A Review of NAMC’s new Montessori Homeschool Program

It’s no secret that homeschooling is growing, and with that explosive growth, the number of people wanting to implement Montessori at home is growing too. Most available resources, especially Montessori albums (instruction manuals) are geared towards classroom teaching – few are targeted to homeschoolers. But now a new resource has entered the field!

NAMC_logo1Recently the North American Montessori Center (NAMC) debuted a new Montessori Homeschool Program. In a nutshell, this program is designed specifically for teaching 3-6 (preschool) Montessori in a homeschool setting. NAMC was kind enough to provide me with their new program to review.

Let’s Take a Look!

The NAMC Homeschool Program arrives in two boxes; everything is neatly packaged and most items that need assembly come with instructions. The program includes albums, hands-on materials for language, math, and sensorial, and two CD-ROMs of printable materials.

Also included are curriculum maps (lists) of the presentations for years 1, 2, and 3 of the 3-6 year cycle, and printable checklists that can be used for tracking a child’s progress. Purchasing this program enables you to join NAMC’s member area, where you can view helpful videos, receive additional information, and interact with other homeschooling parents.

theory_album1Albums:

The kit includes 3 albums (manuals): A Guide to Theory and Practice (139 pp), Curriculum I (128 pp; Practical Life, Sensorial, Culture and Science), and Curriculum II (150 pp; Language Arts and Math). Each album is very high quality – full color pictures of materials and activities, with clear instructions for presenting the materials. The pages are thick and laminated. Having previously reviewed many different Montessori albums, I can authoritatively say that NAMC makes some of the best albums available.

Language:

There are quite a few hands-on language materials included with the kit, including movable alphabets, a kit for making sandpaper letters, and a small plastic farm. There are also two sets of phonics readers (10 per set) with coordinating workbooks. There are many printable language materials on CD-ROM, including the Pink, Blue, and Green Series material (Green Series divided into Purple and Yellow as some training centers do), and printables for writing and grammar.

Math:

Hands-on: The math materials include a kit for making sandpaper numbers, foam core boards and peg boards for assembling the printable math charts, 1000 cubes and hundred squares, tiles and strips for the math boards, decimal cards, and a set of colored beads (10 of each bead, 1-10). The printable math materials include equation slips, and math boards and charts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Sensorial:

The sensorial materials consist of all of the triangles needed for the triangle boxes, made of sturdy cardboard. The Curriculum I album contains easy instructions for making many of the other sensorial materials, and there are printables for making the Geometry Cabinet shapes.

Cultural:

All of the cultural materials are printable, and include some geometry materials, geography labels and puzzle map templates, 3-part cards for the vertebrates and plant parts, and parts of a volcano cards.

My Thoughts

This program is truly a “Montessori classroom in a box”. The albums are beautiful and cover every presentation for the 3-6 curriculum, and the program includes all of the basic core materials for math and language, as well as some sensorial materials. The curriculum maps and checklists take the guesswork out of lesson planning.

A few areas have room for improvement. The phonics reader set is not as high quality as others I have seen in terms of the stories and illustrations. Some of the printables are not high quality – lines are fuzzy, clipart is used instead of photos – but they are adequate for use. Practical life materials are not included, so families will need to add those. (Since many practical life materials are common household items, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.)

The $999 price tag may be steep for some families, although it is less than the cost of two months of tuition at a Montessori school. Given the fact that the materials cover the age range of 3-6, and can be used by more than one child over many years, that is a very good value for the money.

One thing to be aware of is the time commitment. Parents will need to put quite a bit of time into making and assembling materials, as well as reviewing the albums so that presentations and the underlying Montessori theory behind them are completely understood. I think that’s true of any homeschooling curriculum, but it’s important to keep in mind.

The thing that impressed me most about this program is the amount of thought that went into it. The instructions in the albums are specifically tailored to a homeschool setting. The pictures in the albums are of the exact materials that are included in this program so that there is no guesswork about how to present them.

