This is Our Story

We're the Sprayberrys and we moved to Los Angeles about four years ago to have our go at Hollywood. When we met the folks at Children In Film, they thought it would be a great idea if we documented our story. After all, our failures and successes (hopefully more the latter than the former) can be your lesson book.

So here you have it - Dylan and Ellery working through the ups and downs of being child actors - their mother and I working hard every day to ensure their success not only as actors, but also as well-adjusted members of society.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to School

Here comes that time of year when the reality of school begins and summer fun ends! For Ellery and Dylan, getting back in the school grove is a process just like filming; it’s strategic and comes with a good amount of direction and conversation.

Now, I don’t know about your children, but my kids would rather play and have fun all the time, thus making the beginning of the new school year school a chore for them and us. They do, however, recognize the value of a good education and enjoy school, but I would be less than honest if I failed to say they do fight against school at times. Like most kids they would like to sleep in stay up late and so on; going to school is like going to work for many parents.

Before moving forward I must be respectful and clear that each family must do what’s best for them. We were so set on home schooling and did it for 3 years; then one day Dana realized that she was not doing the kids or herself justice with this schooling choice so we moved on to something different. In retrospect we could have evaluated the school options earlier than we did and maybe we would have changed our game plan. My point would be to take a look at what is taking place with school so that you may ensure that, to the best of your ability, you and your children are pleased with the setup. This review could be based on educational objectives to be accomplished not necessarily changing schools, the idea is to ensure our children are set up for success!

The one great thing we have going for us currently, education wise, is that we made the choice to enroll Ellery & Dylan into San Fernando Valley School for Professionals. This school is designed to focus on the core fundamentals of education: Math, Science, Language Arts and History and offers on-site tutoring when/where needed. Additionally SFVSFP offers excellent educational field trips and more. The school is all about student unity and parental involvement with a tight group and team working for the kid’s education.

One of the things I’ve noticed and appreciate is how the kids seem to all get along with no bullying taking place amongst the group. For the most part, these kids have career objectives (or it could be that their family's work schedules fits with SFVSFP school hours and education system. The thought of Ellery & Dylan being around bullying children has always been a concern of ours; it is so great to see the kindness and respect amongst these kids. We do not worry about them being picked on and all of that mean stuff that can often occur amongst young people!

There is, at times, drama amongst the kids, which is more entertaining than harmful. The drama experiences allow us to help our kids understand matters they were not dealing with when they were home-schooled. A big reason for enrolling them in a social school system was so that they could experience the daily exchange of interacting with students and teachers- an element we were missing before. For this reason their manager was very persuasive when it came to enrolling them into a school. As a team we discussed the objectives and what outcome we wanted, and I must say it turned out excellently.

The kids start school each day at 8:30am and wrap at 1:00pm. This schedule allows us the time for their coaching, auditions and other athletic personal choice activities that fit with their needs and our schedules. Many schools are not designed to work with the industry demands, which is why the school choice is so important when it comes to working with industry children. When the time comes to be on set you must have a school that embraces your objectives and knows how to balance your child’s education while allowing them to fulfill their pursuit of acting.

Shortly we will start preparing for the new school year, we will start warming up with reading and math, a couple of weeks out we will start with a new sleep schedule so we may ease them into the morning wakeup call and so on. There is no easy route to get these two great kids to fall right into the school schedule. Come September 2010 the starting of school will take inspiring conversations which focus/target on our family balance: school, health, friends, family and of course ... acting!

Have a great school year kids!

No comments: