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Lessons From Starting Our {Montessori} Homeschool

I knew before my children were born that I would homeschool. As an elementary school teacher with seven years experience and a masters degree, I felt like it was something I could definitely handle. Disclaimer: You don't need either of those to be an amazing homeschooler! What I didn't count on was falling in love with teaching philosophies different from the progressive methods I'd learned in school. Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason. There are many that spoke to me as I researched more and more about early childhood education. I settled on a Montessori-focused approach and dove in head first (not recommended). Here's what I learned by doing it backwards.

Start researching and preparing early (if you can).

It was always my intention to start early, but the boys were born just after S turned 2, and most of the next year was dedicated to survival while triple-feeding twins (nursing, pumping, and bottle feeding on repeat). Oh, and then I decided to start a small business with my bff when the boys were 8-months old (are you crazy lady?!). I kind of woke up from the haze when S was about 3 1/2, and kicked it into high gear when I realized we were "behind". Before learning more about the Montessori approach, I hadn't planned to start S's homeschool until she was 4 1/2 or 5, so I thought I had time. I don't actually think she's behind - we just got a late start! The beauty of homeschooling is that your child is never really behind or ahead. They just are where they are, and you continue to move forward at your child's own pace.


If you're interested in the Montessori approach, start preparing for homeschool when your child is about 2 years old. That's because Montessorians begin a child's formal education at the age of 3, and that will give you time to complete a program, make a plan for the year, spread out some of the costs, and prepare your environment.

Before you buy materials or try to plan a curriculum, start with a really good training program.

I spent a whole lot of money that I probably didn't need to because I was trying to piece together recommendations from various bloggers and Instagrammers. In the end, I realized that I needed some real guidance, and tried several programs (five to be exact, no kidding). Here are the two that I would highly recommended:

  1. The Montessori Retreat by Simone Davies Can't say enough good things about this, especially for anyone completely new to Montessori who wants to implement some of the principles at home, beginning with babies and toddlers!

  2. Homeschool of the Redwoods (and the Constellation extension program) This has been the real heart of my learning about how to homeschool using a Montessori approach. Aubrey Hargis is a lovable, authentic teacher who will walk you through everything you need to know. The non-Facebook based community is worth the cost of the program alone! I've found so much support and gotten many incredible recommendations from the other parents there.

While you wait for your training program to begin, check out some online workshops available to start anytime.

  1. The Montessori Notebook

  2. Trillium Montessori

  3. The Prepared Montessorian

  4. Childhood Potential Online Montessori Conference

Grab a good book or five at your local library.

Here are a few suggestions I've picked up from my programs and other homeschooling moms. I've definitely not read all of them yet:


Montessori

  1. The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

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

  3. The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

  4. Basic Montessori by David Getteman

Homeschooling

  1. Teach Your Own by John Holt

  2. How Children Learn by John Holt

Parenting

  1. The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik

  2. There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk

  3. Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph

  4. Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

  5. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

  6. No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury

Start following some really good Instagram accounts and join a few Facebook groups.

Instagram

  1. @MontessoriInspiredCo

  2. @MontessoriinRealLife

  3. @ModernClassicalHomeschool

  4. @MontessoriatHome_

  5. @MotherCould

  6. @TheMontessoriNotebook

  7. @ChildoftheRedwoods

  8. @HowWeMontessori

Facebook Groups

  1. Montessori Homeschooling

  2. Authentic Montessori Material For Sale (look for local resale groups too)

And once you've done all that 🙃, you're ready to buy, DIY, and set-up your environment!


For a great breakdown on homeschooling with a quick and dirty on the differences between Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, and other methods, check out this blog post at TheTot.com.