Applying the Montessori Method at Home

 

A few weeks back, I came across How We Montessori. It’s a blog about incorporating the Montessori Method at home. I had heard of the Montessori Method and basically thought of it as allowing children to play by imitating things in real life (like play sweeping, cooking, etc.) However, it’s much more than that!

As I was reading through the blog and learning more about this method of education, I realized that it’s right in line with our parenting philosophy.

Montessori supports adapting the environment to match children’s interests and needs. When Paxton was very young we noticed that he had a love for music. We decided to purposely foster this love by making sure he had musical instruments as toys, exposing him to real instruments and to different genres of music.

Young children also have a need for order. A Montessori approach is making sure you have a ‘place for everything and everything in its place.’ We’ve always kept Paxton’s room neat and tidy and all of his toys have a specific place that they go. When he turned 1, we started involving him in the process of cleaning his room and putting everything back where it belongs. Now, he definitely knows where each and everything goes and most nights he picks up his toys by himself when we ask him to. (Of course he is a 21-month-old and many nights we deal with his strong will and a few tantrums during clean up!)

We started researching more about Montessori and are convinced it’s an excellent approach, we want to make learning constant, practical and fun for our children!

Here are some ways we’ve started applying the Montessori Method at home:

  • We purchased a wooden kitchen for Paxton. (It was $18.99 at our local resale store, purchased with store credit!) We’re storing his dishes in his kitchen and of course he’s playing like he’s cooking and washing dishes!
  • We moved his clothes to the bottom two dresser drawers so he can be more involved in picking his clothes out.
  • We’re paying more attention to his desire to help. When he drags a stool over the the sink while I’m washing dishes, I’m allowing him to ‘help’ even though it means more time and more work for mama!
  • We’re beginning to let him help with some cooking. Right now that’s just been stirring {tea, brownie/cornbread batter, etc.} and washing potatoes.

As of right now, we’re still researching more and finding small ways to incorporate this lifestyle of learning into our lives. We’re making small changes as we find things we want to apply in our home.

Have you heard of Montessori? Do you agree with the philosophy? Have you or your children attended Montessori School? 

responses to “Applying the Montessori Method at Home” 17

  1. I agree with the Montessori methods mostly. There are some incredible game changers in the world today who were raised with the Montessori Method. People like Larry Page and Sergei Brin (Google founders) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com founder) were schooled with the Montessori method.

    1. I knew about the Google founders but not that the Amazon founder went to Montessori school. From what we've read we agree mostly too. Of course there is a heavy emphasis on attending a Montessori school which we won't be doing since I plan to homeschool and we can't afford to send the boys to a private school!

  2. On a "devil's advocate" note {b/c I grew up with 2 brothers, and someone ALWAYS had to play the devil's advocate! :o}, I have a friend who taught at a Montessori school for awhile and she said they took things to an extreme in the area of "empowering" the child; for example, they weren't allowed to sit in higher chairs or be "above" the youngsters in any avoidable way. Obviously, this overall line of thinking doesn't seem to be in keeping with Scripture. HOWEVER, as with everything, one must "prove all things and hold fast that which is good" {I Thess. 5:21}…which, it appears, is exactly what y'all are doing! :o) We are expecting our first little guy in ~1 month {yay!!}, and I have appreciated your insight.

    1. We're definitely not following it 100% and are basing our parenting first on scripture, then applying educational principles we believe will be beneficial to our children! Congrats on your baby boy…so exciting!!!

  3. This is the first time I have really heard the term Montessori explained. I have seen it and heard it several times recently but had no idea what it actually was. I was surprised to learn that it is almost exactly inline with how we do things at our home! Amelia has always been given choices and as often as possible I let her "help" with household duties. Some nights, when the day has been long enough, I just can't do it because of the extra clean-up that I have no energy to do!

    Thanks for the link to How We Montessori, I think I will be checking it out from time to time!

    1. That's exactly how we are! It is exciting to find an educational approach that is so similar to how we are raising our children. I've been enjoying reading more about it and finding different ways to apply these methods. And How We Montessori is full of wonderful information!!

  4. Why don't you just send your child to regular preschool to be socialized with other normal children instead of sheltering from the realities that exist in the real world by homeschooling? I'm sorry, but when you homeschool, you aren't giving your child an education, you're giving them a one world viewpoint that in no way, shape or form will help them cognitively as they age. Unfortunately, children can't be sheltered from everything. Parents should not be allowed to homeschool. It's amazing how many pastors and members of regular Protestant churches send their children to public school, and their kids turn out just fine. I understand some school systems don't perform well and are underfunded, it's a societal and political problem. However, it is the parenting approach like the one you are using under this whole quiver full movement to raise an "army of God's children." I look at how many dedicated, good Christian people like yourself try to do the right thing and homeschool and attend church and so on, yet look what happens to kids. They get pregnant and raise a baby alone, the wife is abused (verbally or physically) because the husband thinks the bible's meaning of obedience/submission is violence, they take up drugs, smoking, drinking or gambling or other sinful acts because the real world sets in and suddenly everyone realizes that Christian girls only go to Bible college to find a husband and the wives will end up staying home anyway. It all starts with what you're doing. I admire that you live a very honest and simple life, but at the end of the day, you have got to want more for your children. Where's the adventure? The excitement? The possibility of an education, exciting job, missionary work in South Africa? What would you do if your child told you they were gay or wanted to marry outside the religion or didn't believe in what you raised them too? How would you feel? This is where it all starts, and where does it in?

