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Montessori vs. homeschooling

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have been reading alot lately about homeschooling, and know several people that do homeschool. But frankly, I don't really see any differences between the two other than actually going to a school vs. staying at home to learn.

Montessori offers EVERYTHING that attracts families to homeschooling. Personally, I was afraid that I would fail at being a teacher to my children. I already have enough pressure making sure I do everything right to bring them into adulthood successfully. If they grew up stupid and uneducated, that would be my fault, too. So I chose Montessori. I love it.

I think homeschoolers are wonderful people, and I believe that their children turn out educated, happy and well-rounded. I was just afraid that I could not do it.

So...I am missing something. I am very comfortable with my decision, and have no intentions on changing my mind, I'm just wanted a better understanding I guess.
post #2 of 30
"Montessori offers EVERYTHING that attracts families to homeschooling."

Well, no.
For us, homeschooling offers freedom from peer-pressure and cliches, freedom from bullies, freedom from curriculum, freedom from testing, freedom from school schedules. All of which makes for a less stressful life.

It offers our family more time together, which allows us to know our children better and for the children to be closer to one another. It allows the children to pursue their own interests at their own pace. Their learning is self-directed and independent.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg, as I'd have to write a book to explain how very different homeschooling is from other schooling. Actually, I see it less as "schooling" and more as a life-style.
post #3 of 30

I'm not really sure if I understood your post or not. It sounds liek you have found the best choice for your family, and that is great, but when it comes to family lifestyles and education I don't think there can ever one best choice for everyone.

Besides the thigns that Joan has mentioned, homeschooling offers us a choice in schedules (taking time off when we need to, not necessarily just because it's July, or sleeping in late because we need to and still not missing schoolwork), offers us 12 months to complete 9 months of work, to pursue interests every waking hour of the day if we choose, etc.

My daughter was in a Montessori preschool, and while I liekd the school, one thing that bothered me was that Montessori really doesn't encourage imaginative play, doesn't use fairy tales, etc. I felt that was a big part of childhood that was missing from the theory.
post #4 of 30
Everything? Not by a long shot, not for my family. The 6 months ds spent in a Montessori kindergarden were by far worse than the 2 years he spent in public school. Each school is different, and it all depends on the staff, I'm glad you found a school you could trust and that works for you, but the one we tried (recommended by dozens of other parents) was so competitive, rigid, socially stratified and academically accelarated (kids were required to be writing in paragraphs by the end of K!) that my son was suicidal by March. I deeply wish I'd just sent him to ps if I was going to send him to school at all that year. We're still working out issues from that school, 3 years later, sigh.

If you want to hs in a Montessori style, then I guess you could possibly argue that there is no difference, though the simple math of 1 teacher to 15-20 kids (the school ds went to had a 1 to 8 ratio, but usually one teacher worked with 1-2 kids for short periods while another worked with the larger group. They rarely had the 1 to 8 ratio in practice) compared to 1 parent who would never be dealing with that many kids.

Montessori is still a school-style educational philosophy, and for hsers who object to a school setting of any sort, it doesn't really matter how "not quite schoolish" a school is, it's still a school. Montessori and other alternative philosophies are still dependent on the real people who teach and participate in the schools, and are subject to being distorted for the needs and goals of those people. In our case, the school had become a somewhat "prestigious" preschool (what an obscene thought that is!) and the parents involved pushed school administrators for more success, more skills, more visible bragging rights, while actively competing with other parents in birthday parties, goodie bags, and the like. While I volunteered almost daily at the school, most other parents didn't even pick up or drop off their child, and if they did, they spent most of their time at the school on their cell phones.

I knew the end was near when the school director complimented me on the fact that I could remember the names of the children, since she never could, and I could understand the 2 year olds (they took kids from 2.5 years) when no one else could. Considering the fact that she'd been doing the same job for a dozen years, and I'd been there for 3-4 hours a week for only a few months, I was pretty horrified. She even had trouble remembering the names of kids who'd been at the school for 3-4 years! There were only 50 kids in the entire program!

