It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “Should I send my kids to boarding school?” In this episode, Dr. Leman discusses the most important factor of your child’s education. Learn more about Dr. Leman at


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Doug:                       Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea:                  And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And we are so glad that you are with us today. If this is your first time with us, just want to let you know this is for your education and your entertainment purposes only. If this subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. I am looking forward to Stacy’s question today about, how do I deal if I’ve got a really bad school and I have no other options? Dr. Leman, we rarely do this, but I thought it might be interesting, it might not be. This podcast will be released July 3, and July 4 at the Terpening household we have somewhere between 50 and 80 people hanging out in our backyard. The express purpose is we want our friends to get to know new friends, and our neighbors. All our neighbors come over, too. We do all these crazy games. People often end up in a pool. Then at the end of the night, up in Washington you can get those big old illegal mortars that you can shoot off that Andrea loves. You can hear her.

Andrea:                  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Leman:           Bombing the Oregon coast.

Doug:                       Yeah. It’s just a great time. We love 4th of July, celebrating it.

Andrea:                  You should see Doug in his element running games for all these people and drawing in the neighbors who say they would never play a game.

Doug:                       Yes. We love hosting people and helping them get to know each other.

Dr. Leman:           Yeah. We’ll be surrounded by about 30 people on July 4. We live on a lake, and so the tradition is at 10:00 at night everyone lights the flares. You buy flares, and you light them at 10:00. The whole lake, which is 21 miles long, about a mile wide, is surrounded by red flares.

Doug:                       Oh.

Andrea:                  Oh, fun.

Doug:                       Cool.

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, it’s sort of cool. I always love July 4. It’s always busy. Of course, Sandy is Martha Stewart incarnate. She always has delicacies made, and special desserts, and you name it. We do a very traditional, usually cookout, sometimes kabobs. That would be a Mrs. Uppington version of a hotdog. Let me say this about beef kabobs. They come with beef or chicken. They’re not cheap. That’s all I’m going to say.

Andrea:                  But I bet they’re tasty.

Dr. Leman:           They’re great, but when you have 30 people and some of those horses we invite to our place could eat four of those things, I’m going, “Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.” I’ve lost the battle on, “Honey, can’t we just have hotdogs?” We have kabobs Mrs. Uppington style. It’s a great day. So many people bash our country today, it’s embarrassing. Recently they had a White House Dinner that Trump didn’t attend. There was a comedian there that lashed out at Sara Sanders, who represented President Trump. The things that were said were so inappropriate, so out of place. We’ve allowed people to bash our country from within. I’ve often said if our country fails, it will not be from the outside. It’ll be from the inside.

It’s sad that we have people who mock people who honor the flag or honor America. I got news for you, folks. There’s one country that people want to immigrate to more than any other country in the world. We can say it in unison if you’d like, United States of America. It’s still the best country around. Yes, we have a diverse population, diverse ideas. I’m thankful for the diversity we have. But we bash our president and the office of the presidency the way it is. It’s disgusting to me. I’m glad that people take pride in their country. I realize when you start talking political, even as I’m saying this about Trump, I’ll get some nasty emails from people. He is our president. I think we honor our president. We honor the office of presidency. We honor our own country at every turn.

Doug:                       It makes me think of how much we talk about the heart, and giving, and caring more for people around us, and how we could ever get that discord back to, “How can I love my neighbor? How can I really care for my neighbor?” 4th of July, it’s the reason I do it is because I want my neighbors to know that I love them, and I want my friends to know that I love them, and I want others to know. That’s what we love to do on the 4th.

Dr. Leman:           I think we could all take a lesson from the LDS community, the Mormon community. I was talking to a young lady who’s LDS the other day. She was talking about the trauma that was in her life, and I said, “Oh my goodness, are you able to get some help?” She said, “Oh, Dr. Leman, I’m LDS.”

Doug:                       Wow.

Dr. Leman:           That was her answer. She says because the community just comes around her and helps her. My hats off to them. We need to be more service-oriented to our neighbor for sure. All right, what do you got today?

Andrea:                  All right. It’s interesting, we were talking about the United States, and the question is from South Africa.

