Thinking About Changing 5Th Grader to Montessori....

Updated on October 24, 2011
J.M. asks from Colleyville, TX
12 answers

My 5th grader spent grades K-3 in private Christian school, and made all A's. We left due to change in administration and direction of school, which we didn't like. She has been at our public school for grades 4-5. She maintains an A average there also. Our problem is she is not at all engaged at the public school. She is bored, and get is trouble for not paying attention. She forgets to turn in assignments that are finished, and completed. She claims the work is too hard. It's not, she just doesn't have any interest in learning in this environment. We have had her tested for ADHD etc. (COGAT) She tested negative, and above average IQ.
I am wondering if Montessori would be good for a learner who gets bored with traditional sitting behind a desk learning. She needs a quicker pace, and hands on learning. She wants to be home schooled, but I feel that this wouldn't be a viable option. I have done some research on Montessori, yet have a hard time wrapping my head around how the whole method flows well. Do you think changing methods this late would work? Any advice would help. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your many answers. Our local Montessori programs do run through 8th grade. I had looked into them before we tried the public school in the beginning of her 4th grade year. They have very high ratings, and run a very traditional 'model'. Her current school does have a gifted and talented program, yet it is only part time during the week, and is not for credit. The students get a score, 1-4, for their work level. It doesn't affect their grade at all. Lame, to say the least.
My daughter's teachers have students at a wide variety of skill level in each class. They have students reading at a high school level, and students reading at a first grade level. Learning disabled students mixed with advanced students. Trying to get them all on the same page must be trying. They don't believe in giving busy work for homework, so her homework varies to how well the class is grasping the concept.
I am looking into other options for her for next year. In an environment where you are not stimulated, you are not driven to learn. She has no discipline problems, and maintains an A average, yet doesn't want to go to school where all her friends are. She needs that excellent teacher that will light the fire within. Luckily, my area is full of options for her education within minutes from my home.
Thanks again!

Featured Answers



answers from Cleveland on

i was just going ot say what june S said. they have specific materials that have to be used in a specific way and it all builds on what they learned as a 3 yo. You might have been able to get away with transistin in in like second grade but I can't see it working for you in 5th. and then what??? are you looking at a montessori that goes higher than 6th??

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Don't do the Montessori. It is mostly chaos.

Reconsider the private school, it may have smoothed out since you were there last. Also, check into other private schools, there are usually Catholic ones, and lots of other denominations will form one and have all kinds of good programs.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Montessori is self-guided and independent work. It's hard to guage because you are saying she's bored, having her tested for ADHD, etc.

She's saying the work is hard. So it doesn't sound like Montessori model is suitable for your daughter. Perhaps you should get her tested, meet with the teacher and find out what plans if any she has to challenge you daughter. Does her current school have advanced work classes? If so, lobby to move her so she can learn to like/love learning.

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answers from New York on

I have friends that are happy with Montessori for younger kids (I know one preschooler and one in 2nd grade) but I don't know about upper grades.
Have you looked into Waldorf or Waldorf inspired programs? It depends a lot on what is in your area too. I toured it and liked the program but it was too far away and too expensive for us to send our kids. My husband went to a Waldorf inspired private school. It was a great education but when he had to go to public school in high school he totally underperformed (and sometimes got in trouble) out of boredom. So it is a trade off in that respect.

What is the public school like? I was in public school but when I was in 4th grade I had a rough year and the teacher referred me for testing--I was put in the gifted program. To me this teacher was boring and regimented and was a poor fit for me (smart and kind of a non-conformist). Can you tell if it is the teacher or the school? If your daughter is above average can you find her some other kinds of intellectual challenges outside of school? I went to a competitive public school and got a good education but my husband was at an average public and wasn't challenged enough.

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answers from New York on

Montessori students are supposed to be "self driven", they choose what they will work on. That doesn't sound like your daughter's strengths. Talk to her teacher, What does the teacher have students do when they finish all their work early? More work? She may need to know the "reward" for finishing and turning in work is time to do a puzzle, read any book she chooses, arts and crafts....something that will motivate her.

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answers from Green Bay on

My son is in a Montessori school. He has an hour of homework every night and about four hours of homework on the weekend. He is in the third grade. Homework and Montessori is really up to what teacher he has and the school he is in. This year he is in the districts honor program and is with one of the toughest teachers at the school. My suggestion is to see if the public school has an honors program for her. She wasn't in public school in the second grade so she didn't get tested for it.

