Private Boarding Schools

Written by Shirley Parker
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Most boarding schools today hold a highly respected reputation for all-around excellence. This contrasts with the earlier history of boarding schools that indicated such places were largely halls of misery for children in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There were, of course, exceptions, when students lived in the homes of faculty. By contrast, today's students generally consider themselves very fortunate to attend a private boarding school: personalized attention is the norm; creativity and science are both openly encouraged; and the needs of each child are paramount. Many boarding schools today encourage applications from good students in all segments of society, by offering scholarships and financial assistance. As a result, great cultural diversity can exist among the student bodies.

Since earlier times, sending a child to a boarding school has been an option for the wealthy. Their children indeed benefited from the emphasis on academics and the more focused attention on development of their inherent talents and abilities. However, conditions were often spartan, discipline unpleasant and too often meted out by older students, rather than coming from adult staff or faculty.

That isn't to say that in-charge grownups of previous centuries had much kindness in them, either, in most cases. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the order of the day. In other words, boarding school was a breeding ground for bullying, hazing, and other inhumane behavior that frequently resulted in serious psychological and physical harm. Such activity has been all but eradicated from the boarding school system nowadays, but wise parents still face a multitude of bewildering choices in selecting the right accredited school for their child or children.

Military Boarding Schools

Particularly when a family had a military tradition, at least one son went to military academy when he became a young adult. If he survived intact, he became a future military leader of distinction, or notoriety, as the case may have been. Without naming names, world leaders of all stripes have often come out of military academies. That's been useful for a world continually at war; probably not as good for leadership in the times of peace that women would much prefer to see. However, military personnel also perform lifesaving missions with great skill, courage, and determination in times of dire need.

A junior military academy is another type of private boarding school in existence. It's often chosen for its emphasis on discipline, self-esteem and character building for those younger boys, and sometimes girls, who have difficulty handling rules. In many cases, such children need direction and purpose in life, a reason to obey rules after they have been deeply hurt in some fashion. But parents must truly understand their child before selecting a regimented environment. When the choice is the right one, the growth and healthy pride the child exhibits can be phenomenal.

Therapeutic and Creative Arts Schools

Children truly struggling with learning disabilities, from whatever cause, often need specialized schooling where they learn to be as independent as possible. Sometimes the struggles stem from emotional or mental illness, and a sheltered environment is a necessity so they might and can achieve. At other times, a child is born with an inherited personality that conflicts with the child's environment, resulting in rejection of parental values or behaviors, regardless of how they are presented. All of these children require professional guidance in a supportive atmosphere.

In addition to the outstanding, all-around curriculum offered by many "regular" boarding schools, creative arts schools can be a world of wonder for the child especially gifted in music, ballet, or painting. Rather than being criticized for being too dreamy, the child is encouraged to work hard and develop those artistic tendencies. Of course, keeping up their grades on the academic side is also expected. Overall, it seems there's a school that's right for almost every child.

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If we are talking about old shoocl, kindergarden times then any and all of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books (partially because I alwasy wanted a dog and parents never let me). If we are going by elementary status then Where the Red Fern Grows (again partially because of my love of dogs. If we are talking middle shoocl then the Ender's Game series, mainly for is philosophical innuendos. Good question. April 01, 2011