Doug:                       Hey, fun. Let’s hear Stacy’s question here. Here we go.

Stacy:                      Hello, Dr. Leman. My name is Stacy. I live in South Africa, and I live in a tiny little town. Dr. Leman, my question is we’ve got one school, and it is very small. There’s only one class per grade, and there are roughly 35 children in a class. It’s a multi-sex school. Most people in year five send their children off to boarding school to a single-sex school but about two and a half hours away. There are quite of a few of them. They are obviously very good and cater for more than what the children are catered for here at our small school. I just wanted to know your opinion on boarding schools and sending them at age 9 to 10 to be two and a half hours away. We’ve got three boys ages six, four, and two,. It’ll be tough sending them away, so I just wanted your advice. Thank you so much. Bye.

Dr. Leman:           Wow. Boy, Stacy, I can tell from your accent that you’re from Texas. I love that South African accent. That is so beautiful. By the way, Stacy, my publisher, these are their words, “Leman, you have no idea how big you are in South Africa. The South Africans love you.” I can attest to the fact that I’ve been invited there at least three times. I hate to say this publicly, Stacy, but I’ll tell you the truth. I turned them down all three times. Why? Because I am not a good passenger in an airplane. I get claustrophobic very easily. I sit in the very front of the plane for a reason. That long flight down to Johannesburg, I can’t do. My limit is about four and a half hours. That’s from LA to Honolulu. By hour three, I’m usually climbing the walls a little bit.

Anyway, back to your question. Let me first of all say that in terms of boarding schools, I usually have a negative set to boarding schools. Yes, many people, many very successful people have gone to boarding school. Successful people go to boarding schools usually come from families that have lots of money, so there’s a connection there. I’m hearing what you’re saying. The local school isn’t any good. But sending a young kids three and a half hours away, I would have a real tough time doing it no matter what the educational benefit might be. I realize what you’re saying that the local school stinks, but I’m quoting myself. Who is the best teacher to your child? The best teacher to your child is you, the parent. You may not feel like you’re gifted to do homeschooling per se, but how about supplementary teaching? Call it that. Send your kid to the local school that’s not very good, and look for ways by way of the internet to enriching your child’s education so that you end up maybe doing a couple hours at home of teaching your children.

Given the choice, and this is a choice, trust me, everything that Leman says is not to be followed by everybody. Every situation is unique. Every situation is different. I try to answer that question, Stacy, by putting myself in your shoes in South Africa with kids your age, with a very good school three and a half hours away. I would make the decision not to send them to that school. I would look for ways of supplementing the poor education he’s getting down the street by having enriching materials, challenges, program, for lack of a better term, in the home. If your kids are great readers, that’s a real plus. I would make sure reading is a priority, books are a priority in your home. Go ahead, Doug.

Doug:                       Why do you say that it’s better for the child to be at a subpar school at home than send them away?

Dr. Leman:           That’s an awful long distance for a kid to function by themself. Doug, I flew my daughter Hannah from New York state, from Buffalo airport, to the Tucson airport. We fly Buffalo, Chicago, Chicago, Tucson, because she had to go back for school, and she was going to live with her married sister. We wanted to spend a little extra time in New York, Sandy and I. I was engaging the stewardess, the flight attendant, in conversation. I asked her if she was doing a turn. That’s airplane talk for, “Are you turning around and going back to Chicago?” She said yes, she was going back to Chicago, because sometimes they go to Dallas. I said, “Well, I’ll be on your flight right here in 3E. That’s my seat.” She said, “Wait a minute, you’re flying right back to Chicago?” I explained to her that I was taking my 10-year-old daughter, 12-year-old daughter back to Tucson.

She went into a long explanation about their unescorted minor policy and how they take good care of kids and put them on in Buffalo, and then daughter, who’s married, could pick up the child at the airport and all that. I said, “Yeah, I realize you do that, but quite frankly, it’s my responsibility and not yours.” She about fell over. You call me what you want, a traditionalist, an antique, a dinosaur, but I’m not putting my 10-year-old daughter on a plane by herself. That’s for me. That’s my convenience so I could be with my wife for an extra couple weeks. Then I’m going to go the extra mile, and I’m going to fly my daughter and put her in the hands of her sister, hug and kiss her goodbye, and get back on the airplane. That’s my rationale. That’s what I would do.

