When I was fourteen years old I was given the opportunity to go to an excellent boarding school for high school. I say now that it was an opportunity, but, at the time, I didn’t think that was the case. I was the oldest of five children in a very close-knit family and my two youngest brothers were just three and four- very cute ages! I wanted to stay home and be part of the family action full-time.
When my oldest daughter was in her ninth grade year she came to me and asked if she could go to boarding school. I wasn’t shocked by the idea, but I had planned to keep my children home for high school so I could see them every day and we could remain intact as a family. However, her reasons were solid. She felt that she needed to be challenged more academically and she wanted to live in a boarding school environment where she would interact with her teachers and fellow students intellectually, in and out of the classroom. Additionally, she talked about the varied opportunities a boarding school environment would offer her.
We spent hours poring over catalogues and visited a number of schools near and far before choosing the one we both felt was the best fit for her. All through the process we were questioned by our friends as to why we were rejecting the local public school education and why we would pay for an education when a sufficient education was available for free. In my mind it wasn’t a matter of rejecting any educational option or settling for something sufficient merely because it was free. I was looking for the best educational option that I could afford for my child.
At the beginning of her tenth grade year she began at a school six hours from our home; and then came the BIG question. “How could you send your child away to school? I love my child too much to do that.” I knew it wasn’t a matter of loving my child so much that I had to keep her home; it was the fact that I loved her so much I had to I let her go. Three weeks after starting in boarding school she thanked me for giving her the opportunity because she was happier than she had ever been in school. Finding the right educational fit for your child is every parent’s responsibility; and sometimes you have to love them so much that you send them away.