August 29

The Montessori Approach at Home


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When I first started homeschooling I was like a little sponge.  I read everything and anything that the local library and anyone I met would give me.  My natural curiosity and my desire to provide a positive learning experience for my children drove me to learn more about Maria Montessori and her approach.
Right away I could see that her approach to teaching children, especially those with disabilities, was awe-inspiring to me, who has a child with a learning disability…or two.  I also wanted to start things off on the right foot for my younger kids, so this that is why I tried to create a Montessori classroom in my home.  No it wasn’t expensive, in fact, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is.
Create a “Yes” environment.
*Have a small table with small chairs.  I made my own table by getting some basic things at the local hardware store.  This also made it fun for the kids, who later got to paint their table.
*Create a “yes” environment in the room.  Place cubbies or plastic drawers or shelves with things that they can reach and get at now.  Things that you don’t have to say no to, like puzzles, crayons, papers, math manipulatives, blocks, wooden letters and books.

Keep some things out of reach, and save them for when you are doing school.  Scissors, glue, markers, play dough and paints. These things become special and they can have access to them when you are doing school and in the room with them.
Schedule time every day to do school, but not tell them what to do.  Simply open the closet and sit there.  You can work on a project of your own.  Most likely they will want to join in on what you are doing.
Read out loud while they are working on something.
When it’s time to stop, they get to help clean up and put everything back where it belongs.
These simple steps are the basics of the Montessori, self guided and self paced approach.  As you do this regularly, you will find that they will naturally want to learn more about something or other.  That’s when you get to swoop in and teach.  Most children will learn a lot by playing table games (or even computer learning games which are part of my Montessori school).  The key is to make some things available for a period of time and others at all times.  So when “school” closes up for the morning, they can still play longer if they want.
For more information and to see what kind of things a Montessori school room has you can visit

Picture Silvina B. Niccum was born in Rosario, Argentina and raised in Buenos Aires.  Her family immigrated to the US, when she was fourteen.  She attended the University of Utah and studied Spanish Literature. Silvina now lives in Dallas, TX. with her husband and her three homeschooled children.

She is the Author of Veiled, a young adult Christian Speculative Fiction novel.


homeschooling, Montessori, Silvina Niccum

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  1. I love how you put it… creating a “yes” environment, indeed! What a wonderful child centered approach to learning.

  2. Silvina, I also like the idea of the “yes” environment. And how you involved the children in painting the table and so on.

    My son and daughter-in-law are homeschooling my grandsons. I am going to forward your article to them. Very good advice and very informative.

    Thank you,
    Cynthia Schuerr recently posted..A New EndeavorMy Profile

  3. Fantastic article, Sil! As a mom who has her kids in a Montessori school and also homeschooled for a time, I completely agree with this approach to learning! Thanks for all the great tips and suggestions on how to set this up in your own home.

  4. I was a “yes” mom too. I homeschool for 14 years back in the early 90’s. Everyone thought I as crazy. But I guess I did okay. My oldest is headed to grad school. My middle daughter is an RN and back in school working on professional studies and my youngest graduates from college next year.

    School was a way of life for us and my children all thanked for the experience. They all say now that being a kid was great and they are so glad they were homeschooled. It’s not for everyone. But we loved it!!

    Great article Silvina. I homeschooled much like you do.

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