Montessori at home vs. Montessori homeschoolSep 04, 2020
Originally Published September 4, 2020
What is Montessori at home and what is Montessori homeschool? This question has had me thinking, as many of us have been completely thrown (or have thrown ourselves) into this new endeavor of not only implementing Montessori at home, but also homeschooling using Montessori pedagogy. Here's my take on it:
Montessori at home is about getting back to the basics of life, and involving children along the way. It's about making dusting a learning experience, about making tea together, taking out the garbage together, and organizing toys so that they have a place when the playing is all done. It is about giving the child a place in the home where they can access things, and sit comfortably without being strapped in, and help to take care of things as well.
Montessori homeschool is an approach to the education of children at home. It's about incorporating key components of the Montessori philosophy into the child's learning journey including an emphasis on concrete materials, a sequential learning path from the concrete to the abstract and selecting *certain* quintessentially Montessori materials versus commercialized ones.
Both should follow key principles of the Montessori approach:
- Following the child's interest
- Providing freedom of choice
- Cultivating independence
Some of the misconceptions that arise when parents venture into the world of Montessori revolve around an urgency to buy "Montessori materials." This happens whether implementing Montessori at home as well as when choosing to homeschool. My response to that desire is that you don't need to buy as much as one might think, especially not at first.
There is no such thing as "Montessori materials" when it comes to teaching a child to clean up spills, or put away toys, or not jump on the couch. Household essentials that will facilitate a Montessori-friendly home include things like an apple slicer, small tongs, child-size utensils, pitchers, and cups. Hooks placed at child-height for hanging towels or clothes are helpful as well or, you can use the doorknob as my daughter preferred, go figure!
This is different when it comes to homeschool using Montessori pedagogy. In this case there are a few materials that are essential, but definitely not an entire classroom worth of materials. It's important to keep in mind that a classroom has materials for a 3-6 year age span and for approximately 20 or more children at a time. In a home, most likely the children will vary within this age range and will definitely not be nearly as many. My advice to parents is to choose wisely. And sparingly as well.
For ideas, check out my resource page with suggestions for books to learn more and materials for children to use..
For more individualized help, request a customized Montessori-Inspired materials list for suggestions aligned to your child’s interests and development.
Regardless of which you choose, if you are considering the Montessori approach, you can learn more about it by viewing the Montessori information session recording available on demand at no cost. It’s my way of sharing some key information about the philosophy that changed my approach to parenting & education in the most profound ways.
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