• TTT Media

Quarantined Q&A: Balancing Parenting And Homeschooling With Destini Gilliam And Jarrin Wooten


Photo/Illustration by Je'Ron Chester | TTT Media, LLC

Editors Note


It's no secret that parents have gained a new level of respect for teachers and educators during this COVID-19 pandemic. With more time available for kids to get sidetracked into non essential activities, parents are getting a dose of what it takes for teachers to balance educating their class, as well as monitoring the behavior. For many busy mothers, the job description has taken on a different meaning as everyone is all home at once, which also means everyone always needs their attention. Schools nationwide remain closed as we wait on government and state officials to ease restrictions and start the process of reopening schools. While we wait, the children only become more restless, and parents will need reinforcement on different approaches to assure that their children are being stimulated at home. TTT Media's Je'Ron Chester recently spoke with educator and founder of Creative Reading Coach, Destini Gilliam, and author and kindergarten teacher, Jarrin Wooten, who provided a structured foundation for parents to follow as they take on the task of temporarily teaching from home.

Photo courtesy of Destini Gilliam | Creative Reading Coach, LLC

Je'Ron: Who is Destini Gilliam?


Destini: I am Destini Gilliam, owner of Creative Reading Coach LLC.  I help women teach their kids to read through a streamlined process with simplified tools! I believe that learning to read shouldn't happen by chance or zip code, but through equitable resources for all. 


Je'Ron: If I'm a parent, how do I maintain the balance between parenting and taking on this new role of being the teacher during the quarantine?


Destini: In order to maintain balance, you first have to accept some quick truths about the current situation.  Number one, realize that this is just a moment in time. In the grand scheme of things, your child is resilient and the number one important factor is that they have safe and warm environment. Additionally, be OK with the idea that you're not a teacher!  Much of the anxiety that you face stems from the fact you want things to be perfect. Right now, create balance by finding a "groove" that works for you. For example, maybe letting the kids sleep in while you work helps you feel accomplished for the day.  There is no right way, it's just the way that works for your family life!


Je'Ron: How can parents adopt to the new methods of learning? 


Destini: Learning the "new" methods of learning is a bit of a loaded taskss.  Foremost, you have to understand that there is a reason why a school provides content in which the way that they do.  Yes, we learned one way, but right now our kids aren't seeing that method.  Instead of complaining in front of the kiddo, or completely negating what they've been taught and instilling your method, take some time to research the content and get clarity around the instructional practices.  If that isn't an option, seek professionals to provide online virtual learning.  This allows you to just be "mom."

Je'Ron: What resources are available for parents to be more engaging with one another?


Destini: You're going to need support to get through this tough time.  But the key is to be supported by right people.  If your Facebook group is simply bashing the entire learning process, you'll soak up those ideas and consequently pass it down to your kids.  You need all the positive energy you can get.  Right now, my favorite Facebook groups are Reading Mama's: Women Fiercely Teaching Their Child How To Read and Melanated Homeschooling Families Support Group


Je'Ron: How can parents keep their kids inspired with distractions such as tv, phones, siblings etc. ?


Destini: I'm TEAM technology!  Especially when it is used in the correct manner.  Number one rule, set clear and concise boundaries about usage.  For example, when my youngest engages with his tablet for recreational use, we have a timer set.  Immediately when the timer goes off, he must turn it in. I also have a 12 year old that's addicted to Tik Tok.  During our traditional work time, her phone is not out.  That simple.  If her work requires technology, that's what her iPad is utilized for.  With our kids, screen time is all that they know.  Simply thinking of it as a "distraction" is a disservice to their generational culture.  Encourage healthy habits and providing opportunities to create on them.  Maybe now is the time to let them start that blog, YouTube channel, influencer profile, etc.  Technology isn't bad.  It's when they have free reign and poor boundaries.


Je'Ron: How can parents keep a healthy learning environment without the structure that public school provides ?

Destini: To keep a healthy environment, do your best to not wing it!  Structure creates a safe feeling.  They need it.  However, understand that your structure does not have to resemble the school.  Kids are in school for 8 hours per day for lunch, recess, special classes, etc.  You have the flexibility to create your own schedule and shave off the unnecessary time.  There is NO reason that any child should be learning at home for 8 hours per day.  Lastly, take time for yourself.  If mama feels good, the whole house will function better!


Click on these links for additional resources from Destini Gilliam on how to create a sustainable weekly schedule for your kids, as well as an all inclusive checklist for COVID-19 related resources. Make sure you follow Destini Gilliam on Instagram to stay on top of every bit of information for your child's educational needs.


Photo courtesy of Jarrin Wooten

Je'Ron: Who is Jarrin Wooten?


Jarrin: I'm Jarrin Wooten, and I'm a Sugar Creek Charter Elementary school teacher and a published author.


Je'Ron: If i'm a parent, how do I maintain the balance between parenting and taking on this new role of being the teacher during the quarantine?


Jarrin: The biggest thing is to not overdo it. Children only need about maybe 1 to 2 hours a day learning (2-3 for older children) and spend the rest of that time being a parent. Don’t get so caught up in trying to have an 8 hour schedule with them because that will only lead to burn out with yourself as well as with them.


Je'Ron: How can parents adopt to the new methods of learning? 


Jarrin: Most teachers that I am aware of have open lines of communication with all parents that would like to speak with them, so honestly the easiest thing to do when you don’t understand something is to ask those that do so that maybe they can help you teach your children more effectively. 


Je'Ron: What resources are available for parents to be more engaging with one another? I.e. forums 


Jarrin:There are support groups on Facebook that share many different ideas for teaching as well as Pinterest and Instagram being great places to find resources. Google what you’re looking for and do a bit of browsing to see if there something in there to support you. 


Je'Ron: How can parents keep their kids inspired with distractions such as tv, phones, siblings etc?


Jarrin: Setting aside designated times for designated things is the easiest way to limit distractions. Having a schedule for the TV Or using that or having the phone as an incentive after work is completed is a great way to limit distractions as well. And when it is time to learn you want them to make sure that they understand that all distractions must be put aside for the time being. 


Je'Ron: How can parents keep a healthy learning environment without the structure that public school provides ?  do i maintain the balance between being a parent this new role of being the teacher?


Jarrin: Establishing an at home routine is extremely important as well as spending time on the things that your child actually needs to learn and may need to improve upon. This is also your time where you can teach them about anything in the world do you want them to learn, so I take full advantage of being able to use everything around you as a teaching tool including yourself.


Follow Jarrin Wooten on Instagram and support his introspective collection of poetry titled, "Soul Notes", on Amazon.

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