The particular reasons and motivations for parents to send their children to boarding schools are numerous, but this brief article will cover three common issues that frequently arise in public school systems.
1. Building character rather than knowledge.
Boarding schools for boys and girls have historically shown to be effective at teaching students critical life skills in multiple areas. Discipline, for example, is crucial for mastery of every practical skill, from cooking, to algebra, to football. Public schools are often unable to instill discipline in student bodies due to numerous factors, including budget cuts, excessively large class sizes, and limited availability of facilities and materials. Public school teachers are often under pressure to focus on teaching students to score well on standardized tests rather than emphasizing the knowledge and skills that will genuinely allow the student to succeed in the real world. This is not the fault of public school teachers; it is simply the nature of the system they have to work with.
Boarding schools, on the other hand, are able to focus on creating habits that build character. Discipline is only one example; boarding schools will also focus on honesty, teamwork, positive attitude, and commitment to achieving the desired result. Where public schools often focus excessively on the ability to memorize data and pass a test, boarding schools will teach a child to become the kind of person who can accomplish great things.
2. Strong authority structure.
Troubled adolescents and teenagers often struggle with disciplinary problems in school, and may even become juvenile delinquents, because they lack a strong foundation of authority and discipline. Human beings tend to gravitate toward structures of authority where they can be part of something in a defined role. Boarding schools for boys and girls can provide this sort of structure where perhaps it has been missing in a child’s home environment. Since males historically have tended to think logically, boarding schools for boys tend to include systems of rank and hierarchy. Since females tend to think sympathetically and emotionally, boarding schools for girls will often teach how to draw on the collective power of a community without as much need for formally-defined roles. For this reason, children lacking in discipline can sometimes find firm grounding in a single-sex boarding school—although this is not always the case.
3. Individualized attention.
Boarding schools can provide a level of attention to students that public schools often cannot. Private boarding schools have the ability to limit class size and enrollment levels, whereas public schools are often required to take in more students than they can effectively teach. As a result, public schools often employ one-size-fits-all teaching methods, designed to serve as many students as possible, as efficiently as possible. However, educational experts have consistently found that one size does not fit all. Different students have different needs and learning styles. There are different strategies for teaching students who have learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and a number of other complications. Boarding schools have the ability to specialize in different areas of education. For that reason, it’s important to research different boarding schools according to the specific educational challenges that your child faces.
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If you are considering sending your child to a boarding school, you will find it helpful to list out the specific areas where public school seems to be missing the mark. List the challenges and struggles that are specific and personal to your child, as well as the areas of expertise that you feel would be the most helpful in a school. As you research boarding schools, you may start to realize that your child is struggling in areas that you did not realize. In any case, be sure to choose a boarding school that focuses on character-building, authority structure, and that provides individual attention to students.
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