So you’re interested in Montessori Learning at home. Perhaps you’re thinking about homeschooling your child… where to begin? The best place to start is, as they say, at the beginning with the question “why do I want to homeschool my child?” There may be one reason or a myriad of reasons:
- You want the freedom to decide on a meaningful learning plan that works for your child.
- You want the freedom to decide on your child’s daily and weekly schedule.
- You want the freedom to decide on your child’s year-long schedule and plan based on what works for you, your family, and your child.
- You want your child to choose what she wants to learn about.
- You want the best opportunities and experiences that speak to your child.
- You want your child to work on stuff that she loves and truly wants to explore.
- You want the most meaningful and diversified socialization opportunities for your child.
These are all excellent reasons to want to homeschool your child. There are many more reasons beyond what I listed above. There are no right or wrong reasons. You know your child and family dynamic better than anyone else.
Why is Montessori learning at home and homeschooling important?
After looking over the reasons above for wanting to homeschool, it occurred to me that many of those “wants” align with the core principle of Montessori Philosophy: child-led learning. I’ll talk more about Montessori Philosophy as we go along in this blog. But I think that the most important thing we need to look at is what’s best for our child.
Why am I an authority on Montessori at home and Homeschooling?
I didn’t think I ever wanted to homeschool my daughter. After all, I was a full-time Montessori classroom teacher for nine years which has been my life’s work. I originally planned on her attending an accredited Montessori school, at least for the Toddler and Early Childhood years and then either continue attending a Montessori school through Elementary or look into other schools, public or private.
What changed my mind?
When my daughter turned two years old, I started to read about homeschooling. I found that homeschooling aligns with our wants and lifestyle. I researched articles and joined many homeschooling discussion groups. I joined a local homeschooling group and became the volunteer 0-5 Subgroup facilitator.
Additionally, knowing that our daughter is very active, learns and masters things quickly, and becomes bored easily, we suspect that she may be gifted. We feel that homeschooling is a wonderful option for our daughter.
I also reflected on my nine years of experience working in private Montessori schools. I had terrific teaching experiences at these schools and met amazing people. However, I realized that even in private Montessori schools, teachers don’t always have the freedom to do everything they want. Even in private Montessori schools, there could be a lot of red-tape. There could also a lot of answering to administration and the parent community which doesn’t always put the needs of each child first.
I know that every school is different and every administrator, teacher, parent, and child is different so this may not be the case everywhere. And you may be okay with the specific rules and traditions at your school and that’s absolutely fine. Every situation and every child is different.
What is Montessori Learning at Home?
- Following your child’s interests and passions
- Preparing an environment for your child
- Allowing your child to freely explore and discover her environment
- Having a relaxed and open-ended schedule
- Encouraging your child’s independence wherever you can
- Realizing that every child is different and every day will be different
- Focusing on real everyday life experiences
Montessori learning at home and Homeschooling facts that are often misunderstood
- You don’t need to have all (or any) of the Montessori materials found in classrooms in your home.
- Montessori in the home doesn’t have to be expensive.
- It’s possible to use some Montessori principles in the home, and leave out what doesn’t work for you or your child.
- You can incorporate other educational philosophies with Montessori (for example, some Traditional, Unschooling).
- Montessori principles really can work for every child and every home.
- There are many opportunities for your child to socialize, work, and play with other children.
- Your child doesn’t spend the entire day on academic activities/lessons as if she was in a school setting.
- You don’t have to be a stay at home mom or dad to homeschool your child.
How to get started with Montessori learning at home homeschooling
You asked yourself why you want to homeschool, and you answered this question with honesty. The next step you should think about is the logistics of how this is going to work in your family’s daily life. Be sure to have a discussion with your partner so that both of you are on board with homeschooling and Montessori.
Take a look at our situation
My husband has been working from home (a full-time 9-5 job) for the past five-plus years. I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I also want to continue my career, to contribute to the Montessori Education world in some way, even if it’s working from home. That’s a big reason why I have started this blog. My husband also is familiar with Montessori since he has been with me every step of the way during my Montessori journey.
After researching and having discussions with my husband, we came to the conclusion that homeschooling is a good fit for our lifestyle. We see how this will work well for us and our daughter. It seemed like a no-brainer that homeschooling is a fantastic option for us. But your situation and lifestyle may be different and homeschooling can still work out if you really want it.
Since our daughter is two-and-a-half as I write this, she is not yet in the K-12 age yet so we don’t have to fill out official homeschool paperwork yet. We have time to research our state’s homeschool laws and figure out what the first steps will be when the time comes.
However, your child may be a bit older and your local requirements may be different. You may need to get started sooner rather than later with filling out homeschool paperwork for your state or location. I suggest that you research everything you can about homeschooling in your location.
What If I realize that homeschooling is not for us?
I’m a stay at home mom just getting started with homeschooling a toddler and documenting our experience. I don’t have experience with having a busy work schedule outside the home with a young child. But I understand how that could be a challenging situation if you want to homeschool.
I believe that if you truly want to homeschool your child with your whole heart and soul, you will find a way to make it work. Homeschooling is very flexible. Even if you work full-time outside the home, it’s just a matter of being creative with your time.
