How to Focus on Online School (For Busy Moms)

Tips for online school to help moms stay focused in spite of so many distractions

For one reason or the other, many students including moms find themselves taking lots of online classes. But, for many of them, the problem is how to focus on online school.

Lots of students in college work, have kids and juggle other responsibilities which makes it hard for them to focus exclusively on their schoolwork. While some have found a way to stay motivated while doing online school, others struggle because of all the distractions they have to deal with it.

So, if you are a college student or a mom in college thinking “I can’t focus on online school,” I want you to know that lots of other students are going through the same challenge.

Now, I know that information doesn’t solve your problem, but at least, you know there’s nothing wrong with you, and this is actually a very common problem. With that said, let’s look at some of the reasons for lack of concentration in online classes, and some ways to focus during online school

First, let me answer a couple of other questions students have about online school.


You survive school online in the same way you survive going to school on campus. While the setting or location might be different, you still need the same skills, tools, and motivation to survive and succeed in online school as you do attending college on campus.


Adjusting to online school can be a bit challenging especially if you are used to attending school at a physical location. To help you adjust to online school, think about your goals, what you are trying to accomplish, and approach online school with a positive mindset. A positive mindset can help you adjust quickly, so you can focus on what you need to succeed.

Before we dive in, let me say that while this post has lots of tips for all college students or anyone taking classes online, it’s aimed primarily at student moms who have to balance motherhood, college, and in some cases, work.



One of the reasons many students struggle to focus on online school is because they approach online college with the wrong mindset. Online school is “real” school and you have to start treating it like that.

Online study isn’t something you do only when you feel like it or when you have time for it. If you are attending an online college and your goal is to earn a degree, then you have to give it the same attention as you would a regular or campus-based college.

So, take a look at how you approach your online classes. Do you see them as something really important or something you do at your convenience? The answer to this question will help you get motivated to work on your online classes.


For many students (including student moms), attending an online school is the only feasible option they have to earn a degree. Attending online college as a mom might seem simple enough, but it’s fraught with so many challenges.

For example, there’s a danger of becoming too complacent or not prioritizing your schoolwork because you attend college at home, and you can get to it at any time

The best way to guard against complacency is to prioritize your online study and to set aside online school time. If you are in the habit of going days or weeks without logging into your online classes, then you really need to set aside time for your online classes and get into the habit of “doing school” every day.

Without prioritizing your schoolwork, you are in danger of falling behind and maybe even failing some of your classes. So, start prioritizing your online college classes and have a set online school time.

Other ways to priortitize online school or college include:

  • Creating a schedule and daily routine that includes time for online study
  • Do some school work every day
  • Being productive with your time so you always have enough free time to spend on your schoolwork


A big problem for students attending online school or online college is a lack of concentration during online classes. Many moms can’t focus on online classes because they have to deal with a lot of distractions during classes.

Some of them even have to skip zoom or live classes because they have to attend to their kids or their children keep interrupting them during online classes. Can you imagine trying to focus on a class when your little one is crying or tugging on your clothes? Well, it’s pretty hard to do!

So the best way to deal with distractions during online classes whether they are live or recorded is to get some help to deal with these distractions.

As a mom, you should consider using a babysitter during online classes, asking your husband or other family members to watch them so you can focus during online school. Now, I know the next question is “what if you don’t have any help or support around?”

This is a legitimate question since lots of college moms face this predicament. If you can’t afford to pay a babysitter and you have no other option, then you have to get a little bit creative. For example, you may have to use the television or other gadgets to “babysit” your kids while you study.

Another very good option is to train your kids to play alone. Letting kids entertain themselves is a great way for you to get some alone time and accomplish some tasks. Most young kids can play quietly and entertain themselves for up to twenty or thirty minutes at a time. Some can do it for longer depending on what toys they are playing with.

You can always check up on them if they are in another room to ensure they are fine and safe.

I know some moms feel guilty about letting their kids watch too much television while they work or study. I get it. But, hey! You gotta do what you gotta do if you have no other option.

Below are some toys ideas that can keep kids busy and entertained during online classes or while studying.

And, lots more!


Some college students struggle with online classes because they lack self-discipline. This usually happens with self-paced courses or classes where there are no fixed times to attend classes.

