Many families find that their homeschooling journey changes course as their children move from the Primary Montessori (ages 2½ to 6 years) into the lower Elementary Montessori (ages 6-9 years). It can be challenging for homeschooling families to find enough information and support for their Elementary Montessori journey, so they often decide to use a combination
of educational approaches.
One of the approaches and curriculum that some families turn to is Classical Conversations* Some families find it helpful to combine the memorization approach of
Classical Conversations and the hands on approach of Montessori.
The first curriculum in Classical Conversations is called… Read the Full Article
The Life of a Child’s Soul – The Montessori Method
A much loved book on our book shelves is Education and Peace by Maria Montessori.
Quite often I’ll open the book to a random page and read a few paragraphs. It often inspires me and reminds me of the true simplicity of the “Montessori Method”.
Maria Montessori constantly reminds us through her writing to “follow the child”. Each child has a inner guide that commands and inspires them to learn. If we follow the child and understand the work and desire of their inner guide, we too can assist with the learning process.
Adults often complicate this process by worrying about their ability to ‘teach’ the child using materials they aren’t trained to use. The post Montessori Education at Home. Is It All or Nothing? discusses how it’s the concepts behind the materials that are most important – not the quality or quantity of the materials themselves.
A passage from Education and Peace (1972); a excerpt from a speech Maria Montessori delivered.
“This evening’s subject, My Method, is one that I feel very uncomfortable discussing. I might even say, though my listeners may not believe me, that I find this the most difficult subject of any on which to deliver a public lecture, for I have not evolved a method of education. As a matter of fact, when one attempts to discuss child psychology, for it is the psychology of the child, the life of his soul, that has gradually dictated what might be called and pedagogy and a method of education.
All other methods of education have taken the work of certain adults as their point of departure and have sought to educate or teach the child according to programmes dictated by adults. For my part, I believe that the child himself must be the pivot of his own education – not the child as people ordinarily think of him, but rather his innermost soul, seen from a perspective that was unprecedented before the advent of what has been called the Montessori Method.
A little parable may help illustrate the idea I am trying to express. Suppose that we have a diamond imbedded in a dull matrix and that we remove the surrounding material to reveal the bright jewel. Seeing the jewel, some might ask, “How have you gone about obtaining a precious stone that reflects the light so perfectly?” We would reply that we are not the creators of this marvelous jewel; it already existed, buried deep within the extraneous matter surrounding it. The same can be said of the child. He has shown us how he should be treated and has revealed his splendor to us.”
So beautiful, so simple.
Too often parents are led to believe they have to take the ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to Montessori education at home. While it is true that the primary years (2½ – 6 years of age) use a lot of hands on auto-didactic materials, there are many materials that you can make yourself or use less expensive substitutes for. And it’s not necessary to have all the materials. It’s the concepts and the theory behind the materials that count – not the materials themselves. Would it be lovely for everyone to be able to afford high-quality materials such as Gonzagarredi or Nienhuis – oh yes, it would. But it’s definitely not necessary.
Many parents are also led to believe they can’t give their child a Montessori education unless they’re ‘trained’. You didn’t train to become a parent … but your child has survived (and thrived) this far. So with a little research and work on your part – you too can become a supportive Montessori guide for your children. It will not be the same as sending your child to a Montessori school – but it will still give them a wonderful foundation to life-long learning.
There is a lot of information and free resources available on our website. As well, download all our FREE printable Montessori materials.
Another great place to visit is the Living Montessori Now! blog which contains tons of free information and ideas on Montessori – excellent for homeschoolers wishing to add some Montessori into their life. The post today is very fitting: The Overwhelmed Mom’s Guide to Montessori Homeschooling.
Montessori isn’t meant to be stressful – it’s meant to be a way of life. It’s a way of thinking and a way of approaching learning. We have written about Montessori theories and how they may apply to your family life.
Montessori education at home does not have to be ‘all or nothing’. Any part of Montessori that you can implement into your daily life will only help to strengthen and deepen your child’s love of learning, the connection to the people in their lives, and their contribution to this world.
The great thing about most of our Geography, History, and Science materials is that they are very open-ended and can be used in a variety of ways, for a wide range of ages.
We’re often asked why so many of our materials don’t include step-by-step instructions (many include basic instructions). We don’t include them because we want the materials to be open-ended for both the teacher (Montessori Guide) and the children. We don’t want the presentation of the lessons to be constricted by how we think it should be presented – our version may not be appropriate for your children and their situation.
The presentation of the materials will vary greatly depending on the children, their level of interest, their previous exposure to preparatory materials, and their overall abilities. The materials will not be very effective if you’re locked into a presentation that isn’t suitable for the children you’re working with. As the Montessori Guide, it’s your responsibility to adjust the presentation of the materials for the children in your presence. This is why observation in the Montessori environment is so important!
We want our materials to offer a starting point for the children to learn about the topics that they’re interested in. The materials are meant to be a point of departure – not a point of arrival. They’re meant to offer general/basic information on the topic, provoke thoughts and questions, and inspire the children to study the topic in greater depth. The information we’ve provided in the materials is by no means complete. First of all, that would be impossible – is any research ever complete? Secondly, if we provided all the information then the children wouldn’t have any reason to search for further knowledge and find the answers to their questions. Think of our materials as the ‘springboard’ that launches the children’s desire for greater knowledge.
So now you’re asking – “How do you know how to present the materials to the children??”.
Good question! First off, you need to familiarize yourself with the various parts included in material (examples: 3-Part Cards, Definition Cards, Information Cards, Sorting Cards, Control Chart, etc). You’ll have a chance to do this while … Read Full Article