The Montessori method was developed out of the psychology work of Maria Montessori, an early 20th century Italian physician and educator who worked with special-needs children. She believed that children learn best in a “properly prepared environment” that promotes independent learning and exploration. This student-based approach uses free movement, large unstructured time blocks, and multi-grade classes. Quality and natural learning materials are kept well organized and made available for the students to work with, believing that children will be drawn to what they need to learn. Montessori homeschoolers will often set up learning centers in their home such as a math area, a sensory area, or a practical life area. A typical Montessori day might include a circle time; plenty of time to work at different stations with manipulatives such as sandpaper letters; numerical rods, or puzzle maps; time spent playing outdoors; foreign language instruction; listening to stories; and, time spent practicing personal care or homemaking skills.

STRENGTHS

  • suitable for all learning abilities from learning disabled to gifted
  • spatial and tactile intelligence are highlighted, making this method particularly suitable for hands-on learners
  • especially appropriate for young students who need touch, movement and play as part of their learning
  • very adaptable method that allows the student to pursue their talents or interests
  • fosters self-discipline and cooperative learning, with older children helping younger children

POINTS TO CONSIDER

  • most resources and materials are targeted for younger children
  • requires certification to correctly apply the method
  • some students need more structure or challenge than this method provides
  • the focus on independent learning may be challenging for children with exceptional needs and/or children who need regular one-on-one instruction
  • this model is based on a humanistic view of children and available resources will reflect that philosophy
  • more commonly used in the classroom, the Montessori method is not always listed as a homeschool method, so homeschool resources and networking might be harder to find
  • official Montessori materials can be costly and difficult to find

RESOURCES

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