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Come home?

grinzinggrinzing Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
edited February 2010 in Prep School Parents
Help parents--this is my first post. S is not doing as well as we hoped in BS and we are thinking about having him switch to local school near home after this year. He's just too distracted, grades mediocre, and not really opening up to new things. Local private school is strong and will gladly take him back -although he will be unhappy to give up friends at BS. Will a change of schools ever be explanable to colleges?
Is coming home after a year away going to make things worse because he wants to stay (but it's not really up to him if we think it is the wrong fit)?
Post edited by grinzing on

Replies to: Come home?

  • JoyhuffesJoyhuffes Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I took a lot of time to warm up to the idea of boarding school and after two years of researching schools and the opportunities it would open up I am completely sold on the idea. My son is excited and we feel it is the right thing. That being said if my son was not engaged, happy, taking the opportunities available to him... I would rethink my decision. I would wait it out the first year (unless of course there was something bad going on in the school). He still has 4 months left in the school year and he may come around and "adjust" to boarding school life. Give him the rest of the year to see if he gets his footing...If he is still unhappy the school, or boarding school in general, may not be a fit for him. I highly doubt it would affect his chances at a good college. Especially if he came home, thrived, grades improved and he was happier and taking advantage of the ECs and opportunites at home. I am sure kids switch boarding schools all the time because they found a better fit, or go home for the same reasons. Boarding school is not for every child and I am certain that colleges are not going to frown on a 14 year old preferring to live with his family. I wish you the best, it is a very difficult decision I am sure.
  • WintersetWinterset Registered User Posts: 717 Member
    Is he in 9th grade? If so, it won't matter very much. The first year in BS is tough for lots of teens. Suddenly they have to exercise self-discipline, plan their work ahead, study appropriate amounts, and balance an alluring social life. Courses may be a bit tougher. Roommates can be a negative. Generally, the impact is seen on grades. Like you, my son was in strong local day school. His grades there were higher than his first year in BS. Like you, I felt he was not “opening up to new things” his 1st year even though he is Very outgoing. Unlike you, our son wanted to come home. His previous school agreed (last week in August!!!) they would be thrilled to have him back. He decided to stay. Since then it has been smooth sailing. Now grades are almost perfect, he has amazing sports/EC’s, and is in early to college. He loves his school, his friends and looks forward to returning after every vacation. I really thought he should come home (and I missed him). I was wrong.

    Have you discussed your concerns with his advisor or anyone else at the school? Are the issues the same type he will face as a college freshman? But if he comes home, yes it is explainable; it will have to be addressed though. Or so a professional college counselor told us. I would consider giving it at least until yearend and maybe even discuss it with a college advisor.
  • sk8sk8 Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    Grinzing, This time of year is probably the worst as the gloom and doom of winter are still upon us. Go through the school's handbook. They should address the types of services available for students, ie. counseling, peer tutoring, (also many schools contract with outside agencies for tutoring for a fee). Try to touch base with his advisor and maybe the counseling office to find out your options and go from there. Your son is probably due to come home in a couple of weeks for break. You can assess the situation better then. Also, I heard Spring term is much nicer and goes by quickly. Good luck.
  • Chelsea1Chelsea1 Registered User Posts: 95 Junior Member
    My son is in 9th grade. His first semester away went really well. He seemed happy and his grades were good; not quite as strong as back home but still ok. Socially he fit right in. Then he came home for winter break and saw all of his friends from home. Returning to school in Jan. was very difficult. We began receiving emails about wanting to come home. A roommate problem developed, and his grades began to drop. As parents we were very concerned and went up to see him for a weekend. We told him coming home this soon was not an option and that he had to make the best of the situation. We also spoke to his advisor and the Associate Headmaster, who is his English Teacher. The school has been wonderful.

    Now it is mid Feb. and everything is back on track. He is even talking about returning next year! He changed roommates with the boy across the hall, and he was placed, at our request, into full time supervised study hall. He just turned 15 and is still a kid. Creating more structure, telling him he couldn't home home right away and having a great advisor who checked on him regularly made all the difference. The school has been great and assured us that this is very common with 9th and 10th grade boys. They have a lot to manage and every child adjust differently. My son is very athletic and has really enjoyed that aspect of boarding school, but he has not taken advantage of new opportunities yet either. I think in time he will. He first must learn how to manage being away from home and all the independence that comes with it.

