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Does anyone here do Montessori Homeschooling?


Mommyof1

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I chanced into the Montessori method when I put my oldest in the nearest preschool. It didn't take long to fall in love with it, because it seemed so much like how my own childhood was - not that my parents had a clue who Montessori was, or what were her educational ideas. It just seems to be intuitive. 

 

Like snowbeltmom, we incorporated Montessori ideas and materials into our homeschool once we transitioned. It was a good way for my preschool to early elementary students to keep engaged (not to mention, actively out of trouble) while I did more focused homeschool work with the older kids. 

 

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We have a lot of overlap with Montessori, though not specifically official Montessori. Just in our approach to every day kind of stuff. I love the aspects of independent self-care. And the child-ledish type of focus in academics for the older kids. More structure than unschooling, but lots of input and choice. 

 

I find that there is a lot of overlap between most homeschooling styles. In another group I'm in, there is this sweeping overapplication that any child-interest-involvement is classified as unschooling. If my child wants to do math, that's unschooling! If my child chooses his own library book, that's unschooling! If my child asks to take a structured, b&m science class at a school, that's unschooling! As if only unschoolers let their kids have any say in anything that happens in their life.  :glare:

 

The reality is that unschooling, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Relaxed eclectic can all look very similar in practice. 

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I do but not solely at this point. One child I do alot more Montessori teaching with.

I had the joy of getting a job for 3 years as a school counselor in a pre-k through 12th grade Montessori school. All of those hours sitting in classrooms doing observations made me fall in love with it. I slowly began acquiring materials for my kids and would have the teachers train me in how to use them as I went along. We were a teacher training campus so I considered doing the training but it was pretty intensive so I just learned off the cuff. I especially love the math. I kid you not when I say there were 4th graders in my school doing Algebra without issue. It was just the natural progression of the materials. Preschool kids are already using Golden Bead materials to work on the decimal system. Really neat stuff.

 

I also really like the way grammar is taught in Montessori. The grammar farm for early grades is fun and I have done that with one of my kids. Using symbols to dissect sentences is visually clear.

 

I love the independence of Montessori and the idea of a "work plan" that kids put together at the beginning of the week and finish by the end. It builds independence and responsibility.

http://www.montessorialbum.com/montessori/index.php?title=Math

 

This is a good starter place for math and youtube has so many training videos. The most expensive part of Montessori is the materials. Most can be made but investing in a set of bead materials can be beneficial.

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I really like the idea of montesorri schooling. It definitely has structure to it with flexibility to boot.

 

My DD 4.5 yrs. She is independent and wants to learn thing on her own. She does love for Mommy to read, and we do a lot of it, on a variety of subjects.

 

I want her to have an relaxed eclectic education. She bores easy and needs variety. She is creative. So I try to be sensitive to her even though it is very different from how I learn

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I've been trying to do some research on this, myself.  I always describe my oldest two's homeschooling method as a cross between unschooling and Charlotte Mason.  Dh says that what they're doing is Montessori (but at a high school level).

 

There are tons of articles, websites, etc about Montessori in the younger years, but not much about Montessori for middle school or high school.  There are some Montessori high schools and I've read about their curriculum on their school websites.

 

I don't know if this fits the Montessori model, but it sounds similar (from what I've been reading).  I require a few things from the 2 teens: writing, grammar and math.  They basically choose everything else they want to study.  We package these things into "courses" with projects, labs, writing assignments, booklists, etc.  I try to keep schoolwork to about 5-6 hours at the most.  

 

We do a bunch of field trips and real-world stuff.  We try to do one educational field trip every 4-5 weeks.  They spend one morning a week working at an equestrian therapy center: tacking the horses, leading the horses, catching the horses in the pasture, doing barn chores, helping the therapists, etc.  They also do other volunteer work - dd15 works at a dog rescue 1-2 times a week.  They'll also do stuff like help package food for at a facility for donations, they did a mission trip this summer, etc.  We usually do a ton of hiking/nature center visiting/outdoor activities, but we haven't in the last couple of years, because of the baby.  I plan to add that stuff back in this fall (when it cools down).  

 

When I looked at the Montessori high schools online, they all seemed to have a big project every year.  They also had outdoor trips - like one of the schools had the option of hiking the Appalachian Trail (which looked cool). 

 

What age group are you looking at?  Or are you just looking at Montessori at all levels?

