**Disclaimer: All information on homeschooling methods will be just a generalized and very brief *if I can help it* overview of the method. Every family who uses these methods will of course work them to fit their needs. After each overview I will discuss some of the things I do and don’t like about the method in relation to our family. **

The Montessori Homeschooling method is based on the Montessori method of educating. The Montessori method was created by Maria Montessori which promotes more of an emphasis on learning life skills than on an academic curriculum. Montessori encourages children to learn by doing, and to move on when they are ready not when a guideline says they should be ready.

Montessori method is more geared for the younger set (think preschool-early elementary), and at this age learning is meant to be fun and child paced. The child isn’t forced to do any work, instead they are given access to various learning tools, which they choose when and for how long they want to interact with them. In Montessori the teacher is more of an observer and model. Their job is to keep records of the child’s progress and interests, as well as offering kind suggestions of activities that may interest the child. They don’t directly teach the behaviors they want the child to exhibit, they instead exhibit those habits for the child to pick up in everyday interactions *like kindness, compassion, and sanitary actions *hand washing**.

The Montessori method can be extended to the older ages, with the student learning from the materials in their environment and by following their own interest. With older students though they are encouraged to research their interest, but they aren’t forced to adhere to any schedule, they have the hours that are dedicated for schooling *or the whole day depending on the family*, which they can use as they wish. In the older aged child there are subjects that may be required to be taught depending on the homeschooling laws in your state, aside from lessons to meet these requirements the child is just as free as they were in the early ages/grades.

One of the biggest components to Montessori education are the materials used in the environment this includes the furniture the children use as well. Everything needs to be kid sized. The children should have their own cleaning supplies that are easy and safe for them to use. They should be able to use actual kitchen items *and even have their own apron*, so they can experience cooking and learn the skill *as well as safety* by actually doing it. The same thing goes for gardening, woodworking, using tools, and any other skills the child can learn that will be vital. Furniture needs to be kid friendly as well, with tables and chairs low to the ground so the child can sit comfortably with their back against the chair and their feet flat on the floor. Bookcases and other storage devices *including the shelves for storing the child’s clothes* need to be low to the ground *eye level for the child*, and items need to be easily accessible for them. The key is to allow the child to get to what they need/want without having to stop and ask for assistance from an adult.

So to recap: Montessori is child lead, with the environment *in this case the home* providing the child with tons of materials and most importantly the time that allows the child to learn how to interact in the world, take care of themselves, and learn about subjects that interest them. In Montessori education teachers are observers and guiders giving helpful suggestions on ways for the child to further their learning, while keeping records on how they are doing, and what they are doing.

Now when I was looking into preschools before we arrived here *since at the time my husband wasn’t a fan of homeschooling* I was aiming for a Montessori school. I figured this would allow our son to learn at his own pace and not be stuck doing preschool work we he clearly understood elementary level work. I also am very big on children learning to be independent *our children already have chores, they know how to navigate our kitchen, they are responsible for cleaning up after dinner, and washing their own hands and faces after a meal or after playing*.

So there are elements of Montessori that I really like, as far as practical life skills goes. I think it is great in the early years also, and even on a smaller level as the child ages *by keeping a large amount of supplies that allow the child to explore*. Giving them time to just follow their interest(s) can add another dimension to schooling and giving them an incentive to accomplish the structured part of our day in a timely manner with little to no complaint.

But to be fully child lead is a negative for us. We believe there is a lot to be learned from having structure and a set of objectives that need to be meet. The biggest reason we chose homeschooling is because we wanted a highly academic setting for our kids. We want the learning to be fun *hence the use of various activities like our pizza Earth layers*, but there are objectives we feel should be meet during all the fun.

The other negative is cost. To have a fully Montessori home, would cost a lot of money. First their would need to be tables, chairs, and large furniture of that nature in a kid size for them to use with ease. While we do have some of these things already, we would need to alter their closets, and get rid of their dresser in order to bring in something lower to the ground that they could easily access. Then there are the kid sized materials, like gardening tools, kitchen supplies, and so on. Since Montessori encourages use of an item that actually has a purpose, plastic toys would not fulfill this. Then we would need to make sure there are enough high quality supplies/materials of various types from various subjects, in order to spark learning sense formal lessons aren’t promoted in Montessori education. Educational supplies/materials, especially high quality ones, don’t come cheap. For a family on a budget this can pose a problem.

So could a full Montessori education work for us beyond the toddler/preschool years? No. But the life skills/independent learning already has a spot in our home so continuing it and even increasing the level at which it is done can be very beneficial and effective.

There are still six other methods to dissect though. Next up on the chopping block The Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method.

Copyright (c) 2010 Rayven Holmes


  1. Don't let the "child led" thing sway you too much - Montessori's method was also very focused on routine, a la circle time, science time, food time, clean up time, etc. Some homeschoolers I know use bits of Montessori's concepts, but the Montessori preschools I went into in the States were often very structured environments. You as the parent would have a great deal of control via steering and "facilitating" structure and order via an orderly environment. :-)

    In some cases I've seen unschoolers who became Montessori inspired, and others who freaked out at the "overly regimented program" of Montessori. LOL

    Oh - and if you want any wooden gardening tools, check the 100Yen - I got J an awesome bamboo rake there (the one out Gate 2) and they had other tools that were child-sized as well.

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