Having spent almost seven years of my life at varying stages in boarding school, hostel, with roommates and dorms, I would like to clear the air about boarding school life and what to expect and talk a little bit about how to select the right boarding school for your child.
While staying at a place away from home is no cakewalk, it does tend to make a child self-reliant. I read this article https://www.edustoke.com/blog/parents-choose-children-boarding-schools/ some time ago and felt that the need for the word about the importance of barding schools must reach out.
The child learns to deal with real life situations on his/her own terms and is not scared of new things in life. While to some it may seem that eventually everyone will get over these fears, but I must say I have seen some middle aged personnel drudging away at low paying jobs just because they are afraid to change cities which career advancement will force them to do.
Schedules and Routines
The children at boarding school also get more time to learn and study as compared to home as their routines are quite regimented and controlled. Also, as they do not have to waste time commuting to school and back and are not disturbed by sudden appearances of relatives, neighbours or other distractions which make life at home so interesting.
Boarding schools generally have good sports programs and facilities. This is done in order to give the children a kind of outlet for their juvenile energies. Children heading back home after a long day at school rarely get to participate in such activities.
Children from boarding schools are also good at making friends outside their immediate circle and better judge of people they don’t know, as they learn at very early stages that everything a person says or does cannot be trusted.
Children living alone learn about financial independence and planning. They learn to save money to achieve goals and spend wisely to last them through the month as most of the boarding schools are quite strict with monthly allowances the children can have.
How to overcome the accompanying challenges
However, beyond these benefits lies a thin layer of ambiguity influenced by what we sometimes hear or see movies and serials depicting.
Firstly, no matter what the school administration will have you believe, there will be some sort of an ice-breaker between new comers and existing students of one kind or the other. The children in most cases do learn to deal with these independently and in other cases the motivational conversations with wardens and other staff often helps in students dealing with these with a lot of maturity as opposed to what is depicted on television.
Social segregation may also become a major issue. There are boarding schools which are suitable for every pocket. While I would like to give the best possible education and care to my child and would like to put him/her in the most comfortable boarding school there is, I will not be doing him/her any good if it is filled with children of the likes of the popular industrialists or the bollywood stars. Because, while the moral education at my house is strongly emphasised, my child will eventually pick up habits which I cannot afford or will be so isolated and segregated at school that it would defeat the whole purpose of sending him/her to a boarding school in the first place.
Homesickness is another aspect which needs to be thought about. While eventually most of the children will get over the homesickness, it will be the first major festival after they have joined which will be the hardest. Treating them with letters or savories by courier or visits by local guardians can help overcome this feeling. While all boarding schools give an annual schedule, planning visits in and around this time is a great thing to do.
Emotions with family
Family disaffection can happen and is a very real possibility. Children who are sent to boarding school might eventually feel disconnected to their families and become separated. You need to be very clear about the reasons you are sending your child to a boarding school. The calls made home are very crucial for the children, as they are controlled by time and availability of the shared phone. Ensure these calls are not missed and emails that are exchanged are heavy in content reiterating how much you love the child and how fruitful this boarding experience is going to be.
While boarding schools might seem like a road filled with curiosity to many, a great part of what I have become today is actually because of the experiences I had in the boarding and I am grateful to my parents for having made this tough yet fruitful choice.
Senior central government employee