 

I'm sure there are Montessori experts who can explain this - especially the ways in which the modern Montessori movement has evolved to interpret what a Montessori adolescence should look like. But really, there's no such thing as Montessori high school. She has exactly one essay, that, unlike her extensively researched and thought out methods for early childhood and elementary students, she basically dashed off in a sort of speculative way. Like, oh, here's my general vision of what schooling in adolescence should maybe look like. She envisioned children leaving their families to go do a work/school combo where schooling would be focused on learning skills to accomplish big tasks and where kids would make money for their labors. She felt that adolescents shouldn't be around their parents too much at this age - too much potential for strife. Obviously, with the popularity of Montessori elementary schools, many schools have expanded on her elementary ideas and her vague teen ideas and come up with a general take on what a "Montessori" high school might sort of be. But whenever people call their teen methods "Montessori" influenced or style, I always think, so, you've sent your children to work on a farm? The project and financial/business focus is present in a lot of "Montessori" high schools, as is the younger kid take on prepared environments and so forth, just in a more grown up way.

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I'm sure there are Montessori experts who can explain this - especially the ways in which the modern Montessori movement has evolved to interpret what a Montessori adolescence should look like. But really, there's no such thing as Montessori high school. She has exactly one essay, that, unlike her extensively researched and thought out methods for early childhood and elementary students, she basically dashed off in a sort of speculative way. Like, oh, here's my general vision of what schooling in adolescence should maybe look like. She envisioned children leaving their families to go do a work/school combo where schooling would be focused on learning skills to accomplish big tasks and where kids would make money for their labors. She felt that adolescents shouldn't be around their parents too much at this age - too much potential for strife. Obviously, with the popularity of Montessori elementary schools, many schools have expanded on her elementary ideas and her vague teen ideas and come up with a general take on what a "Montessori" high school might sort of be. But whenever people call their teen methods "Montessori" influenced or style, I always think, so, you've sent your children to work on a farm? The project and financial/business focus is present in a lot of "Montessori" high schools, as is the younger kid take on prepared environments and so forth, just in a more grown up way.

I love this "so you sent your children to work on a farm?" I laughed so hard at this.

 

You are spot on with your HS assessment. Maria never wrote much on it and it was a constant point of tension at the school I worked at because our executive director had a different vision than did the HS teachers. What ended up happening was a separate building that housed 7th- 12th grade. By that age students are completely adverse to using manipulatives because they identify it as what they did in elementary school. So what ended up happening was something that looked alot like classical education. Rigorous writing, science and math with alot of Socratic symposium, open ended questions, year long independent research that they would defend, Student led meetings and so forth. Basically we took the ideas of early Montessori and blended them with a classical education. They were making it up as they went. They did a good deal of creating individualized instruction based on student interest and excelerated learning. They did take alot of field trips and did a good deal of community outreach. They even ran a school business from the ground up. Many cool things but no, nothing that would be as formal as what Maria Montessori laid out for the early grades.

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I do remember now what stopped me from delving deeper into Montessori.

 

All the stuff. So much stuff. It just seemed like a huge, Massive investment in very specific tools. While I love kid sized real dishes and real tools, and enabling them to prepare and serve their own snacks, I just can't get into a method that requires more than books, paper, Pencils And Crayons.

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Well, and it's not just the expense, it's the space. Montessori had a school. The method and all the materials are more suited imo to a classroom. I think you would have to have a dedicated space and it would really only be practical if you had a lot of children.

 

I wonder how much of the stuff is more a modern invention and how much Montessori actually had in her school.

 

I know a lot of it can be made at home, or substituted with household items. We've done water transfer exercises and simple things like that with just what we have on hand. I felt like a lot of the toys were just not that useful compared to more open ended toys. I'd rather stock my cupboard with pom poms and unit blocks, iykwim.

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I've thought a lot about this topic! I also have a good friend, trained in AMI, who started a Montessori school, and in conversation with her, one of the things she has pointed out is that it is basically impossible to have a "prepared environment" at home. She herself has not attempted such a thing, but, of course, she runs a Montessori, and so her 4 children go there. Anyway, the other difficulty with doing a "Montessori" style curriculum is that there is no formally published curriculum out there. Teachers who are trained in the pedagogy make their own materials and notebooks as they go through the courses. This is intentional obfuscation on the part of hard-core Montessori-ites, who believe that you cannot simply buy the materials and "do" Montessori-- you must be trained. So--- these are the obstacles for a homeschooler interested in the method.

