On the weekend one of my readers – hi Sandra – messaged me and asked if I could write a post about how boarding school is going. Sandra wanted to know how often we can communicate and how often they come home. She just couldn’t imagine having a child go off to boarding school. So here it is. Lets chat about what it has been like so far.
Now obviously I am definitely not an expert on this situation, given we are only into our 6th week. But I can tell you what it has been like so far.
I think we have been lucky. Tom has been so good and has settled in really well. Because we live so far from town boarding school has always just been a thing. We have chatted with the kids about it ever since they could talk. They have known that they will just go off to school in Brisbane in year 7. It’s just how it is.
Tom loves to play sport and of course hasn’t really had an opportunity to do so until now. So he is loving himself sick being able to play cricket. I do notice that the days he has cricket training or an actual game he is really chirpy whereas the days he doesn’t really have much on he is a bit down and bored.
Boarders are an important part of the school where Tom is, which is what I love about this one. I didn’t want him going to a school where they were just pushed to the side and forgotten about. Although having said that, Tom is actually the only boarder in his day class. I felt a bit sad when he told me this but he said he quite likes it… must be a bit of a novelty for them – the home schooled
freak boy from the territory. At least his teachers know who he is.
Thankfully Tom is very organised and can manage pretty well on his own. It might be a different story with Harry.
As you know I just had Tom out for his boarder free weekend. When I dropped him back at school on Monday night I noticed his bed didn’t have sheets on it. There were a set there ready to put on so I offered to make his bed up for him before I left. “No, don’t worry Mum, i’ll do it when you go”. I offered a few times but no, he was certain he didn’t want me to do it. Are we even related??? Who is this boy?
Tom had a great weekend and it was so wonderful to see him. We were both a bit sad doing the drop off on Monday but there weren’t any tears – well none that I saw anyway. He was looking forward to seeing his friends though, there is a great bunch of boys there and I know they are all well taken care of which makes it easier. He is where he needs to be with so many opportunities. It also helped having my good friend Di and her son with me for support.
Now as for communication… well these days it is pretty much open slather. Nothing like back in the day where we only had a gold phone to make calls on – hello Homelink, or a white phone for people to call in on. I remember lining up for that gold phone, waiting and waiting, and that was probably only once a week. The white phone was pretty hard to get us on because it was always busy. These days they all have mobile phones. Tom has my old iPhone 5 – I gave it to him for his Birthday back in December.
Now the good thing is that they have to hand their phone in at 8:30pm. They don’t get them back until after school. They then then study from 6:30pm – 8:00pm so are not allowed to use them during this time which means there isn’t a huge opportunity for them to sit there on their phones. I can tell the days when Tom doesn’t have much on because he will just send through a message … “Hey”. Then there might be another one and then he will call. We speak to him everyday, sometimes twice a day.
The mobile phone means he also keeps in contact with all his old School of the Air mates who are at different boarding schools, which is really great.
Now, Sandra’s other question – how often do they come home. Well for poor Tom unfortunately “home” is a long way away – a 3 day drive (2 if we were committed) or a 5 hour drive and then a 2.5 hour plane trip (which isn’t cheap FYI). So coming home for a weekend isn’t really an option although I would say we will swing it every now and then. He will fly home for school holidays but that is about it. I will try and get down once a term so will hopefully make that on his boarder free weekends. We are really lucky to have lots of good friends and family down in Brisbane who are all more than happy to do anything for Tom… if he needs anything or if he wants to go out for the weekend then they are there.
Of course he complains about the food but it wouldn’t be boarding school if you didn’t complain about the food, right? I tell him “first world problems” then offer to drop him on the streets of India for 3 weeks and we will see what he thinks of the food after that. Gosh I am mean aren’t i?! ha ha ha.
Their dorms are lovely and have recently been renovated so he really doesn’t have much to complain about. All the year 7/8’s are on the first floor, year 9’s are on the second floor and year 10’s are on the third. The year 11’s have a big building to themselves and the year 12’s have a huge separate building to themselves too. On the ground floor under Tom there is a wonderful health centre, it is basically a mini hospital. There is always a nurse on duty and a doctor does rounds everyday I think. How good is that. He is much better of there than at home if he gets crook. The year 7/8 house parents also live underneath which is another thing I really love. They are a married couple with young kids which is even better, a real family environment. Then there are the supervisors who stay up at the end of the dorm.
Oh and did I mention the kitchenette, pool table, flat screen TV & lounge and the Ping Pong table they have in their dorm? Um, really – are you sure this isn’t a resort?
They are certainly not that hard done by. I think I might move in. Someone feeds you, someone does your washing (and irons your school clothes), someone organised your recreation activities….. do you get my drift. I kid you not, there is a “Recreation Officer” who organised all the after school clubs and weekend activities… things like Mountain bike riding, golf, cooking, go cart building, beach on the Sunshine Coast, beach on the Gold Coast, Bounce Trampoline World, shopping and the list goes on. Doesn’t sound too bad does it.
Well I have banged on for long enough I think. Again – well done if you have made it this far without me boring you to tears. Yes we certainly miss our boy but we know he is where he needs to be. It might be a very different story if i had a sad boy on the phone crying to me everyday, but I don’t. So I will take that.
How about you? How are all the other Boarding School parents going?
Has your boy or girl settled in well?
Perhaps you are an old hand.
How often do you hear from your kids or see them?