Summer options away from home after a year of boarding school

My high school junior is completing his first year at boarding school.  He was sent to boarding school for a better academic fit (support), because his behavior at home became untenable, and to put some distance between him and an unhealthy social dynamic.  He's doing much better academically. His behavior at school is very good. He seems to be making better social choices. Much to my relief, our relationship is improving as well.  However, when he comes home or travels with me or my husband over school breaks, all bets are off and he quickly reverts to old patterns.

With the end of the school year fast approaching, I need to find a summer option for him that does not involve living at home.  Staying at the boarding school or with relatives are not options available to him.  Best would be something that involves paid work or an internship.  Any suggestions?

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Hi,

I’m sorry I can’t help with your question but wondered if you could share your process for finding your child’s boarding school. I have the same kind of kid as you describe and I think boarding school will have to happen in the next year. I’m worried his negative behavior will just continue in a new location though. It sounds like that didn’t happen for your child. Would you be open to sharing where your child is boarding and/or how you chose the school?

Best of luck to you  I feel your pain  

The summer after my jr year I went to summer college, sleepaway.  Many colleges do this, from huge UCSB to tiny Lewis and Clark College.  This might be an option for him.  There were great courses to choose from as well as a supportive environment to practice independence, explore outdoors, try radio DJing, etc.  In the meantime, if your kiddo is at all self reflective, you might ask him what triggers him to the prior behaviors once back home.  My partner had these troubles, still, as an adult when returning to his parents' home.  After realizing they couldn't recognize his maturity and still treated him as their child, instead of as a maturing/mature adult, he was able to not be triggered.

This is a response to Jean as requested below.

We have been through years of educational testing and various therapies and therapists with our son.  A lengthy process (years of considering) lead up to the boarding school decision.  We've looked at and tried various educational options throughout his education, beginning with our own research and ending up utilizing the services of a school placement consultant.  When considering boarding schools, it is important to know they cover quite a range from traditional college-prep, to traditional with supportive services, to therapeutic.  If therapeutic is a consideration, I suggest (recommend with some reservation) The Bodin Group in Los Altos.  For tradition college-prep schools, I recommend NextStep: School Selection LLC in San Carlos.  We pieced together information from both, layered on our own research, selected a small handful of traditional with supportive services schools to visit, and let our son decide which to attend from that small group.  Our son was reluctant to attend boarding school.  However, he did not have the choice whether to go, but he did have the choice where to go. 

It is very hard to send a reluctant teenager away and I would only suggest doing so if all local options have been exhausted.  Good luck to you on your journey and may there be better days ahead for both all of us.

This answer is for your question and the other poster who asked about boarding schools. Your situation sounds so tough.  I have a couple suggestions that are maybe too much of a stretch.

1. YMCA Camp Campbell has a 4 week Counselors in Training Program or a 2 week Leader in Training program(you can sign him up for 2 sessions extend it to 4 weeks). My son goes to camp campbell when we live in the states (we are usually living overseas) and it is just spectacular. Gorgeous setting in the redwoods, really nice cabins, nice pool, little stream all sorts of activities to do. Most important is they develop this real sense of community partly by all these chant songs that they sing back and forth, yes the even the teens love it.  Very good atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance. It's really impressive, well run, no electronics. It will help with responsibility and behavior. Oh and compared to other camps, it's affordable. http://www.ymcasv.org/ymcacampcampbell/html/summer_overnight.html

2. If you feel a little more adventuresome, you could consider a Danish Folk School  (for summer) or Efterschool for boarding (this also is for the gal who was thinking of boarding school - as we are in the same boat, a very difficult kid and I have already decided to send my son to a Efterschool as I have a Danish friend who raves about the experience her daughter has had who had difficulties in regular school and that quite a few foreigners/Americans who do this, it's very popular.  These schools have different focuses - sports, music, personal development etc. Most are in Danish but some are in English or German.  There is even one for kids with ADHD and other issues. The kids live together in a big house, they have some responsibilities for their food and they work closely together with each other. The teachers live there too and Danish teachers are really well-trained and good. It's affordable and seems to give kids a chance to thrive and become more independent. You'd have to google Danish Folk School or Efterschool for more info but here's a brochure.  These are also affordable compared to American boarding schools. .http://danishfolkhighschools.com/media/1286395/thefreedanishschooltradit...

Just a few ideas. Good luck!