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withdrawing my son from a montessori school - what next?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 



I inadvertently posted this in the unschooling section and got some feedback that folks in this group might be able to help.


I'm in a bit of a dilemma and need some guidance. We recently moved about 1000 miles away. Our son was in a wonderful montessori school and in order to keep some consistency we looked for a program close to our new apartment. Unfortunately, the only program we found was 1/2 hour away. It has proved to be too difficult - the commute on all of us (including my younger daughter) has been a challenge. Due to the distance, we are out of the house and our new community for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.


In addition, the new school has not proved to be quite what we were hoping. There is a computer in the classroom (why?? I have no idea). Anyway, he is not getting the social interaction or educational tools that we anticipated. It has not provided the "consistent atmosphere" we hoped that would ease the transition. The teachers were far from helpful and even rude.  All that said to lead to our decision to withdraw him from the program.


So now I have my 5 yo son and 2 yo daughter at home in our new city. I'm looking for some direction on how to provide an educational outline to the day. Even asking this question might seem silly - is there a cirriculum or guidelines that you can give me for a preschool homeschool program? I'm just looking for some activities or flow to the day...I'm afraid if we don't have some sort of routine, it'll be a challenge. I'm sometimes get involved in stuff I need to get done and am distracted. I want to be more deliberate in how to approach the day so we all have a good experience over the next several months until K starts.


Any ideas?


Thanks so much,



post #2 of 5


With such a short period of time, I think I would just incorporate the Practical Life activities and use those as anchors to your daily routine. Dressing and washing in the morning, helping with breakfast (pouring cereal, cutting fruit, pouring juice) and tidying up the table and kitchen after. For mid-morning, a nature walk or outdoor playtime or song time or dress up time or craft time.....If you have household tasks that you like to get done in the morning (or afternoon), they can help you with sorting laundry or matching socks or dusting tables or chair legs or all sorts of chores....Then lunch time, repeating the food prep and clean uo activities. Some storytime or baking or quiet activities in the afternoon. That's me - you may prefer to be quieter in the morning and more active in the afternoon. 


I would try to allow them at least one work cycle each day of about 2 to 3 hours so they can concentrate and explore activities of their own choosing and interest. That kind of work cycle is fairly standard to a Montessori routine. A 2 to 3 hour work cycle fits nicely between breakfast and lunch or lunch and the end of the day. Were there specific activities that he liked to do in his Montessori classroom? Many of them can be replicated at home.  



Some helpful books: 


Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-school Years by Elizabeth Hainstock

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin 

Montessori Play and Learn by Lesley Britton

Teach Me to Do it Myself: Montessori Activities by Maja Pitamic

Montessori From the Start by Paula Polk Lillard

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the info - it will be really helpful.  He really enjoys moveable alphabet - did it nearly everyday and was just getting involved in the bank game.  He also like to do scrubbing works and metal scrappings/drawings (?).  He didn't do much with painting and his current teacher (which I don't really like) recommended that he do more activities to enhance his fine motor skills.  Any thoughts on how to replicate these works, I would appreciate it. 


When you say work cycle of 2-3 hours do you mean after that the dressing/breakfast routine?  Have a 2-3 hour time span where they can choose activities?  This is where I feel like I need more direction - how to set up works, etc.


Thanks for the book recommendations.


Thanks for all the ideas - it will be really helpful.

post #4 of 5


DS loved the moveable alphabet too, as well as the sandpaper letters. He also brought home countless drawings using the metal insets and "pinning out" cards. There are lots of good blogs about Montessori at home, if you search a few threads here there are some recommendations - or google a little. I'm afraid that a lot of the blogs that I knew about don't seem to be updated anymore. 


At a traditional Montessori school, the day is structured to allow at least one long, uninterrupted work period. The child is invited to select a work freely, according to his/her interest. This work period allows the child to explore thoroughly and to develop focus and concentration. Distractions and interruptions (even well-intentioned corrections or suggestions) will disrupt the child's concentration, so it's best to allow them to work unhindered. Once s/he decides that s/he is finished with an activity, s/he can return the materials to their proper place on the shelf or drawer and move on to something new.


Often you'll observe the child starting with a few familiar tasks that are fairly short and easily accomplished, before moving on to something that is more challenging and takes longer to finish. That break in concentration and restlessness as he considers and chooses the next task can look like fatigue and aimlessness. It can be hard, but if you restrain yourself from intervening and trying to control his process, you should see him find another activity for himself, settle into and become even more absorbed than before. If you interrupt and try to manage it for him, his restlessness will likely persist and he won't proceed into further work.  


The entire process reinforces the development of so many critical skills. At the outset, the child is making decisions and exercising his/her will. S/he has to prepare her work space, set up her materials and pursue the activity. Once it's finished to her satisfaction, she has to tidy up the work space and return the materials to their proper place. Aside from whatever skills and learning that the task itself offers, she is learning independence, order and organization.  


As a side note, this is where Montessori departs from so many play-based preschools that don't understand or respect this aspect of child development. In many play-based settings, the teachers, in an effort to keep the children amused and entertained, direct their play. The teachers interfere and manage how the children are doing things. They interrupt with other activities - circle time and music time and special visitors.  The children themselves don't learn to respect the other student's work and space and interrupt each other. 


If you google "3 hour work cycle", you'll find lots of information and observations about the period. Also please note that I've used the terms "work" and "task" in the way that Montessori does - play is the work of children. 






Edited by ollyoxenfree - 3/5/12 at 7:24am
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all the good info!


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