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!
Recently 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.