If your child has recently been lucky enough to land their first acting role, you might be delighted and concerned at the same time. Delighted because their talent is finally being showcased and concerned because it raises the question if child actors go to school?
I have great news for you: there are several options you can consider to ensure your little performer can reach stardom without sacrificing their education. Some of these options are more flexible than others and can easily be adjusted to any schedule.
Here’s the Answer to whether Child Actors go to School
Essentially, child actors spend a lot of time on set so, instead of taking them to school, it becomes easier to teach them on set between shoots. Specialized set teachers perform this task based on the curriculum they’re currently studying. This can be from the school they attend, online schooling, or home school lessons. If the parent can assist with homeschool sessions, it might not be necessary for time with the set teacher.
- Here’s the Answer to whether Child Actors go to School
- Problem With Normal Schooling
- Schooling Options for Child Actors and Celebrity Examples
- Where do Child Celebrities go to School?
- Do Disney Actors go to School?
- Final Thoughts
Problem With Normal Schooling
Since normal schools run from a certain time in the morning to a specified time in the afternoon, there is very little chance that your little actor can fit school in during a shoot. Depending on what’s being filmed, your child might spend weeks or months away from school. Even shooting short adverts might take a few days up to a few weeks. Series or films can take as long as a few months.
Auditions could also run during the day which would mean taking your child out of school again. Removing them just for the few hours of the audition is not a viable option because they also need time to change, revise lines, and travel to the audition location. As a result, many hours of schooling will be lost and your child will fall behind. This creates a lot of disruption in your child’s education.
Schooling Options for Child Actors and Celebrity Examples
As I mentioned earlier, there are some schooling options that you can consider to ensure your child’s education not only stays relevant but complies with state or district educational requirements. It’s important to establish what your child’s needs are and review the options to see what will be most accommodating and practical for you.
While this might seem like the easiest option of the different types of schools, professional performers don’t receive any consideration from the school. The school might consider days away from school as absenteeism and threaten children with failing grades or even expulsion.
This type of scenario can be very stressful to the child and the parent. You should only consider this type of school if the school in your area is understanding of your child’s situation and offers a way to catch up on missed tests or lessons.
Keeping your child actor in a public school will require communication with the school, a clear understanding of the Child Entertainment Laws as well as your child’s personal limitations.
Private schools are known for their high tuition fees and expectation of high grades. Like public schools, private schools can be very strict regarding continued absences or missed lessons and tests.
Again, if you can find a school that caters to performing children and offers a form of lesson catch-up plan, this option can be considered. It’s crucial to discuss your child’s career with the school body and establish if they can accommodate that type of schedule. Not many private schools are open to this, so you shouldn’t just assume they would be.
These catch-up sessions, if they’re allowed, might not be available online and will have to be done at the actual school. Bear in mind that it could be very stressful for your child to catch up on lessons and tests in between their filming schedules.
Online Schools on the Internet
In this digital age, it has become very easy and convenient for children to do their education online. And child actors are no different in this regard. Doing online schooling allows them to work at their own pace which is particularly beneficial to actors who are schooling in between current acting commitments.
Online schooling involves virtual classes, making them much more accessible. This means the children don’t run the risk of missing lessons or falling behind. All you have to do is sign your child up with a certified program that is accredited in your district.
Some programs run courses from kindergarten right up to grade 12. Draw up a schedule and focus on not falling behind. These programs are a great way to teach your children self-discipline and motivation. With virtual classes on offer, it might be easier to schedule the tutoring required to stay on track, since the school schedule can be more flexible compared to going to a public school.
You might want to check out Astra Nova School, founded by Elon Musk which offers online (and in-situ classes in Los Angeles, California).
If you’re up for the task of homeschooling, visit your state’s Department of Education website to familiarize yourself with their requirements. This type of schooling requires a lot of discipline and motivation from both you and your child but has many benefits.
The biggest advantage is it creates an opportunity to support your child’s true passion and interests. This will help identify any potential college studies whether it’s to continue performing or venture off into something totally different like engineering.
Homeschooling allows you to give your child the individual attention they need, which they might not get in a class of 20 or 30 children. This focused support makes it easier for them to balance an acting career and a flexible school schedule.
Homeschooling often gets a bad name because it’s not taught by certified teachers or educators and the flexible schedule might come across as “fancy-free”. But there are many benefits and if both parent and child can have discipline, it can work. Some of the most famous child stars who followed the homeschool routine include:
- Justin Bieber
- Miley Cyrus
- Christina Aguilera
- Dakota Fanning
- Hilary Duff
Here’s a short clip to share some of the benefits of homeschooling.
Professional Children’s School
A professional children’s school offers two types of scenarios. The first is where your child is taught the fundamental subjects like Math, English and History. They also focus on teaching arts like acting, singing, dance and musical theatre.
The one drawback to these types of schools is their “no audition policies” which mean children aren’t allowed to attend auditions during the school year. This is so that they can focus solely on the training provided. These types of schools are geared at preparing the children for a career in the arts after graduation.
The second option is a school for children who are already professional performers. This type of school focuses on providing the education that children miss as a result of professional commitments. When children are away from school as a result of filming, subjects and live-to-date lessons are available online.
Children aren’t penalized for time away from school provided the lessons are up to date and maintained.
Famous actors who attended a professional children’s school include Scarlett Johansson and Jack Antonoff.
Where do Child Celebrities go to School?
It’s often easier to decide on a schooling option for your child when you have credible evidence that the system works. What can be more credible than your favorite celebrities’ experience? It might also be easier to convince your child of a particular option if they see that their favorite stars have done, or are currently doing the same type of schooling.
Let’s have a look at some of the schooling options chosen by some famous celebrities’ children. Some of them are also active in the entertainment industry:
- Suri Cruise: Daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes attends a private Avenues School in Manhattan.
- Rumer, Tallulah and Scout Willis: Daughters of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore attended the Willows Community School
- The Jolie-Pitt Children: Children of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt attend Lycee Francais de New York which offers a program from kindergarten to 12th grade.
- Willow Smith: Daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinket attends the New Village Leadership Academy.
Many current famous child actors have opted for homeschooling or the online schooling option as both these options offer a more flexible schedule.
Do Disney Actors go to School?
The Disney channel is known for using children as its presenters. This is an easy way to appeal to their target audience. Many of these child presenters go on to become successful actors or even host their own shows.
Disney channel takes the basic education of their child actors very seriously. Continuing basic education is listed on the Disney rules that actors have to follow. Some of the most famous Disney actors include Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Zac Efron and Justin Timberlake.
Aside from being strict about basic schooling, the Disney channel encourages their child stars to continuously go on auditions. This is to assist them in finding work within the industry after their time on the channel is finished.
Being the parent of a child actor involves a total change of your current routine. If you’re not strict with the disciplines involved, much may fall by the wayside. However, by choosing one of the more flexible schooling options, you can be sure that education will always stay relevant and up to date.
Do your research, discuss your concerns with people already in the industry and ensure you make an informed decision. If your child has an external casting agent, enquire about popular options.
Brush up on district educational regulations and laws regarding child entertainment. Choosing the right option means you can still prioritize your child’s education without sacrificing their dreams!