Montessori vs. homeschooling, how do they compare? The answer will vary depending on which model of education you are using to homeschool. There are many choices available for homeschoolers, including Montessori homeschool programs, but that hasn't always been the case.

The earliest European immigrants in North America homeschooled their children, but by 1917 public education had been made compulsory in the existing 48 U.S. states, as a means of combatting truancy. The truancy laws remained until 1972 when the case of Wisconsin vs. Yoder went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Amish parents had the right, (after the 8th grade), to educate their children at home. Twenty years later, homeschooling became legal in all 50 U.S. states.

Though fewer than 1 million children were homeschooled in the U.S. at the turn of the 21st century, as of 2021 that number had risen to 3.1 million, accounting for five to six percent of school-aged children. Many factors are at play in the rising numbers of families who are opting to homeschool their children. The lion's share, approximately 2/3 of homeschooling families, use a faith-based curriculum. Secular homeschool families cite safety as the primary reason for choosing to homeschool.

Center frame: a black book with the gold title HOLY BIBLE on the front of the book at the top and on the spine at the TOP. The Bible is at an angle and on an angle on the Bible are some glasses that are folded.  Next to the Bible is a spiral notebook that is gray with a red pencil on it all of this is on a natural wood table.
Approximately 2/3 of homeschooling families use a faith-based curriculum.

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In the case of Montessori vs. homeschooling, you'll want to make an informed decision. Keep reading to determine which choice will best serve your family.

Key Points

  • Homeschooling can provide a quieter and safer environment for your child to learn in.
  • If you choose to homeschool, you'll need to be sure you have the means to provide whatever materials your child needs to learn.
  • By homeschooling, you can ensure your child is getting the exact education you want. However, they may miss out on critical social experiences.

Montessori vs. Homeschooling: Classroom

For the purposes of this section, we'll focus on how a home environment differs from a Montessori classroom.

Montessori

If you're not familiar with what a Montessori classroom looks like or how one functions, you can read more here, but, in a nutshell, Montessori is a child-centered education model. While tools of learning are provided, it is up to the child to determine how and when to interact with them.

Each classroom is unique, but the majority have the room divided into 5-8 separate areas or centers. From sensory and practical living centers for the youngest students to language arts and math centers for more advanced students, Montessori classrooms encourage students to follow their bliss and investigate their curiosities and interests.

A brown-skinned smiling female presenting adult with long dark hair, wearing a white scooped-neck t-shirt and a beige sweater is visible crouching at a low round, wooden table with 4 children: a brown-skinned, male-presenting child wearing a coral-colored short-sleeved t-shirt with a white pocket on the left breast. He id =s to the teacher's left, but to her right in the frame. Next to that kid, is an olive-skinned male presenting child wearing an aqua sport sleeved t-shirt. Next to him, front left frame a female =presenting child is visible with her back toward the camera. She is light-skinned, her hair is light-brown and pulled up in an unremarkable elastic. A light=skinned, male presenting child sits next to her, upper left from. He is wearing a navy and white striped shirt. All of the people in the photo are focused on bright colored manipulatives small wood shapes used in math activities.
Montessori is a child-centered education model.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

There is no curriculum. There are no lectures or tests. Montessori students are free to pursue their interests and discover their talents organically under the watchful eye of a gentle guide. And they are decidedly not alone in their quest. Dr. Montessori suggested that individual classes could accommodate 38 or more students. Large classrooms filled with nearly 40 children exploring their talents and interests can buzz with activity and noise.

Montessori classrooms are mixed-age affairs, spanning three years: 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. Maria Montessori recognized that not only can children teach themselves, but they are also capable of teaching other children through observation and modeling.

Home School

The homeschool classroom is rife with practically endless possibilities, with you as its primary architect. No matter your setup, it's important to have a dedicated homeschool space. This might be a specific room or the dining room table. Wherever you determine best suits your needs, it is imperative to keep the space uncluttered and organized.

If space is a commodity in your home, you can brainstorm ways to work around it. If the dining room table is the only space available, you can make it work with a bit of ingenuity. For example, if you're using a Montessori-based approach at home, you can rotate centers on an hourly or daily basis, allowing your child's interest to determine the best practice.

