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Positive rationale for Junior Boarding School (JBS)?

SportyPrepSportyPrep 23 replies3 threads Junior Member
edited May 9 in Prep School Parents
Try as I might, I can't understand the appeal of sending one's child to JBS in 6th or 7th grade. Unless it was really necessary, why in the world would someone actually choose not to spend as much time as possible with their 11 or 12 year old kid? What are the psychological impacts on a preadolescent?

I understand there can be special circumstances for expats and diplomats. Furthermore, some families from the Far East will make tremendous sacrifices in the name of education and ESL, which I understand account for a relatively large percentage at some JBSs, but why would an American family willfully send their child to a JBS in 6th-7th grade, seven days a week? It was hard enough for us to drop off our high school BS teen, and that came with feelings of guilt.

The idea of JBS makes me sad, especially if the raison d'etre is primarily about improving 9th-10th grade BS admission outcomes.

Is JBS going the way of the dodo bird for domestic families, and mainly an option for foreign families?

edited May 9
44 replies
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Replies to: Positive rationale for Junior Boarding School (JBS)?

  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5752 replies270 threads Senior Member
    edited May 9
    Calling @PhotographerMom.

    The bottom line is, “If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it.” Many ask exactly the same question about BS for high school. J/BS work very well for some, not for others. Neither one is having any difficulty filling spots.
    edited May 9
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6665 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The reality is that very few kids attend JBS, so most people probably feel the way you do.

    But there are enough families for whom it makes sense - local options aren't good, relocations, ESL, etc. Lots of kids this age love the company of their peers; these school facilitate sports, parents may travel a lot, etc.

    I don't think I could have done it -- but my son probably would have jumped at the chance.

    To each their own.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    The only families with children in JBS whom I know did so due to being stationed abroad in an unsafe location.
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  • blossomblossom 10387 replies9 threads Senior Member
    And guess what- lots of families don't believe in sending their kids to live in a college dorm when they've got a perfectly adequate bedroom at home. Not talking folks who can't afford it- talking about kids who commute for four years, often in a fancy car with all the bells and whistles. To each his own. I have a neighbor with four kids- none of them dormed. They take nice vacations, they spend money on all sorts of stuff- they just couldn't see paying tens of thousands of dollars for their kids to share a bedroom with a stranger and eat in a "cafeteria".

    Why does someone else's educational choices make you sad? There are millions of kids who have NO educational choices- they are trapped in failing schools. That makes me sad. An affluent family opting for boarding school? Works for them- go for it. Their motivation doesn't concern me. I knew enough messed up kids in college who would have done better at boarding school than living with their crazy and rich dysfunctional parents....
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1692 replies55 threads Senior Member
    It's not something I would have chosen except under unique circumstances that did not apply to our family, but now that I have seen the positive results of a good boarding high school experience, I can imagine that JBS could be great for some children. Certainly I know that there are members of this group who care about their children as much as I do about mine and who advocate for JBS in the appropriate circumstances.
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  • cityrancityran 86 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I never would have imagined sending a child to JBS until recently, but I think saying that, as others have implied, is the same thing as the countless people who tell us they can't imagine sending a 14 year old to boarding school. Why judge what another family chooses to do for their children? We are now in a unique position where I wish we had considered JBS for our 12 year old son. We have very limited choices for schools in our town. The private school closest to us is absolutely terrible. My kids have been there since they were three, and it gets worse each year. But we've finally had enough of it and it's time to make changes. Fortunately, our daughter is headed to BS in the fall (fingers crossed), but we had to decide what to do with our son. His options: stay in the terrible private school, wasting thousands of dollars more than we already have, send him to the LPMS which is the worst in the county and a 20 min drive, go to a different private school, 30 minutes away, or JBS. We chose the private school thats 30 mins away, but I wish we had given JBS consideration. He will spend only two years at his new private school before heading to BS, and since we live pretty far away, he won't get many opportunities to hang out with his new school friends. He is incredibly social and loves being with other kids, so I think he would have really benefited from JBS. Would we have missed him terribly? Of course we will, just like we will miss our daughter terribly, but sometimes it's worth missing some time with them to give them an opportunity they can't have at home.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    I think that an important question / point raised by OP is being overlooked:

    What are the psychological impacts of attending junior boarding school on an 11 year old or 12 year old pre-adolescent ?
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 2248 replies35 threads Senior Member
    @Publisher To truly understand that question, one would also have to understand the individual circumstances of the particular child at home. What are the psychological impacts of not being challenged academically? Of being a latchkey kid? Of attending school in a not-yet-mastered language abroad? Of having parents who travel 90 percent of the time? Of not being able to pursue a beloved sport or activity? Of being raised in less-than-ideal circumstances? Of being raised in an environment without other children around as playmates or without a strong sense of community? etc, etc...

