How We Homeschool-Montessori Edition
This week, I’m diving into our homeschool methodology. For the past few months, we’ve been following a mostly unschooling philosophy, but through the years, we have dabbled in multiple methods of learning. As we close on 2017 and begin a new year, I’ve been evaluating our daily rhythm and our goals for the year, and have decided that we need to begin leaning towards a more eclectic version of what we’ve done over the years.
As a result, we made a list of the 4 homeschool methods we agree most with: Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, and Unschooling. Each of these methods share slight similarities, but if we’re being honest, following one completely renders the others as completely opposite. By making a list of what we love and don’t, we are forming our own version of homeschool, full of the things we love about each method, despite their differences.
If you want to go back and read the first entry of this series, click here.
Today: The Montessori Method
What we love about Montessori:
- Atmosphere. Again! We’re finding that this is a recurring theme in the homeschool methods we prefer. I love that in Montessori methodology, a huge value is placed on the philosophy that children learn from their environment and the adults in their environment. I also love that Montessori puts a lot of worth into order in the environment. I strive daily to make sure our home is child-friendly…meaning that it encourages them to read, explore, play, and create.
- Giving children a choice. Letting them choose what snack they eat, what order they do their lessons in, and so on give kids a greater sense of responsibility. It helps them understand the consequences of their own decisions, good or bad. And it builds independence.
- Following their interests. I love that the Montessori method is pivotal on working with the interest of the child. We have learned that the simple act of taking into consideration what Explorer Cub is interested in yields exponential results in his learning.
- Unit studies. Hand in hand with the last point, unit studies can be worked around interests, and concrete what children learn.
- Early childhood emphasis. We do like aspects of Montessori’s early childhood approaches. With a toddler in the house, we are in no rush to start “formal” school with him and won’t be for a long time, but we value the importance of building his confidence, independence, and understanding of the world around him. Montessori principles do amazing in this aspect.
- The materials. I’ve always been fond of Montessori materials…and my boys have been, as well. I love that wood toys are encouraged, especially wood toys that challenge the mind.
What we’re not so fond of about Montessori:
- No reward system. I’m going to be honest here, there are definitely parts of our school day and even daily rhythm that Explorer Cub is rewarded for. He’s a big fan of Komodo Math, for the fact that even when he has a tough time with a lesson, he knows that he might get a message from his family and can work towards earning rewards from his loved ones.
There aren’t a lot of dislikes that we have for Montessori principles. However, this is just personal impression from over the years, but we feel that while Montessori does a wonderful job of building independence and self-confidence, it has the potential to create a more scientific/scholastic impact on our kids’ childhood. And while that’s not a bad thing at all, we feel that it’s important to mix it with a little bit of the magic of childhood for balance. That being said, that is our own personal opinion of the method. I know that Montessori encourages imagination and play, and that’s wonderful no matter how you approach it.
Please keep in mind that these are only my opinion, and in no way meant to convince you of how to teach your kiddos! As I dive into each method that we feel is part of our homeschooling, I’m learning even more than I knew before. These points are only some aspects of each method…there are even more parts that didn’t make the list. Those things live in the “gray area.” Some of them we use, some of them, we don’t. That’s the beauty of homeschooling…we find exactly what we need to teach of our very unique and exceptional children in the way that helps them learn best. Both of my boys are completely different, and I know that the way I approach schooling with Explorer Cub will be different from the way that Tiny Timber learns!
Do you use Montessori methods in your homeschooling? What is your family’s favorite part of homeschooling this way? Let me know in the comments!