Monday, 24 September 2012

Another turn

I have read a lot of Montessori for the last few years, I love Montessori and it fits us well.  But my feeling right now is that X has associated Montessori with painful learning after the year he has been through.  Even though this material is attractive to him, every time he gets it in his hands, I see a wave of disgust shooting through his body, and he just cannot use it.  He can't.  

I had to come to (yet another) hard realization: I am going to have to let go of Montessori...

but now, I have made peace with that. (it wasn't easy!)

I will always be inspired by the Montessori philosophy, and it's many principles, but I have to come to conclusion that at this point in time, X is not able to work within this method, and that I have to honour that.  Otherwise, I would have to wrestle with him, and that would be counterproductive.  That would just destroy the whole point of Montessori.

I am having a hard time, having read Montessori for so long, to find out what are my own believes, and what are the ones that are Montessori's.  So,  I have been looking elsewhere.  I have been learning new things, and revisiting old ones.  And we are finding ourselves - finally.

I see this period of time as being a time to try new things and keep the ones we like, and ditch the ones we don't.  I don't want to follow blindly a method, I want to make our own.

I am being inspired by Waldorf's rhythm and handwork, Charlotte Mason's litterature based learning and narrating,  and highly influenced by everything from project based homeschooling. (aka Reggio Emilia)

E's sculpture

X is being hooked by everything manual, stories that are told, nature, and most of all (and surprisingly!) arts.  He had been talking all week about this set of main lesson book he oversaw.  He has been asking me how to make drawings like these, and now wants to have his own journal to draw in.  I never saw him as excited about drawing before.

I don't know where this will drive us.  But it will be our road, our journey, and nobody else's.

And truthfully, it feels good to have gotten out of Montessori's.  I realize that deep down, I felt stuck in so many ways in a mould, a good one indeed, but one I might have never felt that I was able to fit perfectly. And this weight on me.  I feel good to be able to do it my way, our way.

And so, here I am, packing Montessori away, with a sigh of relief, and excitement to see what lies ahead.  


  1. It's so nice to hear X is finding his passion in art. Your post reminds me of exactly why I want to educate my hold at home: I want us to be free to pick and choose what works for him. I don't think someone necessarily needs to be totally Montessori, like it is always implied. Same as Waldorf, classical, whatever. I think people can take what they like from all the different ways and apply them. So you may find alter that he really likes an element of Montessori but not another. I think that's ok.. Maybe it's just me? :)

  2. It seemed like you were coming to this point for a little while, even before you started homeschooling X. It is difficult to let go of things you know, it's comforting there. But like you, I have also been moving away from aspects of Montessori, particularly its academic approach and materials (whilst still being inspired by its image of the child and practical life) and more towards Reggio-inspired learning. This eclectic blend suits our family and it seems it suits yours too. We don't have to take something all or nothing. Education and life should be about what makes us passionate, what inspires and drives us to know more, to find happiness. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

  3. Actually, you are not the first. I've read numerous other montessori moms having to pack away their montesorri stuff at some point in time. I guess, as the child gets older, montessori will lose it's appeal. My son is 5, & montessori no longer excites him the same way when he was younger. I think it's great that you've come to realize that Montessori is not the only way to teaching your child. I think the worst thing to do is to insist on getting fix onto one method. The best method I say, is one that your child loves that may mean a mixture of one or two or many methods- & really, thats fine!

  4. Montessori or not, Montessori or just a bit of it :) It does not really matter as long as you and your children are comfortable with the teaching/learning process. Struggling children are rarely given a chance to leave the mould and experience something difference. Your children have this amazing chance offered to them! See how X is developping this interest in drawing, it is amazing isn't it?
    Follow your heart even if that means putting all the gathered material in a box. Who knows maybe in a year or two (or less) both you and your children will want to take some of it out again :)

  5. it’s a powerful thing to be able to admit something isn’t working for you personally and put it aside even though you still agree with it in principle. many people just keep pushing down that wrong path, so it takes them longer to find their own best life. good luck to you guys!

  6. I will be excited to journey with you on the new path!