What is the Difference between Montessori at Home and Montessori Homeschooling?
Montessori is amazing. Whether it is done at a school, at home, full-time or part-time, children will benefits from it, no matter what. The Montessori Method has its particular ways. It is full of order and independence. Children crave both, so it is a beautiful and life-long win-win. Please note that Montessori homeschooling is different than implementing Montessori at home. If your child is in a Montessori school, this is also different than Montessori homeschooling. Let me briefly explain the differences in this post.
Montessori at Home
Montessori at home is unique because it is a way of life for your whole family. This is where it is so important to understand what the Montessori Method really means. The Montessori Method is a way of respecting and communicating with your child, so that they have their own autonomy in the home. Every member of the family respects and encourages this beautiful way of life.
It's encouraging your children to use their independence and setting up the environment in a way that embraces every child in your home, no matter the age. For example, having child-sized furniture and tools that they can use in the home, allows them to be as independent as possible. They can be proud that they can do things for themselves and by themselves. Here are some materials you might be interested in including in your home:
Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age ThreePractical Guide to the Montessori Method at Home: With more than 100 activity ideas from 0 to 6Teaching Montessori in the Home: Pre-School Years: The Pre-School YearsMontessori at Home Guide: Gentle Parenting Techniques to Help Your 2 to 6-Year-Old Learn Social Skills and Discipline
Montessori at home is not dependent on having all the Montessori materials that a Montessori environment (school) would have. Actually, the academic materials are not necessary at all in order to enjoy Montessori at home. You mainly focus on Practical Life and some Sensorial materials in the different rooms in your house that will help your children live independently as much as possible.
For example, in the bathroom, they have a stool to reach the sink for washing hands and brushing teeth and hair. In the kitchen, they have a cabinet that is accessible for them with their plates, cups, silverware and other items such as rags, placemats and sponges. Outside, they can have a washing station to practice washing dishes or to wash their baby dolls, fruit, vegetables and more. In their bedrooms, they will have access to their clothes and their beds are easy to get on and off from.
Montessori homeschooling is focusing on life skills, but additionally, you are adding the academic subjects like Math, Language Arts, Science, etc. It is when you have made up your mind to actually school your children at home, in all subjects, academic and otherwise. This is when you can decide how many Montessori materials you will add into your homeschool environment and how much you will use them (strict Montessori, as a supplement or split between another curriculum).
Even though it will require more than Montessori at home, it's still very important to note that to homeschool your children the Montessori way doesn't require buying all of the materials that would be in a Montessori classroom environment. Montessori homeschooling can be as complex or as free as you desire it to be. It can be purely Montessori in its execution or it can be eclectic (a mix of Montessori with other homeschooling methods). That is your decision to make and your right as a homeschooling parent or caregiver.
Montessori Material Arithmatics For Children Learning Multiplication and DivisionMontessori Small Wooden Movable Alphabet with Box (Red & Blue)Montessori: The Four Seasons Miniature Object Sorting KitMontessori Geography Package 1 - Set of 8 small board maps (with USA)
Some of the things to consider are: budget (you will need to have more Montessori materials in your home because you will be implementing more subjects into their learning), space (you will need to store and display more materials as Montessori learning takes place) and time (you will need to plan all of your subjects and allot a time for working on the Montessori materials). If you need help, there is a great Montessori planner that will put you on the right track. Simply go HERE and use code MHH$1OFF to get $1 off any printable bundle, ebook or planner that you get. It can be printed in its entirety or you can pick and choose what you need and want.
The first word that most homeschooling parents say that comes to mind when asked why they chose to homeschool their children is "freedom." And yes, it is freedom that drives this amazing homeschooling experience for most. Having said that, when you choose to use the Montessori Method in your homeschool, there will be some decisions to make. For example, how strict or how free you will make it. It is your homeschool, so you set the rules. To better understand this, let's talk about how a Montessori school environment works. It will help you decide better.
The Montessori Classroom
Montessori in the school classroom is a large environment that is set up with various shelves and stations throughout the room an along the walls, with plenty of walking space for children carrying Montessori works around. Every Montessori guide (teacher) may have a preference on how they set up their room, but most are set up with materials in the same subjects grouped together. Nothing is cluttered and nothing gets moved around. Every Montessori work has its place and when it gets used, it is always placed in the same spot.
The classroom is made up of children of various ages 0-3 years, 3-6 years, 6-9 years, and so on. This is one of the unique characteristics of a Montessori classroom. The older children help to direct and guide the younger children. This notion of mixed ages is one of the aspects of the Montessori Method that attracts homeschoolers, since they tend to have children in varying ages. It is a breath of fresh air that children of different ages can work with hands-on materials at the same time, but at different levels.
Each child in the environment can carefully and independently move around the room and choose their work. The child chooses the work, carries it to a rug or table, works on it, returns it to the correct spot on the shelf and goes back to the rug or table to clean up the area. The child is only supposed to work with a material if they have received a lesson on that work. That is when the guide (the teacher) comes in. This classroom environment is very structured yet free-flowing.
Now that you know how the Montessori classroom works, you can decide whether you will choose Montessori at home (discussed at the beginning of this post) or Montessori homeschooling (and to what degree it will resemble a Montessori school classroom).
As you can see, there are differences between the two. Whichever one you choose, I am sure you will think about it thoroughly and will decide on what will work best for you and for your family.