    You might want to consider supervised study hall if you are concerned about distractions and grades and definitely talk to your child's advisor. Our school really helped us through this. Give it some time before you make any decisions. Good luck!
  • opsops Registered User Posts: 818 Member
    A lot of good advice. Some freshmen hit the ground running, for many it takes awhile. Its a very good sign if he wants to stay. But, as parents you do know what is best. IMO I just think that whatever you decide, it is important that he makes the decision. I'm speaking with forked tongue and trust you catch my drift. Having said that, one measurement of improvement I always notice is the level of maturity achieved over the months, not to mention by end of the school year. On a more personal note, that's when I really wonder what I've missed by sending the boys away. Sometimes, what is said on the phone is not exactly the whole story. The advisors are there and play a very vital role within the whole BS scene. Touch base with his advisor and get his/her input on just how things are going. Spring break is right around the corner. The Spring semester / quarter is like a fresh coat of paint all over the school after a cold dreary Winter coupled with new sports and opportunities which literally changes the whole school atmosphere. I'll bet things get better, good luck!
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    You know your son. I don't.

    Have you spoken with your son's advisor about his academic performance? Does the school have Naviance? Many boarding schools are tough graders. I think it would be worthwhile to ask the school's college placement office for advice.

    A serious talk with your son about your concerns is a good place to start. Spring break is the right time. Maybe he also has concerns, and it putting on a good show. If he wants to stay, though, and his grades aren't terrible, then I think you should consider how he might react to your bringing him home. After a year away from home, he isn't the same 8th grader you sent to boarding school. He is more independent. Will you, and he, agree on the amount of control you may have over his life?
  • zuzu'spetalszuzu'spetals Registered User Posts: 344 Member
    While waiting it out may, in general, be good advice, for some there is a financial aspect that can't be overlooked. We just received our contract for my d's school for next year. It is due back in late March. If I had to wait it out til the end of the year to make a decision, I might be jeopardizing my child's spot. Not to mention the school could reasonably demand a decision before then.
  • grinzinggrinzing Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    Great comments and support, much thanks. We plan to wait out for the year and see how it goes. S is a 9th grader and I know some of this is still learning the ropes and immaturity. But, I don't see any sense of urgency to get his act together based on our strong messages and advice. Can we really hope that this might just improve over time? Isn't 9th grade the easiest year and the likely outcome is things will get worse (or at best stay the same)? BTW, the advisor and dorm parents are not being proactive They seem to have their hands full with kids in academic warning zone, which S is not. I am starting to feel like a pushy parent with them.
  • Alexz825MomAlexz825Mom Registered User Posts: 730 Member
    Grinzing, I think 9th grad is is hard no matter what, my d is still at home hoping to be a 10th grader at some bs this fall. Thou we were hoping she would have gone last year (but due to issues beyond our control-death of her beloved grandpa) it has worked out best she stayed home.

    But my point is she has matured GREATLY in this year...and that would have happened no matter where she was...i think it was just the right time.

    The idea of bs works for me on so many levels that most ppl from the midwest just dont get. I take comfort in so many ppl looking out and watching, so many more than just me and family at home.

    Keep the contact up and I have learned it isnt that I am a pushy parent, but just the number 1 advocate for my d :-)
  • Chelsea1Chelsea1 Registered User Posts: 95 Junior Member
    G - I definitely think things will improve over time. 9th grade might be considered the easiest academically, but remember these kids are adjusting to so much more than academics. My son is beginning to understand the work ethic needed to achieve honor level grades at his school, but I feel strongly that he needs some guidance in this area. I have asked his advisor to really focus on this. My son is not in an academic warning zone either, but several of his teachers agree that he is capable of better work. The school has been very proactive in getting him back on track. If your son's advisor/dorm parent is not responding contact his teachers. I felt like a pushy parent too, but contacting his teachers, really helped. The school needs to know your concerns.

    I mentioned early that my son had a roommate issue. It had nothing to do with not getting along. They are actually very friendly. It just so happens his roommate was the messiest person he had ever met and because of this he felt unorganized all the time. Switching roommates has been great and hopefully will help him be better prepared each day. He made this switch completely on his own. We found out after the fact which is a great sign of him maturing. Placing him in supervised study hall has given him the structure he didn't feel he had in his dorm room. Kids come and go from supervised study hall for many reasons, not only academics, so he does not feel different. There are so many factors that go into achieving good grades. I feel confident they will all come together soon.
  • ParlabaneParlabane Registered User Posts: 596 Member
    Grinzing - unless there is a total crash-and-burn, like all the other posters noted, boarding school will improve for your son. A lot of valuable lessons are being learned by him right now that are non-academic: finding himself socially, self-reliance, internal motivation, recovery from mistakes etc. These sorts of "passages" are equally or even more important than the grades. This is part of why boarding school is worth the money in my opinion.

    The other consideration is how your son will feel about himself years hence. There's a good chance he'll consider leaving a personal failure, regardless of how he describes it to others today. In many cases (not all) I think parents can do a lot of damage to their child's self-esteem by letting them "give up." Remember, you're in this together. Keep up the words of encouragement, but don't allow "coming home" to be part of the solution.
This discussion has been closed.