Three little girls are visible frame lift seated at a table with their parents back frame and frame right who are looking at computers.  One of the girls is drawing with a blue pen while the other little girl is looking at a phone in a red case the third little girl is seated on her mother’s lap looking at the computer with her. The mother has short dark hair and round dark glasses she is smiling the father who is sitting on the far side of the table is dressed in a white shirt that buttons down the front with the sleeves rolled up to his elbow he is wearing wheat colored pants the table is white with a blonde wood top in the background is a very tall bookcase with very many different colored books on it. There are some markers on the table and there is a doorway in the back left frame that leads to another room in the house.
If the dining room table is the only space available, you can make it work with a bit of ingenuity.

©Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock.com

Whether you're attempting to recreate the Montessori vibe, or implementing a faith-based curriculum, outfitting and supplying a homeschool classroom can be a pricy undertaking. From the wooden blocks and glass tumblers of Montessori to more traditional supplies, homeschooling comes with a price tag.

Homeschooling does present accessibility issues for many families. This is especially true for single-parent homes, which account for 23 percent – or nearly 1/4 – of households with school-aged children. And even in two-parent homes, one parent is often forced to decrease their hours, if not to stop working altogether.

It is possible to homeschool on a shoestring, though it will prove more difficult and time-consuming. While those with deep pockets are adding another miniature wooden bookcase to their bursting cart with the click of a mouse (cha-ching!), the less affluent homeschool mom is scouring neighborhood sites and thrift stores for gently used items.

Montessori vs. Homeschooling: Temperament

It's difficult to recreate the hustle and bustle of a Montessori classroom at home, unless you'll be homeschooling a large brood. This brings us to our next consideration: Temperament. One of the most fundamental considerations of Montessori vs. homeschooling is the individual temperaments of all those involved: yours and your child's

Your Temperament

As we touched on, Montessori classrooms are at times beehives of activity. As they should be. Young children in the midst of self-discovery should not be hushed or stifled in any manner. There is no more delightful sound than the joyous cacophony of young scholars engaging in the experience of learning- if you're of a certain temperament.

If you have more of a hey you kids, pipe-down sensibility, the Montessori classroom is definitely not the place for you, and homeschooling might not be a good fit either, depending on how many offspring you'll be instructing.

Your Child's Temperament

On the other end of this arrangement, you have your child's personality to consider. Some children thrive in chaos, while others shrivel. Whether your child will benefit from being in a classroom with dozens of other children or will learn best in the solitude of home sweet home is a question best answered by you. And simply because a child might initially balk at the notion of being in a large unruly classroom with dozens of other students doesn't necessarily mean that's not the exact place they need to be. Not to muddy the waters, but sometimes counterintuitivity is required of parents.

A young brown-skinned girl is seated on her brown-skinned mother's lap. tThe mother is wearing a short-sleeve gray t-shirt, her dark hair is shoulder length braids. The little girl has her hair up in a bun is wearing a sleeveless pink t-shirt. The little girl is holding a pencil in her right hand and appears to be writing on a piece of paper in front of her on a table or desk. There is a yellow book and a seafood green book on the table in from of her. There is a laptop computer visible in the left frame.
Some children will learn best in the solitude of home sweet home.

©Mix Tape/Shutterstock.com

The Parent/Child Bond

The primary relationship that needs to be addressed, however, is the relationship between you and your child. Beyond educating your child, homeschooling presents an opportunity to create a super-bond with them. By the same token, it presents an opportunity for you to totally destroy any chance of having a functional relationship with your child. No need to feel less than if you envision the latter scenario.

Teaching is not for everyone – it's a calling that requires a special disposition. Kudos to those who have it and kudos to those who don't. If you're not feeling led to teach, homeschooling might not be a good fit for your family, but it doesn't make you a bad person. It simply makes you a person who is aware of their strengths and their non-strengths.

Left -frame: A little light-skinned girl with dark blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail wearing a short sleeved moss green shirt, is visible with her right hand propping up her chin. She seems annoyed with her mother (or similar female adult) who is visible frame right. The adult female is also light-skinned, with dark brown shoulder length hair,is wearing a peach-colored short sleeved shirt. Her right elbow rests in an open book, with her right hand open palmed against her forehead as if exasperated. they are seated at at table with empty shelves in the background.
Teaching is not for everyone – it's a calling that requires a special disposition.

©Motortion Films/Shutterstock.com

Montessori vs. Homeschooling: Success

Whether you choose Montessori or homeschooling for your child, you'll want the experience to be a positive one for both of you. So, what are some of the hallmarks of a successful educational experience for your child?

