By: Deborah Zabor
Online school for hospital homebound children provides an excellent solution for children who are hospital homebound (HHB). These are children who have been diagnosed with a serious illness or medical condition that seriously impedes their ability to attend school. The condition can be due to a catastrophic event, an acute condition, or a chronic illness that requires continuous or periodic treatment. It can be physical or psychiatric in nature. Due to the nature of the illness, the treatment regimen or other considerations, hospital homebound children are restricted to their home or hospital for an extended period of time.
Public school systems provide programs and services to HHB children that attempt to emulate a public school education. These programs typically consist of a teacher traveling to the student’s home or hospital once or twice a week. Students typically work from textbooks or photocopied assignments that they hand in to be graded. Assignments handed in one week are usually not graded until the following week. Student questions may be handled through e-mail.
Aside from attendance, HHB students may have regular or rigorous treatment schedules that interfere with their ability to perform schoolwork. In addition to treatment regimens, hospital homebound students may experience fatigue, pain or depression that impedes their ability to work. This, coupled with the more drawn-out nature of the typical HHB program coupled with the students treatment regimen may result in a lower level of learning or having to extend or repeat grade-levels.
Online school for hospital homebound children provide a superior alternative for HHB children for a number of reasons. First, instead of old textbooks and copied worksheets, students access up-to-date information that is presented in a way that is engaging and colorful, using a wide-array of audio and video technology to address all types of learning styles. Students have access to their teachers through e-mail and video chats whenever necessary. Grading is done online, typically within a day or two of being submitted. The faster response and grading times means that students receive feedback on their work in a much timelier manner, resulting in an educational environment that is dynamic and stimulating. Travel time is eliminated, allowing teachers to efficiently focus their time and energy on addressing students learning needs. Online curricula offer the flexibility to allow students to maximize their efforts at the times when they are most able to do schoolwork. Overall, online programs provide a superior educational solution for hospital homebound children – one that is motivating and stimulating, and that adjusts to the students abilities and needs.
Children at any age may experience a medical condition that is challenging, not only to them, but to the families who are providing for them. Fortunately, advancements in technology such as the Internet and online education, are providing new solutions and alternatives that are superior to what was available in the past – why not take advantage of them?