Wow. So I have to do a post on IEP Homebound Instruction for Disabled Students. Granted, I guess at some point, there will be a blog post about every aspect of IEPs.

However, I try to follow trends and recurring questions in the chat forums. And IEP homebound keeps coming up again and again. And that bothers me, but more on that later.

A boy with an IEP is writing on a piece of paper at home.

Please note that I have an entire separate article on How to Request IEP Homebound Instruction for you to read after this one.

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Red Flags of Disabled Homebound Students

In the IEP world, there are many urban legends and myths about all kinds of things. One of the things you may hear is that homebound placement is hard to get. It is.

You will hear other rumors and legends about how much money schools get for IEP students, either as an incentive or disincentive to identify various disabilities.

But, when it comes to IEP Homebound Instruction for Disabled Students, there is a true urban legend.

This guide provides parents with important information about IEP homebound instruction for disabled students.

That is, that schools have to report how many homebound students they have.

This is true, per IDEA.

What IDEA Says about Homebound

Regarding a placement option, IDEA does not say much about homebound or instruction in the home.

But they absolutely look for trends or “disproportionalities” in this area.

(b) Significant disproportionality determinations. In determining whether significant disproportionality exists in a State or LEA under §300.646(a) and (b)—

(4) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(5) and (c) of this section, the State must calculate the risk ratio for each LEA, for each racial and ethnic group in paragraph (b)(2) of this section with respect to the following placements into particular educational settings, including disciplinary removals:

(i) For children with disabilities ages 6 through 21, inside a regular class less than 40 percent of the day;

(ii) For children with disabilities ages 6 through 21, inside separate schools and residential facilities, not including homebound or hospital settings, correctional facilities, or private schools;

https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/f/300.647/b

In other words, our Federal government should monitor this and look for over-placement. (is that even a word?)

An IEP student using a laptop on a wooden table at home.

What is IEP Homebound?

This is important.

Because homebound, homeschooling, and other terms are being used interchangeably and incorrectly.

IDEA does not specifically define homebound services and what they should look like. That is left up to the states.

That being said, there is a difference between homebound instruction and instruction in the home.

Pennsylvania (my home state) has specific rules and guidelines surrounding home-bound instruction.

What is common is that homebound is designed to be short-term. Homebound was developed as an option to accommodate acute illnesses and situations.

Things like cancer treatment and recovering from surgery. It was never designed to be a long-term placement.

A child with an IEP is sitting in front of a computer screen for homebound education.

How PA Defines Homebound IEP Instruction

Again, this is from the PA regulations, but you will find commonalities and similar thinking in your state’s regulations.

Just Google “state + homebound instruction,” and you should find it.

A school district, area vocational technical school, charter school, independent school, private school or non-public school may temporarily excuse a student from compulsory attendance on account of illness or other urgent reasons and provide that student homebound instruction while he or she is excused from school. Regulations require that the term “urgent reasons” be strictly construed not to permit irregular attendance at school. See 22 Pa Code § 11.25 in the Laws and Regulations section.

22 Pa Code § 11.25

What is NOT Homebound IEP Instruction

There are several educational options sometimes referred to as “homebound instruction,” although they do not fit the legal definition of homebound instruction.

The following are NOT categorized as “homebound instruction.” 

  • Instruction conducted in the home: for special education students for whom an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) team determines that the student’s instruction is to be conducted in the home; students are counted in both the school membership and school attendance; this is not homebound instruction.
  • Home Education Programs (“homeschooling”): usually taught at home by a parent (referred to as the home education supervisor); students are not counted in either the membership or school attendance; this is not homebound instruction.
  • Home Study: for expelled students or students awaiting placement, students are counted in the membership but not the school attendance; this is not homebound instruction.

It’s an IEP Placement Decision.

I can’t say it enough–IEP placement is the last decision in the IEP process.

And here’s where I get on my soapbox for a minute. However, instruction in the home is overused and abused too often as an accommodation for anxiety or bullying.

Yep, I said it.

Look, I get it. Your child is stressed, and their mental health is worsening. But instruction in the home should be a temporary solution. Keep working toward and fighting for a better solution.

Because a child cannot stay home forever. And that is what is happening.

In my professional experience, it’s difficult to close once you open that door. The child wants to stay home indefinitely. And schools go along with it because Mom has stopped emailing and complaining.

Before you know it, you have a 20 or 25-year-old who won’t/can’t leave the house because they don’t have the coping mechanisms or life skills to do it. It happens all the time.

It’s never a goal, but that is where families end up.

And the whole point of IDEA was that our kids were not kept at home. Which is what was happening. They have every right to be at school with their peers.

Homebound School for Anxiety

As anxiety in our kids is increasing and school refusal is increasing, more parents are looking for homebound school options for their kids with anxiety.

