Saturday, April 28, 2012

Homeschool Method: Montessori

The Montessori Method is well known in well educated circles.  Montessori Preschools are among the elite schools, and very expensive - but teaching Montessori style doesn't have to be expensive, and it can be done at home.

According to Wikapedia ...


Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society. Although a range of practices exists under the name "Montessori", the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:[2][3]
  • Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time
  • Constructivism or "discovery" model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
In addition, many Montessori schools design their programs with reference to Montessori’s model of human development from her published works, and usepedagogy, lessons, and materials introduced in teacher training derived from courses presented by Montessori during her lifetime.


I follow Chasing Cheerios, and highly recommend it, although the best stuff is way back in 2007 - 20010.

Another blog I read about the same time was A Bit of This and A Bit of That.  I highly recommend digging back into her older posts when Ebi-kun was a toddler and preschooler.

Both of these blogs made many of their own equipment for their homeschools.

To explore Montesorri methods ...  here are some links to other blogs that have been highly recommended for those using the Montessorri method. ... 


I didn't hear about Montessori Method's until my mom started to babysit a child who attended a special preschool using this method.  Story and Song were already doing schoolwork, the internet was not as well developed as it is now, and so I didn't give it much thought ... until Scholar came along and blogging, and I began to see this name pop up again and again.

For the most part, this is not a method that I have implemented in my home.  For starters, it requires a LOT of creativity on the parents part - and I'm not a creative person.  Second, I didn't have space to dedicate to a "creative" and "exploration" area.  Third, many of the things people were using were very expensive.

In the end, I settled on following a few blogs - the two above became my favorites - and implemented ideas whenever I was able to do so.

When learning the months and days of the week, we cut up an old calendar.  This one had extra large squares and only long parts across the top with the month names in large letters.  On the back, the same thing but little so you could see what was inside before you purchased it.  At first, he put the months in order with the little ones still together, and later we matched them up.  We did something similar with the weekdays.  He enjoyed it.

I couldn't bring myself to waste a whole bag of rice just to make a sensory box, but we had a yard of sand, so I let him dig through the sand for buried pennies and aquarium rocks.  

Whenever something caught my interest, and I was able to make it myself, we would apply it to our stack of "games" to play.  In this way, I used the Montessori method as an extra learning tool and not the fundamental tool.

If you are a very hands on and creative parent, you might find this teaching/ learning style to be to your liking.  But even if you don't, it has a LOT to offer in activities, especially for slow learners, accelerated learners, and highly inquisitive children.  I've seen a huge amount of these methods "bled over" into therapy for teaching both autistic children and those with motor skills and verbal delays.

I would highly recommend digging around through the blogs, find one or a few that you like and can relate to, and following them for ideas and inspiration.  You don't have to use every single idea - but have fun with the things that inspire you to do something different with your child.  

The BEST thing about home schooling - you can adapt and use ANY education method to accommodate your teaching style and your child's learning style.  You never have to choose JUST one and stick to it.  

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