Posted by ICON School on Jan 18, 2021 12:55:54 PM

Teen student distracted during online school work, stacking colored pencils in front of open laptop

For many students, having classes online makes them easily distracted. Online school can seem like just one more thing to do instead of what you should place your daily focus on. There are many factors that can contribute to less focus being put into online school work.

Here are 7 of the most common reasons that you are having trouble focusing when doing online school. 

1. No Daily Structure

For students used to attending school in person, having a lack of structure for each day can be difficult to get used to. At a brick-and-mortar school, the entire day is planned before the students walk in. Students get into routines and get used to the way each day flows. But at home, there is rarely that kind of structure for the day.

Students may interpret that lack of structure to mean that they don't have to do anything, or they may find themselves overwhelmed with too much to do and an inability to determine what order to do it in. Some kids excel with this kind of freedom, but many need to have an even stricter structure to their day for them to be able to focus.

2. Mental Distractions

Students always have to contend with distractions, and there are even more of them at home, where they aren't in a classroom setting dedicated to learning. It's easier to daydream or get caught up in other thoughts when there isn't a teacher in the room to bring the class to attention. Additionally, the pandemic has added an entirely new set of mental distractions.

Students may be thinking too much about what they don't get to do, or they may be worried about themselves or loved ones, or feeling fear about the unknown future, instead of focusing on online school work. These mental distractions can be just as strong as a blaring TV in the room. If your child is fearful and sad, it may help them to talk to you regularly about their fears.

3. Online Distractions

When students must spend a lot of time on their computers to do their schoolwork, it's easy to get distracted by other stuff they find online. Everyone has fallen into a rabbit hole online, looking at more and more pages to answer questions and learn more about something. This can be one of the biggest distractions. A student may keep several windows open so that he can check email and chat with friends while the class may be in session. Even though students like to believe they can multitask and have various tabs or conversations going on, doing so leads to distractibility when you're trying to get work done. 

4. Technical Difficulties

When you’re dealing with any sort of technology, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll run into technical difficulties. Depending on the severity of these issues, this can be a huge obstacle for students, sometimes interfering with their ability to attend class or do homework.

Technical difficulties could include unreliable internet, a faulty laptop or computer, poor audio/video quality, and lack of understanding about how to use technology. If you’re experiencing technical difficulties often, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher about potential solutions.

5. No One to Refocus

In a classroom, a teacher is there to help refocus a student who gets distracted. This is related to the structure of in-person school, and it's one of the biggest ways online students can struggle when they're learning on their own. And, while in the classroom often the distractions come in the form of friends and other students, at home there are tons of different distractions—the internet, pets, siblings, game consoles, snacks in the kitchen, etc. Without an authority figure setting expectations and tasks, it can be tough for students to refocus themselves.

6. The Same Scenery

At in-person school, kids get a change of scenery regularly, going from one class to another and going to built-in breaks. Not having those breaks can cause frustration and make it harder to keep focus for the full school day. There aren't opportunities to chat with friends in the hallway, no built-in times to stretch their legs and no times for decompression in between learning tasks. Many students end up spending their school day in their bedroom, which equates to even more of the same old scenery. 

7. Bedroom Studying

Many online school learners will choose to study or take classes from their bedroom. Depending on the student’s resources and setup, they may end up doing all this from their bed, which isn’t the best place for focus. We all associate our beds with rest, and this association can interfere with our ability to concentrate and learn. We might be tempted to lay down or take a cat nap, for example. A great way to combat this is to create a designated study space separate from your bedroom or any other space you associate with leisure or relaxation.

Adapting to the Change

Many students are now attending online school for the first time. This is a big change that they have to quickly adapt to. There's no way to shorten the time that this takes—students simply have to do their schoolwork each day and get used to not having a teacher around. It's always helpful if there is a parent or other caregiver at home to help them when they have technical problems or are having a hard time adjusting to the circumstances.

Online School Can Work

While online learning has its challenges, there are also many benefits. Students can log on 24/7, attend virtual school sessions with teachers and other students, and work within a schedule that meets their needs. At ICON, we are here to help students through the online school experience while minimizing many of the challenges listed above.

Are you wondering if online schooling is the right choice for you? We are here to help. To speak to a personal representative, please call us at (208) 475-3093 or email us at You can also fill out our contact form and we'll get in touch.

ICON School

Written by ICON School

Please Leave a Comment: