Attending boarding school far from home -- experiences, thoughts, etc.

<p>As a regular poster, I am sure that many of you know that my youngest son applied and was accepted into several boarding schools. The original list of 9 schools schools that he applied to has now been narrowed down to 2 -- Putney and Northfield Mount Hermon. From what we can tell, both would be a good "fit" for him, both are financially doable for our family and he is interested in both schools. We are planning to attend the revisit days and make our decision after the visit (he has not visited either school).</p>

<p>However -- neither school is close to us. We live in Colorado -- so either school is an equal distance and is not close enough for us to be dropping by to see a game or play, nor will he be able to come home for a random weekend. </p>

<p>He is a very independent kid with plenty of experience away from home, so he doesn't see this as an issue. I think he will have the typical adjustment issues of any freshman -- but nothing severe.</p>

<p>What I am wondering is what kind of issues are particular to the child that is boarding so far from home? Logistical issues? Emotional? etc?</p>

<p>I do know that we will be asking at the revisit about weekend activities and if the campus empties out on the weekend. We have looked at the break schedules at both schools. We would plan to accompany him to drop him off, fly in for both parent weekends, and fly him home for Thanksgiving/xmas/spring break. Each school has one long weekend -- which he would probably go to a friends house for.</p>

<p>I thought it might help our thinking process if we got some more input -- I would love to have him go to a school that is only a short distance, but that is not an option.</p>


<p>i'm going to school 2200 miles away. I'm thrilled to death! and honestly, 100 miles, 2200, what's the difference. Either way, it's a BOARDING SCHOOL! Sure, if it was 100 they'd be able to come see me once in a while, but it wouldn't be often up for me to not be homesick. I expect to have a tough couple of weeks at first, but, like everybody else, i'll get over it. I can't wait!</p>

<p>In reality the difference between being 100 miles and 2200 probably isn't that much. In terms of how often you go home.</p>

<p>However, I feel the mindset is very different, its not necessarily thinking oh i'll go home this day, its more knowing if you want to go home you can. Or if something happens your parents can be there in a flash. for instance if you break your leg, if you live 100 miles away your parents can rush up and take you to the hospital, but if your 2200 miles its a little different.</p>

<p>I think for people who've had summers (or winters? depending on where you live breaks might be different) away from their parents understand that the first two or three weeks are mixed with ecstatic and homesick emotions. When you know your time there is limited, not by years but maybe by a month or two, you tend to get less homesick (just in case anyone might get homesick, try that, saying only __ weeks until I get to see my parents! or any upcoming event, because that tends to keep you more excited than depressed) and enjoy the new experiences.
that being said, the most time I've spent away from home by myself was 4 weeks, so I can't exactly say this is completely true. Calling your parents every few days and emailing tends to bring you closer to them, and from previous posts on other threads, the level of friendship between you and your parents rises significantly because this is one of those cases where absence does make the heart grow fonder.</p>

<p>But the first few weeks will be "unstable." He may miss home or he may love the freedom. But everything pretty much settles down afterwards, so not much to worry about ;)</p>

<p>Being from Texas where the sun is often shinning , my D's had a bit of a difficult time after returning to BS after the Xmas break. The days are short, gray and cold. Being from CO the weather may be similar but I'm sure the days are mush shorter in the NE.</p>

<p>I would never be able to stand the gray clouds of winter -- but my son says he will be fine. I think that as long as he is active (he is thinking of doing cross-country skiing for his winter sport) he can get through the gray doldrums of winter. Except for this winter (which has been unusual) the sun is always shining in Colorado! I love it.</p>

<p>Thanks for the input, guys. My son has done plenty of travel on his own and spends most of the summer away from me (has done that the past 5 summers). Yes -- he knows that those first weeks can be tough. Things are never quite as fun/exciting/perfect as he thought they might be -- but he knows to just stay busy and he will be fine. </p>

<p>He doesn't have any concerns -- they are all mine. I will say that when he is away for the summer, we talk on the phone about 3-5 times a week (just depending on how busy it is). We just touch base for a few minutes and it gives him a chance to unload if he has issues, bounce some ideas off me or get some input on a decision. I suspect we will keep up the same routine when he goes to boarding school. He calls me, so the frequency just depends on whether he wants to talk to me or not.</p>

<p>I am more concerned about the logistics -- will he feel left out and abandoned if most of the kids get to go home for weekends and he doesn't? (he will be coming home for breaks and such). If we only come up to drop him off, pick him up and for two parent weekends -- will that be enough?</p>

<p>If parents live close enough, do those kids get to do things my son won't? </p>

<p>I just kind of want to know ahead of time if there will be issues.</p>

<p>You may find that your son picks up a couple of "adopted" parents if he becomes close to another student and spends a break weekend or 2 with them. There are often plenty of folks with big hearts and houses that look after the "orphans" on campus. It wouldn't be bad to get to know a bit about your son's friends families and develop a working relationship.</p>

<p>How about things like haircuts, dentist and doctor appointments, etc. do we just plan those for when he is home? It seems like the spring semester doesn't have as much time off, so I don't know if that would work.</p>

<p>I'd just like to say I'm so happy that the time I should be going to a boarding school is the exact time when I take my braces off (Sep. 2009!) It's a perfect orthodontal schedule even though orthodontal isn't a word according to Mozilla Firefox's spell check :D
I'm guessing breaks are the only good times. Unless you live anywhere less than 5 hours away (and driving 5 hours just for your kid is probably a pain, so maybe 1 or 2 hours away)</p>

<p>Regarding dentist and doctor appts - yeah, we have my D's cleanings during the holiday break and in the summer as well as her annual physical (generally required for many schools anyway - or at least an updated vaccination record) during the summer. </p>

<p>The girls take care of their own hair at school. With the guys, typically they will have shopping trips into town on Sundays where the guys can find opportunities to get their ears lowered (dating myself with this term - LOL).</p>

<p>From my experience, the kids who live close don't go home as frequently as you would expect. They certainly go home to visit, but not every weekend. Also, it's sometimes nice when a lot of people are gone. The dorm is quiet, and it is a good time to relax. Kids with parents will be able to do more things simply because they have ready access to a car. You're son will certainly be able to do these things, he'll just need to find a friend's parent to drive him or pay for a cab.</p>

<p>The appointments are much easier to do at home. Since he's a guy, a haircut probably isn't a big deal, but it's easier to go to the doctors you already know. I've found that coming home every three months works perfectly for appointments.</p>

<p>Goaliedad is absolutely right- we have "adopted" several of our daughter's friends from the other side of the world- they stay with us over long weekends, and we take them to the airport or pick them up if their flights don't work out to the school's schedule. I have found most boarding school parents to be very kind and generous when it comes to pitching in to take care of other families' children.</p>