Montessori Education – What is It? Why Is It? Will It Work for My Family?

For families that want to homeschool their kids, one of the biggest challenges lies in deciding on the right homeschool approach. Maybe you’re considering eLearning and remote learning to maintain safety during the pandemic or perhaps you want to pool in resources with other parents to form homeschool pods.

Among these options, the Montessori homeschooling approach may be among your top choices because it’s one of the most flexible ways to provide your child with all-round development. Before deciding to use this approach, however, you’ll want to gain a thorough understanding of Montessori education and how to apply it to homeschooling.

Let’s take an in-depth look at Montessori homeschooling so you can decide if it’s the right choice for your kids and ultimately, for your family.

What is Montessori Education, Really?

To better understand Montessori homeschooling, let’s trace the roots of the approach back to the late 19th Century, when Maria Montessori started developing the methods and philosophy. After finishing medical training, Maria Montessori attended classes at the University of Rome to study pedagogy. She also researched the educational theories from the previous centuries to understand what works and what doesn’t.

She even visited the city’s asylums, studying the mistreatment of the kids there to learn more about children with mental disorders. Maria Montessori then used all of these observations to create a new form of education, opening her first classroom called the Casa dei Bambini or The Children’s House in 1907.

The Montessori education model takes a child-centered approach to learning, valuing the unique individuality of each child. It encourages curiosity and creativity so that students can learn to value knowledge and freely seek it out themselves.

So this approach involves free activity within an educational environment that’s prepared and tailored according to the specific characteristics of each child’s personality and age range. The intention behind this environment is to encourage independence and psychological development for each student.

In addition to this prepared environment, the Montessori education model has several other essential characteristics, mainly:

  • Mixed age classes
  • Hands-on learning materials
  • Movement
  • Repetition
  • Independence
  • Freedom of choice between multiple learning activities
  • Respect for each student’s individuality and learning style
  • Teachers modeling the behaviors and values they want to teach
  • Teachers as facilitators rather than instructors

How Does Homeschooling Work with Montessori Education?

Although the Montessori education model was originally intended for classroom use, some families have been able to apply it to their homeschooling efforts as well. This involves creating a learning environment according to Maria Montessori’s philosophies.

So how do you homeschool using the Montessori approach? For families that already homeschool, you’re already applying those philosophies in a way because you’re creating education plans tailored for each child.

Even with Montessori homeschooling, you’ll be facilitating your child’s learning by connecting their individual interests with the right materials and curriculum. In other words, you let your child direct the learning while you facilitate it with the tools they need.

The process will require a bit of time and attention, but you should eventually be able to create a prepared environment that encourages a love of learning through exploration and discovery. Look for areas in the house where you could place educational toys or books so your kids could easily reach them, for example.

Consider investing in learning materials such as building tools, craft supplies, etc. The idea is to adopt any learning resource or material that could encourage your child to engage in active learning.

Where to Buy Home-School Curriculum for Montessori Education

One of the best parts about Montessori homeschooling is that there isn’t a defined or rigid program to follow. So although you have some recommendations to guide you through the process, you have the freedom to create your own curriculum.

You can find a wide range of learning tools and resources for Montessori education available online and offline. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invest in each and every recommended material or buy plenty of educational toys. The flexibility and adaptability is one of the best parts about this approach as it gives you the freedom to use the materials you have at hand to facilitate learning.

For example, you might be able to use the Scrabble set you already have to teach spelling! You could also use scrap paper for arts and crafts, and so on.

Is Homeschooling Better than Public School for Montessori Education?

Of course, you’ll want to know whether home school or public school will provide your kids with better Montessori education. The answer largely depends on your family’s unique needs and circumstance. For now, here’s a quick rundown of the top reasons why home school Montessori could be a good choice:

Customized Curricula

You can completely customize lesson plans and curriculum for each child. Although you get the same benefit in public Montessori education, you get more control over facilitating the education of your own kids – something public schools don’t offer.

Deeper Parent Involvement

You get to pay close attention to your kids. If you ever get worried that your kids might not get the attention they need in public schools, homeschooling would be a great choice. That also means each of your kids will get to work at their own pace. You’ll no longer have anxieties about them being unable to catch up to their peers.

Flexibility

There’s a lot of flexibility in your schedule so you have more time to complete other important tasks. You get to decide what “school hours” are based on what works for you and your kids. However, a predictable daily routine is essential for your kids, so you’ll have to stick with the school hours you originally picked.

Affordability

It doesn’t have to be expensive. With Montessori education prioritizing on flexibility and adaptability, you have a ton of freedom to develop a learning curriculum based on your budget. You can even implement DIY learning materials to cut back on costs.However, all of these benefits doesn’t necessarily make Montessori homeschooling the best approach for every family. Consider the individual needs of your kids as well as your family circumstances before you decide on the best way to go. You could even try experimenting with it first and then switch to public schooling only when homeschool isn’t working.

Montessori Homeschooling Solutions for Busy Parents

Even though Montessori homeschooling is easily one of the most flexible approaches, some parents may still lack the time to facilitate their kids’ learning. This becomes particularly challenging for two-income households where both parents work or even hold down multiple jobs. In some cases, one or more parents may even have to be the primary caretaker for a chronically ill family member.

So what happens if you don’t have the time to homeschool your kids but you want them to get Montessori education from home? Luckily for you, you could find plenty of homeschool tutors who are trained to use a Montessori approach in homeschool tutoring. Some homeschool tutors may have even adapted their tutoring approach due to COVID-19. So, you might even be able to find options to facilitate Montessori homeschooling over the internet, meaning you won’t have to decide between homeschool vs. online school. However, make sure you consider all the benefits and possible drawbacks of these approaches before you decide to invest in them.

Working with a trained Montessori homeschool tutor also means you won’t have to deal with the headache of studying the method thoroughly so you can develop a curriculum that aligns with the principles. The tutor will be able to do that for you and directly provide you with ideas for tools and resources to facilitate your child’s learning.

Is Montessori Homeschooling the Right Choice?

The answer really depends on what’s preferable for you and what seems to be the best option for your kids. In general, Montessori homeschooling offers plenty of benefits in terms of flexibility while encouraging creativity and independence. However, this learning style may not appeal to you and it may not suit your kid’s individual learning style.

So consider all these factors and decide whether you should switch to a Montessori approach and combine it with homeschooling. With classroom learning having its own set of benefits, you might even want to consider a blended learning approach so your kids can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Remember that even if you don’t have the time or training to personally facilitate learning through Montessori homeschooling, you can always look for a Montessori homeschool tutor to help out. This tutor makes it easier for you to facilitate a Montessori education for your kids from the comfort of your home in spite of your hectic schedule.

For those who want to homeschool their kids but still don’t know which approach to take, you can also check out Wyzant’s Homeschool Roundtable. This in-depth discussion is comprised of a panel of experts who help you navigate through the homeschooling landscape and answer pressing questions on the topic. Make the most of these insights to decide on the best option for your family.

For all the resources and information about homeschooling on The Wyzant Blog, check out our Homeschool Resource Hub.

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