We have received two lots of visitors this weekend. Both are friends met through the Army, both have ‘matching’ girls.
In the first lot, both parents work and the girls went to boarding school when they reached seven. All are content with their lot. They value the limited time they spend together which is why getting all eight of us in one place probably only happens once or twice a year. We had a family dinner party where everyone participated in the conversation and then played a version of Trivial Pursuits in teams of two. Raucous!
Mother1 and Theireldest1 had seen the Channel 4 programme Leaving Home at Eight and been as unimpressed by it as I had. The programme focussed on four military families for some reason and then did not explain why such families might pick the boarding school option, nor what the alternatives would be. And we all agreed that being in too much contact with home (one mother seemed to ring every day) is a disaster in the settling in stakes.
Our next visitors were just Mother2 and Theiryoungest2 who were in the UK from a foreign posting to spend half-term with Theireldest2. She started boarding when she reached Year 10 and started her GCSE courses. Previously, like her younger sister, she has gone to school wherever her parents have lived. Largely this has worked, though Theiryoungest2 is bored by her latest school such that her parents are wondering what to do. This family are all finding the separation difficult; they have moved even further away for this, the actual GCSE year, and the distance in both miles and time doesn’t help.
For Youngest and myself it was a treat to have our friends with us, however briefly – Husband and Eldest missed theirs.
Perhaps I should add by way of explanation that you could see something about my boarding school experience here.