A Montessori Home Tour: Michelle of Discovering Our Way
This week, I interviewed Michelle, who I know from her Instagram account @discoveringourway. It's a valuable home tour for parents of children in the second plane (6-12), as well as those who are curious about home schooling. Michelle talks about adjusting the home prepared environment over time, as well as the importance of observation. I also love how the trust and respect she shows her child, shines through in each answer she gives. Following the child is not always easy, but so important...and Michelle talks about that task as well. I hope you enjoy reading the interview!
Tell me about yourself...
I'm a mother of an only child who I homeschool. My husband and I married later in life and were surprised and excited to discover we were having a child when it wasn't supposed to be possible for either of us. In addition to homeschooling, I also work from home as an accountant so there is always something that I need to be doing! We had planned to homeschool our child before he was even born. Being able to provide an education that is custom designed to the needs and desires of the child is so powerful. And now that we've met our active, creative and curious little ball of energy, we know he would have struggled to sit still in a traditional classroom.
How old is your child?
My son is 7.5 years old and that half year is very important to include right now!
When did you first learn about Montessori?
When my son was 18 months old, it seemed all the parents in his toddler play groups were beginning to plan for preschool. I knew I was going to keep him home, but I started looking for information on how to homeschool. I found a lot of preschool lessons online but none of them felt quite right, until I came across the blog of a Montessori mom (Whatdidwedoallday.blogspot.com) that introduced me to the world of Montessori for the first time. It clicked with me almost immediately. The child-led model was just what I was looking for. The respect for the child and the trust in their abilities were lessons I needed to learn. And the focus on preparing myself and preparing the environment filled my need to be "doing something" rather than preparing a bunch of "lessons" for my child to complete.
How have you created a Prepared Environment in your home?
Our home has changed over the years as my son has grown. In the early years, he had a floor bed and shelves carefully arranged with selected toys and trays, for example. As he has moved into the elementary plane, the prepared environment is a little more subtle. While he now has a regular twin bed in his bedroom, his clothes in the closet are still hung at his height and his toy shelf has been replaced by a bookshelf. In his playroom, his toys are carefully arranged in individual bins so everything has it's place and he now has an indoor swing to help get his wiggles out during our cold, dark winters. His bathroom has a light on the faucet that changes color as the temperature of the water changes.
The school room is also very different from his primary years. We now