coming from a loving caring mother who has raised a confident happy child. She isn't being forced to go)

OP posts:
darcybear15 · 13/04/2023 09:50

Actually I'm not OK about not having her around but I'm trying not be selfish...

OP posts:
MintJulia · 13/04/2023 09:54

Why don't you agree an 'occasional boarder' arrangement to start with. First term, she stays Mon & Tues nights and see how she gets on.

My ds stays at the boarding house when I need to travel for work. He likes it but doesn't want to do it full time.

A lot will depend on the other boarders, the house mistress etc.

SurpriseSparDay · 13/04/2023 10:04

Full or weekly boarding?

And, when you say ‘make final decisions’ has she already been offered a place? If not, has she passed any entrance exam? (Also, is it a specialist institution or just normal school?)

With full boarding (very, very recently) our family spent half our lives going backwards and forwards from the school - child was rarely there for more than two and a half weeks at a time. So many exeats, days off for this and that, long half terms, longer holidays … And some parents were at the school almost every week for matches, concerts, whatever. Do you have full details of the routine at your daughter’s prospective school?

LIZS · 13/04/2023 10:26

Girls boarding at 11 is still fairly unusual, especially within UK. Does it do flexi/weekly? Is it still close enough for you to attend matches, parents evenings. Lots of kids have a romanticised view of boarding, midnight feasts etc, but transition is tricky.

stickystick · 16/04/2023 14:07

this is an intensely personal decision and so much depends on your circumstances. However two thoughts that might be reassuring:

  1. my experience as a boarder and a boarding parent is that relationships with parents often tend to be better because they appreciate the comforts of home and you are not warring daily about homework.
  2. knowing your DC are happy, being looked after well and profitably occupied is really good to know especially if you are a working parent. I have acquaintances who both work who hire housekeepers to pick up their kids from day schools and cook their tea while the kids struggle with homework on their own or sit around watching TV or playing video games until their parents eventually get home from work at 8 or 9 o clock. For me, a good boarding school is a much better option than that.
IWantToBeACat · 17/04/2023 08:56

I have a full boarding daughter at a small, non-competitive, middle of the road (academically speaking) school. It was her choice. She is currently in Yr10 but has been at the school since Yr7. She loves it.

For my side, some days it's hard, really hard, I totally admit! Especially birthdays, a WhatsApp call just doesn't cut it! But I do take comfort in the fact that she has amazing friends, wonderful opportunities and is really thriving there. She's a gentle, dyspraxic, ditzy, unicorn loving girl who would have been eaten alive by bullies in a big school (as she was in her primary school). We are fortunate to have been able to afford to give her this opportunity to do the best she possibly can and the haters can say what they like (and have done on many a thread!) but I know in my heart that despite all the anti-boarding arguments and "you must be a rubbish, heartless parent to send your baby away", that for my daughter, and that's all that really matters, it was absolutely the right choice.

It absolutely isn't right for come children / families, but I think as long as your daughter knows that she can change her mind at any time and she can change schools / boarding frequency without questions, she will be fine and love it! And you too, will learn to accept the way things are and holidays together will be extra fab! I promise. Good luck!

CalmWater · 06/06/2023 13:50

Mum of year 7 boarder in Australia. We live very rural and have no choice but to send our children away. We can't just pick up and moved unless I take the kids and leave my husband. I NEVER wanted to do boarding school and am hating every minute of it. He is doing pretty good. Great grades, has made some 'acquaintances', talks to everybody but is having difficulty finding a friend. I hate it because of the times he is struggling I can't give him a hug and sit with him. I hate it because talking on the phone is not the same as in person. I hate it because I miss all the teaching opportunities that are coming up as a teenager. I can't mould and shape him into a decent human being with only a short phone call every couple of days. The boarding staff are just baby sitters, they don't give the emotional or intellectual support that a parent can give. I can't look him in the eyes and say 'I love you' or 'I'm sorry' so that he knows I mean it. I cry all the time feeling like I've deserted him. I wish desperately I could have him home with me.

CalmWater · 06/06/2023 13:57

Also he is a full term boarder. My husband and I both still have to work in the holidays so even when he's home, we don't get quality time with him. He is a great kid. We never argued when he was at home so 'having a break' is not any benefit. I wouldn't recommend it. For me it's breaking my heart and I have to go through it all again with two more children.

bridgetreilly · 25/06/2023 19:45

Fwiw, my mother cried everyday for the first two weeks I was at school. I never cried at all, because I was having such a good time. If your daughter wants to go, and you are confident in the school you have chosen, it will be find. You will have such special times when she comes home.

RedPanda2022 · 27/06/2023 08:43

For us knowing boarding is not what it was ‘back in the day’ is what means we can do it - I would not send a very young child to board but an adolescent, not that far from home, with whom you can communicate daily (phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp etc), that can or does come home at weekends and who is never away for longer than about 3 weeks when full boarding is a different ball game!

a good option if you are relatively local is flexiboarding in yr7-8

Hoppinggreen · 27/06/2023 08:47

I would ask myself why my child wanted to leave home aged 11
Does she fully understand what boarding means or has she overdosed on Harry Potter or similar?

Mischance · 27/06/2023 08:51

My eldest DD - now a mother herself - desperately wanted to go to the private boarding school nearby. She got in and only marginally missed a scholarship. We could afford it and felt that we should give it a go for her. In fact she did weekly boarding as she was nearby.

I missed her and missed her and hated it. And she found that it was not all it was cracked up to be - single sex school and bitchiness reigned. Eventually she went as a day pupil and hang the petrol bill! She had some brilliant opportunities there, especially musical ones, so it was swings and roundabouts.

An 11 year old might want something without being really wise enough to understand the realities.

At sixth form she went to our local 6th form college where she flourished - and discovered boys in a big way!

Her sisters went to comprehensive schools and did just as well academically.

whodawhodaeho · 29/06/2023 10:32

She's far too young to make that decision. Just send her to a day school. he clearly thinks it'll be like Hogwarts...

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