Pros & Cons of Online School for Students with ADHD

by Andrea Wackerle

For students struggling in a traditional classroom setting, many parents are turning to the virtual classroom to accommodate their child’s academic needs. While this is successful for many, it does bring some challenges. Here are some pros and cons of online school for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities to help you decide if going virtual is right for you.


  • Less Distractions: Working from home may help eliminate distractions, especially if you have worked with your child on identifying their biggest distractions. If your child has been a victim of bullying, which has resulted in anxiety toward school, a solo school environment may provide a new outlook on school.
  • Work at Your Own Pace: Students with ADHD and other learning challenges typically need more time on assignments, especially in topics they may not be interested in or are struggling the most in. Online schools usually allow students to work whenever works best for them. This means being able to walk away and come back to a task later.
  • More One-On-One Attention: Depending on the online school that you choose, there may be a teacher available to help with assignments or you may be the teacher! Either way, your child will likely have more opportunities for one-on-one attention and may feel more comfortable advocating for this need.
  • New Learning Environment: If you are considering an online school, you and your child are probably frustrated with their current learning environment. Have a new learning environment will hopefully alleviate the stress and frustrated your child has previously associated with school and give them a fresh start.


  • Not Enough Structure: While working at your own pace can be a benefit, it can also be a downfall for kids who are struggle with executive functioning. Your child is responsible for staying on task and completing lessons on time, just like any other school. As a parent, you will need to play an active role in holding your child accountable and making sure they are progressing through their schoolwork in a timely manner.
  • Limited Social Time: Many students with ADHD also struggle with social skills. Even if your child has struggled with making friends, they still need a social environment where they can work on these skills. Online school leaves little time to work on social skills, so be sure to give your child these opportunities in other ways such as a homeschool group, a social skills class, or extra-curricular activities.
  • Means to an End: Learning is a life long adventure. For students with learning challenges, it is important to find strategies to overcome these challenges and find the learning style that works for them. Often an online school setting simply becomes a means to an end. The goal is to complete the course work but the goal is also to learn valuable skills that can be applied in the future.
  • Multi-Role Parent: Online school may change your role too. You are not only parent but in a sense you are teacher, principal, tutor, and more! Consider the current state of your relationship with your child and decide if taking on this new role will benefit your relationship or possibly hurt it.

For other opinions on online school and homeschool environments for your child, check out the articles below.

Homeschooling LD/ADD Children: Great Idea or Big Mistake?

When Traditional Schools Fail Your Child

Teens With ADHD Benefiting From Online Education

ADHD and virtual school: Is it right for you?