I think this program is a great choice for a family that wants to use Montessori at home and is looking for a comprehensive package that includes hands-on materials, albums, and printables. Since I often get questions like “I want to do Montessori with my child, where do I start?” I am delighted to have this new program to recommend.

For more information on this program, you’ll want to visit the NAMC Montessori Homeschool website, including answers to Common Questions, samples of albums, a list of materials and instructions included in the program (PDF), and more.

In addition, they are offering a giveaway of one free Montessori Homeschooling Program to a lucky family! Please note, a comment left on this post is not a giveaway entry – it must be left on the giveaway post.

Thank you so much to NAMC for letting me review this kit. While the kit was provided by NAMC, that did not affect the review in any way.

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33 Responses to “A Review of NAMC’s new Montessori Homeschool Program”

  • Ivy said at February 14th, 2011 at 8:38 am :

    I think this is a great resource for homeschooling. I have my daughter in a Montessori School and it is fantastic. But I think my economic issues will make it too expensive to afford in a very close future. I really believe in Montessori, in school or at home, it is great for our kids.

  • Lori Bourne said at February 14th, 2011 at 8:47 am :

    Hi, Ivy! Thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad your daughter is having the benefits of a Montessori education – awesome!

  • sally luke said at February 14th, 2011 at 11:47 am :

    Dear Lori, I have two nieces with dyslexia and I would love to be able to use this Montessori Material to help teach them. They do not have access to any help where they go to school. Thanks for making this information available.Sally

  • Lori Bourne said at February 14th, 2011 at 2:56 pm :

    Hi, Sally! So glad to be of help. Be sure to leave your comment on the giveaway post to be entered into the giveaway!

  • SunnyMoore said at February 14th, 2011 at 4:25 pm :

    I would love to be able to provide a Montessori education for my younger children. I am a mother of three with one on the way! I would love to be in the giveaway.
    Thank you for your website and free resources, we have enjoyed several projects so far!
    Sunny

  • Jennifer potter said at February 14th, 2011 at 5:49 pm :

    This material looks wonderful! My son has been home schooled now for two years after having been in Montessori school for two years. I love how we incorporate Montessori techniques in our day to day… But to have it planned and the materials provided is a great idea!

  • Monica Utsey said at February 15th, 2011 at 4:37 am :

    Right now I am overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices related to Montessori Homeschooling. A Montessori Homeschool program would be a dream for my little Lion Heart pictured here: http://chocolatecoveredboyjoy.blogspot.com/

  • myriam pedersen said at February 15th, 2011 at 5:44 am :

    homeschooling family of five kids with very little means would love to try the montessori program, if ever!!!!

  • VJ said at February 15th, 2011 at 11:02 am :

    Thanks NAMC and Louri Bourne for this kind initiative. Wishing every parent with sunshine, smile and 99% luck to get this giveaway. I am passionate about education and especially the way its rendered through Montessori methods.

    Pls visit my blog at http://veuwpoint.blogspot.com/2011/02/home-schooling-montessori-way.html

    Being a Gandhian (to some extent), I would like to sign off with a quote by Gandhiji that “The purpose of education is to bring out the best in you”. Thanks.

  • Mandee said at February 15th, 2011 at 2:45 pm :

    Hello I choose to homeschool my 3 boys because I think parents are the foundation to a well rounded child. I am passionate about Montessori and would love to emphasis Montessori education in my enthusiastic learners. This is a fabulous opportunity you are providing to families with the drive to educate their children.
    Thank you.

  • stacy said at February 15th, 2011 at 3:25 pm :

    I love the montessori education idea. I am homeschooling my son this year b/c I enjoy spending time with him and love to see him learn.

  • angie said at February 18th, 2011 at 7:04 pm :

    I purchased this program in January and am very pleased with it as well. Your review is very thorough and accurate. My parents split the program with me so I already feel like I won, but, I am thrilled they are doing a giveaway for another lucky family!

