Sunday, April 7, 2013

{Islamic Montessori series} What is Home Education & Montessori

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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Welcome to my first post in a series of posting regarding educating the (Muslim) child using the Montessori method. 

As a parent you want to bring the best out of your children. You want them to learn and thrive. But let's face it not everyone has access to top-notch academies or to the latest technology and methodogies. An alternative for many families has been "homeschooling".

 Home education 

"Homeschool?!" You ask? Many people would look on with a people with a shocked look on their face who don’t understand why someone would choose such an option. Schooling is one of those subjects where many people feel it's should be left up to the government or local community ... not the parents.And homeschooling is an educational choice surrounded by many myths and misconceptions. But biologically and historically it's been natural for the mother (even both parents) to teach their children.

But I live in Algeria ... where the colonism and terrorism has slowed down the progression of the country. It's evident in the oudated education system and the almost non-exsist pedagogy. So from the first day here, I knew we would have to supplement.

By the way, have I mentioned I have four children? One middle-schooler and three under the age of four. The real blessings of my life! elhamdullah!

 Did you know? 

The traditional educational system was designed during the industrial revolution, when the masses moved into urban areas to work in factories. They created an effective method of training the following generations of factory workers. Children were instructed to memorize and regurgitate facts – to stop working when the bell rings – to sit in nice, neat rows of desks and ask for permission to move. It is no longer relevant in our modern culture. Today, successful people work on projects not factory lines. They are rewarded for creating things rather than following orders. And, they are expected to adapt quickly to change within their profession, rather than working at the same job for 50 years. As we peek into the uncertain future of the 21st century,  Montessori  offer a safe harbor for parents: a research-based method that has been proven to develop some of the brightest minds of our times and is well positioned to develop the movers and shakers of tomorrow.

I started "schooling" my young ones about a few years ago. Although, I have had  no formal training on how to teach young children, I thought it was pretty straight forward. Colors, numbers, shapes and some beginning literacy phonics. I carefully planned activities full of activities that would fill up the whole. It ended up turning into full blown all morning tantrums and meltdowns.  This wasn't how I imagined it would be. And I eventually gave up.

 The Montessori Method

Talking with my cousin, she mentioned that they had put their girls into "Montessori" preschools when they were younger. I stuttered "a Monti--wha?" I was clueless. Waldorf? Isn't that a salad? Reggio Emilia? Wait un minuto. Do I need to start studying Italian to know what the heck is going on here? I thought kids just played in the yard, worked along side their moms, and passed the days away jumping in puddles, rolling in the dirt, and sampling a variety of tasty finds on their daily creative adventures...

 Apparently, I was grossly under prepared for the "three progressive approaches to early childhood education that appear to be growing in influence in North America." Ok. Breath. After a massive sign of frustration, I consulted Cheikh Google only to bombarded with a myriad of information, things to have and buy. I was completely overwhelmed to say the least!

So  I trusted my gut. Applied the same logical thinking as when I was looking into Islam.--> The best reference is the source. So I poked around looking for books written by Maria Montessori. I finally found Montessori's frist book Maria Montessori's book online here. And I drove right in. I finished the book. And several of her other books. Then I switched gears, reading more more online about the various other methods, the choice became more clear.

The Montessori method of education is about bringing the best out of children in order to make studies fun and rewarding for them with better understanding and effective communication skills. But it also instills  independence and informs the idea that childen are just as valuable contributing members of the family as adults.

Maria Montessori studied children and their development for over fifty years. It is known as a 'flexible' and 'discovery' method of education because it focuses on letting children learn based on their interests and strengths. Children learn at their own pace, developing skills such as concentration and self-discipline through this method of education. Dr. Montessori teaches us that each child must be free to pursue what interests him most at his own pace but in a specially prepared environment.

Children are introduced to the joy of learning at an early age providing a framework upon which academic and social growth may progress hand in hand. The Montessori child is truly free to learn because he has acquired the ‘inner discipline’ necessary for lifelong learning. The Montessori environment teaches the child respect; respect for oneself, others, and the planet. It is a positive, stimulating, and enriching atmosphere for children of all ages, all backgrounds, and all capabilities and/or gifts.

At its core, it simply is a way of being with children that allows each child to develop fully into the person he was destined to be. Instead of expecting that he/she pay attention to the teacher in front of a class of 30 or more children, it is the Montessori teacher/parent who pays close attention to thechild which fosters a trusting relationship – an education partnership of sorts – in which the child will have faith that his/her "teacher" truly understands and respects him/her for the human being into which he/she is transforming.

Our world doesn't need more test takers, memorizers or followers. 

Now, more than ever, we need critical thinkers, entrepreneurs and do-ers.I believe Montessori education prepares children to take on the future with confidence and zeal, propelled by the gift of self knowledge and a lifelong passion for learning.
This is not a traditional schooling.
This is education for our rapidly changing world.
This is education for the future.
This is education for life.

Montessori children tend to become self-confident, independent thinkers who learn because they are interested in the world and enthusiastic about life. The child is an active participant in their education, learning through hands-on experiences with the teacher as a facilitator/collaborator. Lessons are often presented as one-on-one, although others may join in if they are interested.

It's not a coincidence that many of the mavericks on the leading edge of innovation and creativity in our culture are Montessori graduates. Some of the most famous Montessori in recent history have been Julia Child (chef and cookbook author), Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (former First Lady of the United States), Peter Drucker (Father of modern business management), Dakota Fanning (Oscar winning actress), British Royal Princes Harry and William, Jeff Bezos (Founder of, Anne Frank (WW II Jewish child author), Will Wright (creator of the SIMS games), and the founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If this post has sparked your interest in Montessori, please stay tuned in for the next installment of my Montessori that I'll be talking about "Islamic Montessori"

Before you start homeschooling your child.

1. You must have a passion for teaching. {It is a lot of work. Consider other factors such as time, money, family, etc)
2. Start simple and build from there. Get inspiration from blogs (free!) or educational sites.
3. Decide on a curriculum/method based on your child's interest. The popular ones are:

The Montessori Method 
Reggio Emilia Approach
Right Brain Method
Waldorf Education
Unschooling Method (John Holt)
Tot School (so much fun and free!) 

Essential Reading 

There are several books written by Maria Montessori and others available to read for free online at Internet Archive ...this link will take you directly to the list of books as the links below don't appear to be working including...
  • Montessori Method: Pedagogy as Applied to Child  Education in " The Children ... "- Maria Montessori

If you've enjoy the first installment of my posts on Islamic Montessori, please stayed in for more. But I leave you with one question ... 

What are your core features you look forwhen choosing how to educate your childen?

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1 comment:

  1. Salaamu Alaikum sister

    Nice to come across your blog. I have been home educating my older son for around 4yrs now and have 2 younger children 22 and 4mth who I am looking at educating the montessori way. I have been looking at how Islamic principles can be integrated into this method and am sure it is quite doable. Have been googling other homeschool montessori families but there aren't that many. Would be nice to keep in touch though I dont have a blog as such but am on facebook.

    Amena Bakhsh


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