Every parent, whether homeschooling or not, wants his child to develop a lifelong love of learning and wants their child to be fully engaged in his learning.
That goal seems lofty when kids are bombarded with video games, cartoons, and commercialized toys in today's ridiculously fast paced zero delayed gratification world. Traditional teaching techniques can stifle innovation, discourage leadership, and quell creativity.*
Related: The Secret to Engaging Kids
In short, kids are at risk of being overstimulated with media and bored with school. There is a debate out there: Montessori versus Traditional. We're going to explore that debate in this post.
Don't get me wrong, we use technology in our home for many reasons including learning with apps.
Related: Why Teaching Code to Kids Matters
Parents, homeschoolers, and educators are searching for ways to foster excitement for education while helping each child fulfill his potential. There is a lot of opportunity with technology even from a self-regulation standpoint.
Montessori versus traditional education is a hot, trendy topic. As you know, I fell fast in love with Montessori for my family many years ago. So much so that, determined to homeschool my kids, I attended a Montessori training program to do right by Montessori in our homeschool (which then led to the creation of My Montessori Homeschool).
Does the Montessori Method Work?
Several studies in recent years prove that the Montessori Method helps toddlers learn more effectively than conventional approaches. By the way, I adore this video created by a parent explaining why he chose the Montessori approach and why it is better than traditional school. Children exposed to this method outperform their peers on standardized tests. They’re more likely to go to college. Most importantly, this style improves children’s enjoyment of learning and instills self-confidence, focus, and independence.
The Montessori method sets itself apart from traditional teaching methods because it harnesses a child’s natural inclinations. It’s based on the belief that children intuitively gravitate towards materials and activities that will help them learn at their own pace. Adults who use Montessori in their homes and classrooms believe that children have an innate desire to learn and that children find an immense amount of joy in “work”. The truth to this statement can be seen through observing the child.
I have written extensively about the Montessori method from a philosophical point of view. As you are aware, the approach integrates seamlessly with a child’s natural development, not against it. Rather than subdue a toddler’s natural desire to roam, Montessori encourages movement. Combining learning with movement is a topic Dr. Montessori mentioned often in her writing. Instead of forcing passive listening, Montessori instills communication skills. Instead of rote memorization, the approach incorporates all the senses to facilitate a deeper understanding. Montessori harnesses the essence of each child, then gently guides her with enriching activities.
The Montessori method encourages independence and respect for a child’s natural social, physical and psychological development. It provides freedom within limits and a well-planned environment for children to exercise liberty. Parents and educators can help set those limits by removing anything from the environment that might be distracting the child's learning. By providing plenty of engaging educational materials and works based on careful observation and planning of the environment, parents encourage their children to explore and discover at their own pace. Find a way to bridge the gap between the classroom and home.
Ok, Montessori. Now What?
You can get started with this method with free early childhood educational materials listed below. When you use these age-appropriate materials that are backed by research, you’ll see the difference this technique can make in your child’s life. These materials are designed to be both fun and effective.
- Find high-quality Montessori printables to help your child learn reading and language, math and science
- Teach your child about botany, history, and geography. Montessori for Everyone offers free printables covering the months and seasons as well as zoology.
- In addition to free geometry cards, you'll also find printouts for games and instructions for making sandpaper alphabet cards from Montessori Mom.
- Montessori Print Shop offers many free digital downloads for Montessori Teachers and Parents
- The Helpful Garden also offers comprehensive Montessori teaching and learning materials all for FREE. The quality is great and the writer is experienced.
- Check out My Montessori Homeschool if you'd like to integrate Montessori into your learning environment
- Sign up for my 30 Days to Montessori email mini course to seamlessly bring Montessori into your home with daily prompts
The Montessori method uses a child’s natural curiosity to make learning effortless and fun. When you introduce your child to this method, you’ll set the foundation for a lifetime love of learning. Montessori is a lifestyle. By using the Montessori approach with your child, you’ll also reawaken your own curiosity and ignite your creativity. The principles of the Montessori Method can help you turn learning into family fun.
*Please know that I am not trying to do a disservice to teachers within a tradition public school system. Being raised by a public school teacher, I know the positive impact teachers have on children, I realize the hard work that goes into teaching, and I understand there are public school systems that work for kids.