Monday, 24 May 2010

Unschooling and Montessori

I cannot beleive it.  The never ending end of semester is basically over.  I have one little thing that I have to get over with, and this will be it.  It was about time I must say, as my concentration has completely shift elsewhere a few days ago, when I realized that my DD's b-day was a month away, and thus our little pumpkin is going to be here in a month and a half!!!! :O

Finishing all thise correction has given me some time to red a bit more.  I missed that so much.  I went through 2 very interesting book

The first one is the Unschooling handbook

is has been on my shelves for quite some time, but I just never got the time to really read it.  I finally did, and I am glad I took the time to.

Unschooling is a category of homeschooling.  The approch is that instead of having a predetermined curriculum, you let the child follow his interest...Basically, the basis for this is : FOLLOW THE could I not love this book?  The author stress that the parent is a guide, a facilitator, helping the child be able to teach himself, or guiding him to find ways to get the teaching he wants.  Remind any Montessorian of anything?

After reading a very interesting post from What did we do all day about the difficulties of homeschooling and the Montessori approch, I have been pondering on this topic as well.  I can see that indeed, providing a Montessroi environement in a home setting will not be the same as what my son experience when he goes to his preschool.  I wondered for a while if the purchase of a premade curriculum wouldn't help me have some kind of a structure to help me go through what we have to and give me ideas of themes and activities to do between the work.  But as much as this thought was reassuring, it was also scary as heck, because I could see the amount of preparation to be done beforehand, and what if this is not in the timing where the kids are into this?

This is where this book, and these ideas becomes of so interesting to me.  YOu follow the lead of the child.  Follow his interest, follow what he wants to learn.  And I don't see this being so far away from Montessori.  You let the child take the lead, and the responsability for his education.  I like the spontanianity this creates, and the feeling of endless possibilities.  I think I will be able to combine both, the Montessori approch, but in an unschooling setting.  If the kids wants to go and learn with the material so be it, but if they are drawn to something else, I will follow them.

With the summer coming, I also see a little bit of Waldorf sprouting out in our days.  Days working outside, playing with rocks, branches, and yet exploring the nature around them.

Summer is so much easier with children.  Granted, I am a summer girl...I LOVE summer, and despise winter.  BUt the endless possibilities in summer, being able to get out without having to put on 3 layers of clothing, being to eat outside, to just roll on the grass and explore the many bugs, insect, plants, flowers, being able to have fresh air coming in the house it is all  just the best.

I cannot wait to see how all of this will unfold.  THis year will be the one where we officially decide on how we will go about schooling for the next few years.  I have a few more things I want to read before officially making my mind up, and yet so many things to prepare.  The Montessori aproch will be used to some extend.  But I can feel that unschooling will also be used.

I am currently finishing this book:

and OMG, this fits perfectly with what I have been seeing in the last few years while being a teacher.  I so agree with many things said, I am so living many of the examples that are given.  I am happy to see that my viwes of the current school are shared with others, and that I am not completely out of it.  But this definetly doesn't put me in favor of sending my kids to a public school any time soon.


  1. The way I've come to see it, at least at our house is montessori = unschooling + manipulatives

    I've been wanting to read that gatto book and a few others along the same lines.

  2. Yes, this is the conclusion I am also coming to. And honnestly, it feels good that way. Not being "stuck" only to use Montessori, and being able to derive from it when the kids are wanting too. I feel it releive some pressure off me too.

    The Gatto book, really, it is striking! I totally recommend it.
    The next one on my list is Holt. There are a few i want to read, Learning all the time, Teach your own and how kids learn. This should also be exciting.

  3. I always call Montessori "unschooling with props." I have been working on a follow up post to the one you linked to, but don't know when I'll finish. The short story is:
    Montessori for sensorial and practical.
    Montessori for Language, but use the Muriel Dwyer instead of pink, blue and green.
    Unschool for culture, making sure to use the Montessori culture materials.

    I just don't think it is practical to make all those materials for culture when if they are in a homeschool setting working one-on-one most of the time they only use the material once, learn the lesson, and never touch it again. The living/non-living cards I made, Kal-El did those once, understood, and had no interest after that. We could have read a library book and accomplished the same thing. That's why the Dwyer, it requires almost no materials making and plays to the strengths of a home situation.

    Read the Gatto a couple years ago and loved it :)

  4. whoops, I lied. I didn't read that one. I read "A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crises of American Schooling."

  5. What do you think of Maths?
    I really love some of the Montessori material for math. One of them being the beads not to name them...

    I have to order the Dwyer book. They ship through UPS, which is a killer for customs charges...

    I have a couple of experience like yours about material that gets used once and then are done with. THis is where I also think that improvising with what we have on hand/ using books, library good for a family setting (and fun for me too!)

    Pea asked a question about bridges and tunnel yesterday. We ended up making a mock of a bridge and a tunnel made with boxes and a paper towels rolls. It was fun, and he got the point.