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Bringing 3 kids back home to unschool after brief but fairly negative Montessori experience

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'd like to pull them at the end of this week, if I can get dh to agree to this.  They've only been there for seven weeks.  I'm just looking for support here, and for ideas as to how we can undo some of the damage. :(  On the bright side, I think all of us have a new appreciation for what a great thing we had going on at home. 


I think my oldest DS (age 8), will rebound quickly, because he tends to see unreasonable attitudes for what they are and not take them personally.  Unfortunately, my DD (age 6) has taken a huge hit to her self-confidence.  She is just beginning to read, and is one of only two students in her combined kindy-1st grade who didn't arrive reading fluently.  Her feelings are very hurt that the teacher doesn't think she reads well enough to look at the official Montessori "books"--which I understand, because she clearly can read some of them.  She doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning.  My youngest DS (age 4) seems to be least affected, though I suspect there are some issues there as well.


I did a search of the previous threads about Unschooling and Montessori, so I know some of you have experience with this. We put them in school because I was burned out and having that unschooling freak-out where I completely doubted myself and what we were doing, and because we thought this school/approach was more child-centered than it turned out to be.  Also, dh and I were frequently battling for time alone because he wanted to spend more time on his business and I was (and am) trying to finish a novel by December. 


I'm really sad that I did this to my kids. 

post #2 of 7

Aw mama, don't be so hard on yourself (in regards to your last sentence).  Having your children try new experiences is responsible, I think.  It's important they and your family give something like this a chance - at least now you know.  


I have no other information (my child is 10 months) but wanted to offer virtual hugs.

post #3 of 7

I think you are wonderful to pull the kids out, noticing their distress and taking action is probably one of the most healing things you can do for them!  I think you can just have play and stories and talk about what happened and tell them that the way is good for some people, but not all people and that you think everyone can do better by being home. 


My DD (3) had a very traumatic dental experence and we're still playing dentis and talking about what happened 3 months later.  She is bringing the topic up, not me.  We found a new dentist and so energy is going into liking this new situation rather than dwelling (OR continuing to go to the other dentist!) on the past. 


Anyway, I think you're on the right path.  Just remember to be kind to yourself, too grouphug.gif

post #4 of 7

I'm not an unschooler, but we left a Montessori because it was way too strict and I felt like my DD's spirit was being crushed there.  She's totally fine and back to her creative, spunky self after going to a regular play focused preschool.  I just wanted to give you some support that you're not alone and that Montessori just doesn't work for all kids and all families.  


I wish we would have left earlier.  We stuck it out for 3.5 awful months.  

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and experience.  Freestylemama, that's exactly how I feel about the environment--that it's crushing their spirits.  Glad your dd is thriving in her new school. 

post #6 of 7

Don't beat yourself up.  We used a Montessori for about 6 months, and it wasn't as bad an experience for my kids as it was for others in the class, but I definitely came away with a different opinion of Montessori than I went in with.  I think that different schools do Montessori in very different ways, and the rigid ones (which is how I'd describe ours, and probably yours) are bizarre places.  Seriously, who would tell a 3 year old they can't play with things that are CLEARLY toys? I could go on and on about the crazy rules, but I'll stop my vent now... 


Anyhow, I think its hard to know what kind of Montessori you're getting without trying it, so you did the best you could.  

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

onatightrope, thanks for taking the time to reply.  Glad to know I'm not alone in this.


This Montessori was probably somewhere in the middle of the strictness spectrum.  I'm trying not to beat myself up. The worst part was that two of my kids had made some good friends whom they were quite distressed to leave behind, even though they weren't crazy about the rest of the program.  I have phone numbers and such, but I'm not sure these particular parents are interested in setting up social opportunities outside of school hours.  This is particularly hard, because we really just have one family with kids that we're close to--we live in a fairly rural area where our values are way outside the mainstream. 


Still, though, the kids seem relieved, and did things yesterday afternoon and today that they haven't done since school started: played ball outside, built stuff with Legos, asked me if we could start doing yoga again. 


I spent this evening cleaning out their bags, and it was really hard to look through all the stuff they brought home.  My oldest son was very bored and frustrated with the curriculum, and now I have an even better idea why.  It would make me hate school, too.

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