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Obstacles to Success in Montessori Teaching

Montessori Teaching

Obstacles to Success in Montessori Teaching

We have so far tackled 2 of the 3 obstacles to success inMontessori teaching and homeschooling; fear and isolation.

Today we will focus on the last one

Obstacle to Success 3 : Confusion and Lack of Direction:

The 3rd major obstacle to success in Montessori Teaching that many teachers and parents face has to do with overcoming the confusion of just how to get started or what to do next. Having heard much conflicting advice and not having a plan to follow leads to many homeschoolers not knowing which direction to move in.

Can you relate to this feeling of overwhelm? In my opinion one of the most important parts to effective Montessori teaching is having access to Montessori albums, sequences and Montessori materials. These 3 things help simplify the complex world of educating your children so that you have a crystal clear, specifically defined, plan of action to pursue.

This same lesson is tru for our children. If we provide them, clear concise plans of what is expected and the steps to get there, many things become easier. A science project, once it has been broken down into its component parts and a plan is drawn, then it becomes simple and the overwhelm is gone, removing a major obstacle to success!

Obstacles to Success in Homeschooling and Teaching

Education Treasures - Homeschooling

Obstacles to Success in Homeschooling and Teaching the Montessori Way

Last time we talked about how one of the obstacles to success in homeschooling and teaching or in life is keeping yourself isolated and not interacting with others or being part of a supportive community.

Did that resonate? If it did or you know someone who needs to know the message, please pass on the e-mail or link.

Today let’s focus on Fear.

Obstacle to Success 2 : Fear:

Fear is a great obstacle to success in homeschooling and teaching and in life in general. This is an obstacle we need to prepare our children and students for. It is what separates those that are successful and those that are not. Fear stops you from taking on new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone. In order to live the life that you dream of and teaching your children in a manner that supports them and their learning styles, you have to learn to take action in the presence of your fear of doing the wrong thing.

Many of you who are now homeschooling, had to face the fear of pulling your children out of public school or never sending them in the first place. You had to face the fear of whether or not you were doing the right thing for the right reasons and if that decision would save you and your family best. Montessori teachers have to face the fear of training in an educational methodology that is even at this date not mainstream. Congratulations to you.

For those still deciding to educate their children using Montessori, be it at home or school are you going to acknowledge your fear, and then step up and take action anyway?

Obstacles to Success in Teaching or Homeschooling

Teaching or Homeschooling

Talking to both Montessori parents and business associates I have narrowed down the top three biggest obstacles to success that I’ve heard they faced. See which of these three obstacles to success most matches up to you and your personal situation. (Maybe you’re facing more than one of them!) The funny thing is that these apply to life, homeschooling and business.

Obstacle to Success 1 : Isolation:

The first obstacle to success is the obstacle of trying to do it all on your own, without input from others and without a community that has a vested interest in your success. Not having a peer group with whom you can openly share challenges, brainstorm ideas, leverage contacts and skills, or celebrate successes with is a great disadvantage and a drain on you.

As you can imagine this really makes it difficult for you to enjoy the level of success, connection, and freedom that you know in your heart of hearts you can attain. Alone you are vulnerable and will never reach your fullest potential, besides doing your child a disservice.
If you aren’t able to do this, you’ll always struggle and won’t ever be able to reach the highest level that you are capable of.



How do you talk to your child about keeping safe without threatening the young one’s security? It can be quite a balancing act.

I like to use anecdotes and questions. When I was a preschool teacher I would say something like this:

“Do you know what happened to me when I was a little girl? I wandered away from my mom at the shopping mall and Icouldn’t find her. I was so scared. It sure was lucky that I knew my name and my mom’s name. I went to a store clerk, one who looked friendly. Itold her my name and that I was lost. She made an announcementon the loudspeaker and found my mom.”

Then I would ask, “What would you do if you got lost in the store?” This usually led to an animated discussion and suggestions.

This process shows that scary things can happen, but they can usually be resolved. It empowers the child to take charge (in an age appropriate way) and problem solve. It is also an opportunity to prepare your child with the facts he needs: name, phone number, parent’s name, home address. It opens the discussion about who the child could approach for help and what she could say.Preparation helps to alleviate panic.

I remember being on a camping trip once and hearing a young voice calling, “Help! Help!” over and over and over again. I ran down the path towards the sound and found a 7 year old girl standing still and yelling at the top of her lungs! It turns out that she had followed her dog away from her campsite and when she realized she was lost, she did just what her parents told her: she stayed in one place and called for help as loudly as she could. What a clever girl and such smart parents to plan for her safety.

Of course, we do our best to prevent our children from being in unsafe situations, and the above suggestions are not failsafe, however it never hurts to be prepared.


I taught my granddaughter how to beg – beg, whine, cajole, wheedle, whinge, whatever you would like to call it. It wasn’t intentional and it was way too easy. My husband says I have taught her negotiating skills, but he is being generous.

My granddaughter is 8 years old and is very intelligent, as all grandchildren are. Of course in my opinion she is just a wee bit smarter than other people’s grandchildren.

We play house and dolls and pretend play, several times a week. This may go on for an hour or so and finally I’ll say, “Well, 5 more minutes and I need to make supper.”

And she’ll say, “Please,please, please just 15 minutes longer?

And I’ll go, “No, just 5 minutes; it’s getting late and I have to start supper.”

Please, please, please just 10 minutes longer?

At this point my grandmotherly heart is doing the thinking: oh I don’t want to disappoint her and aren’t I lucky that she wants to be with her old grandma.

We go through this routine everyday. My daughter in law suggests that I just say no, but how canI sayno to those pleading words? They stroke my ego; I swell with love.

One day Iasked my granddaughter why she always asks for more playtime when I give the 5 minute warning.“Because grandma,” she replied, “I know you too well. I know that 5 minutes actually means 10; I can tell by your voice that you’re saying no but really mean yes.”

Of course there are many times when I really do want to end our playtime in 5 minutes, but I’ve put myself into a corner and it’s up to me to get out of it.

I have said before that words are powerful, and I will now add that tone of voice and consistency are equally important.

I have consistently taught my granddaughter that 5 minutes more actually means 10.

The morning rush

morning rush

I was fortunate to be home with my boys until they were school age. Then I returned to college which threw the family into turmoil. Schedules were changed and expectations were different. I no longer had the time to indulge everyone’s whims. I was a student with a schedule of my own!

A big challenge was getting the boys off to school and me off to college on time every morning. It took a while and some trials and tribulations, but this is what I learned.

Prepare as much as you can the night before. Have the kids pick out their outfits. Pack the lunches, or better yet, have the children do their own lunches. Make sure the homework and booksare in the back pack.

Baths are for the evening, not the morning.

Set the table for breakfast.

Make sure the kids and you get to bed on time.

Stick to the same routine every morning. Set the alarm. Feed the dog. Feed the cat…….

Sounds simple and it’s not. Kids are not always this cooperative. If this does not go smoothly, a natural consequence may be an earlier wake up time or earlier bed time, or forgotten homework.

There were times that I was so tired in the evening, I couldn’t face making another packed lunch. A natural consequence for me was the addedstress in the morning.

I also had a mantra – this too shall pass. The children will get older. I will graduate from college. And being late occasionally is not the end of the world.

Oh right, if there is a husband in the picture, do not do this alone! Superwomen are so passé.