  • Lori Bourne said at February 18th, 2011 at 8:34 pm :

    Hi, Angie! So glad to get additional feedback from someone who has used the program. How sweet of your parents to help you purchase it! Glad you have already benefited from it.

  • celine sahulka said at February 19th, 2011 at 5:19 am :

    Homeschooling is a wonderful way to get to spend this special years with your children and with the Montessori Method, anyone gets to learn something new too:)

  • Dara said at February 19th, 2011 at 12:26 pm :

    My mom was part of the homeschool movement in the ’70′s. She used the Montessori philosophy to homeschool my sister and me and made sensorial and language materials herself. I am doing the same with my two children. I am not so crafty. My children would greatly benefit from the Primary Montessori in a Box. So happy to know this is available to parents who want to bring the best of educating their children at home together with the Montessori method of honoring children’s unique temperaments, learning styles, and natural abilities.

  • melanie said at March 7th, 2011 at 7:58 pm :

    What an amazing idea, My 3 children all attended a montessori preschool and loved it. I hope they come up with a 6-9, or even 6-12 yr one. I only have one child left in preschool and there is no Montessori elementary school available where I live so i homeschool my 2 school aged children.
    I would love to have a programme like this for them, I have managed to get a bit of material from the interenet, but how wonderfull would it be to have something to help me put it all together.

  • Jodie said at March 18th, 2011 at 8:31 pm :

    In New Zealand, is there more of a range of montessori homeschool support than elsewhere ?
    Can you get 6-9/cycle 2 and 9-12 / cycle 3 in a box ?
    Or could someone clever make up these ‘classrooms in a box’ from the elementary cd’s ?
    Also, is there an African influenced kit ‘out there’ emphasizing the very low tech / ‘bush’ ways in which materials can be produced, as distinct from the expensive polished (though durable and beautiful) materials which montessori schools use.
    Jodie

  • Lori Bourne said at March 18th, 2011 at 10:01 pm :

    Hi, Jodie! This program is the first of its kind that I know of. I’m sure NAMC is hard at work on a 6-9 and 9-12 program too. It takes a lot of time to put this kind of thing together, so I don’t know when those would come out.

    I don’t know of any specifically African resources, but there are many books and websites out there that give “do it yourself” instructions for making Montessori materials. Just Google things like “handmade montessori” and similar phrases and you should find some great stuff.

  • Tina said at August 9th, 2011 at 6:55 pm :

    I love this program! I ordered it a couple of months ago and will be starting my 3 year old next week. I’m very nervous as I am not a teacher and have never done homeschool but feel very strongly that this is the way to go with my child. This program is incredible!!! It has built some confidence in my abilities and in the system itself. While we have not yet started the program, I have implemented many of the techniques to deal with a few issues we were having with my son. I’m amazed at the difference this has made in his behavior and attitude in just a few days!

  • Lori Bourne said at August 13th, 2011 at 1:41 pm :

    Hi, Tina! So glad to get a review from someone who is going to use the program. I’m so glad that you are already finding it helpful. I’m sure you will have an awesome year with your son!

  • Kat said at April 25th, 2012 at 11:35 am :

    Thank you so much for providing us with this detailed overview. I am mama to 3 kiddos (ages 5 1/2, 3 and 9months) and will be starting formal homeschool this coming September. I’ve known for many years about the benefits of Montessori, so I want to use this approach with my children, but I am not officially trained so I feel a bit intimidated. I found this curriculum online and I am almost 100% sure I will be buying this curriculum kit. After reading your review, I feel confident in that choice! I do have one question if you don’t mind me asking, what would you recommend to supplement the phonics/reading set? My oldest is a strong reader for her age and I want to be sure to keep encouraging her.
    Thanks again!

  • Lori Bourne said at April 25th, 2012 at 12:07 pm :

    Hi, Kat! So glad to help out. I think you will really like this kit. If your child is already a strong reader, she probably won’t need the phonics set that comes with the kit. You can simply find books she would enjoy that are at her level or slightly above.