    1. Hi Katrina!

      Regarding homeschooling, yes we do plan to homeschool but our reasons have little to do with sheltering our children from the real world. We like the flexibility that comes with homeschooling as well as being able to tailor the schooling to the child instead of sending our child to a school to sit in a classroom with 20-30 other children and get little one on one instruction. We believe learning is fun and there are educational opportunities everywhere and we don't want our children spending 7 hours a day in a school with limited time outdoors, little to no creativity and not learning based upon their interests. I've also read studies that the American form of education is tailored to girls, not boys, boys tend to learn better with more moving around and that's next to impossible in public school. My husband and I are both public school graduates and 'turned out just fine' so we're not scared of public schools. You stated 'you have got to want more for your children," yes I do! I want more than a standard education, I believe homeschooling will give us the opportunity to expose our children to more of life because we'll have freedom to incorporate the things we want to into their education.

      As far as sheltering, we aren't going to hide the things of the world from our children. Yes, there are certain things of the world I don't want my child learning about at 5 or 6, I want to protect their innocence and let them enjoy an innocent childhood but we will expose them to the realities of life. I mentioned in this post that Paxton loves music and we're exposing him to all different types of music. Our 21-month-old loves hard rock…if we were 'sheltering' him, I'm sure he wouldn't be exposed to that genre at all! {And I suppose the sheltering comes in that we do not let him listen to certain songs, things we don't agree with and words we don't want in his vocabulary!}

      As far as the quiver full comment, we do not consider to be a part of that 'movement'. Yes, we believe children are a blessing but we don't have plans on having as many children as my fertility will allow. We want 4-5 children which is considered a large family but we don't want 'unlimited' children. With that said, I don't judge those who are a part of this movement, they are following their personal convictions and I commend them for that.

      If one of my children told me they were gay or wanted to marry outside the religion, I will be disappointed but God gives each of us a free will to make our own choices. Yes, we would be disappointed but we would still love our child and pray for a heart change. We serve a God of grace, love and forgiveness and he can radically change people and we'd cling to that!

  5. I LOVE your blog and started following when I became pregnant ( this was a year and a half ago!). I was looking for ways to save money to help us when adjusting to a one income family.

    This is my first time ever posting on a blog but I just wanted to tell you that we plan to home school our children too. I am looking forward to hearing about your curriculum choices/recommendations when the time comes! We are so excited to offer our children an educational experience they could never receive from a public school – watching them get excited to read a new book or traveling to see Mount Rushmore instead of just hearing about it in a text book. We are excited that homeschooling will allow them to learn and socialize with people of all ages – both young and old! What will they learn from a room full of 6 year old's anyways – how to pick their nose?! hehe 🙂

    To anyone who is considering homeschooling I would recommend them to check out the HSLDA website – it has a ton of information about the advantages of homeschool, what your state requires and even recent studies that show how homeschool kids do better socially and academically when compared to public school students. Here is the link the their website: http://www.hslda.org/research/

    Congrats on your second little one and may God bless you all!

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment and letting me know you read the blog! I love hearing from my readers!! I agree with everything you said regarding homeschooling! And thanks for sharing that link!

  6. We really never heard about the Montessori method until after we had kids. We do a little here and there. Our little ones both were converted from the crib to a ground level bed by the age of 1. Currently they are 2.5 yrs and 14 months and they both done wonderfully with the conversion. We also try and let them help, although this got me thinking our boy needs to help pick out his clothes more (although he really could care less, but that may just be boys). We have a wood kitchen for the kids with their own dishes, but they rather make a mess than play. However I do catch them sometimes actually pretending instead of just throwing stuff about. 🙂

    1. I think we'll be doing a little here and there too! I am so intrigued by it but at this point, having two little ones, doing more research and trying to change almost everything to Montessori is quite overwhelming! We actually have already given up on the floor bed…at least for right now. Paxton (21-month-old) is teething, still adjusting to baby brother and actually asked for us to put his mattress back in his crib last week so he's in his crib for now but we sure did like that he had the ability to come to our room during the night/early morning if he thought he needed us! Do you have any tips since yours transitioned easily? Paxton does make a mess of his dishes but he's also pretending to cook quite a bit and we're working towards him understanding that is where his dishes are stored…he uses the bowls for snacks!

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