Montessori vs. Unschooling? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-08-2003, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a question about Montessori...

We are going to HS, and I have a 3.5 ds and a 1.5 dd. We are leaning towards unschooling, but buying Sonlight for reference and just for fun if we feel like doing something. We allready have a very good environment going~ all classic wooden toys, lots of great books, art supplies, dress-up silks, extremely little TV, etc.

So if I want to do Montessori, what do I *do*? How is that different from unschooling in a great environment? Also, how does Montessori differ from the Waldorf method?

I am very curious and would appreciate any help!
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#2 of 16 Old 01-09-2003, 10:54 AM
 
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Maybe you could look up montessori and waldorf on the internet? I don't know much abt either, but what I do know, I found in a search.

Good luck!
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#3 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 01:45 AM
 
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I don't know alot about Montessori hs, but I do know that it can be done.

I think you would need to get familiar with some of the Montessori equipment and then decide what equipment you might need. The equipment can be expensive, so you may want to use only 1 or 2 pieces each for math and language, etc.

Some of my favorites are the sandpaper letters/numbers (I actually made my own). The language boxes are great, and most of the pre school stuff you probably already have.

There are good books available on the different lessons/equipment used in the classroom, and lots available about the actual concept. Just make sure you get books in layment terms. Don't get any that are too complicated.

Good Luck, and with hs, you can use many different types of education.
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#4 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 02:31 AM
 
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Whoa, you are talking about three VERY different approaches to education.

Montessori believes in using real life equiptment and experiences for even the younger children. In Montessori preschools you will find small pitchers, safety knives, and other appropriately sized paraphenalia so that the kids can get their snack things themselves. There are not a lot of "toys", especially make believe type toys. They are strong on natural sciences, decorations and plaything in the room will reflect this (ie posters and puzzles of wildlife rather than cartoon characters) Montessori is also pretty academic- the one where my dd went taught cursive writing first, starting in kindergarten.

Waldorf is very strong in the arts and imaginative play for little ones. Music, storytelling and painting and drawing are taught. They have a progression of colors the children are supposed to use in their artwork (starts with one or two colors and progresses) They teach the children to play the recorder and read music, academics are delayed. Reading is not taught until 2nd grade if I remember correctly. They have nature tables where the kids can discover natural objects and the differences of the seasons as they change throughout the year. Plaything are made of natural fibers or wood, and fictionalc stories are essential in the lower grades.

It's definately possible to encorporate ideas form different approaches into your homeschooling, even if you unschool. Some of the things that you coudl do with your kids at this age is to get a bookcase and place trays on it. Each tray has all of the equiptment for an activity- like a puzzle, cratf, os art activity. Another thing you can do is to have the children work on life skills, like helping to set the table, prepare food, and do household chores. These are all great things to do regardless of the rest of your educational style.
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#5 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 03:13 AM
 
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Ds (5) went to Montessori last year, but now we hs/unschool.
As different as Montessori and Waldorf seem to be, they are really quite compatible. Montessori seems to appeal to a child's innate love of learning while Waldorf celebrates the magical qualities of chilhood. I believe both are important.

Some of our favorite Montessori ideas:
Providing smaller versions of everyday objects (like brooms, apple slicer, water pitcher)- they should be usable and not just for play.
Keeping toys, etc on shelves rather than boxes/bins.
Making common items (snacks, toothbrush, coathook,etc) accessible.
Encouraging participaton in everyday tasks (baking, chores,etc).
Keeping your living space orderly

The Montessori classroom is mixed, this is also a hs philosophy as associating solely with our peers is very unnatural. Also, many materials are self-correcting which I can correlate to unschooling. We don't actually use any of the materials, but I know T.C. Timber has a lot of cool Frobel (sp?) stuff- basically advanced wooden educational toys.

Many of our Waldorf practices stem more from our spirituality and values. Celebrating the seasons, natural materials (although this gets harder as they get older- playmobil and legos seem to be taking over!), songs, rituals, creative play, etc.

Both stress media-free is the best way to be!

I hope this helps and that I didn't babble too much!
Read as much as you can.
Blessings~
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#6 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everybody!

Are there any good books you could reccomend on Montessori or Waldorf? I live in a really rural area and the only way to get a good book is to order it by name.

