Sep 24

How Can You Become a Child Actor When You Have So Much Homework?

Become a Child Actor and Get Your Homework Done

Image by topgold via Flickr, Homework When You Become a Child Actor

If you want to become a child actor, you need to spend many hours working on your career. It is hard to have time to do what you need to do to become a child actor (i.e., acting classes, coaching, rehearsing, auditions) when you have to go to school and do homework each day.

When school is in session, particularly as you get older, homework often takes 2 to 3 hours or more each day. My daughter started back to school a few weeks ago. She has already had so much homework that she had to pass on several auditions.

Passing on auditions is never a good thing when you are pursuing an acting career, especially if your talent representatives set it up for you.

The auditions my daughter passed on were some I got for her from submitting on LA Casting and Actors Access, but I still hated for her to miss them. All auditions help in developing acting abilities and could result in jobs — meaning more experience, more for a resume, and (possibly) money.

But there are times in your life when you have to decide what is most important to you.  My daughter does not want to be homeschooled, and she wants good grades so she can get into a good university. So she chooses to miss a few auditions in order to have enough time to study and complete her homework.

She and I would both prefer that school was less demanding so she could go to all the auditions like she did when she was younger. When she was younger,  her homework typically took less than an hour each day. And it was not a big problem when she had to leave school early or even miss school for acting jobs.

She also had time to go to acting classes 2 or 3 times per week. There was one very positive effect all this acting had on her at school — it boosted her reading level to the 12th grade level when she was in 3rd grade (from reading all the acting sides and scripts). So being a child actor really can have some benefits!

For more on the topic of schoolwork and becoming a child actor, see “When You Become a Child Actor, How Do You Keep Up With Schoolwork?

There are times when nearly every child actor becomes frustrated at trying to keep up with homework and schoolwork while going to auditions and all the other activities you typically participate in when you become a child actor.

So, “How Can You Become a Child Actor When You Have So Much Homework?”

If you want to become a child actor, you can still attend public school, and you can still get your homework done. You need to understand, though, that at times it will be extremely difficult.

Making up missed classwork and homework is not always easy, particularly if there are projects or presentations. These may need to be done in class, be done with other kids during and/or after school, be done on computers at the school, or require a great deal of teacher explanation and guidance.

The Set Teacher

When you work a union job, there will be a set teacher to help with schoolwork. The set teacher certainly can help you with learning and getting much of your schoolwork done, but it can’t replace your specific teachers’ comments and instructions or help with work on group projects that you miss when you are away.

Going to Auditions Takes Time

It can take the better part of the afternoon and evening to go to even just one audition (and it will be even worse if you have more than one on a particular day), particularly if you have to travel a long distance or travel in heavy traffic to/from the audition. This certainly makes it hard to get homework done.  This also makes meeting with other kids to work on a school project in the afternoon or evening almost impossible.

Teachers and Administrators

Teachers and administrators are not likely to be terribly understanding when you miss school due to a show business career. Most won’t be sympathetic when you come to school with homework not done because of acting auditions or jobs. Other students will be mad when you can’t work on group projects with them when you have last minute auditions.

As a Parent, What Can You Do?

As a parent, you can help out by scheduling auditions, whenever possible, to a later time so that your child does not have to miss even part of the school day. You can even talk to your child’s talent representatives and tell them to always schedule after a certain time.  Unfortunately, if auditions are a long distance away, it can’t always work out that way though.

Good Time Management Is Important to a Child Actor

So, what can a child actor do to balance acting and homework? First of all, you need to become very good at managing your time to pull off pursuit of an acting career and keeping up with your work at school. Working smart is very important.

The following six tips will be helpful:

  1. Complete all homework promptly (no procrastination) and work ahead whenever possible, especially during slow audition times.  By keeping up and working ahead, the damage done when you lose an entire afternoon and evening due to audition preparation and/or auditions will be minimized. For example, don’t put off those book reports and term papers or studying for tests until the last day or two.
  2. On days when you know you have an audition/auditions after school, use class time wisely. When teachers allow you to work on homework during class, do it! Spend your breaks and part of your lunch period in the library working on homework as well. You’ll have plenty of time on other days to hang out with friends.
  3. If the trip to the audition is a long one, work on homework in the car. If you have trouble with car sickness when you read in the car, see if there are audio versions of any of your books. For novels, you can sometimes find the books on tape in the library or for purchase. You can also record your notes so you can listen to them in the car. Keep pencils, paper, erasers, and other supplies in a bag for the car to make sure you have what you need, and don’t forget your books.  Then, just make sure you allow enough time to review/prepare for the audition as you near your destination.
  4. If you know you will have to miss part or all of a school day or days for a job or audition, talk to the teachers ahead of time to get all your assignments, handouts, and other information about what you’ll be missing. Most teachers will respect you for being responsible even if they are not always lenient.
  5. Pick out a couple of students/friends in each of your classes and exchange phone numbers so you can call them to find out what happened in class and so you can borrow their notes when you have to miss. Offer the same service for them for when they have to miss school.
  6. For group projects, take the lead and get your group together as soon as the project is assigned. Sign up for parts of the project that can be done alone and early and get them finished and back to your group quickly. Do extra work on the project when you can, and try to help get the project finished early, even if it means you do more than your share. Then, if an audition causes you to be unavailable, you won’t be considered a slacker or make the other members of your group angry. You’ll also be sure the project gets finished on time and is of high quality so you won’t make a bad grade.  (Another option is to actually ask if you can do your group project alone. It may be more work for you, but it might be easier to get it done this way.)

If this all just seems to overwhelming to you and you still really want to pursue a career in show business, you can look into other schooling options.

Some possible options for you are:

  1. Private school – most will be somewhat more accommodating than public schools since you are paying them. Some may also have classes in the arts during the school day.
  2. Schools of the Arts – most have classes in the arts during the school day, so you won’t need to do so many activities after school (acting classes, music lessons, etc.) Also, the school release time may be earlier than the typical 3:00 for most public schools.
  3. Homeschooling – you can work around your show business schedule. (See “Homeschool Education vs. Public School Education for Young Actors” for more on this topic.)

Good luck with your auditioning and with getting all your homework and schoolwork done! Remember young actors must keep at least a C average to continue getting a work permit, so don’t let your grades drop.

If you start struggling, hire a tutor to help, but don’t wait until after your grades have already dropped too low to recover.

For more on this topic and many others related to children and showbiz, please subscribe to Young Actors Newsletter (Go signup now in the sidebar to the right if you did not do so already).

To your success,

Debbie Sikkema

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  1. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Emily,
    Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog! You are right that it is typically the moms who manage the acting careers, though I’ve seen quite a few dads doing it as well. It takes a great deal of parental support to pursue a showbiz career. I think it also makes the kids and parents very close if they are not too harsh with their kids. Thanks for your support. –Debbie

  2. simon@Website Design Preston

    Hey your blog reminded me of my school days. I had a dream to join one of those big Acting Institute where all of my friends used to go. Because of my family’s poor financial background I never got a chance to get admissions in these Institutes. Those days my mom worked hard to earn some extra money for my admissions but due to some or the other priorities coming her way, she could not make it. I don’t blame anyone for this. At least my mom was in support of me. I am glad that in today’s busy world also parents are supporting their children. Happy to hear that.

  3. Pat Hold@cabling

    Hi. I completely agree that it becomes too difficult for a child to sail in two boats. And the same goes with his parents. There are many alternatives for parents who want to secure their child’s future but they do not get time as both of them work. The best alternative for such people are the schools that conduct extracurricular activities and hobby classes in the school itself. So now the student can concentrate on both the things without missing on his studies. And even the parents need not worry as their child is able to cope up with everything in the school itself.

  4. Dean Werchon@werchys furniture removals

    In such situations even the teachers prove to be of great support and help. They keep motivating the ones who are coping up with both the things at the same time. And also they inspire the other students to learn from the ones who are doing it. Parents need to ensure that whatever their child is doing should be worth in future. Also parents need to ensure that they give nutritional and healthy food to their children so that they get energy to compete in the struggling phase.

  5. Jordan  Xiong@wholesale intimate

    Me and my wife work together to earn our bread and butter. We go to office early morning and till the time we come back we are too late and of course tired. We have one kid and we stay in a joint family with my parents. Our kid is being taken care of by my parents and yes all the classes, sessions, auditions and rehearsals are handled by his grandparents. They are the ones who give full support to our kid and teach him good habits, manners and keep motivating him. So I think sometimes it’s not only the parents but also the grandparents who are a big support to children.

  6. Bijo@arizona pest control

    Jordan, I really appreciate your parents for the way they have supported your child. It’s good to have such supportive parents. But I suggest you that even if your parents are so supportive, you and your wife should give some time to your child. If not on weekdays ensure that you make it at least on a weekend. Your child needs his parents too. You need to give him time and understand what your child wants and how he is doing.

  7. Emily@boxes melbourne

    Children themselves are very much talented these days. In fact children don’t like anybody interfering in their matters. They want to live their lives independently and make their own decisions. They don’t want anybody to bother about what’s happening in their life. I still say that parents should be able to handle their children well. I mean that they should not stop caring for them but yes parents are suppose to behave good with them so that they don’t mind even if their parents are a little possessive.

