Ideas for Using Montessori at Home
FIRST MONTESSORI BOOKS - FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS
There is a lot or less-than-helpful information being spread via the internet these days. Here are some of the most helpful books—for both parents and teachers—to help implement the most valuable Montessori principles, for all ages, during the time of COVID. They are written by a Montessori parent, teacher, and consultant, with many years of experience with children from birth to age 12, and young adults from age 12-18. FIRST MONTESSORI BOOKS
MONTESSORI HOMESCHOOLING QUESTIONS
Q. Who or What is "Montessori"
Q. What is "Montessori Method"
Q. Where to begin learning about Montessori, generally?
Q. Should I buy Montessori Materials?
SENSORIAL MATERIALS: The "didactic" or Montessori materials first used over 100 years ago in the original casa dei bambini are today called the sensorial materials. They help a child isolate a concept received through the senses, such as color, temperature, taste, size, weight, sound, and so forth. These materials are made to last many years and to be handled daily by many children so they are very expensive. In a home it is better to help children become aware of their senses and the corresponding concepts casually in daily life experiences and then give correct vocabulary such as "hot," "cold," "warm," "tepid," and all of the detailed sensorial labels.
PRACTICAL LIFE MATERIALS: These are child-size, real tools, that reflect the work that is done in the child's own unique home and community—bathing, sweeping, setting a table, arranging flowers, woodwork, everything done in a home. They allow the child to imitate the activities of those around them. they are considered by many to be the most important materials because their use fosters a good self-image, long periods of concentration, logical thinking, good physical balance and coordination, eye-hand control, problem solving, love of work, the ability to contribute to the family, independence in caring for oneself and others and the environment, and developing good manners. In fact, all of the skills needed for academic success later, and happiness as an adult.
Children want to do what they see the others in the home doing. And young adults want to stretch themselves to do what adults in their culture are doing—real work! So it is far more successful to learn to include the child in the family work, at which every stage is appropriate, than to set up activities that are not related to daily family life, and expect the child to be interested in them.
ACADEMIC SUBJECT MATERIALS: When a child has a good foundation in awareness of senses, and some mastery of practical life work, he will be able to more easily focus on mastering areas of academic studies such as reading, writing, math, geometry, physical and life sciences, history and geography, and the arts. In Montessori classes the child is inspired by seeing others working in all areas in the classroom at one time, and he or she is offered individual lessons in all areas by the teacher, and then the child's choice is respected about what to study. In the home it is important for the child to see adults modeling a love of learning and work, reading non-fiction and good fiction, being curious, handwriting, loving their own learning. The home should have materials and books in all subjects according to the age of the child or children and they should be offered in an attitude of fun, and to satisfy curiosity and further natural interests of the student.Then the secret it to observe and discover the child's interests and give tools for further research and accomplishment.
Q. What about socialization?
Q. At what age does homeschooling start?
Q. Can I use Montessori ideas at home with
Q. What Montessori ideas can I use for school
Here are a few of many other ideas:
I attended a Montessori school from age 2.5-5, and again for one semester at age 7. For the rest of the time, at my choice, I was homeschooled. My education consisted of, for the most part, weekly visits to the library, visits with many people in the community, research of my interests of the moment, daily music practice, and exploration in nature. We had a TV but kept it in a closet, just taking it our for special occasions. Our computer was used for work and I used it for a typing tutor course. I was allowed unlimited time whenever possible—days, nights, weekends—to explore and choose my own path. Experiences and study directions were offered by my parents, and periodically by other mentors and teachers, but my choices and passions about what to study were always encouraged.
My parents both worked full time (mother in her home office). Since my mother had taught children from age two through high school she helped me make weekly work/study plans and learn to manage my own time. Choices included grade level math and English suggestions, but were otherwise followed my own interests in areas such as music, literature, mythology, history, Latin, astronomy, archaeology, and the arts. I loved learning.
Over the years I studied Suzuki piano, violin, and viola, and attended the local music academy at Humboldt State University for several hours every Saturday. Some years I attended a "homeschooling school" for one or two days a week. This provided sports, group activities, and a very interesting social life often found in homeschooling communities. My best friends were not people my own age, but my young students, my two older sisters Narda and Ursula and their friends, my parents and grandparents and their friends, younger and older musicians, people of all ages.
At age fifteen I passed the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam), received a high school diploma and began to take classes at Humboldt State University, looking always for the best teachers, rather than specific subjects, I studied drama, math, physics, and music. During the summer of my fifteenth year I attended the Calgary Conservatory (Mt. Royal College) in Alberta, Canada and became a certified Suzuki piano teacher, and began teaching both adults and children.
For years I earned my own money teaching music and playing in professional music groups, and learned to budget it for tithe, savings, and food, clothing and other necessities. I have toured/traveled in the USA, Cuba, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, circling the globe in the University of Virginia's Semester at Sea program (SAS). I attended Brown university which was a good match as there are no restrictions as to what one studies, and since grades are optional students can pick classes they really want to take instead of those that will insure a high grade-point average. I graduated in three years and returned to India to volunteer for an environmental NGO in India (CSI). I studied law at the University of Oregon where I worked as a tutor for first year students, an editor of the law review, and in the courtroom as part of the criminal defense in a pro bono law clinic.
My homeschooling experience was based on the ideas that education should be enjoyable, and cooperative instead of competitive; it should satisfy and encourage curiosity; it should be guided by the enjoyment of mastering subject matter, overcoming obstacles and finding one's own answers to questions rather than by praise, grades, or threats; it should teach practical and social skills such as helping others, balancing work and play, learning to manage time and fulfill responsibilities, and being healthy.
Tests: I was not educated for standardized tests, nor did I take any tests during my school years except a California assessment test at the end of 6th grade, and exams in classes at Humboldt State University. When it came time to apply for college I took practice ACT and SAT tests, scoring very low, and then worked steadily for 2-3 months from books and computer reviews to learn what was needed to raise my scores to a consistently high level. As a result I was admitted to Brown University.
Computers: My parents read an article published by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) that recommended that children, in preparation for a future in sciences, physics,or engineering, interact in the real world and avoid computers. It went on to say that at MIT a student could learn all he or she needed to know on computers during the summer before, or the first semester, of college. It said that students who have worked on the farm, with heavy loads, building, etc., know much more about physics than those who have learned on computers. This definitely resonated with what our family believed. We have lost track of that article so if anyone finds it would you please contact me.
I use a computer daily now, for music composition, law, and other projects, all learned at university, law school, or by myself.
Giving:The spirit of "giving back" is big in our family from generations back, as it is in Montessori schools. I attempted to give 10% or my earned money and 10% of my time, to helping others. My parents helped me to find good ways to tithe: feeding the homeless, playing music at the local alzheimer's center, cooking Friday dinner for a housebound friend, and so on. My allowance was not a reward, or pay for work or chores, but was considered a share of the family income. Daily chores were considered a natural contribution to the family and community.
Michael Olaf Stephenson
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Updated on April 4, 2021