Parents choose different schools for their children for many reasons. They often don’t do so deliberately yet, when faced with this as a necessity, it turns out to be a positive experience.
As a decision, it may come down to the child’s personality, curriculum, learning “style”, class size or location. A growing number of parents are bucking the traditional “one family, one school” model and splitting up the children, a path they feel supersedes the convenience of the single commute and aligned holidays.
Many families balk at the idea, but there are some surprising benefits in sending Jack one way and Jill the other. I am one of these parents, and not for the first time. My children were separate, then together, and now separate again. The first time was not by choice; this time, it most definitely is.
My two children are very, very different. My son does weekly boarding, which is not only fantastic for him, but for his sister. We have so much more time with her during the week and it’s doing wonders for her confidence. She has her school, and he has his. While it can be challenging logistically (our mid-term breaks are entirely different), many perceived advantages of having your children in the same school don’t apply, especially by the time they reach secondary.
Actually, one of the most unexpected advantages is that my children have more reason to talk to one another and share. They are genuinely curious about each other’s schools and like to compare and contrast; not competitively, but in a social way.
A good friend of mine, Ngai So-wa, faced a dilemma when her younger son was not accepted into his elder sister’s school. The same school, where my own daughter was studying, had rejected my son a few years earlier! When Ngai’s son was not accepted, they chose a local DSS school with a good reputation, about 15 minutes from their home.
Originally published on SCMP Education as ‘One family, two schools’ here.