Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Keeping up with schoolwork

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. It is a good idea to request off-site instruction as soon as you find out your child may be out of school for longer than two weeks. The school will require a letter from the doctor stating the reason and expected length of time this service will be needed.

Some states require school districts to provide hospital tutoring when children are hospitalized for long stays. Most large children’s hospitals have teachers on staff, as well as educational liaisons who can help you work out appropriate schooling.

If your child will miss less than two weeks of school, you can communicate with the teacher to keep abreast of subjects being covered in your child’s class. The teacher might send assignments and materials home with siblings, or you can make arrangements for friends or relatives to pick them up.

We used Skype® and had a weekly time set up so that Mike could see his classmates, and they could see him. If an oral presentation was due, he heard a few of theirs, and presented his. If nothing shareable was due, they just traded jokes or did a show and tell of something that had happened that week. If he was not feeling well or was hospitalized, the call was cancelled for that week. It sure helped make him still feel a part of his class, and the teacher said it really helped his classmates to see he was still okay, and still himself. He wasn’t able to attend school at all for almost 10 months.

Mike started the first day of 5th grade this year. He was able to walk in the building, feel welcome, and step right back into his friendships. No problems at all with that. I really thank his teacher last year for keeping him a part of his class despite not being in school.