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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Montessori Homeschooling

This is what inspires me to homeschool my children, following the Montessori approach. While others think it is unwise not to send children to school (cant blame them, 99.9% of all the people I know went thro traditional school inc me too), I feel that unschooling makes children to learn through their natural life experiences, utilising their own potential. Teachers only guide, it is the children that learn by themselves. Children are natural learners and they dont all learn the same way! 

Michael Olaf Stephenson attended a Montessori school from age 2.5-5, and one semester at a Montessori elementary class. From then on, at his choice, he was homeschooled. His educational materials consisted, for the most part, products from the family Michael Olaf Montessori company which he reviewed for the catalogue, weekly visits to the library, and to many people in the community, to research the interest of the moment, daily music practice, and exploration in nature. There was no TV in the home. He was allowed unlimited time whenever possible—days, nights, weekends—to explore and chose his own path. Many experiences and study directions were offered by his parents, and periodically by other mentors and teachers, but his choices and his passions were always respected.

The parents both worked full time (mother in her home office) and spent very little time "educating" Michael. During the elementary years, they helped him make weekly work/study plans which included roughly grade level math and English suggestions, but was otherwise made up of his own choices in many areas such as music, literature, mythology, history, astronomy and the arts. There was no TV, and no video or computer games in the home as distractions and time wasters. He loved exploring and learning, and having his own interests respected.

Over the years Michael studied Suzuki piano and violin and attended the local music academy at Humboldt State University for several hours every Saturday. For some years he attended a "homeschooling school" for one or two days a week. This provided sports, group activities, and a very interesting social life often found in homeschooling communities. His best friends were not just those people of his own age, but his young students, his two older sisters Narda and Ursula and their friends, parents and grandparents, people of all ages.

For one year Michael attended a new local academic and arts high school but found that this traditional method of education broke up academic subjects into choppy, boring segments which he found frustrating, and interfered with his own research and reading, music and academic progress. Although a wonderful school it was based on competition and an adult directed curriculum which is not necessary for a self-directed motivated student. The following year, having returned to "homeschooling" he taught a jazz ensemble for this school.

At age fifteen Michael passed the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) and received an official high school certificate. Then he was allowed to take classes at Humboldt State University. Looking always for the best teachers, rather than specific subjects, he earned 35 units at HSU, in drama, math, physics, and music. During the summer of his fifteenth year Michael went to the Calgary Conservatory in Canada and became a certified Suzuki piano teacher and began teaching — both adults and children.

For years Michael earned his own money teaching music and playing with professional groups, and learned to budget it for tithe, savings, and food, clothing and other necessities. He has toured or traveled in the Northwest USA, Cuba, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He graduated in three years from Brown University, interned for an environmental NGO in India, and studying law at the University of Oregon where he worked as a tutor for first year students, an editor of the law review, and in the courtroom in a pro bono law clinic, He graduated in May, 2008.

Read more : Montessori Homeschool


adam k. said...

hmm that's interesting. i wonder how different i would've turned out if my parents had opted for homeschooling.

Joan D'Arcy said...

Hmm... interesting to wonder ;) Thank you for dropping by

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