1. Education

What is a Boarding School?


Kent School

Kent School

Photo © Kent School
Question: What is a Boarding School?
The British boarding schools is the main inspiration and model for the American boarding school. The British boarding school tends to accept students at a much younger age than an American boarding school. It runs from primary grades through high school, whereas the American boarding school typically begins at 10th grade. Boarding schools offer an inclusive approach to education. Students learn, live, exercise and play together in a communal setting under adult supervision.

Boarding school is a great schooling solution for many children. Explore the pros and cons carefully. Then make a considered decision.

Answer: A boarding school is a residential private school. Students actually live in dormitories or resident halls on the school's campus. The dormitories are supervised by members of the school's staff who are usually faculty. Students at a boarding school take their meals in a dining hall.

As a rule, boarding school students follow a highly structured day in which classes, meals, athletics, study times, activities and free time are predetermined for them. Residence life is a unique component of the boarding school experience. Being away from home and learning to cope gives a child confidence and independence.

In America most boarding schools operate from 10th grade through 12th grade with several schools offering 9th grade. Grades are actually called forms in many older, traditional boarding schools. Hence the terms Form I, Form II, etc. Students in Form 5 are known as Fifth Formers and so on.

What's Boarding School Life Like?
The very popular Harry Potter movies give us a romanticized glimpse of English boarding school life. I thoroughly recommend watching these other fine films set in private schools as well. They just might convince your child that going off to boarding school is a good thing. Want some books set in or about private schools? Here's a list for you.

Cons to Boarding School
Many of us parents have a problem with somebody else raising our children. But the reality is that our parenting has largely shaped our children by the time they get to 9th grade anyway.

"She'll miss her family and her things." Of course she will! But again, she will be off to college in a few years, so why not let her test her wings now?

Pros to Boarding School
I like the fact that a boarding school offers everything in one neat package: the academics, the athletics, the social life and the 24/7 supervision. That's a huge plus for busy parents. You won't have to worry as much about what your little darlings are getting into when you are not around. Best of all, your child will have very little time to be bored.

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