Have all those Montessori "shelfies" inspired you to start homeschooling your child using Montessori activities?
You may have even started ordering some Montessori materials -- or at least added a few to your cart!
The only problem is that it's really not clear to you how Montessori homeschooling for preschool and kindergarten actually works.
If that's you, you're in the right place to learn more about Montessori style learning at home. Then you can decide if Montessori homeschooling is going to work for you and your family.
I believe that any parent can homeschool their preschool or kindergarten child using Montessori methods, and you don't have to have it all figured out to get started.
But I do want to offer some things to consider before you go all in.
It's been said that Montessori homeschooling is for every child, but it may not be for every parent!
A lot of parents focus on setting up beautifully prepared Montessori shelves and activities because that's the relatively easy part of Montessori homeschooling.
But here's the thing that's often overlooked:
Montessori homeschooling asks you to guide your child instead of being your child's teacher. Your main task will be to observe your child and then connect your child with activities that will meet your child's developmental needs.
Montessori style learning at home is a child-led approach that moves at your child's own pace. It will require you to follow your child as the leader. This can feel very freeing and/or quite intimidating!
Montessori style learning at home is based on Dr Maria Montessori's observations about human development. You'll need to learn about the absorbent mind, adaptation, self-construction, human tendencies, planes of development and the sensitive periods. Without understanding this context, the Montessori materials won't be as meaningful.
Many parents who are homeschooling using Montessori materials will invest in Montessori curriculum albums that describe the theory as well as the scope and sequence for the Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Math materials and activities. Those are the 4 core curriculum areas to focus on if you choose to begin Montessori homeschooling for preschool and kindergarten.
You'll need to understand the purpose of each curriculum area and how the Montessori materials meet your child's developmental needs.
For example, it might surprise you to learn that Practical Life activities like cleaning up spills, preparing snacks, watering plants and sorting laundry are the foundation for later reading, writing and math activities. One of the reasons is that these kinds of Practical Life activities build concentration.
Each Montessori material has a specific purpose that you'll need to understand so that you can decide if it's worth having in a homeschooling context. Most parents who choose Montessori homeschooling don't have the budget or space to set up all of the Montessori materials that you'll find in a classroom at a Montessori school.
Unlike traditional open-and-go preschool or kindergarten curriculums that tell you exactly what worksheets or themes to do each week, you'll need to observe your child to decide if you think your child is ready to be shown a particular Material material that has been designed for a specific purpose.
It will be helpful to know the prerequisites for each Montessori material and the approximate age at which it is presented to a child. You'll need to prepare yourself to present each Montessori material to show your child how to use it so that your child has the opportunity to get the intended benefit.
Once you get started with Montessori homeschooling, you'll realize that Montessori curriculum albums don't address common questions.
That's why you might consider joining a Montessori homeschooling community, getting coaching from a trained Montessori teacher, or buying online courses like The Playful Path to Reading and Mathessori that guide you and include ongoing support from a trained Montessori teacher.
Montessori albums also don't address how to manage your own thoughts and feelings when you are triggered as a homeschooling parent.
You're going to need to figure out how to navigate challenges so that you can interact with your child in a way that supports their development instead of being an obstacle to their learning.
You, too, will likely need to grow as a human!
Part of that will be accepting what you can and cannot control while Montessori homeschooling so that it doesn't become a series of power struggles.
In the early days of Montessori homeschooling, much of the time that you and your child spend together will likely focus on establishing expectations and the routine.
I wrote Montessori Homeschooling Simplified to show you what you need to know to give your 3-6 year old child a quality Montessori education at home -- without trying to replicate a Montessori classroom experience.
Montessori homeschooling offers families a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow together, but I understand that you need to do it in a way that works with your available time, budget and space!
I highlight some of the essentials to focus on as you get started, including the mindset shifts that will set you up for success with Montessori homeschooling for preschool and kindergarten.
You'll learn the developmental needs of 3-6 year old children and understand how the Montessori curriculum areas meet those developmental needs.
There are graphics that cover the scope and sequence for Sensorial, Language and Math so that you understand the big picture and can see what concepts or skills your child might be ready for at different ages.
Plus, you'll get suggestions for saving versus splurging when it comes to the Montessori materials, based on my experience as a trained Montessori classroom teacher!