Doug:                       If I’m reading between the lines, you’re saying that for the development of the child actually to hang out with mom and dad, there are benefits there beyond just learning what they’re going to learn in school. Is that what I’m hearing between the lines?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, because by sending her away, you’ve negated your indelible imprint that you put on your daughter on a daily basis. Now you’re having a stranger or strangers become the people who are putting the indelible imprint on your kid. No, I want to do that. I want to have as much play in parenthood as I possibly can. I’m not willing to fork her over to strangers.

Doug:                       Which is saying a lot from you because you’ve studied schools because you know the value of great education. You’re saying that the imprint of mom and dad is that important, and what I’m teaching them in life, I guess, right?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, I think Stacy’s that motivated. She wants what’s best for her children. It might be a stretch for her and her husband to be homeschooling parents as well. I’m saying send her to school and supplement it by way of teaching in the home. Make that teaching day a little longer. I’d find ways of making it fun, games, competition, whatever. We have a big banner at Leman Academy of Excellence that says, “Where learning is fun.” We’re a curriculum that has rigor in it. We expect a lot out of kids. But I still think learning ought to be fun. That’s my advice to you, Stacy. It can be accepted, rejected, or modified. We wish you well. I’m glad to know that I’m well-liked in South Africa. If we ever have a train available from Tucson, Arizona to Johannesburg, I might make a reservation on that one.

Doug:                       Dr. Leman, I appreciate you answering Stacy’s question. Stacy, great question. I thought it was really great. It just reminds me again of what you keep telling us is that we leave an imprint on our kids. The question that I keep hearing in my own head is, “What imprint am I leaving on my kids again? How am I living my life, and how am I interacting with them that’s leaving an imprint on their life?”

Dr. Leman:           It got an email the other day from a lady, and she said, “I just want you to know that my husband and I, we have these little bracelets. They just simply say, ‘What would Dr. Leman Do?'” They’re trying to change their authoritarian-based parenthood to something more pragmatic. I thought that was cute.

Doug:                       That’s awesome, that’s awesome. Thank you, Stacy, for your question. Thank you to all of you that are listeners of this that are passing it on to your friends and families through Facebook. Thank you to Revell and Baker Publishing for making this happen. You are the reason that we’re back on the air with everybody. We just thank you so much for making that happen. We just do this because we love you guys, too. We just want you to keep growing in your parenting, and adding to this toolbox, and just having the confidence to raise great kids.

Dr. Leman:           Hey, would you do one thing before we say goodbye and spell your last name, Terpening, for people?

Doug:                       Sure. T-E-R-P-E-N-I-N-G.

Dr. Leman:           I always kidded Doug and Andrea because I always thought if you were looking through a book of exotic animals, you would run across this animal called a Terpening. I’ve never met a Terpening.

Andrea:                  Now you have.

Dr. Leman:           There must be several of them. Are there many Terpenings all throughout the country?

Doug:                       Upstate New York is where a bunch of them are at, believe it or not.

Dr. Leman:           Really?

Doug:                       Yeah, yeah.

Andrea:                  You can look them up.

Doug:                       Yup. Isn’t that funny?

Dr. Leman:           Wow.

Doug:                       Yup, there’s where most of them are from, and there’s a few in Southern Oregon.

Andrea:                  But we don’t know any of them.

Doug:                       Nope.

Dr. Leman:           Lots of times when I’m getting phone calls from somebody and I hear somebody’s name, and they say it so quickly, I don’t always catch it right. I just want to make people know who the Terpenings are. By the way, these are lovely people who were blessed with lovely parents, okay? We’re talking about parenthood on our podcast. What you do as a parent today is going to be transferred through generations. For some of you, you had a rough start. Maybe your families were not ideal, but you’re on track, and you’re doing it the right way. You’re really laying the foundation for future generations of your family by doing the right thing. God bless you for what you do every day. Thanks, Doug. Thanks, Andrea.

Doug:                       Well said.

Andrea:                  Thank you.

Doug:                       Thank you, guys. Look forward to the next time. Have a good one.