Part 1: Montessori Homeschooling - Interview with Aubrey Hargis, Child of the Redwoods
Are you feeling overwhelmed with remote schooling or the idea of homeschooling? Aubrey from Child of the Redwoods is here to share with you how you can homeschool your child using the Montessori method. In this segment she focuses on what Montessori homeschooling looks like for younger children from ages 3-6.
Who is Aubrey Hargis?
Aubrey Hargis, M.Ed., is a parent coach and educational consultant best known for her empathetic approach and appreciation for the magic of childhood. As a life-long Montessori advocate and AMS certified guide, her passion has always been to bring Montessori into the mainstream. She is the author of two books: Baby's First Year Milestones and Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage.
As the founder of the Child Development Institute of the Redwoods, she creates online courses and coaches parents in compassionate discipline techniques and Montessori education.
Aubrey lives with her husband and two homeschooled children under a blanket of San Francisco fog, where the coastal cliffs and nearby redwood trails are always beckoning for another adventure.
What does Montessori homeschooling look like for children in the preschool age range?
Aubrey comes from a teaching background and she knows what classroom teaching is supposed to be like. She also knows about the Montessori classroom and what kind of magic goes on inside Montessori schools. It's really, really amazing to watch these young, young children doing such high level work independently.
As Aubrey decided to homeschool, she realized that it feels really different than being a teacher in a classroom. As a nurturing mama, you cannot separate the parent education from the child education. And with homeschooling you need to take into account that you live inside your homes too.
So a homeschool environment includes all the things that you need for your children, for yourself, for your husband and for your home. And all that, is part of your homeschool life.
Montessori Homeschooling Preschoolers
At the preschool stage, keep things simple. Follow a basic routine. Let your week follow a very basic rhythm. At this age it is important to have outside time. Playing is so important and cannot be overlooked at this young age group.
Homeschooling at that young age does not need to be an academic experience. It literally can be your child playing in nature, you enjoying them, and then coming back home. You might give a little Montessori lesson. Make sure it's not something really intense, but still follow your child's interests. Spend time playing together, read stories and relax at home. Follow your child's natural rhythm.
It should be very relaxing at that age. Your child just needs you to provide rich and interesting things for them to experience. Your child at that age is typically helping you with things you normally do.
At what age do you put more structure into Montessori homeschooling?
When a child hits 4 or 4.5 years of age, things change developmentally for them. They all of a sudden become more social. They're more interested in having conversations. And this is often the age where you start getting into these why conversations with your kids. They're just constantly wondering about the world and they start really leading any lessons that you give.
Play time is still very important because your child needs lots of movement. They still need sensory experiences. They still like to dip their little fingers into the finger paints and explore. The senses remain important, but they are not the primary focus at that age.
The child shows a more academic interest. That's usually when they start becoming more interested in math.
At this point, that's when your lessons should become more structured. You do a little more planning. You observe your child and write down what they are doing.
As you shift toward kindergarten you will notice that your child's attention span is much better in the mornings. So focus more on the academics in the morning.
You also need to see what a typical kindergarten is expected to learn. As a montessorian, you don't necessarily expect your child to learn everything on this list. You still follow the child's interests at that age, but it's important for you as homeschooling parents, to be aware of what your child is expected to know in their culture.
This list can help inspire you to see if this is something that is important or something that your child is really interested in.
How much time should be dedicated to Montessori homeschooling in Kindergarten?
Reserve a two-hour block of time that you will spend with your child. You are completely focused on your child. Do not listen to the dryer ding and go off to take care of the clothes. If you have younger children, have them go with you and be a part of homeschooling your older child.
Devote those two hours to homeschooling. Help your child learn. Not all homeschooling has to happen in a designated area. You can migrate to other areas of the house to do a craft or do your lessons.
Even when your official homeschooling hours are up, little lessons will pop up as learning opportunities arise or as you are out and about exploring your world. Or as you are reading books, you can give an impromptu lesson about whatever it was your child seemed interested in right there.
Your child is learning from the moment he/she wakes up in the morning until the time the lights go out at night and they go to sleep.
And it's true for you too. You're always learning and growing as adults. And you're a part of that homeschool ecosystem with your children.
Part 2 of the interview with Aubrey Hargis, where she will focus on the Montessori method homeschooling with older children, will be coming out next week. Stay tuned!