Posted by ICON School on Sep 28, 2023 8:48:53 AM

Whether a student is returning from a long Summer off or from a much-needed mental health break, navigating an academic comeback can be difficult. Returning to school is particularly challenging for students who complete their studies online. Online schools offer the flexibility and convenience to complete classes virtually anywhere, especially from the comfort of home. However, a home-based education could leave students unmotivated to return to school without the traditional in-school structure. Luckily, there are many ways to boost academic motivation positively and proactively. 

Below, we've outlined several tips to help students regain academic momentum and reclaim success when returning to their online studies. 

Regaining Academic Momentum At Online Schools: Our Top Five Tips for STUDENTS

Lack of motivation to attend school can be for many reasons. Students may struggle academically or have difficulty adjusting after a long break. Mental health issues can also impact their personal and academic life. Whatever the cause, finding proactive solutions is essential in getting your middle schooler on the right track. 

Here are eight tips to help students navigate an academic comeback.

1. Establish a Routine

If a student is returning from a break, they likely already had a consistent routine involving a structured sleep and class schedule. But adjusting to a daily schedule after time away can be jarring for a teenager. New research found that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. While this number is alarming, as 66 days translates to over two months of school, students will likely adjust quicker if they return from a short break from an established routine. Still, acting proactively is vital to set a plan in motion to reclaim academic success.

While online schools offer flexibility and convenience, preventing students from rushing out the door in the early morning hours, time away involves an adjustment period – even from home. Creating a schedule that accommodates an online class schedule is crucial for success.

2. Implement a Strict Sleep Schedule

Teenagers are notorious for staying up late. Long nights with little sleep wreak havoc on a structured school routine, particularly for those who attend school from the same room they sleep in. Students often find it easy to jump back in bed between classes, impairing their focus. Implementing an earlier bedtime and scheduled wake-up time each day helps students start the day off right. You can even have your child make their bed daily to reduce the temptation of crawling back in.

3. Complete Morning Tasks 

Employing morning tasks a student would typically complete if they attended a traditional in-person middle school is a great motivator to start their day successfully. For example, eating breakfast each morning, brushing their teeth, and getting dressed are all tasks that can promote a positive and productive morning.

 A recent survey found that many teenagers performing schoolwork at home felt more energized and ready for the day when they got dressed instead of completing schoolwork in their pajamas. Just as adults working from home may enjoy a cup of coffee in silence before logging on to increase alertness and improve their mood before diving into daily tasks, students need the same motivation before starting their schoolwork. While rolling out of bed and starting the day is a common desire many of us have, it could result in unproductivity and feelings of unpreparedness.

4. Schedule Multiple Breaks

In addition to a structured morning routine, scheduling multiple breaks throughout the day is essential to give online students time away from their computers. A planned lunch or free period encourages students to work harder during focus times while motivating them for a yummy snack or break outside between classes. 

5. Remove Distractions 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many households have transformed rooms into at-home classrooms. If a student is often distracted from their online studies, they are likely having a hard time separating home life from school.

Attending online school from home comes with a host of distractions. It's easy to daydream without a teacher present to bring the class to attention. Simplistic tasks such as grabbing a snack or turning on the television are just a few steps away, whereas at school, classes are often dismissed together and, at the same time, to attend the next period.  

To help students stay on track when learning online, create a minimalistic study space to prevent clutter or items that could be distracting. And as mentioned above, schedule regular breaks involving physical movement or walking outside to alleviate stress and calm the mind. 

6. Invest in New School Supplies and Essentials 

If a student is returning from a short break, they likely already have all the essentials needed for their classes. However, investing in new supplies mid-year offers positive motivation for students to feel excited about returning to school. A new notebook or lamp for their at-home desk can mean a world of difference to a middle schooler, particularly if they help choose the items. Feeling unprepared can make students feel overwhelmed at the thought of returning to school without all the essentials needed to succeed. The right tools provide positive motivation, giving them a sense of security and confidence they may have been lacking before.

7. Address Problems Head-On: Establishing Open Communication

Time away from school may be for a variety of reasons, like a winter break, trouble with school, or problems at home. The pressure of school and adjusting to a strict schedule after a break can make students feel anxious as they return to their studies. On top of that, hormonal changes are prominent at middle school age, causing many shifting emotions your pre-teen/teenager may have trouble expressing.  

Providing a support network for your middle schooler encourages open communication to discuss issues affecting their return. Maintaining open discussions regarding fears or concerns offers students an outlet to share their feelings, enabling them to refocus their energy on school tasks. 

It's also essential to know how to get in touch with your child's online instructors. Since most learning is done asynchronously, your child may have trouble navigating the curriculum alone. Staying in contact with an instructor is also beneficial for students on break due to suspension, as instructors can help enforce preventative measures in a positive and impactful way. 

Most instructors will have their contact information readily available with scheduled office hours for students to approach them. 

8. Plan Ahead 

Feeling unmotivated when returning to school is normal for many students. Resuming an academic curriculum after time off may cause students to feel hopeless when they can not see the finish line with a long string of academic days ahead.

To make the transition easier, plan fun school-related activities with your child to give them something to look forward to. Many online schools offer online clubs or activities for students to get involved in. Giving them an extracurricular hobby outside of the online curriculum can give them a sense of belonging.. 

Making the Academic Return an Easy One: Online Schooling With ICON

With many variables working against students in an online setting, returning to school after time away can be challenging. At Icon, we aim to provide middle and high school students with a personalized education alternative that integrates one-on-one support, a robust online curriculum, flexible instruction, and innovative technology in an Idaho Public Charter School. Online schools like ICON can be a great solution to keep students motivated when returning from a break, whether they need time off to receive treatment, have a busy schedule, or learn at a different pace than other students.

If your middle schooler is struggling with their academic return, we are here to help. To speak to a personal representative, please call us at (208) 475-3093 or email us at

ICON School

Written by ICON School

Please Leave a Comment: