As the title suggests, we have more pros and cons for the Montessori Homeschooling style. Today we have Suzanne from teachingfromatacklebox.blogspot.com to give us some more information. Let’s walk.
My interest in Montessori education, interestingly enough, began back in 2001 when I gave a talk at a local homeschool conference on the methods of homeschooling. Shortly after, a retired Montessori teacher offered her mentoring services to our homeschool group. I employed her services, but mostly because of a desire to have her come into my home and help me get organized using Montessori principles.
My house was in C.H.A.O.S. (a www.flylady.net acronym, meaning “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome”). At the time I was homeschooling two in high school, one in second grade and one in kindergarten. A few months into the school year, all of a sudden I had a 3-year old who was reading, a 4-year old who was determined to keep up with his older sister and a 20-month old who insisted he could do everything that everyone else was doing (and he was usually right), oh – and a newborn baby too. I desperately need help with my home and with my homeschooling.
Working weekly with the mentor got me started and then soon I found myself reading every book I could find on Montessori education. By the end of that school year in May 2002 I had written my first book about my journey, “From Creative Chaos to Livable Learning.” Livable Learning is my term for a homeschool environment where both the child and the teacher create an environment where both the teacher (parent) and the child create an environment that is conducive to learning. This is achieved externally through a simplified order of the household and the learning materials, while internally both the teacher and the student arrive at a greater self-discipline in how they think and act. I love that Montessori emphasized that the teacher must be morally and spiritually prepared in order to effectively teach the child, and the teacher must rid one’s heart of anger and pride.
Pros and Cons
For me, two of the most important pros for Montessori homeschooling is that it brings more order to our daily lives and it naturally raises our children to a greater independence in their own education. The Montessori child eagerly embraces the philosophy of, “Help me to do it by myself.” The materials are designed to be self-correcting so that the child can correct his own work. Montessori is family friendly, using materials that are multi-age and multi-sensory.
Both a pro and a con is that Montessori education is something you have to grow into, just like parenting. There are no easy, set in stone, sets of curriculum plans. Montessori education, at first, seems so incredibly overwhelming and so different from the type of education most of us grew up on. Although, it does essentially become a way of life, that will help you to view your child with new eyes. The Montessori educator is to serve the child; to treat the child with dignity and respect.
Another pro and a con is that there is no high school program for homeschooling because a Montessori trained 12-year old has the equivalent of a high school education. The next step in traditional Montessori education is what may be referred to as Erdkinder, applying all the student has learned in a real life work experience – running a business.
One of the greatest cons to Montessori education is that it is difficult to learn about a 3-D method of education in a 2-D manner. It is hard to learn a hands-on method of education by simply reading about it. Technology is changing that now for the better, thanks to online videos. I never did understand why there were 17 steps to the Practical Life written presentation of how to move a chair, until I saw it done in person. I was in awe!
You do have the freedom to use Montessori methods and materials to whatever level it works into your family. You can use Montessori materials to supplement your current curriculum or you get serious enough to take a training course offered for homeschoolers through KHT Montessori www.khtmontessori.com (for 3-6 year olds) or from Keys of the Universe www.keysoftheuniverse.com (for 6-12 year olds).
Materials from most commercial sources are extremely expensive but you can read more about how to make your own Montessori materials at my blog teachingfromatacklebox.blogspot.com and at www.livingmontessorinow.com
There are printables available at www.montessoriforeveryone.com , www.montessoriprintshop.com and my website www.jmjpublishing.com/hope4memembers.html
Suzanne Wilhelmi, mom to 8, still homeschooling 4.