In my opinion, there is no point in getting a lab to do your black and white, at this level. You can only get good black and white if you experiment with exposure, development and printing. You don't need an elaborate set-up and these days, darkroom equipment for 35mm-medium format is being given away, literally. I get at least 3-4 offers a year for almost complete darkroom setups. The enlargers almost always wind up in the dumpster and I usually take whatever trays and miscellaneous equipment there is.
You really don't need a lot to get started in b&w at home, if you want to. Digital is far easier, of course, and that is why people go that route. If your son wants to do snapshot photography and wants quick turnaround, then digital is definitely the better option. However, if you stay the course and learn how to work with traditional monochrome materials, particularly if you go to larger formats, then you will be richly rewarded.