The choice of schools nowadays can be an overwhelming decision. The proper educational institution could set a child on the right track for life. An unsuitable one would do the exact opposite.
One option while choosing schools is rather an old fashioned one for today: namely boarding schools. Many of us have read the old timey stories about boarding schools by authors such as Enid Blyton. In addition to this, boarding schools have long been considered a most prestigious form of education for both boys and girls.
- Unique Advantages
There are advantages of boarding schools that are just about impossible to get anywhere else, whether it’s with a home tutor or a day school. The level of education and the opportunities provided with completely immersing students into an academic life are astounding. This is partly why many families prefer to send their children to boarding schools like Eton, especially as they directly prepare their pupils for a successful lie ahead.
- Adherence To Tradition
Traditional education and discipline are dying arts. Boarding schools still honor the old traditions that made them what they are today. These could include wearing uniforms, having separate time slots for prayer, or disciplinary exercises.
- A Transformative Environment
When children and teenagers are removed from homes where their every whim was served, it could be a very healthy experience for them. The focus of life in a boarding school is first and foremost on the learning part of life.
Of course, there are scores of extracurricular activities such as walks, clubs, sports, etc. However, all these tie in to create an exciting environment that gives a sense of community and spirit to the individual. The students hence start thinking less of themselves and more about practical activities.
- Discipline And Independence
Both boys and girls need to learn certain life skills. Boarding school is an excellent platform for learning how to be social, how to take care of themselves, and how to rely upon other as well as their own person.
Not only does this round out their personalities, but it makes them into more complete, sympathetic, responsible, and independent individuals. Such people are of much more use to the world than those who can’t even clean their own room.
- Availability Of Mentors
In day school, the teachers go home when the students do. With boarding school, one can interact with teachers much more easily. Not only would lecturers and professors be on hand for academic discussion, they could also guide their students with their wisdom and experience.
Bonds like these last a lifetime, and could be of immense benefit to both parties. The teachers would be more invested in their student than any day teacher could, and students would feel an affinity with their teachers. The teaching and learning process is thus ongoing even outside of the classroom.
Before jumping at the chance to send one’s child to boarding school, however, there are several factors that both parents/guardians and students must consider. Since nothing is perfect, every school might not be suited to the nature of the student or his parents. Additionally, there are some schools which simply take advantage of the trust that parents place in them. For a fictional (but based in reality) example, one only has to pick up Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby.
Below are some cons that would make one think twice about the boarding school option:
- High Costs
Boarding school means the parents pay for the food, rent, and other necessities of their child, as well as the tuition. All of this makes the price go up. The additional expenses of the uniform, travelling, clothing, etc, might make boarding school more than twice as expensive as a day school.
The students might learn to work together as a team, but more often than not, cliques are formed and some students are made to feel less than the others. In fact, bullying could potentially be more severe in boarding school since the bullies have 24/7 access to their victims.
However, there have been several innovative programs that are of immense help in dealing with the bullying problem within boarding school systems.
- Psychological Implications
Other than a boarding school becoming a potential Lord of the Flies situation, the obvious psychological implication of being far from home can adversely affect the mental health and academic performance of several students.
Though being far away from home could give independence, it could also foster a sense of fear and need. This could result in boarding school students becoming even more attached to their homes and more dependent than before.
In fact, if students start boarding school at too young an age, this could lead to a condition known as boarding school syndrome. Most apparent in adults, this syndrome is the cause of emotional and behavioral difficulties as a person grows older. The main root problem then seems to be the loss of regular family life when they went to boarding school as students.
Boarding school may be a bubble, but it can be a very positive one. The cons of this decision definitely count too. The final decision about boarding school, however, is based on the priorities, values, budget, and the various goals of parents and their children.
Author Bio: Sarah Benjamin is Student Counselor with an experience of more than a decade. She is an active guest blogger on education. She also assists students via cheap courseworks in their academic challenges.