    There are also a lot of phonics sets available at stores like Barnes and Noble or Amazon. So if she still does need some phonics work, you’ll be able to easily find one that would challenge her.

  • Sara said at July 6th, 2012 at 6:27 am :

    hi, I am thinking about purchasing the NAMC kit for my 5 year old this year, but the site emphasizes that it is a pre school curriculum and I am looking for a kindergarden curriculum. It was my understanding that 5 year olds are usually in kindergarden and not pre school. We are living abroad and I am will be homeschooling her until we return to the states. Will the required material for a kindergardener be covered in the NAMC kit?
    Thank you, Sara

  • Lori Bourne said at July 8th, 2012 at 11:34 am :

    Hi, Sara! From my understanding this kit covers ages 3-6 which is how we group children in Montessori. In Montessori we do not separate preschool from kindergarten. However I recommend you email NAMC for more information about the ages it covers.

  • Heather said at November 21st, 2012 at 6:21 am :

    The program curriculum is $499.00, not $999.00.

  • Tracey said at December 7th, 2012 at 9:52 am :

    Thanks for posting this. We’re not homeschooling yet but looking at options for next year. My kids are in a Montessori school now and love it.

  • Lori Bourne said at December 7th, 2012 at 10:55 am :

    Hi, Tracey! Thanks for stopping by. If you do decide to homeschool, please take a look at this post as it includes all the information you might need: Montessori Basics 10: Homeschooling with Montessori.

  • Heather Martinez said at February 11th, 2013 at 3:35 pm :

    I think this is great for families that want to provide their kids with a Montessori education. This is exciting for me as a Certified Montessori Teacher and a homeschooler. I am tempted to buy this and start my own homeschooling group, but my homeschoolers are older now. I wonder if NAMC is thinking about creating a homeschool curriculum for older kids?

  • Lori Bourne said at February 11th, 2013 at 3:40 pm :

    Hi, Heather! Montessori works a little different for older kids. For younger ones, like this kit is intended for, most of the work is hands-on manipulatives. Hence, a kit like this containing most of the items you’d need.

    For elementary, most of the work is card material and books, so you’d only need to buy the NAMC albums (manuals) for that age, and be able to use the albums without a kit of manipulatives. You would need some printables, but that’s actually the weakest area of NAMC, so you’d probably want to get them somewhere else.

  • Heather Martinez said at February 11th, 2013 at 3:50 pm :

    Hi Lori,
    Yeah, I wasn’t sure how that would work for older kids since I am only trained for 2.5-6, but this idea of Montessori homeschooling is cool! I wish I could participate in a group while balancing my own kids’ schedules.

  • Lori Bourne said at February 11th, 2013 at 3:59 pm :

    Montessori does work really well with homeschooling, but I discovered early on (I’m in my 9th year of Montessori homeschooling) that I can’t recreate a Montessori classroom in my home, and I don’t need to in order to get good results.

    Both of mine work off of workplans only very loosely, choose most of their own work, and at this point, learn as much (or more) from Khan Academy as they do from the Montessori materials :)

  • Heather Martinez said at February 11th, 2013 at 4:11 pm :

    That is a good point Lori! It’s nice to know that you can see good results even if you cannot create everything that the Montessori classroom has. I see where the cost of creating a Montessori in a home environment could be costly and the fact that there is a guideline on what you can do at home successfully is a great help to anyone wanting to see the benefits of this educational process.

  • Lori Bourne said at February 11th, 2013 at 4:25 pm :

    Yes, when I first started out, coming off of teaching at Montessori schools for 5 years, I thought I had to re-create a Montessori classroom in my home. I quickly found out that it was both cost- and space-prohibitive. And, my kids had specific needs and interests and didn’t necessarily need everything that a classroom might have.

    Now, we follow their interests quite closely and use many resources besides Montessori. I call it the intersection of Montessori and unschooling…and it’s taken us 9 years to get here!