Are you interested in Montessori but you want a rundown of the most important parts before diving into long texts or blog posts? Maybe you want to give an interested friend or family member some basics to help them better understand your homeschooling choice. Or maybe you just need a reference sheet to help debunk Montessori myths.
We’ve created a cheat sheet of the most asked about and simplified concepts regarding Montessori homeschooling. Read them at your leisure or provide them to friends - anything to help make the world of Montessori homeschooling less mysterious and more inclusive! Here are the who-what-when-and wheres of Montessori homeschooling.
Who created the Montessori Method?
Maria Montessori was a physician living and working in Italy who, in the early 20th century, created her school for children. She studied the way children behave and learn and developed the model we still use today. Her casa di bambini or “children’s house” focused on each child's individual abilities and needs. This differs from traditional education methods that try to make all children fit into the same teaching and evaluation method.
Who is the Montessori Method for?
Though it’s true Maria Montessori pioneered her method for children who needed additional help, she also realized that this teaching style works best for nearly all children. Anyone and everyone can benefit from the Montessori Method - from special needs families to children who are profoundly gifted and everyone in-between.
Isn’t Montessori expensive, or just for the wealthy?
Not at all - though private Montessori schools can definitely be expensive, homeschooling in general breaks down barriers between lower-income families and quality education.
Who uses Montessori homeschooling?
All manner of people across the world use the Montessori Method at home to teach their children. People from all religious, ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds have found that Maria Montessori’s teaching methods help their children excel.
What makes Montessori different from traditional schools?
Traditional schools like the public and private institutions you might be familiar with teach children based on specific, broad goals for each grade level. Concepts are taught in a strict, linear order and subjects are highly distinct from one another.
Montessori subjects are all interconnected. A child doesn’t stop learning language arts when they start doing science, and mathematical concepts are woven throughout.
Evaluation is different
Montessori children aren’t evaluated by a blanket grading system the way kids are in traditional schools. Instead, evaluation is made specific to the child, based on their own needs and abilities.
Montessori schools - including homeschools - are multi-age
So much of Montessori learning is observational, particularly when it comes to manners, behavior, and social interaction. Montessori schools intentionally place differently aged kids together to create a collaborative space. Younger children watch and emulate the older kids, get inspired by their curiosity, and then the older children can model good behavior and actions. They can also help the younger children learn and grow.
Montessori doesn’t use lecture
Children learn through exploration of an environment that you curate with materials focused on the current lessons. You observe and do not intervene unless necessary; from your observations, you tweak and conceptualize the next sets of lessons. There are no workbooks, tests, or lectures with Montessori.
Montessori is child-driven
Montessori classrooms are led by the child’s curiosity. While you will have a curriculum and you will curate developmentally and intellectually appropriate materials, the child decides what they’re going to learn about from the universe of options you provide. This might mean they’re very into penguins, so your materials will be heavily geared toward penguins - penguin books, bird science, the habitats of penguins (geography), and so forth.
When should I start Montessori at home?
Even babies can be taught using Montessori principles, as babies want to explore and learn as much as possible. Maria Montessori believed that exposing children to information - even when it seems beyond their ability - primes them for learning it later on. In fact, one facet of Montessori is to never dumb down your speech for your children. This is because speaking to them using a full range of words and thoughts helps them learn those concepts better down the road.
How do I start a Montessori homeschool?
Homeschooling in general has become significantly more mainstream since 2020, simply because parents realized how beneficial it was after being forced into it by the pandemic. There have never been more materials and information available online for homeschooling than now, and that includes Montessori homeschooling. Online Montessori resources are available for just about every age, beginning in infancy.
Find a local group or a group online
Facebook is filled with tons of Montessori homeschooling groups, and there’s probably one in your area. Your local libraries or churches might have information about local homeschooling groups as well. Having a community to collaborate with is a big help.
Pick the right curriculum
Knowing what to look for in a Montessori curriculum is essential. In fact, I’d say finding a curriculum that works for your family is the most important part of the entire process. People might tell you that you need expensive Montessori materials or that you need to pour through long, highly technical albums, but this isn't the case - a good curriculum will include simplified guidelines, scripted presentation instructions, DIY options and printable materials for you to use. It will emphasize independence and self-reliance in your child, help you easily prepare a beautiful learning environment, support multi-age learning and give you ongoing support. Above all, it will provide a guide to developing lessons that won't burn you out.
Why choose Montessori?
There are many homeschooling options - what makes Montessori so much better than the others?
Montessori homeschools are built to empower your children
There is a myth about Montessori homeschools in thinking they are chaotic - this is because people don’t understand what “child-driven” education is about. Montessori starts from an early age to teach your child to be independent. Your home is made more accessible to little hands so they can get their own clothes, brush their own teeth, and help with chores, even from an early age.
Responsibility is very important, and as the parent, you model this type of good behavior. You keep the space tidy, and in turn, they will learn to respect their environment and clean up after themselves. Your children will spend more time embracing learning and marveling at their own abilities when you don't treat them like they're incompetent. This goes back to not using baby language - children can absorb information from birth, so give them as much as possible.
Montessori-educated children outperform their peers on testing
Most Montessori children are in the 90th percentile or higher when it comes to reading when compared to public schools in the area, and you can see similar results in other subjects as well. Although Montessori doesn’t subscribe to the typical grade-level expectations of subject introduction, children learn the important information when it works best for them. For instance, you might find 6-year-olds doing algebra if it makes sense to their curriculum and current area of study!
Montessori kids are more confident and better leaders as adults
Montessori teaches collaboration between multiple ages and emulation of behavior from older peers. Montessori kids - contrary to some myths - are not spoiled - and they don't get whatever they want. Instead, they learn that working with other people through collaboration produces the best results.
Additionally, the child-driven method of learning gives them profound self-confidence and a sense of responsibility that makes them great leaders. Between collaborative spirit, a willingness to listen to others, and an innate sense of self-direction, Montessori children have a distinct advantage as adults.
Montessori is not just for rich people
Many people think that Montessori education is only for the rich and while private Montessori schools can be expensive, homeschooling doesn’t need to be. In fact, Montessori homeschooling is breaking down barriers that stand between lower-income families and high-quality education.
To that end, at Multisori we provide a scholarship program from Montessori honeschooling families in need. Using a buy one, give one model, we gift a complete Montessori homeschooling curriculum to a family in need for every one that's purchased. It’s our way of doing our part to ensure that more families can grow and learn using the Montessori Method, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Montessori homeschooling is a great choice
Homeschooling has never been more accessible, and Montessori homeschooling in particular is a great choice for you and your children. The teachings of Maria Montessori are as relevant for today’s children as they were when she started her first school in 1907. The Method helps all children reach an exceptional level by focusing on their individual abilities and deficits.
Montessori homeschooling doesn’t need to be expensive or overly complicated. A curriculum should help your family without bogging you down with hours of complicated reading and lesson planning, which is exactly why Multisori is designed to be quick and easy to understand and use.
If you’re considering making the switch to homeschooling with the Montessori Method, consider this your sign to give it a try. You will be glad you did!