This post really sounds some alarms! He has to memorize the 13 original colonies!?! Sight word tests???
IMO, it's these kinds of experiences that contribute to misunderstandings about what M is all about....
Any academic learning should be based on the child's interests and never subjected to deadlines or group testing. Children in M often excel academically but it is precisely because of high expectations with low levels of pressure and work with the very interesting (manipulative) materials.
I couldn't expect any child to learn the name of a single state without lots of experience building the puzzle map of the U.S.; this follows a series of presentations beginning with the sandpaper globe, the painted globe, the world map, maps of each continent, and finally the map of the States. It's hard to believe he's covered all that ground already. The memorization of the names of the states involves a "3 period lesson" which is what the Guide should be presenting - not the parent and certainly not during home time unless of course, it is initiated by the child. Montessori felt very strongly that lessons should be presented by progressing from the whole to the parts: so we begin geography with "land" and "water", then the names of the contintents are presented before countries, and countries before states.
I personally feel that the more I learn about Unschooling, the more similarities I see between it and my (AMI) Montessori training.
My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats