It’s not “cheating”, it’s “learning”. Sometimes looking at the solution is part of the learning - at least it is for me.
I watch the lesson video typing what Chris is typing (often pausing the video, too), and adding comment notes to remind me what Chris has been discussing. But, even after taking time with the lesson, I’ll often look at the challenge and can’t see what’s being asked, or how it relates to the lesson. Case in point, I’m on the lesson about EnvironmentObject - and we’ve recently had whirlwind tours of GeometryView, GitHub, JSON, etc. The challenge in this lesson talks about “Toggle”. What on Earth is that? My head is still spinning from the recent lessons, without something new cropping up out of nowhere.
You bet I’m looking at the solution!
The way I work it is that, if I don’t understand what the challenge is asking, I’ll get the solution and work backwards. I’ll either find parts of the solution that help me understand what the question was, and then I’ll have a go myself; or else I’ll take the bits of the challenge solution I don’t understand and play about with them in Xcode to see what they do on the simulator/preview.
As I see it, the goal at the end of this is not for everything to “sink in”. Memorising a recipe of ingredients doesn’t bake a better cake. The goal is to understand what the language can do, and how to work out getting it to do what you want it to do. That way you’re baking your own cake, not making a verbatim copy of someone else’s.
Use every resource as part of the learning curve. Don’t think of the challenge as homework - no one’s going to be marking you on how well you’ve done. The only person who needs to appreciate and understand what we’ve learned is ourselves because, one day, we’ll be all we have.
Celebrate your willingness to learn. Don’t dwell on how you learn it. And remember, we’re right at the beginning of this - we’re going to stumble a lot more before we can stand on our own two feet.
PS: Another “over half-century” guy here, and I write the above mostly to settle my own thoughts on my latest challenge - I just hope it helps you, too.