And what we recommend instead…
When we talk with prospective new members of our school, one thing we discuss is parent dedication to the Montessori method in the home. This goes beyond the organization of shelves and the use of natural materials. The ultimate goals of Montessori aim to aid a child in the natural development of their independence, sense of self and relation to their environment, the ability to concentrate without interruption, and to nurture a lifelong passion for learning. We cannot measure these attributes quantitatively.
We live in a society that values more tangible academic goals that can be quantified, which puts a lot of pressure on parents! Learning becomes more about performance and achievements and this can sometimes mean the quality of the internal development of the child gets less focus. We’re often asked if there are flashcards, workbooks, and extra work that can be done at home to help get children ahead. While these can be useful tools if your child enjoys them as a fun way to connect with you, they can often be pushed too far and thus the child becomes resistant to learning.
Our answer about homework often surprises parents.
The single most impactful thing you can do at home to help your child’s overall development is to involve them in your daily life and follow their lead.
It is why at every age you will find in the classroom practical life activities that focus on learning how to care for a child’s environment. These tasks go so much deeper than even teaching children how to clean, cook in, and care for their space, they have an effect on every area of a child’s life.
Window washing develops a child’s gross motor functions. Sewing and beading help develop the fine motor muscles necessary for writing and other tasks. Laundry is a lesson in geometry and language. Being able to follow a multiple-step table washing routine develops the child’s confidence in their ability to do hard things! Doing these activities with you is so powerful in building your relationship. Academic learning usually falls into place naturally when practical life skills and relationships at home and with nature are nurtured.
Free time encourages wonder and creativity. Bored is okay. Really.
Your child will ask you many questions and want to learn more as they observe their everyday life. Indulge their curiosities. Give them time, opportunity, and means to explore. Show them how to find information and answers for themselves and as they get older, how to question the source of information and verify it’s accuracy. The underlying idea is this: experiences, far more than drills and paperwork, are much more valuable tools in your child’s education.
“What the hand does, the mind remembers.” – Maria Montessori
For more information, check out this article: https://aimmontessoriteachertraining.org/montessori-faq-ive-heard-that-montessori-schools-dont-have-textbooks-homework-or-even-grades-can-this-be-true/