The Montessori Homeschooling Method
You have likely heard the term Montessori Homeschooling or The Montessori Method, if you have
considered home schooling for your children. The Montessori Method is one of the philosophies some parents choose
to use in educating their children at home. It is not only a method however, but a way of living for many of the
families who use it.
Montessori Homeschooling was developed as a result of the work of Dr. Maria Montessori with the poor children of
Italy over a century ago. Dr. Montessori was the first woman to receive her MD degree in Italy and has been a role
model for many in the field of education. She has inspired people the world over to base education on the
observation of children and the discovery of their needs/interests, rather than on a single curriculum.
The Montessori Method uses the practical areas of life which all children experience, as the foundation and focus
for teaching, rather than a more structured approach. For instance, children learn character qualities such as
speaking politely, being considerate of others, having a helpful attitude, sharing, etc. through parental guidance
during common daily activities. Such activities include gardening, building, cooking, cleaning, teaching younger
children, taking meals to the sick, etc. This 'no pressure' setting helps the child to develop confidence,
thoughtfulness and initiative, all important qualities often thwarted by traditional schooling.
In this manner of education, the teacher remains alert to the interests and special needs of each child, and makes
an effort to follow up and help the child key in on those individual interests. The only specific curriculum
requirements are those set by each state. These requirements take a minimum amount of focused sit down time. If the
child is under 6 years old, there are generally one or two hour long work periods broken up with the more practical
activities (ie. cooking, etc.) From approximately age six upward, the students design their own plan of learning
with the parents help. This teaches them to become responsible for their own time management and education, and
fosters more involvement from them since the plan is their own.
The teacher encourages the natural curiosity of the child, focusing on their innate ability to learn from their
surroundings, and looking for cues to help him develop skills in those areas that interest him/her the most. The
goal of this method is to provide an environment where children can explore, touch and learn without fear or
intense pressure. It is believed that this style of teaching can develop a lifetime love of learning in a young
person, as well as a stronger character.
Quite often in Montessori Homeschool settings there is not much television, electronic game playing, or fast
food outings. The focus is more on exposure to as many healthy and varied real life activities as possible, in
order to stimulate artistic, cultural and scientific interests in the child. John Holt, educator and author of "How
Children Learn", states that "a child has no stronger desire than to make sense of the world, to move freely within
it, and to do the things he sees bigger people doing. To be able to do something well, to get visible results,
gives him a sense of his own being and worth which he can never get from regular schoolwork."
Perhaps the heart of Montessori Homeschooling and the most important thing Dr. Maria Montessori learned and
contributed to the field of child development and education is the fostering of the best in each child. She
discovered that in an environment where children are allowed to choose their work based on interest and aptitude,
and to concentrate for as long as needed on such tasks, that they will come out of this period of concentration
refreshed, cheerful and full of good attitudes towards life and others. This is why parents all over the world have
chosen the Montessori Method for their child's education.