  8. Jody O`Connell@all weather windows calgary

    Homework’s and projects will keep coming your way till the time you are studying. I think its better to not loose a chance where you get ample of opportunities to show your talent and prove yourself. Its only that you need to put in great efforts to make it a big. Hard work at the end gets paid so no worries even if you have to slog out for some years. At least you are rest assured that your future is in safe hands. Try and try till you succeed are the magical words which will help you to make it a big.

  9. Susan Nayavich@vacation packages

    After coming back home from school, your child should get some time to relax. You can ask his tutor to take his tuition’s at home so that your child is relaxed at home and studies with the tutor and complete his homework. In the evening or noon time I think it will be good to take him for his rehearsals so that he feels fresh and gets excited to finally do something that he is passionate about.

  10. Linda@nba playoffs live

    The habit that your child gets from the start is what he will be in the future. If you give him all the luxury now then he will obviously get addicted to it and will never try to achieve anything with hard work as he knows that he will get what he wants without putting in much effort. Make him a little career conscious and let him struggle so that he understands the value of money earned with dignity.

  11. Charles Ceccarelli@swivel hitch

    Sailing in two boats is not a good option. There are many children who have opted for studies as well as the acting classes. Those who are passionate about being an actor will not mind to stretch beyond their limits. But as parents we need to accept the fact that our children will surely not be able to cope up with both of them completely. They will surely be missing some part from both of them.

  12. Bianca@Signal repeaters

    You’re right Charles sailing in two boats will never let you achieve success in whatever you do. There are some of them who complete their school and then they do their further studies through correspondence. Some of them even have opted for night school where they work during the day time and attend their school in the night. I wonder how they manage everything so well.

  13. Domenic De Giorgio@milwaukee quebec

    Some parents I have seen are very particular about their children. They don’t let their children take decisions in case of their career. At times I think that this is good as this will lead their children on a good track in terms of their career. Also those parents who are educated and know about the demand in the education industry will always think good for their kids.

  14. Jody@windows & doors calgary

    Yes at times it’s a good decision. But these days what matters the most is whether your child is interested in making his career in that field or no? Sometimes when our children are confused then it’s absolutely fine to show them a good way but when they think they can take their own decisions then parents should also give them space.

  15. Jack@it provider

    Young children are always receptive to change. They do not mind if their parents force them for a change in their lifestyle. God blesses each child with a lot of intelligence and also at the same time with a lot of stamina. Even if your child is struggling today no matter parents should not be upset to see their child slogging hard instead they should be happy as their child is working hard at an early age just to have a bright future.

  16. David@corporate catering melbourne

    Hard work always gets paid in the end. Some of children are motivated by themselves while some of them just cannot take up things on their own. I am one of those lazy kids. I do not take up challenges unless and until I am forced to take up by my parents. I am lazy because I know that I still cannot take correct decisions and then my parents always help me out with all my decisions.

  17. David@sale used trucks

    Good if you get to know yourself from the start itself. You should always keep hunting for something new. The grasping power in children is more than adults. Forcing children towards good habits at an early age will benefit them in future. There are some children who have never been supported by their parents. They still did manage to grow and achieve a high position in life. Feels good to see these children climbing the ladder of success by their own.

  18. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi David,
    Thanks for reading on my blog and commenting! Yes, you are right about getting support from parents. Parents can have a big effect on the habits and success of their children by teaching them to manage their responsibilities, whether it be homework, acting, or other activities, at an early age. Those without parental support who succeed in life are surely more the exception, but it is indeed remarkable to see those who do manage to do well without the guidance and support that good parents provide.
    Best regards, Debbie

  19. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks for your comments! We really do have to admire our children when they put in so much hard work to try to have a bright future. It is good for them to have a little time out to enjoy being a kid as well. Sometimes just changing work habits a little can help them to manage all the work they have to do a little better so they have a bit more time for fun! It is not to say that working hard and sacrificing don’t help them to become more responsible and less lazy as adults! I believe they learn to be more disciplined when they have to learn to manage an acting career and schoolwork at the same time.

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    Hello Youryoungactor,
    On a similar note,, As we all know Bruce Lee made some good martial arts movies in his adult life, but how many of you know of his childhood acting career in Hong Kong? Bruce Lee was born in 1940 and because of his parents’ connections, grew up around the movie and theater industry.

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  1. What Benefits Do You Get When You Become a Child Actor? | Your Young Actor

    […] a child and the child’s family face if a child decides to become a child actor (see “How Can You Become a Child Actor When You Have So Much Homework?” and “What Does a Child Give Up to Become a Child Actor?“) So, I am dedicating […]

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