For some kids, like my son, no school-style works or is usefull for him. He has Tourette's (and this was NOT dealt with in any constructive manner by Montessori, they simply tried to "re-train" him of his "bad habits" behind my back), he's a gifted student, a bit of a loner, prefers to spend a large amount of time by himself reading, experimenting and exploring, and enjoys the company of his family, all of which marked him as a freak in a school setting. I'm glad that you found something that works for you, but don't presume that this applies to anyone else's situation.

post #5 of 30
I, too, think well-done Montessori is great. Good for you for finding a good Montessori program. (Lotusmama, we used to live near a school like the one you mention...are you in Delaware by any chance?)

However, homeschooling isn't so much an educational choice as a lifestyle choice.
post #6 of 30
I agree with the homeschooling advantages listed above. Also, it offers us freedom from homework, I don't have to take all of my kids out the door at 8 am to get one of them to school, for us, it's a lot less stress and alot cheaper. I agree that it's a personal choice and a way of life. It's certainly not for everyone, nothing is. But is has worked wonders for us!
post #7 of 30
I agree that homeschooling and Montessori are differant in many ways. I chose not to homeschool because I work and because I felt it wouldn't be a good choice for me personally. My ds goes to a Montessori school and loves it. I agree that there is some structure, but it sure seems worlds better to me than public school. My son has not had any problems with bullies and the peer pressure so far has been minimal, or favorable. It all depends on the specific school, as not all Montessori programs, or anything else for that matter, are not created equal. I do think that for many moms, homeschooling is a great alternative. If it does not seem right for you, I would encourage you to learn more about your local Montessori school. Good luck!!
post #8 of 30
My 5 year old and 3 year old are registered for Montessori in the Fall. My 5 year old went last year and we liked the school. I am feeling like I could teach him from home for 2.5 hours a day and she doesn't really need to go to school at 3 years old anyway. Then he can take violin lessons (he has asked to take them) and play football or soccer if he wants too, because he won't be spending 5 hours in school everyday and she can take ballet (she has asked) and ice skating lessons. I am still on the fence but am really leaning towards not sending them and trying homeschooling. I am trying to build my confidence that I can do it. I think with the money saved (tuition will be over $6000.00 for the year for the two of them), we can use that money for the extra activities like music lessons, etc. I'm still trying to convince myself that I can teach my children at home........
post #9 of 30
Mamamax3 - It took me way too long to build the confidence of being able to homeschool. Once I took the leap I was so happy! If it's what you want to do, then give it a try. I try to take it year by year. Nothing is set in stone. I have saved so much money in tuition and I bought boxed curriculum this year for my 1st Grader and 5th Grader. Anyway, I know it's OT, I just wanted to give you a boost.
post #10 of 30
Queen Gwen

I'm in Manitoba, but from what I've heard from other places in the country, this is a problem that Montessori schools are subject to frequently. Here in Canada, because there are still many fairly affordable private schools, mostly Christian, the parents who send their kids to Montessori have largely an academic bend, and put a lot of pressure on the schools to have visible results, ie: kids reading and writing very young.

I've learned the hard way that you have to take a really hard look at any school and spend at least a week in the classroom itself before you really know what it's like.

post #11 of 30
One difference is the $400.00 a month tutition bill. Plenty of people go through the Montessori schools and come out stupid and uneducated

Parental confidence does not equal a successful homeschooling effort or a smashing time at private school. It is parental involvement that seems to be key and the child's attitude.: that may help more.
And regardless of where your children are learning away or at home ~~YOU are the first and primary teacher always~~ and have been since their birth.
I believe the mom's sense of worth and self esteem plays a huge part in how their children learn to become 'successful'.
Please post again,
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 

I agree 100% that parental involvement is key to success at "school", wether that is at home or away.

I also agree that parents are the child's first educator, and I take that role seriously.

My self confidence is extremely high, I just don't think I have what it takes to homeschool. I pride myself on knowing who I am and my limits. And I believe that my self-confindence rubs off on my children.

Loving your school environment is also important. Those children that do well at homeschooling obviously love it and vice versa. If a parent can find the situation that best suits the family, home or away, half the battle is done.

I spent years looking at all different kinds of schools in this area, and 'good' schools are hard to come by. I researched homeschool, and soul searched myself, and decided that it was not what was best for us.

I consider myself among the fortunate that we have found a school that works.

Tuition is surely a consideration...it has to be. Again, we are very lucky. Our Montessori is chartered, so there is no cost to us.

