A child who is out of school longer than two weeks for any medical reason is entitled by law to instruction at home or in the hospital. The ideal time to request this service is as soon as you find out your child may remain in the hospital longer than two weeks. A letter is required from the physician stating the reason and expected length of time for this service.
My daughter Julia was diagnosed with T-cell ALL when she was in second grade. We had her tutored at home by a district-sponsored, certified teacher and it was a great experience. She received the tutoring right through the end of the school year. (She started around mid-January with the tutoring, and it continued through June.)The teacher we had was fabulous, and Julia stayed caught up with (and even ahead of) her class. Our school district has everything in place for kids who, for medical reasons, need to be tutored at home. I think it was much less stressful than trying to get into school for a day or two at a time and not being able to keep track of homework. Plus, we didn't have to worry about all the germs floating around. It was hard being home all those months, (I took a leave of absence from work) but we managed. Actually, I believe our relationship really deepened during the time home. I now have a closeness with Julia that is really special. When Julia went back to school last year, she had no adjustment problems and did very well.
If the child is in the hospital, the school district in which the hospital is located must provide the teacher. If the child is at home, the home school district provides the teacher. The teacher is responsible for gathering materials from the school and judging how much the child is capable of handling.
Joanne Holt, a high school director of special education, suggests:
If children are having difficulty remaining interested in school work due to fatigue and not feeling well, it may be useful to consider alternative learning activities. In such circumstances, a parent and child might identify an area of special interest or curiosity (e.g., dinosaurs, space, animals, nature, the Wild West, etc.). Children may find it more interesting to develop reading skills, learn math concepts, develop writing skills, and learn research and study principles in the context of a high-interest area while still learning and maintaining the concepts being introduced in school. Play is a significant part of such activities and can often spark imaginative activities. It is important that the school be aware of and supportive of such an approach; most often they are and, in fact, may be valuable resources for ideas and activities. The goal is to encourage confidence and prepare the child for the least disruptive reentry to school routines.
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When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure. They become readers, and their world is forever expanded and enriched.