If you only take one idea from unschoolers, this should be the one. Strewing was coined by Sandra Dodd many years back and is used to define the act of leaving interesting things around for your children to encounter. Maybe you set out a new puzzle, book or game.
Here’s more of Sandra’s thoughts of strewing:
But there’s another element which isn’t physically “strewing” but involves instead taking the children out and about with the idea of their seeing (hearing, tasting, smelling, touching) things they might not have come upon otherwise and that you can’t lay casually about the house…………….Sandra Dodd
I think of all of these things as just leading a life of curiosity.
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Physical Homeschool Strewing
Physical strewing is all those interesting things we bring into our homes. We often think of books, games, and puzzles, but what about food, music, and movies?
By paying attention and looking at things in a new light, we can access an endless supply of strewing material.
My husband loves to watch John Wayne movies with our girls, and they’ve learned an incredible amount of history with The Duke. The knowledge my girls have acquired from Wild Kratts is astonishing and we also use Pandora to set the seasonal atmosphere.
One of my favorite ways to strew is with subscription boxes. It’s a pricier option, but they make great gifts from family members. Here are some of our favorites:
- Little Passports
- Tinker Crate (older ones)
- Koala Crate (for little ones)
- Doodle Crate
- Science Expedition by Little Passports (this is a favorite)
There are so many things to possibly strew and so much to be learned by the entire family.
Virtual Homeschool Strewing
Have you tried Symbaloo? This is the perfect way to do some virtual strewing.
On Symbaloo I have created a page for each child, and those pages contain links to programs they use, things they would find interesting, and some internet shortcuts.
For example, my nine-year-old has Reading Eggs, PBS, and a link to the Draw So Cute Youtube channel as a few of her links.
By using Symbaloo, I can drop some virtual hints about interesting Youtube videos that align with our history reading or online games.
Another great thing a few of my girls do is DIY.org. This is a fantastic website that has different “badges” the kids can earn in various categories by completing activities. They have everything from ornithology, animation, drawing, and gymnastics. The one I’ve meant to do with the girls is the cartographer’s badge. Implementing DIY is an excellent homeschool tool.
Experiential Homeschool Strewing
Experiences are probably my favorite kind of strewing; the possibilities are limitless.
Usually, we think of the zoo, museums, and theater productions, but there are so many more options when we get creative.
One of my favorite things to do is check out international markets. We once lived near an Asian Superstore and went there for Chinese New Year. The kids had such a great time seeing all the unusual food and home items.
Here we have an International Megamarket that has items from all over the world. My 14-year-old has been begging to return.
Another example was when my 13-year-old was younger. She was fascinated with the construction of roads and homes. One day we visited a new subdivision that was just getting ready to have streets laid and she loved seeing the process.
Within your community, there is a multitude of possibilities. My younger daughters attended four free classes at our local library sponsored by Bedtime Math where they learned about probability, measuring, and a little physics.
Our local watershed stewardship program has hosted classes where the kids have gone on a creek walk and dissected rotting plant material looking for organisms. It takes a little work, but there are unlimited opportunities if you look.
The key to strewing is to have minimal expectations; some things will catch their interest and others will not. That’s okay.
Also, step back and see how they interact with the thing, idea, or experience. Heavy-handed “teachable moments” usually fall flat and can interfere with your child’s ability to form their personal connections.
Look around your house, I’m sure there is something interesting your children have never explored before. Pull it out, place it somewhere, and observe.
Join my Facebook Group, Homeschool Mindset | Create a Life of Learning, for more homeschool strewing inspiration.
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(This post contains affiliate links, see our disclosure policy here.)