Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I know that there quite a lot of homeschoolers *out there* & I'm wondering if any of you might take the time to give me some general advice. 

I so want to give my children a Montessori education & the only viable way I can see is to do it in the home. But... I don't know if we're right for it. I don't know if Hug would be happy if the person (me) who is asking him to brush his teeth before bed is the same person (me) who is giving him lessons and asking him to stay at the kitchen table concentrate on his work. Everyday. With little brother in tow. 

This year he has been enrolled in his Montessori preschool enough days that I haven't actually done any actual lessons with him. We mainly do art and cultural projects together, and I found that it's been working quite well - he never took too well to my lessons. Or maybe I never got my confidence up. Who knows?

Anyway, if anyone has some advice I would really like to hear it :)

p.s. This is a lovely blog that I read just before I posted.

p.p.s  For a little extra background information... The other options that I am considering (our local primary school is too large for my liking) is a small country school close by that is government run. I'm not so confident about a public education but the money I saved on school fees could be spent on Montessori materials that we could have at home & I would use the Hainstock book (which I already have) to use in our own out-of-school learning time... or a beautiful private Waldorf-Steiner school. I like so much about this school, but I don't know if I can fully commit to the principals. It's like Steiner and Montessori are the Ying and Yang of Holistic education - a very similar purpose but with widely opposing practices & I know that I am a Montessorian at heart. Hmmm....

{image - media files from AMI}

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  1. My daughter is only 16 months old, so please do take this with a grain of salt :) I'm not a veteran yet. HOWEVER, I've done a lot of research and thinking as my family (and husband) weren't very supportive of the plan and decision to homeschool my daughter, Lorelei.

    It's one thing if you are not confident in teaching. Perhaps at that point you should either do exercises to increase your confidence or provide your child with another teacher.

    But, if you are mostly worried that your child won't listen to you as a teacher - or, won't be interested in the work, you may want to change up the "plan." For us, I plan to combine a bit of Montessori, a bit of unschooling, and a bit of curriculum. Heh. That all sounds like I just contradicted myself in a huge way, but it's not. We will have a curriculum, or plan - but it'll mostly be for me. To map out where we want to go and where we've been. The curriculum will be one I make based on their interests and things I feel they should know by a certain point. Those will be goals. We'll incorporate the Montessori ways by studying our daughter and figuring out what she's ready for next, as well as helping her to learn using every day things. We'll incorporate unschooling by using a LOT of hands on experiments and other "fun" things, where I will explain the lesson as we do it, and then we may read a bit more before and after the fun part. You know, just to make it concrete in their head. But, for the most part, I'll be studying her and figuring out more about her as a person. And, when it comes time to math, we'll do it in a way that interests her - by shopping, by building things, by detective work, by cooking, etc.

    I think it's totally possible to have your child do the lessons and respect you as a teacher, as well. First though, you need to be confident in yourself before you ask them to be. And, consistent. IMO. If you want any ideas or anything, I'm here :)


  2. This is a decison you have to make- as in let your children have their opinion, but over all, it's up to the parents. It will be an adjustment...although my boys never went to preschool. But over all they are used to listening to you. So its not too far a jump to listen for assignments. And of course Montessori is childled so if you go that route you won't be doing a lot of "do this page, in this book, right now!" Now I do say some of that and I do some Montessori and child led, it works for us.
    I can go on and on, describing how we do school, how I feel on the subjects, and all that, but I am not sure if that would help any :) If homeschooling is in your heart, you want to and you will be happy (a mom hsing when she doesn't want to will make the whole house tense) then everything will fall into place. Ocassionally you will find a child who it just doesnt work with, but for most as long as you have balance between school and life, get out an experience with other kids/families/etc you will produce a happy well rounded kid. If you have an specific questions I will be happy to do my best to answer them...

  3. I have two homeschoolers (12 and 7)and one in training (19mos). And I honestly think it is a wonderful choice. They have both been in public school before, and it just wasn't a good fit. It is not that they would not have 'made it', but for me, I wanted something better than that.

    Montessori is a part of our day... but not the only part. I have taken ideas from all sorts of theologies of teaching and encorporated the ones that worked for my kids... and got rid of the ones that don't. And I learn something new every single day. About them, about me, about us and how I can teach them.

    I can speak from experience, that it isn't always easy. I constantly get:

    "don't you get sick of your kids?"

    "Woohoo... I couldn't be around my kids all day"

    "She doesn't listen to me, homeschool wouldn't work for us."

    "I couldn't remember everything I needed to to teach them well."

    I will not dispute a single one of these things. They are all true.... but only to the point that I recognise that homeschooling my children means I am parenting them ALL the time. So of course, I deal with the same things that I only dealt with in the afternoon, all day long (sometimes) now. Which always makes me laugh when people say other things like "you must be SO organized" or "wow... your lucky, you have been a teacher." Um, yeah. I am lucky my degree is in Psychology... aside from that my 'teaching' degree hasn't brought anything to the table with homeschooling. LOL! Homeschooling means you learn easily as much as your kids every day. Often more. There are always places to find guidance if you feel you need it... like that book you posted. Sometimes you just need to know you are on the right track.

    The main point in Montessori philosophy is that the child is in the lead when it comes to his education. You don't have to give him all the tools at one time... just make sure he can use the ones he has. Cook with him, have a little song you sing about the parts of a bug, let him learn to finger knit, have him write letters in his sand box, build numbers with blocks. It doesn't take much to strike their imagination and start their little brains going. In fact, usually it takes nothing from us at all.

    I hope you find a good path for you and your kids. It sounds like you are really thinking it through and never be afraid to advocate for your children in school settings. Home or otherwise.

    Good luck!


  4. I fell into homeschooling "by accident."

    My son went to Montessori for two years, and we loved it. We were going to do Alternative Kindergarten there as well. However, we couldn't justify thousands of dollars for preschool anymore!

    I thought, Geesh, surely I can teach AK.

    So I went into it thinking I'd just teach one year and then send him off to Kindergarten the next.

    I can't tell you how rewarding homeschooling has been. No really, I can't. Can't put it into words. If you do it, you'll know what I mean. ;)

    Granted, we have our days where that school down the street is looking mighty tempting. But that thought comes and goes in a minute.

    I would recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Book-Big-Reasons-Homeschool/dp/080544484X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220052436&sr=8-4

    I read it AFTER I had been homeschooling for a year, but I really think it could help someone make the decision, yay or nay.

    And I will add that I had fears that my son wouldn't listen to me. It's amazing, if you set a few ground rules, how they'll cooperate. Plus, if I mention that I'll call the Principal (Daddy!), that lights a fire under them too. :)



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