Boarding schools are private schools where children live in dormitories and eat in cafeterias for ten months out of the year. Since tuition to boarding schools is comparable to that of college, enrollment is usually limited to those whose parents can afford it. Some scholarships are available for those who do not have the cash to cover the full cost of tuition, but for the most part, boarding schools are attended by children of wealthy parents. Some of the benefits of boarding schools are listed as follows:
Low student to teacher ratio —- Unlike the crowded public school system, or even private day schools in large cities, the student to teacher ratio in boarding schools is quite low. Most boarding schools have six to twelve students per teacher. This, of course, leads to more one-on-one time and better grades.
Extra-curricular activities —- Most boarding schools place an emphasis on clubs and extra-curricular activities, especially sports and the arts. This may lead to well-rounded students with many interests. The cost of funding most of these activities comes from tuition payments.
Friendships —- Students make lifelong friendships at boarding schools. These friendships aren't only with other students, but also with teachers. In addition, since students basically live together, they learn how to solve petty differences and squabbles and become better at compromise.
Independence —- Since students are away from home most of the year, they have to learn to rely on themselves. They do have staff supervision, but for the most part, that's just for guidance. Most students make their own decisions and don't have parents constantly checking to make sure they have completed homework assignments or studied for tests. The responsibility for completing all tasks falls solely on the student's shoulders.
While it is agreed that boarding schools provide students with many benefits, there are also some concerns. For instance, students are away from their parents nine or ten months out of the year. This means students not only miss out on their parent's guidance, but they're lacking in bonding time with other family members such as grandparents, cousins and siblings.
Boarding school students also spend all their time in the company of the same people everyday. This doesn't give them much of a chance to make friendships outside of school or participate in non-school community activities. For instance, they won't be participating in neighborhood soccer games or dances. In addition, they're exposed only to students within their own social class and not to any other ways of life.
There are definite pros and cons that come with attending boarding schools. If you're thinking of sending your children away to boarding school, it would be advisable to research and discuss the benefits as well as the risks to determine if boarding schools are right for your family.