As an online college student, it’s up to you to motivate yourself to study, attend classes, complete assignments when they are due, and take your texts or exams (whether proctored or not). If you can’t focus on online classes, you are going to struggle to do well in college.

Now the question is, are you disciplined enough to do all these things? Do you know how to hold yourself accountable? Can you get on with your work without someone looking over your shoulder or reminding you of your responsibility?

Self-discipline is an essential habit for online college students, so if you struggle in this area, you will need to work on it to be successful. Check out the post below for some tips to become more self-disciplined.

How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life


Just like with the most important things in life, creating goals can help you stay focused as an online college student. To decide what kind of goals to set, start by reflecting on why you enrolled in college and what you hope to accomplish.

Once you identify why you are in school, your goals should reflect the steps you need to take to achieve your main goal. For example, if your main goal for online college is to earn a degree, your goals should include:

  • Studying every day
  • Passing with good grades
  • Completing assignments on time
  • Listening to lecture recordings or attending live classes
  • Taking all the tests and exams for each class you are enrolled in

The above are some general goals you could set that will help you accomplish your main goal. You can also go a step further by breaking each goal into daily goals so they are more specific.

Remember your goals have to realistic and time bound, if you really want to achieve them.


One reason some moms struggle with online school is because of disorganization and lack of preparation. What this means is that, they are always distracted and never seem to have it together during classes or when they sit down to study.

So if you want to know how to focus during online school, you must start by learning how to organize your time. You can’t focus on online study if you have too many distractions going on at the same time, have no set time for school, or multi-task while trying to do school.

To get the best out of online school, you have to create some kind of structure in your life. This means you have to learn how to manage your time, take some time to prepare for your classes, and have some kind of plan for your study.

Time management is very important for online college students. Poor time management means you are always running out of time for school or never having enough time to devote to your academics, especially as a busy mom.

So, go ahead. Organize your time. Get into the habit of doing some prep before you sit down for classes. For example, put all your notes and study materials in one place before you start your classes. Making sure you have everything you need will minimize distractions and ensure you don’t spend valuable time looking for anything.


Online learning can be pretty lonely especially if it doesn’t have a live component. One way to stay focused and motivated to find a study buddy or an accountability partner.

While someone from your school or a classmate might be the best option, it’s okay if your study buddy or accountability partner attends another school or college. Your accountability partner doesn’t even have to be a student.

A study buddy or accountability partner is a great idea for single moms or moms who don’t have a lot of support or encouragement. Juggling school and kids is pretty hard, so having someone you can bounce ideas of, study together, or someone to encourage you is a pretty big thing when you take classes online.

So go ahead and find a study buddy or accountability partner. Join an online group for students and try to connect with one or two people. There are always people looking for study buddies or someone to hold them accountable.


Good communication is one of the keys to success as an online student. If you are enrolled in an online college, one of the things you should get used to is communicating with your teachers via email or some other acceptable means. So make sure you have all their contact details in a handy place.

As a busy college mom, you must learn to be open with your teachers and communicate with them often. Let them know ahead of time that you are juggling family, work, and school, and would need some extra assistance.

Ask for help when you need it, and ask early. Don’t wait until you have missed five assignments and failed two tests before you reach out to them. Then, it might be too late and they can’t or won’t help you.

Don’t be shy or feel ashamed if you have to ask for help. Most teachers are there to help and support you, as long as they see you are trying your best, and not just making excuses.

So, go ahead. Get the help that you need and keep rocking online school.

Closing thoughts on how to focus on online school

Staying focused while studying online is essential for your success as a college student. While there are lots of things that could derail you or make you fall behind, knowing how to manage your time and creating goals can help you stay on track.

Also, learn to minimize distractions especially during classes or study time, and make it a habit to do some school work every day whether you are required to or not.

Finally, having the right tools and resources will make online college more manageable and fun for you, so make sure you have the right tools for online classes. Here are some important must-haves for online college.

Are you an online college student? Do you find it hard to focus?

Related mom and student articles

9 Productivity Tips for Student Moms Who Want Success

How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule

How to be an Organized Mom in College

How to Focus on Online School (For Busy Moms)

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