5 Tips to Homeschool Like a Montessori Teacher
Written by Mackenzie Young West with personal tips and anecdotes as “Siobhan Says” from St Nicholas Montessori Education B.Ed Montessori Education Programme Director, Siobhan O’Reilly.
Tip 1: Sensory Play is Important
Sensory Play is an important part in Montessori education. This is a type of learning for the child that uses the senses: touch, smell, see, hear, taste. This type of play is exciting and fun for the child, while also useful in gaining knowledge on how materials work together and promoting dexterity.
Siobhan says: Parents can easily create fun learning activities, such as making Moonsand or the Colour Game. For easy sensory activities, simply see what you have around the house and consider whether it would be educational for teaching senses. This can be specific montessori activities (see our blog on Sensory Play Activities here) or help in the garden!
Tip 2: Baking and Cooking Has a Role!
Don’t ever underestimate the educational benefits of baking. Children can form maths skills in weighing and measuring. Not only can the child learn useful maths skills, but language development, life skills, independence, and most importantly, it is a fun and engaging family activity.
Siobhan Says: The other day I had my boys help to make banana bread. I am baking and cooking a lot with food I feel may go to waste otherwise: Over ripe bananas for banana bread and pancakes, Egg yolks for homemade custard or carbonara or for binding homemade burgers, over ripe fruit can be also used for smoothies and vegetables can make a soup. These activities help teach the children cooperation, planning, dexterity and sustainable practices!
Tip 3: Do not Fear Screens, Use them Effectively!
Most parents consider screens to be the enemy, but in such a technologically savvy world, screens are an important part of everyday life. Children are able to use screens to learn and play, in a Montessori way!
Siobhan says: Movie making is an excellent way to allow a child to use a screen for educational purposes but still have a lot of fun. Movie Maker on windows or iMovie on the iPad or Mac are very easy to use. Stop-motion animation aids the development of problem solving skills, supports collaboration and cooperation, and allows children to build literacy skills and become critical thinkers.
Tip 4: Self Directed Work Is Possible!
What sets Montessori children apart is that they are used to self-directed work and managing their time and workload. Primary children are used to adhering to strict timetables and a daily routine of workbooks and homework, but in Montessori, the Directress creates a prepared environment in which the child is able to direct their own work over time.
Siobhan says: Work with your children to make up their own daily schedule so they have ownership of when and how they will work throughout the day or week. Be sure to try to prepare the environment as best as possible and allow the child to direct their own studies.
Tip 5: Choice is Key!
Maintaining the idea of choice is integral in Montessori philosophy. The child has the ability and proficiency to choose the topic or activity to complete, thus allowing for independence and authority.
Siobhan says: The idea of choice coincides closely with the idea of self-directed study. The child performs best when given the independence and freedom to choose their activities and direct their own workload. When teaching at home, parents can use this idea of choice by arranging several educational activities for the child, and asking the child what they would like to do.
For more blogs on specific activities to do at home with your children or the activity videos for specific activities for children ages 0-12, please see our Blog page on our website.
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