You’ll probably go through a lot of trial and error with figuring out what works. You could coordinate child care with your partner or a family member while you’re working. When you are home and not working, you can set aside time with your child to do lessons together. This is an example of what you could do, and of course, it depends on a lot of factors, such as the ages of your children.
If you discover that homeschooling is not for you, it’s okay! You can still implement Montessori principles at home in your daily life. I hope that this blog can still help you with making your home and daily life Montessori-friendly.
Tips for Success in Montessori Learning at home
- Be open-minded to Montessori but follow your gut instincts.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t implement every Montessori principle in your home.
- Read books written by Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind is a good first Montessori book to get started.
- Think about your space in your home and how you can make it child-friendly to encourage independence.
- Breathe. Slow down and enjoy life.
Common Questions/FAQ About Montessori Inspired Learning at home
- What is Montessori?
- Maria Montessori, an Italian Medical Doctor was born in 1870 and was ahead of her time. The turning point in her career was observing and working with young children at a day-care-like setting in the slums of Rome. She opened her first school, Casa Dei Bambini or Children’s House in 1907.
- Montessori discovered that children have an inner life force or spirit, and when given the freedom to explore in a supportive environment, the children flourish.
- Montessori went on to create her educational method based on how the child’s brain develops. She developed Montessori materials for the children to use independently, as well as the concepts of the teacher as a guide, the prepared environment, the absorbent mind, and the sensitive periods.
- There are tens of thousands of Montessori schools around the globe, with 5,000 in the United States including over 500 public Montessori schools.
- What is Montessori-Inspired?
- Montessori-inspired is precisely what it sounds like. You’re incorporating the true spirit of Montessori in your actions and daily life. Montessori is an action, a verb, and a way of life. But you’re not necessarily using every element found in an authentic accredited Montessori classroom.
- For example, you may not have specific multi-age groupings (0-18 months, 18 Months-3 years, 3-6 years, 6-9 years, and so on), you may not have a full array of Montessori materials, or a fully trained Montessori teacher.
- Child-led learning is at the heart of Montessori. It is creating activities and materials your child can work on independently. It is creating an environment for your child so that she can explore freely.
- How do I set up my home so that it is Montessori-friendly?
- Create areas where your child can safely access real-life activities of home life. The best place to start is the kitchen.
- For example, you could put a little shelf or table that’s low enough for your child to reach and eat/work in the kitchen or dining area. You could have a basket with everything you need for setting a table for a snack or a meal (plate, fork, napkin, cup, placemat). You could also have a basket of small hand towels so your child could help clean up a spill.
- As time goes on and you feel more comfortable, you can make more rooms of your home Montessori-friendly by putting low shelves, tables, or stepstools with everyday items for your child to use (in the bathroom, hallway, bedroom, and living room).
- How do I organize and declutter our homeschooling activities and materials?
- You’ll realize that your child will not be using everything at the same time. You will need to set up a storage area in bins for materials you are not using at the moment.
- Check out my post, 7 Tips To Organize Your Montessori Homeschool Clutter Like a Pro
- What are some Montessori activities I can do with my child at home?
- As I mentioned above, the best place to start is the kitchen. There is so much learning in the kitchen with cooking, baking, food prep, cleaning up, organizing, or putting away utensils, plates, and bowls. Also, after going food shopping, putting away food into the refrigerator and pantry are real-life learning experiences.
- There are so many different things you can do in the kitchen for all age groups and you can even bring real-life math, language, science, and culture in the kitchen.
- Montessori activities in the home will look a little different than activities you’ll see in a Montessori classroom. You don’t usually have Montessori classroom materials in the home but you can pull together activities with hands-on items you already have around the house. Usually, you will create an activity for your child to explore, figure out, or create. The key here is to make activities that are as close to real-life as possible.
- How do I set up a daily schedule?
- The challenging part of homeschooling is organizing your time and your child’s time. Especially if you’re working full time at home or outside of the home. It’s always good to come up with a schedule that works for you and your family.
- As far as your child’s day and learning, it is good to have a plan but remember that the day could always change and you’ll probably end up doing something completely different than you had planned, depending on what your child wants to do.
- For young children, being consistent with a routine is important. Depending on your child, you could create your routine together and place it on a board for your child to see every day.
- How do I plan for the year?
- Having a homeschooling plan for your child for the year is helpful. But note that things may change depending on what your child wants to do. With Montessori, you’re following your child’s interests and passions so you’ll want to take that into consideration when figuring out your plan for the year.
- You could break down each month or season and coordinate topics your child is interested in. For example, for the Spring, you could do a gardening project and learn how to plant seeds and take care of a garden. This opens windows of opportunity for learning about botany as well as math and language.
- Your child could also have a schedule! For young children ages 2-6, you could use the Daily Routine Chart I created.
Using inspiration from Montessori philosophy is a beautiful way for your child to learn and explore at home. As you can see after reading this article, the possibilities are endless. And with homeschooling, you have even more freedom. If you have found that Montessori learning at home is the right path for you I hope that this blog inspires you and empowers you on your journey! I am on this journey with you. As I continue with this blog, I will write more about the topics featured in this article.
What did you think about this article? What did you find the most helpful? What would you like for me to expand on? Leave a comment below!