    I can think of 100 reasons why a kid might be better off at JBS than at home. The psychological impact of JBS (the positive and negative) would have to be compared to the specific impact of their current circumstances to be meaningful.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Interesting comments.

    I see it as a very simple, straightforward issue with respect to the psychological effect on a pre-adolescent placed in a junior boarding school. A 10,11, or 12 year old child is just too young to be taken out of the home and placed in the care of non-family members. Growth should be gradual and in a secure, trusting environment with one's parents and siblings.

    While no setting is perfect, too much change and uncertainty can cause psychological damage to a child.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 2248 replies35 threads Senior Member
    1. I want to live in your world, @Publisher, where every home environment is stable, warm, and nurturing and every kid is better off living at home and attending the closest school. I can think of a ton of scenarios where that might not be the case and where JBS might be better for a family and kid.
    2) Friends in my country of origin think it is crazy to send kids off to college. Everything you just wrote about JBS? They feel the same way about young adults, who should not leave their nurturing best until they are fully educated and equipped to be self supporting. It is very culturally relative.

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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @CaliMex: Please read what I wrote. I never asserted that "every home environment" is anything. Those are your words, not mine.

    As for your second point: Different country, different culture, and most importantly, much different age (10 or 11 years old versus 18 years old).
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6665 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I think one of the important things to note is that most JBS are structured differently from BS in order to be age appropriate. Just like BS are structured differently from college. I think that a lot of times when people are shocked at the idea of sending a 14 year old to BS, they are imagining them living like a college student. But in reality, BS for a prep school freshman has many more supports around it and the schools talk about co-parenting with the actual parents (recognize the important of this type of relationship.) Colleges do not talk about their role in this way because college students are more independent. Similarly, JBS do not expect their 11 and 12 year old charges to be as independent, in the classroom or in the dorm, as a BS would.

    Iow, if you are appalled at the prospect of tossing an 11 year old into an experience that looks like what your BS freshman is having, so is the JBS. That's why they offer something different.

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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    It would be helpful to know:

    How many US junior boarding schools with locations;

    Ages & grades for junior boarding schools;

    and whether any junior boarding school also accepts day students.
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 596 replies7 threads Member
    So I asked kiddo what he thought about jbs. His response was “ X and Y went to JBS and are normal enough, and being ‘normal’ at Cate is saying something.”

    He also didn’t think it would have been a good choice for him - that the public middle school (the one he loathes and resents an irrational amount) - was fine. It made him develop a thick skin, he said, which has turned out to be useful.

    So there you go. Totally the opposite of what I thought. Jbs produces normal kids and going to the lps builds character from the emotional strain.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2143 replies18 threads Senior Member
    We also got tons of shocked expressions from parents when they found out our kids would be attending BS and not the local public which sends about 20% of kids to Ivies. They didn’t get it and couldn’t wrap their minds around it. That’s ok. We know what OUR kids need and make decisions for our family ( and that’s hard enough).
    I can definitely think of reasons for JBS for some families.
    And to the point taken above. In the 1970’s and even 1980’s, it was extremely common for kids to commute to college. Still is for CColleges and in some places. Some of the commuter schools are now considered elite for example Northeastern. When I was growing up this was the school the Kids with a C average attended. Bottom of the barrel for my high school. Things change.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Is it true that some (or any) junior boarding schools accept students as young as 8 or 9 years old ?
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  • PhotographerMomPhotographerMom 1979 replies61 threads Senior Member
    @ChoatieMom - Thank you so much for tagging me. Someone should call Child Protective Services and report these awful JBS parents. I owe you one and you can look for a strongly worded letter in your mailbox later. ;)

    Usually I'm happy to contribute or answer questions because JBS ( especially ) is very near and dear to my heart, but after reading the OP twice, I don't believe this thread wasn't created in good faith or with genuine interest - so I'll pass.

    If people are truly interested in learning more about JBS, please visit the JBS Association website. I think you'll be very impressed. :)
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 11
    The OP has raised issues worthy of consideration in this thread.

    OP's concerns remain unaddressed in this thread.

    P.S. In answer to my own questions, I visited the JBS Association website. There are 10 member schools in New York & in New England. Boarding grades are typically grades 5 through 9, but one offers grade 4 boarding as well.

    The JBS Assoc. website does not directly address OP's issues.
    edited May 11
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  • QuennQuenn 98 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Cityran, you should contact any JBS that you have an interest in and ask if they still have openings. A few years ago, we applied in August to a JBS for our son and he subsequently attended (and wouldn't change his experience there for anything).
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