As far as switching to a Montessori school, I would suggest having her try it out for a day. If she can handle the completely different learning style then go for it. If she can't, then don't.

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answers from Portland on

Montessori is really wonderful, but it is a truly emergent curriculum that builds on their experience in the 3-6 classroom and the 6-9 classroom. Do check in with your local Montessori elementary, but she might thrive in a different atmosphere when transferring at this age.

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answers from Lafayette on

having worked in a montessori school...I think it is too late to make that change. gl!

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answers from Seattle on

You're going to get a lot of disparate answers (already have) because Montessori is a method that is applied *differently* in different locations.

We have montessori k12 in our area (as well as k8, k6, and preschool+k).

In looking for preschools for my son I visited over FIFTY montessori accredited schools and they ALL did things a bit differently. In looking at the upper level schools, the trend holds. They all do things a bit differently.

Some have required subjects every day, others every week, others every quarter. Some have monthly, quarterly, or yearly themes, some don't. Some have homework every day, some don't, and some it's optional (as in one can work from home but it's not required). Most require logs. Most have the student work at their own pace (aka may do 1 year's worth of english in a year, but 4 years worth of maths, 3 years worth of sciences, etc. The student works as quickly through the areas as they like, or take as much time as they need).

In my favorite one in the area, it would probably be a great fit for your daughter. In another one, not so much.

I would start by visiting the school itself. If there's an opening, most will either allow your daughter come for 3 days to a week to try it out or require it as part of the admissions process.

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answers from Denver on

We toured a Montessori school for my son and I really loved the school. We are not going to send him there though because after 6th grade I feel he would have a really hard time transitioning back into regular public school. True Montessori schools do not believe in homework or a lot of testing on subjects. The particular school we toured said the would maybe give 30 min of homework a night even in the upper elementary grades and really only give tests for math and spelling. I know that when my son would start 7th grade and suddenly have 2 hours of homework and a lot more tests that would be really difficult! I do wish more of the schools would integrate more of a Montessori feel to them, but until they do I feel like the transitions would be pretty tough. Plus if your daughter is already in 5th grade she probably would not be there for very long!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

I love Montessori - my daughter has attended a Montessori school and I find it to be the best of everything - as far as curriculum and environment are concerned.

You need to find out if the Montessori school will take her this late. Most Montessori schools will only take transfer students from another Montessori environment, unless it is a public/Charter Montessori or a school with a curriculum 'based' on a Montessori - and then you need to proceed with caution and really do extra research and make sure that they are a good school.

Plus Montessori really only goes up to 6th grade - 8th in some. What will do with her after that? She will likely have to go back to public school, so I would work with her on being successful in that environment, even though it isn't ideal - that will prepare her for any number of jobs she will have where her boss doesn't challenge her or the girl next to her is a loser, but SHE still has to figure out how to be self-motivated.

As far as if she will integrate - yes, because the other students will "help" her by doing what they do. A positive, hand on, motivated environment isn't hard to assimilate to, it's the other way around!

Good Luck

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is now in 7th grade at a Fort Worth ISD Montessori middle school. The middle school is not as traditional montessori as I would like but she has been in the program since 1st grade. I don't think she would have a problem changing methods. My daughter is the same as she needs more prodding to do more as she does only what is required and gets A's and B's. Would like for her to be more challenged and not so "lazy", but she is National Junior Honor Society and in all Pre-AP classes but one. I would say try it out for next semester and if it doesn't work or she doesn't like it then you can find a better suited middle school. If you have any questions please contact me.

If those that have bad mouthed the Montessori program all I can say is that it works great for some but not for all. It really does depend on the teacher and the child. My daughter has thrived in it yet we pulled my son out in the middle of 1st grade (due mostly to the teacher) and he is doing awsome in public school.

Also, to answer the question of what does the child do when she is done with all of her work. There are multiple things to do in a classroom that do not involve one on one with the teacher. There was a girl in Emma's 4-5 class that was advanced and because of the way the classrooms are run she was able to do middle school work and still be involved with the class and not ostricized in the classroom. It allows for slower kids not to hold up a class and advanced kids not to be bored and left out.

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