Parents' Biggest Worries About Boarding School

Updated May 03, 2016 |
Parents' Biggest Worries About Boarding School
As you consider sending your child off to boarding school, you have concerns. Every parent does. We address some of those concerns for you.
One of our parental perogatives is to worry about our children. That's probably because your child never came with an instruction manual and as a result you have had to learn so many things about parenting simply by being a parent. No matter, worry is part of the parental landscape. Now, if you are thinking about sending your child off to boarding school, your worries will be quite specific. Probably along the lines of the follow questions.

Will my child be safe?
Boarding schools take your child's safety very seriously. Contractually a boarding school functions in loco parentis which is a legal way of stating that the school acts in the place of the parent when it comes to supervision of its students, your child included.

In many respects your child is a whole lot safer at school where she cannot drive or go to somebody's house and get into who-knows-what. Drugs, drinking and smoking are not permitted in a boarding school. Zero tolerance is the rule. Does it prevent teens from pushing the limits and experimenting? That's impossible, of course, as any parent knows. However, the limits are strictly proscribed and teens learn to respect those limits and rules or face the consequences.

These are good lessons to learn.

Will she have time to herself?
Yes. Of course. Part of the structured life in a boarding school is down-time. Everybody needs it. Time to sit and watch a movie. Time to throw a ball around. Or just read for fun. The only difference is that she will be under the watchful eye of adults.

Will she be able to keep up with the academics?
The academic programs at most college preparatory schools is pretty intense. But that's why she got admitted. The admissions staff are confident that she can do the work. The school knows that it has just three years - actually really only two years - to get her ready for tertiary level academic work.

The academic work is rigorous. But what really stretches your child is that there is so much academic work. She won't read just one Shakespeare play like she probably would in a public high school. No. She will read three Shakespeare plays over the course of a year. That's a lot of material to get through, to absorb and digest.

Academics in a good boarding school don't just skim the surface. Nor do they teach to a test. Rather the over-arching theme will be teaching your daughter how to think critically by exposing her to so many ideas and disciplines.

Stretching your child, stimulating her and expecting greatness are the hallmarks of any decent boarding schools academic program.

Will she have enough money?
That depends. Certainly she is going to be around some rather well-off classmates. Boarding school will open her eyes to all kinds of things about the way people live. It will also remind her from time to time that money is not the same as love. Put another way, boarding school students have parents who are too busy to spend quality time with them too.

Make sure she has an allowance but also let her know your limits. An ATM card which you monitor will work fine.

Will she get into the right college?
Boarding schools have a pretty good idea of where their graduates can matriculate. Their college counsellors will encourage your child to apply to colleges which are a good fit for her requirements. One of the colleges which they suggest will probably be a real reach for your daughter. But the other two or three will doable. She'll stand an excellent chance of getting in.

We parents will always worry about our children. That's part of our job. But when it comes to sending your child off to boarding school, ease up. Relax. Boarding schools know what they are doing. And they do it extremely well.

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