Maria Montessori was a medical doctor and Italian educator in the late 19th and early 20th century who focused her attention on how young children learn. Her findings led to an educational philosophy that revolutionized early childhood education and continues to influence preschools, daycares, church schools, and homes to this day. On this page, you will find out more about Montessori learning, explore how families incorporate Dr. Montessori’s methods in their homeschooling, and discover how to integrate Time4Learning’s online curriculum into a Montessori homeschool program.
What Is the Montessori Approach?
The Montessori approach to early childhood education is a child-centered approach that values each child as a unique individual. Creativity and curiosity are encouraged, which leads students to value knowledge and seek it out for themselves.
“Self-regulation” is a key goal of the Montessori philosophy of education, meaning the ability of a child to regulate his or her conduct in a way that is appropriate to the situation. The Montessori method views a child’s classroom as a preparatory environment for the biggest classroom of all: life.
Some of the characteristics of a Montessori education include:
- Mixed-age classrooms
- Cooperation and collaboration among students
- Hands-on learning
- Active learning methods
- Teachers who model the behaviors and values that they want children to emulate
- Teachers who see themselves as a facilitators rather than instructors
- Respect for each child’s individual learning style
- Freedom of children to choose between learning activities
- Guidance on positive behavior and conflict resolution
- Helping students see connections between traditional subjects such as math, science, history, and language arts
Using Montessori at Home
While the Montessori methods were originally developed for classroom use, many families have recognized that teaching Montessori in the home has a wide range of benefits, too. By creating an environment that aligns with Dr. Montessori’s philosophies, parents can encourage a love of learning right within the walls of their own home.
With time and attention, you can turn pretty much any area of your home into a place where learning happens. Walk through your house and look at the rooms from a child’s perspective. Are there places where you could display books, items from nature, or educational toys within easy reach? Are materials for learning such as craft supplies, athletic equipment, imaginative playwear and building tools available? Anything that invites your child to experience learning in an active way will achieve Montessori principles.
Montessori and Homeschool
For families who educate at home, these same methods can form the basis of a Montessori homeschool program. After all, if you are homeschooling, it is likely that you already ascribe to many of the principles that Dr. Montessori recommended such as wanting to create a customized educational plan for each child.
With a Montessori homeschool, the child directs the learning. Parents facilitate their child’s education by connecting materials and curricula with each child’s interests. They also create a prepared environment that encourages students to explore and discover.
Montessori Homeschool Curriculum
The majority of curricula designed specifically for Montessori homeschooling is more along the lines of recommendations than a full curriculum. Because Montessori is more of a philosophy than a defined program, any parent can create their own Montessori homeschool curriculum. One of the key ways families accomplish this is by keeping plenty of materials on hand that allow them to utilize the Montessori method at home.
Montessori learning tools and resources are widely available, but that doesn’t mean that parents have to break the bank. There are many Montessori materials that you can make yourself, such as cutting your own tactile letters out of sandpaper, using nuts and bolts as fine motor skill builders, or using Scrabble letters for spelling practice.
How Time4Learning Works with the Montessori Way of Teaching
Time4Learning is an online, standards-based program that combines interactive lessons, multimedia reinforcement activities, printable worksheets, learning games, and assessments with reports into one homeschool curriculum. Time4Learning works well for independent learners who benefit from visual lesson reinforcement.
Some of the ways that Time4Learning complements the Montessori method of education include:
- Montessori advocates a predictable daily routine; Time4Learning can be easily scheduled into planned lesson times
- Montessori encourages letting children work at their own pace; with Time4Learning, students take the helm of their own education by using it exactly as best meets their needs
- Montessori instills in children a curiosity about the world around them; Time4Learning’s multiple activities, lessons, games, and videos help children get answers to their questions
- Montessori values the cultivation of self-discipline; Time4Learning’s independent learning platform makes sure that students stay on track and lets them see their progress in real-time
We live in a world where knowledge of technology and computer proficiency is important for children to learn. Future jobs, high school online learning experiences, and many teenage social experiences involve technological advances that may not be satisfied with a traditional Montessori curriculum alone. Computer proficiency opens the door to the vast stores of educational information available online and paves the way for the technological demands of college and future careers. Children benefit from learning how to navigate the computer, and Time4Learning can fulfill that need in a fun and engaging way.
Additional Resources on Homeschooling Styles
Want to know even more about the different approaches to homeschooling? The following pages can help:
- Homeschooling Styles Overview
- Eclectic Homeschooling
- Traditional Homeschooling
- Classical Homeschooling
- Homeschooling with Unit Studies
- Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
- Waldorf Homeschooling
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