Parental Alignment

The first is that both parents are on board with the decision regardless of their relationship status. It's important to discuss your child's educational goals and how to best achieve them. When parents are aligned it improves the chances of success. It's optimum to have all of the adults in your child's life to be invested, but different generations can have preconceived notions and ideas regarding anything outside the norm. This makes it that much more important for parents to present a united front.

A brown-skinned man is visible left frame wearing a beige shirt-sleeved polo style shirt; he is smiling very large and has beautifully aligned white teeth. He is wearing wire frame oval glasses and has close cropped dark hair.  Standing next to him in the right side of the frame is a brown-skinned female who has an equally beautiful smile and is wearing brown plastic frame round glasses. She is wearing a long sleeve button front blouse that is primarily white with red specs. Her hair is quite curly and dark and maybe 2 inches long. his right fist is bumping her left fist as if they are agreeing. White isolate background.
When parents are aligned it improves the chances of success.

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If you choose to homeschool, decisions regarding who will step back from the workforce and assume the teacher role will need to be discussed. Budgets may need to be trimmed or reallocated. Budget trimming could be a necessity if Montessori seems like a better fit for your family, too. Unless your district has a public (charter/magnet) Montessori-based school, Montessori comes with a price tag.

Preparation and Planning Ahead

Preparation and planning ahead will help your child's school experience be a success. If they will be attending a Montessori school, you can help prepare them by visiting the school regularly before their first day. Have your child's teacher over for afternoon tea or an early dinner. Be certain to discuss your child's daily routine with them. Knowing what to expect will help alleviate any anxiety your child may experience, especially if this is their first foray into education.

Full frame of a calendar page with the numbers 8, 9and 10 seen at the top. 4 and 21 are in the left frame next to 15 and 22 which are closer to the center.  They are all black. In the right frame are the numbers 18 and 25 in red and at the bottom of the  frame, Partially visible are the numbers 29, 30, and 31 also in black.  In the middle of the Calendar page is a yellow Post-it note which has been handwritten on “plan ahead” with an underline.
Preparation and planning ahead will help your child's school experience be a success.

©Thinglass/Shutterstock.com

If you're going the homeschool route, there is a lot more to prepare. From defining the space to furnishing it and supplying it with the tools of learning, preparation is the key to success. Knowing their daily routine and what to expect is just as important to your child's confidence when you're homeschooling. Create a schedule and stick to it. Young children especially adapt well to routine. If you are implementing a third-party curriculum, be familiar with each lesson, and keep ahead. Make contingency plans to accommodate any unforeseen blips on the radar.

It Takes a Village

The final hallmark of a successful school experience for your child is not to go it alone. whether you choose Montessori or homeschooling, support is key.

If Montessori is the best fit for your family, reach out to other parents in the school. Arrange playdates for your child with classmates. Creating bonds that extend outside of school can make the transition smoother.

When homeschooling, seek out the advice of more seasoned homeschool families. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Many who have traveled the homeschool road before you will be happy to share their insights, allowing you to sidestep some of the obstacles that they encountered.

Socialization is Important

If your child attends a Montessori school, they'll easily get all of the socialization they'll need. Your child will constantly be around other students, with many opportunities to forge friendships and have crucial social experiences.

If you choose to homeschool your child, they may miss out on these critical experiences. Education is very important, but so is socialization! There are some things that children can only learn from their peers. If you homeschool, it's important that you have a plan to ensure your child is adequately socialized. Simply interacting with their family is not enough.

Join homeschool groups that provide opportunities for your homeschooler(s) to socialize with other homeschoolers. From field trips to organized sports, there are more resources than ever available to homeschooling families. Take advantage of them!

It is very sunny in the left part of the frame.Eight children of various skin tones all dressed in red and white there are four boys  on the backs  of four girls they all seem very happy and are smiling quite beautifully. The boy in frame right has yellow shoelaces on his blue shoes which are the only feet that are visible.
From field trips to organized sports, there are more resources than ever available to homeschooling families.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Communication

Regardless of which side you take in the case of Montessori vs. homeschooling, check in with your child often. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child is of the utmost importance. Incorporate opportunities to discuss how and what they're feeling with them. If they express misgivings or frustrations, hear them out. It is important for your child to feel seen and heard.

Likewise, it's important to communicate with your child's Montessori school teacher regularly to ensure that your child is getting the best experience possible. In the event that your child expresses a desire to change schools or to begin attending school instead of being homeschooled, hear them out. They may have perfectly valid reasons for wanting this change.

So, in the case of Montessori vs. homeschooling, which side you fall on depends largely on your family's circumstances and values. Both are proven models of education that can produce positive results.

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