Homeschooling is aiming for a child-focused educational approach, which makes the Montessori method a perfect candidate. The concepts of this method are adopted by many academic organizations, schools, and homeschoolers.
If you’re looking for an approach that can help support the natural development of your kids, then there are many facets that you can consider from this. In this article, we will examine the goals, principles, and the pros and cons of the Montessori method.
A Background On The Montessori Method
The Montessori method of education is founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. To understand this method better, we must dig into a little background of Maria Montessori herself.
Maria Montessori grew up well-taught in an environment that values their love for learning, mainly with the influence of her mother. She has had her medical training, and then she moved on to the study of Psychiatry, where she got interested in educational theory and pedagogy. It was then when she formed questions about the methods of the radical world of traditional education, and she slowly developed the Montessori method.
As a physician and educator, she explored ways to develop unique techniques in educating children. She observed how students responded to this method, and she believed that children learn better when she applied her philosophies.
Know more about Maria Montessori’s life and work, and the changes that happened in the Montessori education within the years:
- Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work Authored by E. M. Standing
What Is The Montessori Method?
With Maria Montessori’s strong motivation to stow away from the traditional ways of teaching and learning, she designed a specific set of standards and an environment that has a detailed description of the Montessori method.
- The grading system is nontraditional. One of the goals of this method is to master independence and self-reliance to prepare students for real-life situations and not to label their capacity with letters and numbers.
- In a Montessori school, teachers provide attention to each little group and individual. They move from one place to another during the learning hours. They become hands-on to the learning methods of each student and leaving no room for a generally structured teaching approach.
- In a homeschool Montessori school, parents and kids take full advantage of the hands-on learning process.
- The students can participate in various learning activity stations within the classroom. There is a collection of tools, toys, and all sorts of materials that challenges them to unearth their skillsets.
- Montessori education accommodates all aspects of a child’s development: intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and it sometimes extends to their spiritual growth as well.
Educators around the world have modernized the Montessori movement. Of course, without compromising the goals of this educational method. Take a look at the revolutionary ideas of the Montessori method that are relevant in the present time:
- Montessori: A Modern Approach: The Classic Introduction to Montessori for Parents and Teachers Authored by Paula Polk Lillard
Now, before we proceed with the pros and cons of the Montessori method, let’s go through the goals and principles of the Montessorian philosophy.
What Are The Goals of The Montessori Method?
The stimulating environment of Montessori education aims to achieve the following goals:
- Stir a child’s abiding curiosity for creative learning
- Instill a positive outlook toward learning
- Establish a sense of self-confidence during the early years
- Learn to form habits of concentration on important tasks
- Foster the values of initiative and persistent learning
- Develop a sense of order and security for the child
What Are The Five Principles of The Montessori Method?
Teachers and learners ought to be reminded of these five foundational principles:
- Respect and Kindness
Teachers become models of showing respect and kindness to the children, and the students will learn to practice these values as well.
- Eagerness in Learning
Young learners absorb new information that they can observe within their environment.
- Critical Learning Stages
The early educational years are critical stages in nurturing the kids’ learning styles. They are at their optimal period, which provides a great room for improvement.
- Prepare The Learning Environment
The environment must be equipped with the necessary resources for learning and exploration.
- Autonomic Education
The child’s self must drive active learning with a small amount of motivation from external forces.
Pros: Why Use The Montessori Method in Homeschool Education?
The techniques used in Montessori education offer evidence-based benefits in your kids’ early childhood schooling.
Here are the most notable advantages of applying the Montessori homeschool method:
Highlights the Essential Developmental Stages
Children learn several vital skills and values in every developmental stage, which the Montessori method brings forth for them.
But, before officially going through the actual learning years, toddlers can start preparing for their Montessori education. Learn how to introduce the Montessori way to your toddlers:
- The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being Authored by Simone Davies and Illustrated by Hiyoko Imai
The Montessori method during early childhood learning years:
- Kids in ages three to five must enhance their language and motor skills. They can involve themselves with arts and crafts that also count as intellectual activities.
- As they move up to the next level (ages between six to eight), they can widen their active learning activities to the community and other settings outside of the regular Montessori school environment. The kids are slowly getting to know their individuality among the crowd. They also continuously develop their language skills through these outreaches.
- The pre-teen years will determine how they’re going to face their teenage years. Their needs are going to change during this transitional stage. There are two main things that they need to develop: a sense of accomplishment and belongingness. The kids are going to need a strong foundation of their self-perception, in which case is highly attributed to their earlier stages.
Here’s a classic book, written by Maria Montessori herself, along with a co-author, John Chattin-McNichols Ph.D., which characterizes the child’s most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.
The Montessori curriculum focuses on each child’s unique learning style. This accommodation is designed to identify their specific needs, explore their potentials, and hone the best of their abilities.
