Can You Homeschool a Medically Complex Child

Do you want to homeschool a medically complex child? It is possible, and it can be super rewarding if you follow a few key principles that will help you plan for hospital time.

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The popularity of homeschooling is growing in countries across the world, especially in the United States. Homeschool conferences make curriculum and support more accessible and homeschool co-ops take the pressure off of parents to be able to teach all of the subjects.

Can you homeschool a medically complex child?

Many medical moms think that because their child is medically complex, and usually developmentally delayed, that they cannot homeschool their child. There are a whole host of reasons they believe they cannot possibly provide all their child needs; therapy, teaching, socialization, etc. The list goes on.

When we adopted our youngest child, I knew I would never want to send her to school. I had already homeschooled my other five children, and though I was completely intimidated, I was determined to figure out how to make homeschooling and caring for a medically complex and visually impaired child work.

Can you homeschool a foster child?

Many medically complex children are adopted, and are initially part of the foster care system. We did adopt our youngest child from foster care, but she was not school aged when we adopted her. Homeschooling a foster child is much more common now than it used to be, and with the right approvals it can be done. It will be more difficult to accomplish since many services are provided through the schools, but it is still possible.

What about therapy services?

You can get therapy services provided in your home or at an out patient therapy center. Actually, I have found that I can provide my daughter with more hours of therapy than she would get in a typical school setting. Ideally, you will be able to group your therapy providers together into one center, but that is not absolutely necessary. The beauty is that you can schedule your therapy visits when it best works with your schedule.

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What about teaching special needs children?

There are many curriculum companies that have curricula designed specifically for special needs children like Memoria Press. Others have curriculum that is easily customizable for the level of your child, like my favorite reading curriculum from All About Learning Press. All of my favorite homeschool curriculum choices for a large family are easily adaptable for special needs children and many learning styles.

What about teaching a visually impaired child?

When talking to medical moms, the one thing that most ask me about is teaching a visually impaired child. Afterall, there are special teachers called TVI’s for children with visual impairments. Our daughter is legally blind and we still homeschool her. Yes, I did contact a TVI and learn techniques from her. We also added an Orientation and Mobility Specialist to our therapy team, but I still school my daughter at home.

I am learning braille as I am teaching my daughter. This is the exact same process I followed when teaching my children foreign languages. I learn as I teach them, and eventually, I am able to teach the younger children as they come along.

What about all the doctor visits?

Medically complex children do require more visits to doctors than most children. However, if you are not homeschooling, those visits take the child out of school. When you are homeschooling, you can continue the learning process even in the doctor’s office. My daughter gets lots of school work done in waiting rooms.

What about hospital stays?

Hospital stays certainly do make the homeschooling process a little more difficult, but again, if the child were in public or private school, they would be missing school altogether when admitted to the hospital. If you are already used to homeschooling, you are perfectly positioned to gauge your child’s ability to complete tasks and do some teaching in the hospital. When you, the homeschool teacher, and your child, the student are together, even hospital days can be school days if you so choose.

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