For many, the first thing they think when boarding schools are mentioned is either Pencey Preparatory Academy or Hogwarts; depending on which generation you grew up in. While both Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter are fictitious characters, the institution of the boarding school has been around for centuries. For some Christian Boarding Schools are a matter of tradition; my dad went there, and his dad went there, and his dad before him. For others, it is necessary due to a parent’s profession. While, for some, it is the only way to receive a quality education.
What are Christian Boarding Schools?
These educational institutions are places where the students reside within the school itself. Similar to colleges, students live and sleep in dormitories that are on-campus. Each school can vary the grades in which it teaches; most teach all grades K – 12th grade. However, some only teach the upper grades, using their curriculum to prepare children for college. Thus, many of them contain “Preparatory” in their names.
How Are They Beneficial?
While many feel these types of schools are antiquated, they do serve their purpose for many students and their families.
- Tradition – For some, it is a matter of tradition. It is a rite of passage to finally get into the Christian boarding school that the parent enrolled in.
- Parents who Travel – This can involve one or both parents being in the military or another profession that keeps them on the move. These can even include missionaries who primarily work overseas, but still, want their children to be educated in the states. So, rather than uprooting a child with each move, a child is sent to a boarding school to stabilize the educational process.
- Disciplinary and Medical – Some are designed for those who are troubled or infirmed. This can be disciplinary issues to medically necessary. For various reasons, they are unable to attend a traditional public or private school.
How do Christian Boarding Schools Work?
While Christian Boarding Schools are schools, they are designed in specific ways that provide organization and a commitment to the educational process that outweighs a traditional education or homeschooling efforts.
Here are some of the elements of Christian Boarding Schools:
Students Reside On-Campus. Unlike a traditional school, where students go home after classes are over, At Christian Boarding schools and other boarding schools students head to their dorm rooms.
Tuition. Much like college, boarding school requires tuition. This can cost the equivalent to a college education; it does cover a bit more than what a college would — for example, room and board, uniforms, and school supplies like books. There are attendance differences, as well. Some offer five-day attendance, where students go home for weekends. Traditionally the stay is constant, 24/7. The difference would affect tuition costs.
Structured Curriculum. States have minimum requirements for curriculum for schools. With the private structure, most schools exceed this threshold. However, even though the standard is higher than a traditional school, the classroom environment can be different. Schools are more student-centered versus the teacher-centered classroom. The structure is about the learning process and not so much test-based teaching. Therefore, the curriculum is more challenging, giving more homework than a traditional student would have.
Extracurricular Activities are often Mandatory. From athletics to music to the arts, schools strongly encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities. It is part of the development processes and disciplines the Christian Boarding Schools are imparting into students.
Outlined Rules. Adherence to school rules is of utmost importance. Failure to keep to the standards set out by Christian Boarding Schools can result in disciplinary action up to expulsion from the school. Grades, dorm behavior, participation, and dress code all have minimum standards set out.
Christian Boarding Schools: Final Word
Many famous individuals have attended boarding schools. John F Kennedy and Franklin D Roosevelt, both Bushes, and John Carrey are presidents who got their education through these educational institutions. Also, actors Michael Douglass, Uma Thurman, Jimmy Stewart, both George Bushes, Steve Carell, and Seth McFarlane are among the extensive list who attended various boarding schools. Even Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg completed his education at a boarding school.
In addition, Actors, Judd Nelson, Seth McFarlane, Ted Danson, as well as designer Liz Claiborne all attended Christian Boarding Schools. These men and woman can attest that a boarding school education does not place limits on what you can become. We have actors, writers, entrepreneurs, and Presidents on the list.
You may or may not have a teacher like John Keating, but the teaching staff will have much more experience than a normal teacher because boarding schools have a higher standard. They also have a smaller class size; which results are a greater educational experience. And with many schools adopting a curriculum that is student-centered, called the Harkness Method, a more well-rounded student is empowered to change the world.