A homebound school for anxiety is a type of education that is designed to help students who suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are a common mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Symptoms of anxiety disorders can include excessive worry, fear, and panic attacks. These symptoms can be debilitating and can interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life.

A homebound school for anxiety provides a safe and supportive environment for students who are unable to attend traditional school due to their anxiety. This type of education is designed to meet the unique needs of each student and to help them overcome their anxiety so they can achieve academic success. The curriculum is tailored to the student’s individual needs and can include a variety of subjects such as math, science, English, and social studies. The school also offers counseling and therapy services to help students manage their anxiety and develop coping skills.

Understanding Homebound Schooling for Anxiety

Defining Homebound Education

Homebound schooling, also known as home instruction, is a type of education provided to students who are unable to attend school due to medical or psychological reasons. It is a form of education that is provided in the student’s home or in a hospital setting, depending on the student’s condition.

Anxiety Disorders and Education

Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on a student’s ability to attend school and learn effectively. Students with anxiety disorders may experience symptoms such as panic attacks, fear, and avoidance of social situations. These symptoms can make it difficult for students to attend school and participate in classroom activities.

Benefits of Homebound Schooling for Anxiety

Homebound schooling can provide several benefits for students with anxiety disorders. It allows students to receive an education in a comfortable and familiar environment, which can help reduce anxiety and stress. Additionally, homebound schooling provides students with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a teacher, which can help them learn at their own pace and receive individualized attention.

In conclusion, homebound schooling can be a valuable option for students with anxiety disorders who are unable to attend traditional school settings. It provides a safe and comfortable learning environment and allows students to receive individualized attention from a teacher.

Implementing Homebound Schooling

Setting Up a Homebound School Environment

Creating a suitable learning environment is essential for homebound schooling. It is important to have a designated study area that is quiet, well-lit, and free from distractions. The study area should be equipped with all the necessary learning materials, such as textbooks, notebooks, and writing utensils. Additionally, it is recommended to have a computer or tablet with internet access to facilitate online learning.

Curriculum and Instructional Strategies

The curriculum for homebound schooling should be tailored to the individual needs of the student. It is important to set clear learning objectives and goals for each subject and to provide students with a variety of instructional strategies to meet their learning needs. This may include visual aids, hands-on activities, and online resources. Teachers should also provide regular feedback and assessments to monitor student progress.

Support Systems and Resources

Homebound schooling can be challenging for both students and parents. It is important to have a support system in place to help students overcome any obstacles they may encounter. This may include regular communication with teachers, counselors, and other support staff. Additionally, there are many resources available online for homebound schooling, such as educational websites, online tutoring services, and virtual learning communities.

Overall, implementing homebound schooling requires careful planning and preparation. By creating a suitable learning environment, tailoring the curriculum to the individual needs of the student, and providing a support system, students can succeed academically and overcome any challenges they may face.

Problems with IEP home instruction.

The problems with this placement are numerous. Over the past decade, I have had several clients whose parents chose this option for them. I hear stories like this often.

Most districts only require that the child receive instruction 5 hours per week. It makes no sense. A child’s needs have obviously increased significantly, hence the more restrictive placement.

And then, instead of 30 hours a week of school, they only need 5? Where is the logic?

The thinking behind the 5 hours is that 1:1 instruction is intense and laborious. There is no group work. So it is assumed that a child cannot endure much more than an hour per day.

Chances are, that’s what you’ll be offered–five hours per week. You can ask for more, but it will be another IEP battle.

Oftentimes, you’ll have different instructors, and the program will lack consistency.

Sending out instructors and therapists to the home is expensive for schools. So, they may ask you to meet at a library. They may ask you to transport your child to the school for therapy.

I can 100% guarantee that if you choose this option, it will not be a smooth ride.

Teachers and other assigned staff members will continually call out and miss appointments at your house. You will have to stay on them all the time. I have never once seen this as an option that was implemented successfully.

Understanding Homebound Instruction

Homebound instruction is provided to students who cannot attend school due to a medical condition. This service provides educational services to students with disabilities in their homes.

The goal of homebound instruction is to maintain continuity of instruction while the student is temporarily out and to facilitate the student’s return to school.

There should be, in my professional opinion, IEP goals that point the student toward this. That might include counseling IEP goals, self-advocacy goals, or even adding trauma-informed components to your IEP.

Legal Framework and Policies

Federal and state laws govern homebound instruction. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that schools provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students with disabilities. FAPE includes homebound instruction for students who cannot attend school due to a medical condition.

In addition to federal laws, each state has its own policies and procedures for homebound instruction.

These policies may vary from state to state, but they all aim to provide disabled students with the necessary educational services while they cannot attend school.

Eligibility Criteria for Students with Disabilities

To be eligible for homebound instruction, students must have a medical condition that prevents them from attending school. The student must also be enrolled in a public school and have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan.

