Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Would Maria Montessori Do?

I,m in one of my "What would Maria Montessori do?" modes.

I know she would not have approved of how I went about my children's education up until now. She would have liked/agreed with some things; she would have tsk tsk'ed (or whatever her thing was) over others, like how much freedom I gave my kids.

I'm now facing a daughter who is doing online schooling and she hates it. Can't stand it. Whether it's the result of my approach with her, whether it's the result of the nature of the online schooling or a mix of the two is hard to say, but she hates it. And I hate it, I have to be honest. It's so uninspiring. But she is determined to have the provincial diploma and to go about it this way or in school. I don't know if it's the lack of my making her do things in the past that has her not wanting to try a different way or what, but I am discovering she has ways of thinking I was unaware of! Add to that, she has no confidence whatsoever in writing in French, her mother tongue, which makes me very sad and feel very guilty.

And I have a 13yo, grade 8 son who has not yet written a paragraph in his life in either language. High school starts in grade 10 here. I am quite convinced I will not have him do the online, and he will not have any interest in going to school, and honestly, might not have any interest in getting the provincial diploma. Regardless, he's technically supposed to start high school in less than two years. I need something to change so I don't feel like I've completely botched things!

I suppose part of my issues are resulting from my not only loving the Montessori method, but also loving things like the Sudbury Valley School but I recognize there is a particular environment with that, that having a mass of students of various ages around you all doing the same thing (directing their own learning) is far more inspirational than at home. Or can be. So I turn back to Montessori, or Montessori-influenced Charlotte Mason, to have a bit of the structure, to have the seeds to plant and the limits in place to help them.

What do I do at this point? What would Maria do if she were here in person and could guide me?

Photo taken from .

Part of me hears her saying with an Italian accent, "They are too old. There's nothing to be done." lol. But she thought that before with students and they proved her wrong. So, after I've pointed that out to her, what would she say to me?

"Freedom within limits."

Okay... Which limits?

*I'm not hearing anything*

What were her limits? Did she have things they had to work on? I'm thinking more the upper levels.

Perhaps it's time for me to refresh my memory and read some books and go check out all the adolescent links I have stored on this site. While they are aimed at students who have been "doing" Montessori since preschool for the most part, there is still something to be gleaned from it all.

In the meantime, I will place some limits on my kids on school days to do with the amount of time they spend on electronics. I will resume the Charlotte Mason-influenced assigned work with my son, but perhaps do it with a little more freedom (give him the list; he decides what to do in which order). And I will make a concerted effort to figure out how to get this 13yo son of mine to write more while thinking about ways I could bring French writing into the daily life of my daughter, without a sense of coercion or it being more she has to do.

1 comment:

  1. At this age: freedom with responsibility.

    Children NEED to be responsible: chores, schoolwork, maintenance of relationship skills

    but they have freedom - earned through responsibility. That freedom looks different for each child.

    If I remember/find it, I'll send the link over - I just read something yesterday about children who have more family-related responsibilities actually do better in school (this is an away-from-home school, but I think the principle still applies). Oh! It was a story about a woman who has lived in various countries with her young children and was comparing American expectations of children/teens to the various other cultures' expectations - as compared to their academic practices in those countries as well.