You might be asking, “Why homeschooling? Would it work for my family? Will I succeed? Will my children benefit from the prepared home environment rather than a social school system? And, why would I homeschool the Montessori way? I cannot even spell the word ‘Montessori’?”
To me, the answer is simple: I look at the opportunity to homeschool my children as a blessing because frankly, I am selfish, and I wish to spend every minute of my day with them. Secondly, I want them to inherit a part of me, aside from the physical, through my teachings and views, and I want to be the one to touch their hearts, mold their spirits and nurture their minds.
“Within the child, lies the fate of the future …Whoever touches the life of the child, touches the most sensitive point of a whole, which has roots in the most distant past and climbs towards the infinite future.” — Dr. Maria Montessori.
Please, read here my Hello & Welcome post so that you can know a little bit more about me.
All set then, but “Why Montessori?” you may ask?
Many years ahead of her time, Maria Montessori (1870-1952), an Italian physician, teacher, and innovator, was acclaimed for her eponymous educational method which builds on the way children learn naturally. Dr. Montessori developed a theory of education that continues to thrive more than a century after she opened, in 1907, her first Montessori school – the Casa dei Bamini, in the poverty-stricken slums of San Lorenzo district of Rome. Today, there are more than 20,000 Montessori schools throughout the world. Noticing how children, in an adult-dominated world, were challenged by the expectation to behave like adults, this amazing, smart and brave woman with immense love and respect for children is responsible for many didactic materials which remain unchanged for a hundred years and, among many other things, the revolutionary introduction of child-size furniture.
Dr. Montessori used the term “scientific pedagogy” to explain her continued research and observations of young children. She designed lessons and materials to help children develop their muscles, care for the environment (Practical Life), and educate the senses (Sensorial Materials). She also created innovative materials for language, math, history, geography, and science. These didactic materials remain relevant to this day and continue to help children acquire skills from the simple to complicated, and from the concrete to abstract. (Once you become a member, read more here Maria Montessori: A Woman That Changed the World.)
As such, Dr. Maria Montessori is the founder of the world-renowned educational curriculum called The Montessori Method – a way of learning that not only encompass academic subjects but also covers many aspects of life, rooting in fostering of independence and following the child. “We do not see him as almost everyone else does, as a helpless little creature lying with folded arms and outstretched body, in his weakness. We see the figure of the child who stands before us with his arms held open, beckoning humanity to follow.” – Dr. Maria Montessori. “Follow the Child” is one of the most important premises on which the Montessori method is based, reminding us to “follow the child” and to trust in the child’s own internal developmental timeline, which guides an activity or an action for a reason. This premise reminds us to seek answers beyond the child’s behavior or failure to reach some milestones they do not even know they have to reach. Following the child means recognizing and respecting each child’s uniqueness and own individuality, aptitudes, passions, needs, strengths and weakness and teaching accordingly. If your child does not like to write, try observing what does s/he love: does s/he like the sensory play? Then offer to trace in the sand, salt, sugar, flour, or even erase letters with water. To “follow your child” is to observe, recognize and accept the child in all the way and work with the child!
The beauty of The Montessori Method is that it is so much more than a type of education — it is a mindful shift of consciousness from what the educator wants to what the child needs … “The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.” — Maria Montessori.
So, embark with me on this wholesome homeschooling journey and watch your child’s independence, motivation and concentration grow, nurturing the love of learning and enriching the mind. And, I have made the homeschooling journey EASY for you! I have categorized the main areas of education and I have included step by step activities and lessons you would do for each, organized in the order of introduction, starting at about the age of two. You will have an outline of all areas of learning, as well as lessons with links to blog’s posts and videos. And the best part is that I am here with you – learning and growing together, so ask me a question, request an activity or a demonstration!
Please, purchase your membership here and let’s embark on this amazing journey of knowledge.
But, before you embark, here is a little sneak peek:
Once you become a member, you will be able to read here Dr. Maria Montessori’s Planes (Stages) of Development chart which I have put together from many many books and resources. I keep referring to this chart over and over and it is extremely useful in identifying your child’s plane of development with its unique characteristics, in determining your child’s current natural tendencies, sensitive periods and much more, so that you don’t miss any of the “opportunity windows.”
“Knowledge can be best given where there is an eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture. But if neglected during this period, or frustrated in its vital needs, the mind of the child becomes artificially dulled, henceforth to resist imparted knowledge. Interest will no longer be there if the seed be sown too late, but at six years of age all items of culture are received enthusiastically, and later these seeds will expand and grow.” — Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3.
A little bit on the importance of “sensitive periods” which Dr. Montessori defined as periods of special sensitivity to particular stimuli during this time (be it sensorial, math, reading or social interaction). Each child at various age-stages is experiencing developmental “windows of opportunity” ~ what Dr. Montessori called “sensitive periods.” According to Montessori, all children experience these same, almost-magical periods in their development, when they soak up specific concepts, knowledge, and information effortlessly, spontaneously and with remarkable ease. “A sensitive period is a [child’s] burning fire of interest in something, during the period of time that a child acquires a new specific skill.” ~Mary Ellen Maunz.
When your child is in of one of these sensitive periods, s/he will gravitate naturally toward certain activities with intense, irrepressible and unquenchable interest. While the “window is open” your child has an amazing opportunity to absorb specific information or learn the skill effortlessly and spontaneously. Once the window has closed, however, the same information or skill must be learned the hard way ~ through mundane repetition and memorization.
Sensitive Periods in a Nutshell:
- Birth – 1½ Y Movement
- Birth – 4 Y Sensory refinement
- Birth – 6 Y Language with a sensitivity to vocal sounds
- 6-9 M – the ability to learn NEW language – see here an amazing proof
- From 1½ -3 Y there’s often a “language explosion”
- from 2½-3 Y a receptivity to proper terminology
- from 3-6 Y the child showing an insatiable need to learn new words, including scientific terms.
- 6-9 M – the ability to learn NEW language – see here an amazing proof
- 1 – 3 Y Order
- 1½- 4 Y Interest in small objects and details
- from about 2 to 3 Y ~ child has a fixation with small objects and tiny details
- Refinement of movement
- The concern with truth and reality. To aid this sensitive period, answer your child’s questions honestly, and provide real, child-sized tools whenever possible.
- Order (with a peak at 3). An orderly environment is important because it helps your child develop internal order.
- 2 ½ – 4 Y Social behavior
- Refinement of the senses
- Grace and courtesy
- 3½ -4½Y
- Drawing or handling geometric shapes
- 4½ -5½ Reading
- 4-6 Y Mathematics
If you are interested in learning more, see here Books To Raise A Child The Montessori Way.
I hope I have inspired you to give Montessori a try! Whether your child goes to a Montessori school or learns in a home-setting, see this last video on “Why Montessori.” I hope we become friends really soon.
p.s. Please, purchase your membership here so that you will have access to all goodness coming your way!