When students are away from a physical school location—whether it’s for personal, medical, or disciplinary reasons—it becomes harder to gauge whether they’re keeping up with their peers academically. More often than not, they’re left trailing behind, and as their learning gaps grow, their ability to get caught up dwindles.
But these kids are entitled to the same quality of education as their on-site peers, and many schools even have programs or staff dedicated to addressing their needs. So how are these students still falling through the cracks and what can schools do to address it?
Technology may offer the simplest solution: virtual instruction. Here’s why:
1. Books aren’t enough.
Even if your students diligently complete every reading assignment and do all of the accompanying homework, for many of them, there will be times when reading about a concept just won’t enable them to engage with the lesson. Virtual instructors can more fully explain concepts, model strategies, provide examples, and make real-world connections that a book might miss.
2. Students need access to a highly qualified teacher.
When homebound students have questions or need help, they can’t simply raise their hands. But they still need access to someone who can provide that kind of support. Online teachers can communicate with students via e-mail, phone, or web conferencing to reteach difficult concepts or address misunderstandings. That way, students get the help they need, when they need it.
3. Students can work at a time and pace that best suits their needs.
Teachers who serve students in their homes know that it can sometimes be difficult to work out ideal meeting times, especially when a student is dealing with a serious medical illness. Online instruction allows students to study at times that work best for them, which can alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that comes with preparing for a home visit. That way, if a student is too ill to meet with an instructor or even if a caregiver just can’t be there to supervise a lesson on a given day, time for instruction doesn’t have to be canceled or rescheduled.
4. Student performance should be monitored proactively.
It’s important to ensure that students are mastering key concepts and developing analytical and critical thinking skills. When a student hits a roadblock, the signs might not be immediately obvious to a teacher who can only visit a student at home to provide instruction and review progress a limited number of times each week. But by having a virtual instructor who can monitor academic performance data as it’s received, any barriers to learning can be addressed before they result in serious academic consequences or lost time.
5. Excessive independent work assignments can’t replace a teacher.
Often, the time homebound students are allotted with a teacher in person can be severely limited due to a myriad of reasons ranging from district budgetary constraints to the limitations of a student’s own health. But giving students an inordinate number of assignments can’t make up for that. Virtual teachers generally use an online curriculum designed for a fully digital experience that balances assignments with instruction and multimedia content. This ensures courses are rigorous without sacrificing student engagement. And online instructors can just as easily tailor online content or assignments to meet students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
If your school is looking for a way to provide online instruction or an online curriculum to better meet the unique needs of homebound students, Edgenuity offers Instructional Services for over 200 core and elective courses. And every course is taught by a highly qualified, state-certified teacher. Visit edgenuity.com/instructional-services to learn more.