The IEP or Section 504 Plan will outline the student’s educational needs and their required services to receive a FAPE. The homebound instruction services will be tailored to meet the student’s individual needs and may include academic instruction, speech and language therapy, and physical therapy.

Homebound instruction is an essential service for students with disabilities who cannot attend school due to a medical condition. It ensures that these students receive the necessary educational services to maintain continuity of instruction and facilitate their return to school.

Implementing Homebound Instruction

Homebound instruction involves the delivery of educational services within a student’s home. It is a valuable tool for providing continuity of instruction to students with disabilities who cannot attend school due to medical or other reasons.

Implementing homebound instruction requires careful planning and coordination among teachers, parents, and caregivers.

Developing Individualized Education Programs

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are critical to the success of homebound instruction. IEPs should be developed with input from the student, parents, and teachers.

The IEP should outline the student’s current level of performance, goals, and objectives. It should also include a plan for how the student will receive instruction, including using technology, adaptive equipment, and assistive technology.

Instructional Strategies and Materials

Instructional strategies and materials should be tailored to the student’s individual needs and learning style. Teachers should use various instructional methods, including hands-on activities, visual aids, and technology. Materials should be accessible and appropriate for the student’s age and ability level. Teachers should also provide opportunities for students to practice and apply new skills.

Role of Parents and Caregivers

Parents and caregivers play a critical role in homebound instruction. They should work closely with teachers to ensure student needs are met. Parents and caregivers should also provide a quiet and distraction-free learning environment for the student. They should encourage and support the student’s learning and provide feedback to the teacher about the student’s progress.

Assessment and Progress Monitoring

Assessment and progress monitoring are essential components of homebound instruction. Teachers should use various assessment tools, including formal and informal assessments, to evaluate student progress. Progress monitoring should be ongoing, with frequent communication between teachers and parents or caregivers. Teachers should use assessment data to make instructional decisions and adjust instruction.

Implementing homebound instruction requires careful planning and coordination among teachers, parents, and caregivers. Teachers should develop individualized education programs, use appropriate instructional strategies and materials, involve parents and caregivers, and assess and monitor student progress. By working together, teachers, parents, and caregivers can provide a high-quality education to students with disabilities who cannot attend school.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a student become eligible for homebound instruction in public schools?

To become eligible for homebound instruction, students must have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from attending school. The student’s school district will then evaluate the request and determine if the student is eligible for homebound instruction.

What are the typical requirements for homebound instruction due to disabilities?

The requirements for homebound instruction due to disabilities vary by state and school district. The student’s school district will then evaluate the request and determine if the student is eligible for homebound instruction.

How does homebound instruction integrate with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

Homebound instruction should be integrated with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP team should review the student’s IEP and determine which services and accommodations the student needs while receiving homebound instruction. The homebound teacher should be familiar with the student’s IEP and work with the IEP team to ensure the student’s needs are met.

What steps should parents take to initiate homebound services for their disabled child?

Parents should contact their child’s school district to initiate homebound services for their child with disabilities. I have another article on requesting homebound instruction.

What role do homebound teachers play in supporting students with developmental disabilities?

Homebound teachers play an important role in supporting students with developmental disabilities. They work with the student’s IEP team to develop a plan for providing instruction and accommodations that meet the student’s individual needs. They also provide ongoing support and feedback to the student and their family.

How do homebound education goals align with those in a traditional school setting?

Homebound education goals should align with those set in a traditional school setting. The homebound teacher should work with the student’s IEP team to ensure the student is progressing towards their educational goals. The homebound teacher should also communicate regularly with the student’s classroom teacher to ensure that the student is receiving consistent instruction and support.

I want homebound placement, but the school says no.

And really, they should. Homebound, or instruction in the home, is considered one of the most restrictive placements. Therefore, if you’re moving along the LRE continuum, this should be one of the last things you try.

The school district is legally obligated to consider less restrictive settings first. You shouldn’t go from struggling in general education classes to being homebound.

Yeah, quit your blabbing. How do I get it?

Like anything else in the IEP, it’s a team decision. If your child truly needs homebound or instruction in the home, their IEP should point to a placement as such. Review and troubleshoot your IEP, and call for an IEP meeting.

Some legal quotes about IEP Homebound.

My standard disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet.

However, in doing research for this post, I came across an article that was written by a law practice.

Mind you, this practice represents school districts, not families. They are well known around here. You can read the full article below.

Here are two paragraphs about IEP Homebound or Instruction in the Home:

A paper with a text on it, related to IEP Homebound Instruction for Disabled Students.

Funny, even they concede that this placement will lead to an ‘educational deficit.’

So why is it even an option?

And look at the last paragraph. The school district should review this placement decision. Not because it’s a very restrictive placement and may be a detriment to the child. But because it may open the school district up to some liability.

‘Nuff said.

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