If you are considering boarding school for your son, it’s natural to have concerns – every parent does. Will he be safe? Will he feel cared for? Who will make sure he stays on top of his school work? These questions are normal and important. The best way to answer the question, “Is boarding the right fit for my son?” is to be well informed about boarding school pros and cons.
Here are some things to consider.
In many schools, boarding students are under the care of residential teaching staff. This means students have access to a range of qualified staff who can assist with after school requirements. Supervised study routines are implemented; in time this can lead to effective independent study skills for students.
Exciting co-curricular opportunities
Attending a boarding school can offer your son many unique and rewarding experiences. This could be central Australian students having the opportunity to take up rowing, students from China learning to play cricket or academically focused students taking accelerated and advanced courses.
A built-in social life
Boarding offers students a chance to develop lifelong relationships with their boarding mates. This is often a good choice for single-child families who don’t have siblings to interact with on a regular basis. As a result of spending more quality time with other students, boarders often get to enjoy the benefits of a great alumni community more than their day school peers.
Many schools have an established history of boarding and enjoy the diversity that rural and international students provide. Country students often display great practical skills from having to take on more responsibility in life. This greatly benefits students from the city who have not had such opportunities. International students often have a culturally different attitude to education which can lift the overall academic standards of other students. Boarding schools enjoy a demographic that is much larger than their immediate surrounds and can help schools to build great character and reputation.
Access to pastoral care
The best boarding schools have a culture of pastoral support, academic success and positive peer mentoring. This culture needs nurturing and a commitment from staff and students to positively contribute to their boarding community.
Independence and stability
Getting your child used to the idea of living away from home can help develop their independence and make it easier to transition from school to adult life. Many boarding schools also have a daily routine and structure that gives boarders stability, order and certainty. Stability is a great long-term benefit of boarding school and can enhance your son’s ability to live in the wider world.
Having peace of mind
There are many positives to choosing boarding for your son. But it is also important to be aware of how things will change. When your child goes to boarding school, you relinquish many decisions that you would normally make for your child. This responsibility falls temporarily on someone else’s shoulders. Rest assured, a good boarding school will have excellent two-way communication with parents and you will be consulted on important matters.
Dealing with homesickness
Your child may also miss spending time with other family members or friends that live near home. While boarding schools provide alternatives to this such as new friends, there are aspects of home life that they won’t get to experience. There are many ways to support your son in dealing with homesickness and they will eventually start to refer to their boarding house as ‘home’ — this is a good thing. It means that they have settled in, made great friends and now have two places to call home.
Learn more about boarding schools by downloading our ebook, The ultimate guide to choosing a boarding school.