My position on homeschooling is go for it!!! I love the idea! And I know from my research that well homeschooled children grow into beautiful adults.

My children love their school, have no stress, no "homework", and have only 1 standardized test per year (requirment of the charter). They progress at their own speed, are grouped with other children in different "grades", work indepently, and work on what they choose (for the most part). Report cards have no grades on them. They are more of a progress report....what the child has mastered, new material introduced, what he is currently working on, etc.

I look up to parents that can successfully homeschool their children. But as terrific a mom I am, I just know that it would not have worked for us. So I felt that Montessori was the next best thing. I was mainly wondering if other homeschooling parents ever considered it as an alternative, or having their children go to Montessori when the homescooling "ends"? I also wanted others to know that they didn't have to "settle" for public school, or shell out a ton of money for private school (which alot of the time is no better than public school). If the homeschooling situation is not working, or needs to chage, Montessori, in my opinion, is the next best thing.

Hope you are well, mommy22
post #13 of 30
We're homeschooling (unschooling) for all the reasons other have listed above, and more.

In answer to your question though, if we had to send our children to school, there would be a lot of considerations. The most important consideration to me would be that my children feel safe and cared for. I guess student/faculty ratio and the overall feeling of the school fall under that. Other considerations, and by no means necessarily in this order, the curriculum, the facilities, the campus, the diversity of the faculty and student body, the cost, the location, and more. I suppose, depending on where I lived, a Montessori school could be the one, but I'll tell you that in this area, if I had to send my children to school, with many schools to choose from including both Montessori and Waldorf, my decision would probably be between the local public school, a "free" school (founded by John Taylor Gatto and similar to the Sudbury schools) that's not so close, and a warm and wonderful sounding private school that happens to be Sufi-oriented.

I am really glad your local Montessori school is working for you and your family, and I know it works for a lot of families. I also know homeschooling using Montessori methods works for a lot of families. However, for me, all the Montessori schools I have had any familiarity with (here and where I lived before) have not fit what I would want as well as some other schools. And none of those schools fit what I want half so well as unschooling does. I am absolutely thrilled that I do not have to send my children to school and that I get to stay home with them, and they are thrilled as well.

I think comparing Montessori to homeschooling is like comparing apples and oranges.

[edited for typos]
post #14 of 30
mommy22--I'm glad that you're happy with your decision. There are many homeschooling/unschooling books out there (and sites as well) that detail the philosophy behind self-directed learning.
Any book by John Holt, the unschooling.com website, or The Unschooling Handbook would be good starting places.

Your original post basically stated that, to your understanding, there was no difference between Montessori and homeschooling. It sounded, to me, like you were seeking to understand why people chose homeschooling over Montessori. Your second post sounded as if you were simply trying to inform people that Montessori was an option. I'm not sure which of these you intended, but apparently all of us who responded read your post in the same way.

I'm not trying to change your mind about the choices you've made for your children. However, a Montessori classroom is really nothing like homeschooling. Especially for those of us with an unschooling "bent" no classroom setting will be comparable to what our children are currently doing.

While I think it's admirable for Montessori to say that children are allowed to develop at their own rate, and to follow their own interests, this is limited in a classroom. It's limited by what's available in the classroom, and by time constraints and by what the teacher deems appropriate for the student(s). It's also dictated, to some extent, by the state, as each state has guidelines concerning what a student should learn and when they should learn it.

It is important to our family that our children lead their own learning, that they learn in their own way, in their own time and that they can choose from the whole world of opportunites. It's also important to us that they learn from the "real world" and that they not be in a structured, contrived setting (like a classroom in a school.) Our family time is also very important to us--my children's ages are such that they would be separated from each other for the vast majority of each day, even in a Montessori setting.

