I Just Need to Stop

August 23, 2013



My new favorite.  Originally published in 1912 yet it is still SO relevant today.  This is education how it should be.  I firmly believe children would be more successful in the classroom (and life) if they were taught this way.  This style of teaching allows the student to learn and do for themselves while the teacher guides and directs. 

Don’t we all learn better by doing?  I have yet to meet a person who would disagree with this statement.  Sure maybe we’ll get it eventually, but don’t things “click” faster when you physically have to do it for yourself?  That’s the beauty of Montessori.  It’s ALL hands on.

It’s funny people’s reactions when they hear the word “Montessori”.  We immediately get asked if Liam just does his own thing at school all day.  It’s really quite the opposite.  There’s a great misconception with the Montessori method where people think the kids do whatever they want at school.  To some degree the students are allowed to choose the subject to work on, but the teacher gives the child the lesson on how to use the materials and there are levels to be mastered and approved by teacher before moving on.  Mastery is key.  And that is completely opposite of the way things are run in a traditional classroom.  The subjects and lessons are taught according to calendar and the teacher moves on whether or not the student has fully mastered the concept.  Which is why so many kids are falling miserably behind.  Traditional schools as a whole are not set up for each child to learn at his/her own pace.  Students are required to learn at the teacher’s pace, which many cannot do. 

One concept in the book that hit me hard was the fact that we as mothers DO too much for our children.  It’s much easier to do things ourselves for them instead of watch them struggle or possibly fail at a task.  In reality we are hurting them when we do this.  “The child who does not do, does not know how to do.”  Yikes.  It’s true and I’m oh so guilty of just doing something for one of my kids because  I can do it faster or I don’t want to mess with a mess.   Especially raising boys I want to make sure they grow into men who can and will help around the house.  I want them to know how to do laundry, cook, iron, clean (as well as all the “guy stuff” that their dad will teach them). 

With Gavin having delays, it’s always been easier to just do things for him because he couldn’t, and now he’s gotten use to it, and that’s a dangerous place to be. He just assumes I will tie his shoes, help him with his buttons, etc.  There is a severe lack in trying to do things for himself and I am to blame.  It takes a total mental shift to stop doing and make him do.  Make them ALL do. Even if it’s really hard.  Even if they balk and complain.  Even if messes will be made.  They need to know HOW to do.  There’s great joy and accomplishment in doing things for themselves.  Who am I to stand in their way?


4 Responses to “I Just Need to Stop”

  1. Great post! I have been seeing your Montessori pins on pinterest and have been wondering if there is a lot of information on the method. As a mom, I agree with you…it has been much easier to just do the “let’s hurry up, i just do it for you” type of thing, rather than having patience. I struggle so much with that, especially little sister. I want my kids growing up responsible and capable…I guess that means I have to make more room for the mess. (Just kill me now!) Thanks for sharing and good luck! I am assuming it will be a hard habit for us to break! 🙂

    • recoveringgavin said

      “Responsible and capable”. I need to just tattoo that on my arm or something. I’m going to have to start chanting that 100 times a day so I don’t lose sight. Good words, Mere!

  2. haverlee said

    So…for a little over a year now, my plan has been to homeschool Dawson for his first two years of school (based on the recommendation of the books, Bringing Up Boys and Raising Cain. However, I just passed the Cottontail Creek Montessori school yesterday (by chance- we were rerouted due to an accident) and had no idea how close it was to my house. That got me thinking maybe I should just send him there for Kindergarten instead of homeschooling. (That school is only preschool and Kindergarten). Anyway, just wanted your opinion with a boy in the Montessori system, if you think Liam has thrived. Dawson still has two more years of preschool so I have plenty of time to weigh my options. I just want to hear as many opinions as possible.

    • recoveringgavin said

      Haverlee: Liam has totally thrived in Montessori. I feel like it’s ESPECIALLY good for boys because it’s so hands on and I feel like boys are wired to do, fix, build, etc. Liam loves the independence he has but also the responsibility of showing the younger ones how things are done. In Montessori there is a huge emphasis on nature and being out in it and that’s also just what boys need! I’d say give the one by your house a shot!

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