Home schooling, like Montessori education, has a growing momentum. The home school network is vibrant and enthusiastic and the statistics during the past five years show that home schooling families count in the tens of thousands around Australia.
homeschoolingdownunder.com defines home schooling broadly as teaching children at home. “This can include home schooling through distance education or planning your own home school curriculum.”
At Treetops, we welcome a significant number of home school families to our school, for various reasons and at various points throughout the school – from Primary School through High School.
Just as parents choose Montessori for a specific set of values, Australian home schooling families move towards home school for a variety of reasons including religion, philosophical reasons, fear of bullying and dissatisfaction with mainstream schooling.
However, home schooling doesn’t always work for all families and sometimes parents decide to consider other education. Montessori is an obvious choice.
Fundamentally, Montessori is quite different to a mainstream, traditional school. Furthermore, the aims of both home schooling a child and choosing a Montessori education are quite similar:
“My experience was based on the ideas that education should be cooperative instead of competitive; it should feed curiosity and create joy and compassion toward others; intrinsic rewards of mastering subject matter, overcoming obstacles and finding one’s own answers to questions should be considered important than extrinsic rewards such as praise, grades, or threats of failure.
It should teach practical and social skills such as helping others, and teach one how to balance work and play and be healthy. These are Montessori goals that lead children toward a productive and happy life.”
Michael Olaf, Montessori Home Schooling Advocate
Understanding this has meant a successful transition into Montessori for many home schooling families.
At Treetops, the Montessori approach to education focuses on the whole personality of the child; the faculties of intellect, deliberation, initiative and independent thinking. Montessori education emphasises the uniqueness of the individual child and acknowledges that children grow and develop at different rates. This is a natural occurrence for home schooling families, and one we respect.
The wonderful aspect of Montessori in a classroom environment, rather than a home schooling one, is the support of the ethos of shared materials used throughout the Early Years and Lower Primary areas.
As former Montessori Home Schooling parent, Lea Singh, states; ‘I have now come to believe that the Montessori method, at least as fully applied with its array of requisite materials, really belongs only in the classroom. Not because it can’t be effectively used in the home, but because it unintentionally spoils our children by giving them far too much. Too much stuff, expensive stuff that challenges their humility and seriously endangers their character development. It’s one thing to have all these wonderful teaching aids available in a school setting, where any individual child is not their owner. It’s a completely different thing for the child to own these materials all for himself.
Montessori home schooling also gives children too much parental attention, which actually results in the opposite of Maria Montessori’s goal – rather than enabling them to become truly free and independent learners, the children learn to become too dependent on the ever-present mom…”
In addition, Treetops recognises that many home schoolers choose Treetops for the next stage in their child’s educational journey, especially when their children move into Upper Primary. Home schooling and the Treetops approach articulate successfully because we share with the home schooling community the focus on provision for the needs of the individual student by providing a diversity of curriculum with the support of a caring, close knit and social community.
With Treetops underpinning philosophical belief in individualisation, respect for each other and the environment around us, treating all children as if they have gifts to share, use of concrete materials, and covering basics then being able to study the topics in depth, we believe there’s no better choice for transition from home schooling to a Montessori education.