Boarding schools offer many benefits, but the decision to send your child to one can still be difficult. What if you know that a public school is no longer for you (or your child), but you’re not sure about sending him or her away to a boarding school? A summer program at a boarding school may serve a number of good purposes to help you with this decision. It can give you and your child a feel for the boarding school experience, as well as for a specific school itself.
Living away from home
For many parents and children, boarding school represents a major shift in their relationship, and it indicates a growing maturity in the child. For the first time, the child may be living away from home when he or she enrolls in a boarding school. By enrolling in a boarding school with a summer program, you and your child have an opportunity to see whether living away from home is an environment he or she can handle.
A summer program allows everyone to see if the child is mature enough for this transition. Many boarding schools recommend enrolling in a summer program for exactly this reason. For example, Episcopal High School in Virginia strongly encourages prospective students to visit over the summer not only to become familiar with the facility but to determine if they are ready to live on their own.
Academic challenges and considerations
Boarding schools pride themselves on their high standards. A high level of performance is expected from the students who attend a boarding school. By enrolling in a boarding school with a summer program, students and parents have the opportunity to test whether the boarding school's academics offers the right level of challenge for the student.
This video offers an overview of the summer programs at Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Virginia.
Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, for example, is a college preparatory school with a summer program. It offers a mastery-based curriculum and supports this with highly interactive, individualized instruction. By enrolling in Brewster's summer program, students can develop a sense of what is expected from them if they enroll at Brewster and if this learning environment best suits them.
Right fit of extracurricular activities and opportunities
Boarding schools excel in academics, but many have exceptional extracurricular opportunities as well. Boarding schools with summer programs help students obtain a sense of what activities and opportunities would be available to him or her during a normal full year.
This video offers an overview of the summer program at Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
For example, Baylor School in Tennessee offers a unique leadership program and vast extracurricular choices, ranging from sports to arts. Many of their athletic teams, in fact, are nationally recognized. If your child attends Baylor's summer program, your child will have the chance to discover if Baylor's activities and facilities are a good fit for his or her interests.
As discussed earlier, boarding school can represent a big step for many children and their parents. Attending a boarding school with a summer program may give prospective students the confidence they need to attend full time. By enrolling in the summer, students will gain a sense of comfort with the campus, the faculty, the expectations and procedures, and the overall school environment. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn what type of curriculum the school teaches, how the faculty treats your child, and – most importantly – how your child will react to his or her new situation.
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