Again, I'm not trying to sway your decision and I'm glad that your children are happy in their school. It really is a mistake though to think that Montessori and homeschooling are the same thing. I hope this thread continues--it could have interesting developments.
post #15 of 30
As a teacher and a parent, I would never claim that Montessori and homeschooling are the same, but this topic struck me with its personal timeliness--our boys have gone to a Montessori parent coop this year while I had to work (dh finishing his doctorate)...but now that I will be homeschooling them for one year, I have realized that I think Montessori was like the best "prep" for hs I could have wanted. I can understand, mommy22, what you meant about Montessori being like hs in that its focus is life skills and relevant learning. I think my boys will not miss preschool at all when they stay home this fall because they never felt like preschool was any different than many of the things they did at home--baking, cleaning, books, puzzles, nature outings, sewing, art, making food and presenting it--all things you do at home and know are learning moments. I thought Montessori felt like the most natural choice when I had to work.
Interestingly I raved about this Montessori preschool before my boys started last year to my sister, who has four at home, and patiently listened and then said, "Sounds like what we do at home!" (Except she did then show her oldest dd how to make coffee!)
Oh, and at our school, which was quite strict Montessori, they still had great fantasy play outside every day--usually at the "fallen-down-tree"!
post #16 of 30
Some of the most dramatic differences include the claim Maria Montessori made regarding the value of her 'didactic apparatus' and the 'normalization' that occurs when children are institutionalised and conditioned to use her materials in ways that she found appropriate, introduced in a set schedule (like the great lessons.)
I think that it can be confusing, even to the parent of a child in traditional Montessori schools, when you feel that your child's learning is child led when actually there are a variety of sequences that must occur, that this is so VERY different from most homeschooling and different from unschooling as well.

IMHO--A child spending the day in a Montessori classroom
will have a very different education and experience then a child taught at home using Maria's materials and her method of instruction. And the vast majority of people homeschooling do not use Montessori materials or method , I know that frustration, I have had to hunt online for the last 8 years to find my group of parents doing Natural Structure at home. I do not think a child that has been homeschooled through his first 6 years would even be accepted at the majority of Montessori schools, and a child that has be 'normalised' will require intense detoxification to be able to school at home without that kind of set-up carefully arranged classroom environment. That is just my simple opinion, but based on my observations, we have homeschooled and used Montessori schools as well as public school. I agree it is like comparing apples and oranges.

If you are looking for more info on Montessori or groups of parents online that are homeschooling using the Montessori method I have a webpage with some info you may find helpful~

I wish you luck!
post #17 of 30
When I posted I didn't intend to imply that I have low self esteem, or no confidence.....what I meant was that I didn't know if I could do it and keep my sanity. I am considering, "do I have the emotional stamina to handle three children under 5years old AND homeschool them."

I admire parents who homeschool their children, but am wondering, is it something that would work for my family.

Our Montessori school is wonderful and if I don't homeschool them, then to me, it is the next best thing.

We are still on the fence, it seems like everyday we change our mind.
post #18 of 30
Mamax3, I'm not trying to convince you to do one over the other, but since you are on the fence, I recommend that you look into unschooling. Unschooling will take you no more energy than it takes for you to parent your 3 children. Some good places to go for information are unschooling.com and the Unschooling Handbook.
post #19 of 30
Great site, hydrangea! Thanks. I checked it out immediately.
post #20 of 30
I was mainly wondering if other homeschooling parents ever considered it as an alternative, or having their children go to Montessori when the homeschooling "ends"? I also wanted others to know that they didn't have to "settle" for public school, or shell out a ton of money for private school. If the homeschooling situation is not working, or needs to change, Montessori, in my opinion, is the next best thing.
I don't want to be rude, but I have a bit of a problem with the way that sounds. For one thing, for many people, including myself, homeschooling is not going to "end". It sort of bothers me that so many people assume that homeschooling is such a temporary thing, rather than the lifestyle choice that it is for so many of us.

On that note, why would I want or need to consider Montessori as an alternative to homeschooling when I chose to do what I am doing, and my kids love it and are thriving? Like another mama said, that sounds like going up to someone happily eating a tofu dog and saying, "Have you ever considered steak as an alternative?"

Like everyone else here, I'm glad that you're happy with your choice of schooling!, but it seems more appropriate to be raving about it on the alternative schooling board. Most of the people here are not interested in alternatives to homeschooling, and if they were they could go over to the alternative schooling board themselves. Personally, I feel that the homeschooling board is a place for homeschoolers to go for *support*, and for people who are genuinely interested in the possibility of homeschooling to learn more about it. I don't go over to the public or alternative schooling boards and ask people to defend their decisions, and it frustrates me when people come to this board, often under the guise of curiousity, and expect homeschoolers to defend their's.

I hope that doesn't sound rude - just trying to respond honestly.

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