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Why Won’t the School Provide Homebound Instruction?

by Pam Wright

My child’s doctor recommended homebound instruction. The school said they had the authority to override that recommendation. Why won’t the school provide homebound services?

Issues of homebound are determined in part by state law and state regulations, if any, on the subject.

IDEA 2004 and the federal regulations provide no guidance on this issue.

However, if your child has an IEP, the IEP controls the services, regardless of where they are delivered – at home or in the public school.

The IEP team determines what the child requires in order to receive FAPE, i.e., a free appropriate public education.

Placing a child on homebound is a very restrictive placement.

As a general rule, a homebound placement is only appropriate if a child has a health or medical problem that prevents the child from attending school.

Homebound Placement for Behavior Issues

We are seeing many cases where the school/IEP team places a child with behavior problems in “homebound” for weeks or months because they don’t know how to handle the child’s behavior.

In a nutshell, the school removes the child from school. The child may receive a couple of hours of instruction a week and no contact with other kids.

In these instances, the school needs to do a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and design a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) as soon as possible.

Documentation: The parent who has documented the problems and their attempts to solve them, will be in a stronger position to request an IEP team meeting and an IEP that addresses the problem behaviors.

Homebound Services for Medical Issues

If a child has a medical condition that requires homebound instruction, the doctor needs to document this in detail.

  • what is the condition?
  • what will the child need?
  • how long will the child need this service?

Documentation: The parent needs to document the child’s problems, what caused them to worsen, attempts made to help the child, etc.


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14 Comments on "Why Won’t the School Provide Homebound Instruction?"


How many hours per day/week can be provided/asked for if a child cannot attend for medical reasons. Does it have to be a certified teacher doing this or can it be a para?
I am confused on my states law, looks like only five hours of homebound. I am in Missouri…. thanks


My child received several months of homebound education. Later, the district altered medical recommendations which resulted in litigation lasting over four years now. Next week, I will be filing appeal to the US Supreme Court to provide guidance on this issue.


My daughter is 8, suffers from cyllic vomiting or cvs, has an iep. We are in the hospital about once a month due to these episodes. A friend brought homebound instruction up to me. Im wondering if this would benefit my daughter. We live in a small community. She loves the social part of school, but honestly I dont see her getting much help academically anymore. She is above most of the students her ILC class who have other issues. Im thinking I would have to bring this up with her teacher or district special ed?


My Grandson recently had an IEP and I as his Legal Guardian opted for homebound services due to his severe health issues including Prader Willi. The Special Services Director (who failed to attend the IEP) and after it, by phone indicated to me that “she approved” it even though by law her approval is not necessary and that she would only approve it for the the rest of the school year. My Grandson does not walk and needs changing because of non-bathroom capability. He has hypotonia, hypothyroidism, hearing problems, learning disabilities, etc. I have found no set time for how long homebound services can be utilized in IDEA rules or regulations…or that she has the right to dictate such as above….and I plan to file a complaint with the district.


I have provided homebound instruction to a chronically ill student for 2 years. She is 16 and I have known her through the school system since she was 8. She used to go to school. I can do a lot in the hours I spend with her because we don’t have all the interruptions of the regular school day. What I can’t do is provide her with friends. She can’t talk so I can’t set up a telephone pal. She so wants to be with other kids her age. She has no social outlet such as church or clubs. Just something to think about when a child has only homebound services.