Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Boarding Schools
Making an Informed Decision About Your Child's Education

by Katrina R. Holtmeier

November 01, 2012

As a parent, at some point you’ll have to make a decision about the education of your child. You will have many options, including, but not limited to, public, private, Parochial, boarding, and home school. The type of education you choose will be based on many factors, such as family income, a school’s reputation, family characteristics, school policy and philosophy, and much more.



For many families, a boarding school offers the best education option. Some students need more structure, more attention from faculty and staff, and more discipline. But, what is boarding school and how do you know if it is the best option for your family?



A boarding school is a type of private school where students live, eat, study, and socialize at and around the school. There are more than 250 boarding schools in the United States. According to a 2007 article from www.boardingschoolreview.com, nearly 36,000 American children and young adults attend boarding schools each year.



Cindy Schalk of St. Charles, Illinois, was faced with a common dilemma. Her daughter, Anna, has a learning disability and was not performing well in the classroom of her local public school. Schalk took it upon herself to figure out another way for her daughter to be educated. After a lot of research and a few campus visits, Schalk decided that a boarding school would be the best educational environment for Anna.



Schalk enrolled her daughter in Brehm Preparatory School in Carbondale, Illinois. Brehm, which is approximately four hours from Indianapolis, specializes in empowering students with complex learning disabilities and helping them to deal with and overcome their challenges. For Schalk, Brehm was the place where she felt her daughter could succeed and earn the education she deserved.



As with most types of schools, there are pros and cons. For Schalk, the biggest con for a boarding school was the distance from home. Dealing with her daughter’s absence from home was difficult, but the benefits of a smaller class size and more personal attention for Anna at a boarding school outweighed any negatives.



“Brehm taught my child in a method where she was able to learn information, and that is powerful for self-esteem. Along with learning comes a better sense of self worth and self confidence,” said Schalk.



Although Anna has since graduated and is currently attending college, Schalk said she doesn’t regret her decision to send her daughter to a boarding school. Her bond with her daughter has only become stronger.



“Our relationship became better,” Schalk said. “There were no longer battles over homework, missed assignments, etc. When she was home, we were able to enjoy each other's company and could celebrate the successes she was having.”



While Brehm specializes in learning issues, there are other types of boarding schools including those which focus on the arts, social issues, Autism or Asperger syndrome, behavioral issues, religion, and military, to name a few.



The Howe School, located in Howe, Indiana, is approximately three hours from Indianapolis. The school focuses on helping cadets develop self-discipline, strong moral character, communication skills, and leadership, through a military-based platform.



Alumni and Director of Admissions at The Howe School, Major Tam Haas, said there are many significant things a cadet will gain at The Howe School, but the most important, in his opinion, is to become a productive leader and citizen.



“By gaining confidence in their abilities they can become leaders in society,” he said.



Whether you choose a boarding school for your child or a more traditional education route, the most important thing is your child’s success and happiness. Boarding school may or may not be the right choice for your child’s needs, so be sure to do research, talk to other parents, visit the schools you are considering, and make an informed decision with the input of your child.