 

That being said, there are Montessori-like programs out there. I spent the past couple of months hemming and hawing about buying the Shiller math program, which is sort of Montessori based (in certain respects... they definitely don't have the beautiful array of manipulatives that my child had access to the one year she went to our local Montessori school)--- but they have some materials and, best of all, have a parent scripted guide. I just bought it today and will be trying it out. Apparently they also are trying out the market for Language Arts in a Montessori-style curriculum, but I didn't go for that, since I haven't researched it and it's all new. But I suspect that there are some other companies out there who are putting out materials that are compatible with Montessori. Obviously, if you are crafty, you could make a lot of fun materials, and if you have a lockable cabinet to keep everything out of reach when you're not teaching (lest the little one scatter things about and turn them into toys) you could have some fun with that!

 

The array of materials in a Montessori classroom is definitely eye-candy, and the one thing that gave me real pause in pulling my child out to homeschool. But if you think about it, the home itself is one giant batch of manipulatives, practical life skills abounding. Maria Montessori created these kinds of things for the classroom because she was dealing initially with poor Italian street children whose parents were gone all day and weren't around to teach them these basic life skills that we, as homeschoolers, have the privilege of teaching our children every day in a very organic manner, without much to-do, or formality, or special materials.

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I've done bits in the past but you need so much stuff and it seems so cluttery to me. Like it makes sense to have all those manipulatives for every subject for 100 kids but not for three. And my kids never did get the hang of putting it back.

 

Some of the stuff that has worked well is doing a few practical life lessons with what we have.

 

I also have to say some of the ideas on montessoris works seem profound and others just don't make sense in a modern context.

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I've thought a lot about this topic! I also have a good friend, trained in AMI, who started a Montessori school, and in conversation with her, one of the things she has pointed out is that it is basically impossible to have a "prepared environment" at home. She herself has not attempted such a thing, but, of course, she runs a Montessori, and so her 4 children go there. Anyway, the other difficulty with doing a "Montessori" style curriculum is that there is no formally published curriculum out there. Teachers who are trained in the pedagogy make their own materials and notebooks as they go through the courses. This is intentional obfuscation on the part of hard-core Montessori-ites, who believe that you cannot simply buy the materials and "do" Montessori-- you must be trained. So--- these are the obstacles for a homeschooler interested in the method.

 

That being said, there are Montessori-like programs out there. I spent the past couple of months hemming and hawing about buying the Shiller math program, which is sort of Montessori based (in certain respects... they definitely don't have the beautiful array of manipulatives that my child had access to the one year she went to our local Montessori school)--- but they have some materials and, best of all, have a parent scripted guide. I just bought it today and will be trying it out. Apparently they also are trying out the market for Language Arts in a Montessori-style curriculum, but I didn't go for that, since I haven't researched it and it's all new. But I suspect that there are some other companies out there who are putting out materials that are compatible with Montessori. Obviously, if you are crafty, you could make a lot of fun materials, and if you have a lockable cabinet to keep everything out of reach when you're not teaching (lest the little one scatter things about and turn them into toys) you could have some fun with that!

 

The array of materials in a Montessori classroom is definitely eye-candy, and the one thing that gave me real pause in pulling my child out to homeschool. But if you think about it, the home itself is one giant batch of manipulatives, practical life skills abounding. Maria Montessori created these kinds of things for the classroom because she was dealing initially with poor Italian street children whose parents were gone all day and weren't around to teach them these basic life skills that we, as homeschoolers, have the privilege of teaching our children every day in a very organic manner, without much to-do, or formality, or special materials.

Yep to all you said.

 

Sometimes teachers get dogmatic about Montessori and truthfully, if you read Maria Montessori, she is talking about observing both the environment and the child so that you can make adjustments that remove obstacles to a child's learning. Isn't that what we do as homeschoolers? Aren't we essentially all Montessorians at heart?

 

Yes, she created materials but it was to teach concepts multi-sensory. In that light any materials can be substituted. It doesn't have to be a pink tower or brown stairs.

 

I do own alot of materials, to include the golden bead set because I do know how to use them and they are one more great tool. It isn't necessary. You can use beans, paper 1000 cubes and unifix rods. This is where Rightstart Math and Schillers has done a good job bringing it into the home.

 

With all that said I LOVE to make materials. I use Toob figures and my laminator to make 3 part cards all of the time. It is a grammar stage dream :)

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