October 23rd, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Homebound student learns via Skype

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - When students are sick, many teachers send lessons home. At Father McGivney Catholic High School in Maryville, Illinois that’s 20th century thinking. Homebound teen Alixandria Horstmann uses technology to attend her classes there virtually.

Horstmann’s medical issues meant she had to stay home for about three months. The school already has replaced textbooks with laptops and iPads, so one of her classmates came up with the idea of carrying a laptop from class to class. Horstmann sits in her living room, listening – and contributing – via Skype on her iPad.

Father McGivney principal Michael Scholz told CNN affiliate KSDK that virtually attending school has advantages beyond academics. “The student who’s gone can still feel a part of your school and community,” Scholz said.

Parents: How do you think your child would handle learning via Skype?
Teachers: How would you accommodate a child who wants to learn virtually?

Please tell us in the comments below.

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Filed under: At Home • High school • Kids' health • Practice • Technology • video
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. rowan

    She is a genius, and very committed to being a great student! More students should try it.

    October 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  2. Cindy

    If my children were ill, they would prefer this to the many pages of homework sent home each day. Our public school here is great with honors and A.P. classes and my oldest child thrived on the academic and extracurricular opportunities that my taxes paid for so public education it will continue to be for us. I do really like the e-books idea, though. It seems like it gives many more options than traditional education in this kind of situation. I also remember a student who was ill many days during freshman year and the public high school worked with the parents/student to keep them up with their peers. I hope and pray that Alix recovers quickly and gets to join her classmates soon.

    October 27, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  3. Sam

    I wish more schools would do this. As a special education advocate I cannot tell you how many times I hear from school administrators "We need the child in school so we can educate them." This would allow the student to be in school, in a way. Students wtih chronic illnesses miss a lot of school and the 4 hours homebound instruction a week just is not enough. This would allow a student to participate in class lectures and get the instruction time that they need to stay caught up. It will also help them not be so isolated from their peers as many homebound students are.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  4. jj

    Better than homeschooling

    October 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  5. Anastasia Shoop

    Great great great! This would also be good for military kids who have to leave school for a year during high school. I always thought this could work for kids who were far away. This should also be used for study/homework help and virtual study groups. I hope they start using this more. I also wish they would tape lectures of classes in high school so if you are sick for a week or so then you could watch the video of what the teacher had covered while absent.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  6. laura

    That's great for her. I wish her the best, I just hope shes going to a school that will give her a real diploma. There have been problems in Illinois with religious HS giving diplomas to students when they haven't met the requirements to get one. They get a religious diploma but can't get into college because the don't have the required math or science.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Steve

      Some Illinois religious HS have even better gpa scores than area public schools and these students get good scholarships when they get to college. Suggest parents check on the school's math and science programs and success with college entrance before enrolling students in any HS.

      October 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Tina

      My daughter attends this school and their requirements are much higher than the public schools. This school has been a great option for us when our public school system is dumbed down to the lowest student in the class, here they are teaching each student on what their particular needs and learning skills are. The e-books are interactive and make learning more interesting for the children. I wish i'd had this option for my older daughter.

      October 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Ann

      Not a problem at FMCHS where Alix attends. Our excellent Math and Science teacher spent many years as an engineer working as management in the auto industry. She has several degrees and endorsements, including MAT and MBA. My son comes home with solid, challenging homework. I only wish my two older daughters had this excellent school as an option in their H.S. years.

      October 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  7. sonja


    October 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  8. David Reyes

    That's a great idea, hopefully more school integrate it.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm |