OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Sarah McGinnity has turned her living room into a multi-part classroom.
It includes her six-year-old son Clark’s desk, where he’ll work through his first grade curriculum. Sarah is also making sure he engages in immersive learning, right outside their house.
"Clark is really into nature, we’re doing some nature journaling and some hikes and he has a pet caterpillar now, trying to mix in stuff they’re passionate about so it’s a fun adventure instead of here’s Mom telling me to do math again," McGinnity explained.
That’s a consideration McGinnity and her fellow mothers are confronting: playing teacher and parent, all at the same time.
"I’m nervous. I want to make sure they’re ready for next year if next year they get to school, I want to make sure our relationship stays intact because I’ve never taught my kids and sometimes it can get really stressful," she explained.
It’s a difficult balance and uncharted territory for McGinnity and her three kids.
"It’s going be hard because you have to be that person that says stay on task and finish this and do this but I’m also trying to get them to do chores or brush their teeth," she explained.
Clark will see his teacher at school once a week, with 9-year-old Henry going all virtual for fourth grade. Four-year-old Lucy will be in pre-K in person.
The picture has become clearer for the McGinnity Family, and others, with the first day officially begun.
"That’s a lot of weight on a mom to decide, especially when the consequences of potentially getting sick or making other people sick are so heavy. I feel like now that people have made their decision, it’s shifted from anxiety, to let’s do this and make this successful," the mother said.
The mom’s of the KC Mom Collective, the organization that McGinnity leads, look to her for guidance and advice. With an unprecedented school year ahead, she provided one final piece of advice.
"Just giving yourself and the people around you grace," McGinnity said.
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