Boarding or Day School?

Boarding or Day School?
Many parents agonize over sending their child to boarding school or keeping them at home and sending them to day school. A look at the pros and cons here.

Many parents agonize over sending their teenagers to boarding school or keeping them at home and sending them to day school. The issue you really need to address is the quality of supervision you are able to give your children after school and on weekends. Let's face it, modern parents lead very busy professional and social lives. If you aren't around to see what's going on, do you know what your teen is up to?

The Advantage of Going to Boarding School

When you send your child to boarding school, you are buying the whole package: academics, athletics, social life, extracurricular activities and 24/7 supervision all rolled into one. That's just part of the boarding school DNA. It is an incredibly good deal for many thoughtful parents. Of course, she will miss her mother and father, her siblings, her own room, and all those other special things she knows and loves. But, the truth is that she will be off to college anyway in a few years. Getting a head start on leaving home is not a bad thing. It will pay huge dividends in later years as she has had to learn to cope and adjust to new circumstances at an earlier stage in her life. Teaching her to be independent is a good thing.

Living in a boarding school essentially prevents your child from being anonymous. She will be part of the school community. She will be engaged in its activities, academics, and athletics. She will be involved in the life of the school. That may strike her as different from the life which she has enjoyed back home. Nonetheless, she will become accustomed to participating in a wide range of activities throughout the week. She will develop confidence in her abilities. Best of all, she will accomplish all of this in the company of and with the support of her new friends.

The following short video illustrates the kind of fun your child will have in boarding school.

Sports practices and games are easier to schedule because the whole school operates on its own self-contained schedule. Holding a drama or choir rehearsal in the early evening won't inconvenience anybody. Study hall and lights out are all part of the rhythm of school life as well.

You also don't have to worry about meals as those are part of the daily schedule too. So is downtime. Teens need time to socialize. Boarding schools help teenagers learn to manage their time. And that is a life skill worth learning.

Besides not having to worry about what your child is doing, the transportation issue is moot. No more driving to and from school. Or worse, no more teens driving between home and school.

Best of all, a boarding school is a self-contained community. Your child will interact with all the members of that community, learning valuable lessons about diversity and tolerance in the process. The teaching, and the learning, never stop just outside the classroom.

Once again, the important question you need to ask yourself is whether or not your busy professional lives allow adequate supervision of your teenager's activities. The answer to that may determine what kind of school will meet your requirements. Boarding schools offer many wonderful advantages for you and your child. Visit Boarding School Review and find out more.

The Convenience of Day School

If you live in an area that has several private school options AND you have the time to be a full-time parent, then day school is a serious option that you ought to be considering. The two main advantages are that the cost is less than boarding school and that you can exercise your parenting skills on a daily basis. If you have a demanding career or perhaps one which requires extensive travel, you ought to think twice before considering day school. Teens need 24/7 supervision or else they will get into mischief or worse.

This video shows the wealth of programs that a typical day school offers.

The disadvantages of day school are twofold: transportation and involvement with the school. Both of these aspects of a day school take time. If you live on one side of Atlanta and have to get your child to his school on the other side of town, that daily commute is going to be a challenge. Many schools offer private transportation service at extra cost. Of course, if you have somebody on your staff who can drive your son to school, that will solve the problem. Think seriously about what you will have to grapple with when he gets his license. He will want to drive to school because all his friends have their own cars and drive to school themselves. You will also have to supply a car for his use.

Your local day school will expect you to be involved with the school. Typical duties would include helping to chaperone a field trip or perhaps baking cookies for a class party. It doesn't sound like much, but if you are a busy professional, fitting all this into your crowded schedule will take some doing.

What are Your Requirements?

Compare the pros and cons of boarding and day schools carefully before going on to the next step of identifying specific schools. Both types of schools have merits and distinctive features. Which one works best for you is a matter of your requirements.

In this video, students talk about their experience at The Webb Schools in Claremont, California.

Private Schools on YouTube

Most private schools have videos available on YouTube. Some are professionally produced. Others are not. While a video is no substitute for visiting a school, it does give you an idea of what the school is all about. In the case of boarding schools, the videos will help you refine your shortlist of schools without having to set foot on campus. Save your visits and travel budget for schools on your shortlist.

Keep a list of features that are appealing to you. Always compare what each school offers to your own personal list of requirements.

How to Search YouTube

Looking for a video for a school you want to check out? Type the school's name into the search field at the top of the YouTube page. Then look for the school's channel. Most schools will have their own channels on YouTube. A channel is a place where the school collects and organizes its video clips. I recommend subscribing to schools you are interested in. That way when a new video clip is posted, you will receive notification.

The Next Steps

Deciding whether to send your child to boarding or day school is a major decision. Once that is out of the way then you need to focus on finding the right school for both your child and you. Her happiness must be at the top of your list of requirements. It must remain there simply because the last thing you want is an unhappy child. Even a pre-schooler can be unhappy if the fit isn't right. So be mindful of that important requirement.

Start by compiling a list of all the schools which you think are a good match. Keep that list on a spreadsheet to which you can copy and paste information about the schools from their websites. Information such as websites, admissions office contacts, tuition and fees, and deadlines specific to each school will help keep you organized. Once you have this first list of schools completed, set aside a couple of hours with your child and shorten the list down to 3 to 5 schools. At this point, if you have the slightest doubt about whether she will get into any or all of the schools on your shortlist, you need to decide whether to hire an education consultant. The last thing you want is to apply to three schools and be turned down by all three. And that can happen. Education consultants know their schools. They will tell you whether or not the schools on your list are a reach or are strong possibilities for success.

Use these three checklists to help you compare the criteria which are important to you and your child:

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