Montessori homeschool curriculum isn’t the easiest to come by, and rightfully so. The Montessori method is more of a philosophy, with plenty of space for practical life activities and your child’s interests, than a program of study with specific subject matter.
Therefore most homeschooling parents planning their school year with this method typically put together their own curriculum using a variety of resources that are considered in-keeping with the Montessori style. I’ve rounded up a few Montessori-based curricula as well as resources that can be paired together to create your own curriculum.
It IS possible to combine approaches such as the Montessori homeschool method with unschooling and Charlotte Mason. You don’t have to stick to one approach in your homeschooling journey, and the development of the whole child may require several changes of style as they progress. Here’s my take on the necessity of homeschool curriculum.
The Five Key Montessori Principles For Your Curriculum
In the early 1900s Dr. Maria Montessori came up with five basic principles that she believed were the foundation of a child’s education.
The first principle of early childhood education is respect for the child. This means that a teacher or parent’s role is to view the child as deserving of respect and autonomy, meet the child’s needs and allow them to take control of their own learning by not interrupting them while they are working.
The second principle is ‘the absorbent mind’. This means that children are always learning by absorbing information from their environment. Montessori homeschool resources always include sensory materials (visual materials plus activities to improve fine motor skills such as food preparation), as Dr. Montessori believed children learn a lot through their five senses.
The third principle is ‘sensitive periods’- times when children will be in the right place to learn something very specific, such as social skills or language arts. Dr. Montessori’s methods dictate that children go through 11 different sensitive periods from birth to six years ago, so it’s a good idea to have a homeschooling style that leaves space for these times in your child’s life.
The fourth principle is ‘the prepared environment’. The Montessori method of education requires resources to be accessible to children so that they can have freedom of movement and choice.
Montessori activities include practical things like preparing food and cooking, and there are ways of making this easier for children (having smaller tables and chairs, for example). With authentic Montessori materials, every thing has its place so children also learn to tidy as they work, creating a good habit for your child’s life.
The fifth and final principle is autoeducation – the idea that a young Montessori homeschooler will educate themselves if given the right environment, support and a love of learning. Unschooling is another educational philosophy that believes in auto education, with the parent’s role being the facilitator rather than teacher.
How to Create Your Own Montessori Curriculum
Before diving into the resources, I’d like to walk you through the steps of creating your own Montessori curriculum. Then, you can use the suggestions below to help you get started. Montessori homeschooling doesn’t need to look like the inside of a classroom in a Montessori school (although it can do if you like). You don’t need expensive resources and you can DIY Montessori materials in most cases quite easily.
Step 1: Create a framework.
Before gathering any materials for your child’s education, you’ll want to establish a framework or plan if you intend to have some structured time for your children to ‘work’ on their Montessori education. For younger children.
Ensure that your daily routine works around their primary needs (mealtimes, naps etc). If you are homeschooling older children according to this method, you may want to add more structure such as set learning times, a block of time dedicated to experiments or field trips, unit studies and the like.
This should be dependent on your child’s personality, what they find enjoyable and your child’s interests.
You’ll also need to take into account any special needs in your homeschooling family. To meet your child’s needs you may need to adapt your curriculum resources, have your prepared environment set up in a specially accessible way, or DIY some of your own materials to ensure they are suitable.
Step 2: Decide on the subjects that will be taught.
As a homeschooler, you have the liberty to teach the subjects that matter most to you and your children, and in any way you want. Every subject doesn’t have to be taught every day- and you may wish to try topic based learning around a specific theme rather than dividing into subjects. In traditional Montessori philosophy, the primary subjects usually include:
- Language (I have a full post on the best homeschool Spanish curriculum options)
- Math & Logic
- Practical Life
- History (I have a full post on the best secular homeschool history curriculum options).
- Science (I have a full post on the best secular homeschool science curriculum options)
Practical life skills are important when following a Montessori approach, so it is easy to fit these in during your normal household activities- even easier than in a Montessori classroom! Once you’ve decided on the subjects you’d like to teach, you’re ready for the next step.
Step 3: Create a daily schedule/plan.
These should always be easily interchangeable in the event something needs to shift. For the Montessori-driven family, schedules are often a rough draft of daily subjects and ideas for lesson plans that may (or may not) be covered for the day.
Again, keep in mind the ages and developmental levels of your children and plan accordingly- young children in the early years have a shorter attention span than those in middle school or older.
Montessori Homeschool Curriculum
Montessori Curriculum 101 (Preschool-1st Grade)
The Montessori Curriculum 101 is considered a self-guided and independent study. They provide training materials as well as curriculum for homes and schools alike. Once purchased, the curriculum is provided in a PDF downloadable format. The subject areas available are botany, zoology, geography, and peace education. The prices of each file varies.
The Joyful Child (Birth – Age 3)
This may not be seen as a curriculum; however, it is a parent-teacher manual that provides an important framework for incorporating the Montessori method in your homeschool. The guidelines presented in the book are clear-cut and easy to understand.
Child of the World (Age 3 – 12+)
Written by the same author as the previous resource suggestion, this book presents authentic practices to help parents create a Montessori-based learning environment. This book only costs $14.95 and will surely become a resource you’ll use time and time again in your homeschool.
Montessori Reading Program (3 – 6 Year Olds)
This program comes with digital books that can be printed or you can choose to purchase the paperback on Amazon.They are broken up into categories to help teach the basics of reading in a Montessori way from learning the alphabet, letter sounds, sight words, to full sentences.
Montessori Homeschool Program (Preschool/3-6 Years Old)
NAMC’s 3-6 Montessori Homeschool Program is ideal for any parent looking for a step-by-step curriculum (especially in book format), materials and templates (on CD’s), and prefer to purchase everything all inclusive. This program comes with three years of resources and Montessori learning for $649.
Resources For Your Montessori Homeschool Curriculum
The resources mentioned below are ideal for purchasing to piece together your own curriculum. The suggestions range from furniture that can be used to establish a Montessori-like classroom to hands-on materials and supplies. I’ve also written a full blog post on Montessori materials for home that can help you transform your space into an amazing Montessori homeschool setting!
Whether you are looking for books, games, projects, or hands-on learning fun, this company specializes in providing materials in every subject category and some. They can help you prepare your environment in a Montessori way and provide you with activity sets in the process. They have one of the largest ranges of Montessori resources available.
Montessori for Everyone offers printable materials for your homeschool (and classroom). You’ll have PDF access making it more feasible and convenient to download and print when you are ready to use them.
They also offer over 130 free downloads, which helps with trying them out before making any investments. With lots of resources just a click away, you can also purchase complete, elementary, primary, and package deal collections.
Providing affordable and high-quality materials is what this company is about. They primarily focus on a few key subject areas: sensorial, math, language, geography, practical life, and the infant/toddler age group. Their resources and materials are very reasonably priced.
Subscription boxes are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the homeschooling community. Easily add a Montessori-themed subscription box to your Montessori homeschool curriculum with Montessori by Mom.
The subscription is geared toward ages 3-6 and awards gives members one themed box per month, with hours of activities, video instruction, and more. A monthly subscription starts at $59.95.
If you are thinking about creating a Montessori homeschool, the Montessori homeschool curriculum and resources mentioned above will help you do it. Feel free to check out my other home education blog posts for even more advice, encouragement and resources for your homeschool, however you do it! Please consider sharing this post to help other families in their home educating journey!