For Parents

This section covers issues and concerns for parents of boarding school students. Explore corporal punishment, get expert advice on preventing hazing, and read first-hand accounts from parents. Learn what to do if things go wrong, see what boarding school students do in the summer, and get words of wisdom from a reluctant parent.

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Packing for School

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Packing for School
What are you allowed to bring to boarding school? What are you not allowed to bring to boarding school? Answers to those questions and more.
Here's what we are looking at. Your daughter heads off to boarding school in a two months. She's got a horse and a cello and a raft of sports equipment including skis and field hockey sticks. You're going to need a truck to get her to school, right? It all depends. Let's review the items and equipment schools will allow her to bring and things she should not bring. Bear in mind that every school has its own unique rules and regulations concerning what can be brought on campus and what cannot.
 
Incidentally I remember quite vividly load our Dodge Caravan full to the brim with what I can only call 'stuff'. I never knew one young lady would need so much 'stuff' when she went off to boarding school. But she and her mother had determined what she needed and what could be left at home for another trip. I was comforted to discover dozens of other over-loaded vehicles at the school when we arrived to move our daughter in. And most of the fathers looked just as bemused as I did.
 
Horses
 
Let's start with the horse. Riding is an integral part of many boarding school athletic programs. If riding is important to your child, investigate the equestrian programs offered by the schools which you are considering. Our daughter had ridden in seventh and eighth grades. Fortunately for us, her interest in that expensive pursuit had waned by the time she was ready to go off to boarding school.
 
You can
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Why Choose a Boarding Summer Program

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Why Choose a Boarding Summer Program
Most boarding schools offer summer programs. Here are some answers to your questions about what's involved.
Most boarding schools offer summer programs running for about two weeks. If your child needs help with a subject like math, for instance, she will be able to find it. Ditto with enrichment. Summer boarding programs offer a special opportunity to sample a variety of subjects in a residential setting away from home.
 
Behind the scenes
 
Boarding schools run professionally staffed fully insured and properly licensed programs. They have been doing it for years. They understand how to supervise young people. That's because they do it all year long.
 
The teachers are generally drawn from the school's academic team with adjunct faculty added as necessary for special programs. The support staff including kitchen and security professionals are usually the same team you will find on duty when school is in session. All these professionals have passed background checks.
 
Boarding schools have found that summer programs make good use of facilities that would otherwise be idle for several months over the long summer vacation. They also have learned that summer programs provide an agreeable soft introduction to the concept of going away to boarding school. Many parents send their children to a boarding school summer program to see how they will like it. Next thing they know their son or daughter is asking if they can go to that wonderful boarding school.
 
Here is an example of what I mean.
 
 
What about the amenities?
 
Are meals provided? What are the meals like? Most schools offer three meals a day. Snacks are also available.
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What's the Food Like?

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What's the Food Like?
You child will have many questions about the food and much more at boarding school. Here is one way to handle those inevitable questions and concerns.
Sending your child off to boarding school raises all sorts of important questions for your child. After all, she is a teenager. Leaving home is a major step for kids going off to college much less a kid going off in ninth or tenth grade to boarding school. And those college kids are four and five years older than she is. So be patient and be proactive. Anticipate her questions and concerns. What I strongly recommend is that you try think about what your child's questions and concerns will be. You know her like the back of your hand anyway.
 
Almost all the schools on your short list will have web sites which can answer most of her questions. For answers to her remaining or more detailed questions email the admissions offices. They will be very happy to help.
 
So, what's the food like? Food is important to teenagers. As it should be. Truth is that boarding schools have dealt with teenagers for years. They understand the kind of nutrition growing bodies need. Indeed teaching students about nutrition is something boarding schools have baked into their programs.
 
Here is an example of what I mean from the web site for St. Timothy's School, Stevenson, Maryland.

"Great food and excellent service are the hallmarks of Dining Services at St. Timothy’s School. We meet the wide rangie of tastes and meal preferences of our student body with healthy, varied and wholesome meals.  Many items are made from scratch, and homemade pastries and desserts

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What Happens When.....

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What Happens When.....
Here are some answers to the more common concerns we parents have when our child goes off to boarding school.
This article offers answers to some of the more common concerns we parents have when our child goes off to boarding school. Most, but not all, of these questions and their answers come from my own personal experience.
 
1. Your child is expelled?
 
Expulsion is a big deal. You will have a lot of explaining to do when you apply to another private school.  It may just be that you will have to send your child to public school for the rest of the academic year while you try to find a new school willing to take her. I have always taken the view that it is how we handle failure which is the true measure of our character. Shall we learn from our mistakes and be the success we know we can be? Or do we blame others and retreat from reality. I suspect that some counselling for both you and your child might also be helpful.
 
2. Your child is asked not to return?
 
Your child attends a boarding school on a year by year basis. You and the school sign a new contract every year in April or thereabouts. You will have already had a couple of meetings with the school before being informed that the school has decided that they do not wish to have your child back. Read the warning signs carefully and act accordingly. 
 
3. Your contract is not renewed?
 
I slipped this question and its answer in with boarding school teachers in mind. Your contract is most likely
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Corporal Punishment is Still Legal in Many States

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Corporal Punishment is Still Legal in Many States
As amazing as it sounds, corporal punishment is still legal in over 20 states. Fortunately private schools banned the practice many decades ago.
Do you realize that there still are nineteen states in which corporal punishment of students is still allowed? Merriam-Webster defines corporal punishment as "punishment that involves hitting someone:  physical punishment." Yes, it is legal to discipline students by hitting them in states in the South, the Southwest, and Midwest including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. It is legal to paddle students with a wooden paddle, While it was much worse ten or twenty years ago, it is appalling that in the 21st century the richest nation in the world still has nineteen states which permit a child to be spanked by an adult in a classroom. Corporal punishment has no place in schools.
 
Fortunately, I know of no boarding school anywhere in North America which permits hitting students. Period. Technically, the only states where corporate punishment is forbidden in private schools are New Jersey and Iowa. But our boarding schools, indeed our private schools as a whole, are enlightened exemplars of all that is good in education. Our private school Codes of Discipline and Conduct do not allow any form of physical abuse. For all kinds of good reasons. But most importantly our boarding schools understand what is required to create a better world, a world where children can mature into productive adults fully capable and confident of achieving whatever their dreams are. Corporal punishment is not
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Recent Articles

Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Teaching in a boarding school is the same as teaching in a public school, right? Not exactly. Some explanations here.
Academics: Advanced Placement
Academics: Advanced Placement
As part of your evaluation of boarding schools, you will examine the academics. We look at one aspect of what many schools teach, namely, Advanced Placement courses.
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
By "wrong schools", I mean schools that don't fit your needs and requirements. Finding the "right school' implies that the school meets 99% of what you require. More here.

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