Everything that happens during their learning process is according to their own pace, but not exactly on their own terms. This method of learning involves rules for discipline, which we’re going to discuss further in the following item.
Hands-on Independent Learning
A Montessori-based education significantly entails learning through numerous sensory materials, aside from the usual pen and paper paraphernalia. The kids are exposed to lessons and activities that allow them to identify and cultivate their strengths. It’s their job to discover their strongest skill set as they’re provided with an environment that will enable them to do so.
By giving them access to necessary learning aids, you are also giving them the freedom to choose their preferences on how they want to improve their knowledge based on their interests.
The rules are enforced, but the discipline is something that the kids must develop for themselves.
There are two types of discipline: internal and external. External forces come from the learning environment, while the child itself battles the internal forces. The kids are to refine their self-control, coordination, and concentration to achieve self-discipline. The Montessori method helps the kids develop their internal discipline with independence and without the constant reinforcement of teachers and other authoritative figures.
Encourages Creative Play
The Montessori method is also very popular for its philosophical standpoint that strongly values creative play in the educational environment.
Creativity is the very nature of Montessori’s learning process, and along with it comes Play. However, the combination of these two is not for the sole purpose of fooling around. Its goal is to deliver a more practical approach in inspiring the kids to develop their skills without the persistent demands as the traditional way of education imposes to the learners. Where in its counterparts, the kids are obsessed with books and manuals even during their early years. Montessori learners are more engaged with cooperative activities that promote their verbal and social skills while also leading on their intellectual skills such as reading, writing, and counting.
Aims for Holistic Growth
Next to academic lessons, the Montessori method has high regard for social and practical life skills that are fundamental for a child’s holistic welfare. Instead of focusing mainly on traditional subjects, this method opened the kids to think outside the box. This concept stimulates personal growth from a safe and comfortable space to a real-world setting.
Caters to Kids with Special Needs
Helping kids with intellectual disabilities is one of Maria Montessori’s original vision for creating this educational structure. Up until today, this method covers many tenets that cater to kids with special needs, which is also a more concrete example of child-centeredness of this curriculum.
Also worth reading:
- Practical Guide to the Montessori Method at Home Authored by Julia Palmarola
Know what kind of Montessori activities you can integrate into your homeschooling. There’s a list of Montessori materials that are worth buying and numerous illustrated examples of how to apply the exercises at home, classified by subject and age, with clear and concise instructions.
Cons: Criticisms of The Montessori Method
The following are the most common criticisms that the Montessori method receives from experts, educators, and parents from learnings institutions and homeschool settings:
There’s Too Much Freedom
Too much freedom entails a lot of downsides when it comes to learning:
- The kids might fail to balance their academic and practical activities. Allowing them to take charge of their learning process may let them think that they can easily have things their way, and therefore compromising their goals for educational or personal achievements.
- Their creativity might take them too far from the box, which may lead them to forget about the importance of foundational academic lessons or get too advanced with their learning progress.
- Kids can opt to socialize whenever they want to don’t want to. This type of freedom may get associated with comfort, and therefore certain social personality characteristics that do not benefit them may develop along the way. Too much socialization, or lack thereof, may lead to poor interpersonal skills compared to when they’re exposed to the traditionally structured and controlled social interaction of kids in formal schools.
The Montessori Method is an Expensive Education
Some families may not afford the monetary requirements of Montessori education. Others even find this method prestigious and suitable only for people who are in high socio-economic status.
Yes, this type of education is expensive, but this is not limited to upper-class families. Thankfully, homeschoolers can tweak the budget even for just a little bit. If you want to achieve the complete Montessori setup, you better have superb budgeting skills.
Lack of Research On The Advantages of Montessori Education
There is no definitive study that proves the advantages of Montessori education, especially when compared to its effectiveness against formal school education. It’s hard to provide an actual determinant as to what makes this method beneficial for kids’ academic excellence.
There are, however, successful individuals who are products of this education. It became evident that those students who attended Montessori schools came out prepared for what life has to offer out there in the real world. Still, some parents rigidly bank on research, especially when it comes to their kids’ education despite some variables that support the effectiveness of the Montessori method.
The Final Question: Is The Montessori Method Effective?
It’s only natural for parents like you to question if the Montessori method is effective for your kids. Your intuition is in-line with this model’s goal to provide the most outstanding early education that fits a child, which would be beneficial for his or her future success in life.
The Montessori method has been used for years, and many institutions have produced efficient and innovative individuals who have given contributions to the community. This model, and along with its components, is entirely appropriate for your kids’ integrated learning.
After discussing the description and the pros and cons of the Montessori method, we are actually hoping that you can answer this final question for yourself and your kids. Together, you can design an individualized plan that will serve them best.
So, do you think this is it? We’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts. Let us know what you decide!