I feel pretty good after reading this, because a lot of it are things we have alleady done~ like the child-sized real things, and not pretend toys, and shelves instead of a box. I didn't know that was a part of it, but it will make it easier if we make the switch!
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#7 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 03:05 PM
 
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You might want to check this out Waldorf for Homeschoolers It's got lots of great ideas for incorporating these philosophies into your homeschooling. As an unschooler, I don't necessarily *use* the program (the very thought! <gasp> :LOL) but I do keep the ideas in my head for anytime I get on my own case or someone else questions me. ESPECIALLY the reading readiness ~ we should all read this before we succumb to the pressures of having an *early reader* JMHO

~diana ild

~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#8 of 16 Old 01-10-2003, 03:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by PerfectLove

So if I want to do Montessori, what do I *do*? How is that different from unschooling in a great environment? Also, how does Montessori differ from the Waldorf method?
I know there is a thread on Montessori vs Waldorf.
I would suggest cutting to the core and reading Maria Montessori's book and the Waldorf founders book, When a Child Is Born : The Natural Child Care Classic by Linden Wilhelm Zur

You can do both curricula in a homeschool setting. Look for The Joyful Child and Child of the World - those are both from the Michael Olaf MOntessori foundation and are catalogs with suggested 'work' and 'toys' for each age and lessons to go with.

Montessori Supplies

My 7 year old girl is in her 3rd year of Montessori and it IS unschooling in an organized way ( is that an oxymoron?).

If/when her time is up at the school ( it only goes to 5th grade right now) I will continue Montessori schooling at home.
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#9 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 02:43 PM
 
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Hi,

I am interested by your discussion but did not really find a definition of "unschooling" anywhere so far. I'm a neophyte in the educational options and just starting to think about it.

Thank you,

Jordan
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#10 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 02:50 PM
 
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Unschooling Network
Here is a link that may help.
From their page, defined as:

'Our primary purpose in unschooling is to keep alive the spark of curiosity and the natural love of learning with which all children are born. We want our children to accept learning as a natural part of living, and an ongoing process that continues throughout life. We want their learning to remain an integrated process in which all subjects are interrelated. We also want to allow them the time to pursue a subject as fully as they want, rather than imposing artificial time constraints on them. We believe these aspects of learning are limited by the traditional implementation of a curriculum, and we choose to homeschool as a way to circumvent those limitations. '



Some of us believe, including myself, that Montessori schools and Waldorf schools provide an 'unschooling' atmosphere in group setting and provides the best of both worlds.
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#11 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 02:59 PM
 
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This sounds like what I have been looking for. Thank you, I'll do more research...

Amazing doorways of discovery await the footsteps of all who know the secret of living in the present moment...

I imagine parenting and alternative [un]schooling as being profound teachings on just this...
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#12 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 03:18 PM
 
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Great discussion! I am a former Montessori teacher, and plan to use many of Dr. Montessori's teaching methods with our own babe, who we'll be teaching at home.

I don't recommend reading some of Montessori's own writings (at first) -- they can be a bit difficult to digest for the parent just looking to learn what Montessori is all about.

Instead, check out Montessori: A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard. She provides a very nice biography of Montessori, and an excellent overview of the method.

For the homeschooler, I really recommend Elizabeth Hainstock's series: Montessori in the Home. I wouldn't be without those.

Good luck with your research, PerfectLove and Jordan.


Jean

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#13 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again!

Those are all really good sites and I will be ordering those books.

It is nice how all this good stuff fits together!
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#14 of 16 Old 01-14-2003, 08:58 PM
 
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Welcome Jordan You should check out the MDC threads about unschooling, you'll see that it is incredibly varied and individual. I personally love this approach ~ I wish I had been my own mom!

~diana

~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#15 of 16 Old 01-16-2003, 04:17 AM
 
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I also like some of the Yahoo groups on Montessori at home. Montessori makers is probably my favorite--it's about how to make stuff rather than buying it--like some of the color matching things you can make by picking up paint color sample cards. Some people make graduated blocks out of carboard, counting beads, and lots of other things. Oh, and lots about making sandpaper letters when you get to that. Montessori_materials has lots of things you can print out in their files section. Haven't used them yet. The files on that site include a breakdown of activities in various areas and a progression/order of introduction.

I second Montessori: A Modern Approach as a book suggestion. It is often a good corrective to website and other brief activity description. She really emphasizes the freedom in Montessori, i.e., that you can demonstrate an activity, but then let the child do what they want with the materials (well, not throwing them at a sibling ). Other descriptions have seemed too focused on the 1 right way and "correcting for error", at least for use with my younger, highly kinesthetic son who will not even watch a demonstration until he's experimented with the materials in his own way. Then he comes back for guidance in doing it in a particular way if he doesn't figure out a satisfying use on his own.

Sherri
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#16 of 16 Old 01-29-2003, 02:16 AM
 
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Two more books to check out are Montessori Play and Learn by Lesley Britton, and Montessori Read and Write by Lynne Lawrence. Both offer many suggestions for learning in a homeschooling environment. I find myself looking through them each evening as i prepare for the next day in suggesting and presenting activities. I, too, found Lillard's book, 'Montessori: A Modern Approach' to be the best overview of Montessori's philosophy, breaking it down in a way that inspires you to be the best parent/educator you can because it gives you a true understanding of a child's psychic development.
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