We’re all looking for that one homeschool hack.
The one that will make your child interested and engaged. The one homeschool hack that will reduce your time spent lesson planning. That tip that will make homeschooling easy, effortless, and fun.
Well, I think I have it for you.
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What is Homeschool Strewing?
I heard a few of you out there say “what does that mean”? Well, let me explain it a bit.
Strewing is when you leave things out for your children to discover.
It’s when you take them to a new place or when you find that cool video on YouTube to share.
It’s when you pull down the game no one has played in a while and see if you have any takers.
Perhaps, there is an unusual insect on your car, and you call everyone to come and have a look, or the book they see you reading about Medieval history.
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
Yes, it’s all those games, puzzles, and books we leave lying about the house, but it can be so much more.
It’s about making life interesting.
Homeschool Strewing Creates an Interesting Life
Homeschool strewing is creating an environment that supports curiosity and exploration. It’s being interested in the world and bringing that interest to your children.
If we find life interesting, that enthusiasm will spill over to our children.
Strewing is when we offer an idea or experience and accept their responses. Perhaps they love it and want to know more, or maybe today isn’t the day.
How to Get Started Strewing in Your Homeschool
Strewing is simple, so let’s not overcomplicate the idea.
I tend to think of strewing as involving three areas:
- Physical Strewing
- Virtual Strewing
- Experiential Strewing
Physical strewing seems to be the most readily used and understood by homeschoolers. It’s the books we have in the library basket on the coffee table. It’s the new games or subscription boxes we give as gifts. It’s those maps, posters, and calendars we have hanging in our home.
Virtual strewing can be more difficult to embrace when your kids are younger, but become more apparent the older they become.
However, even the younger ones can participate in some types of virtual strewing. My older girls were maybe 4 and 5 when I saw a commercial for Liberty’s Kids on the television (pre-streaming days) and decided I needed to save it for them.
It came on very early, so I set the DVR to record the series, and they loved it. We bought the DVDs, and they still love it even though they’re now 15 and 16.
So virtual strewing with the younger children still happens, especially in our technologically driven world. What can fall under technological or virtual strewing?
- Apps you download and use
- Pins you share on Pinterest
- Movies and television shows you watch
- Audiobooks you listen to in the car
- Emails and text messages you share
I’ll admit, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. If not used wisely, it can be a time waster that keeps you from the things you need and want to do. However, we have so much information available, how can we not use the wonderful resource in our homeschool?
My favorite strewing of all is experiential. It’s all those exciting places we go and things we do. If I had the resources and the time, this would be my preferred method of homeschooling.
I recently noticed a new restaurant in our area that served ramen and poke bowls, and we’re not talking about the 3 for a dollar grocery store ramen. We had an evening when we needed to kill a little time before another event, and there wasn’t time to drive home, so I decided we would give the ramen place a try.
When I looked at the menu, I wasn’t sure my younger kids would want anything, but I wanted to go because this was as close to the real deal as I’d ever seen. We loved it!
That was an experience.
With a family of eight, experiences can quickly get expensive, but they’re certainly memorable.
But, often experiences happen and don’t cost a thing. We had one day taken a drive to a state park, and as we circled the small lake, we saw a woman holding a Great Horned Owl.
Well, of course, we stopped the car. She traveled to different locations giving talks about her rescued birds of prey. Some of us even put on the glove and held the owl on our arm.
Didn’t cost a thing, we just had to introduce ourselves. Look for those opportunities.
Benefits of Homeschool Strewing
Using strewing in your homeschool can offer so many benefits for both your children and you as a homeschool mom.
It makes life more than a list of boxes to check, it gives you time together as a family, it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, and it can make things interesting.
Homeschool strewing allows my children the opportunity to follow their interest and to be introduced to new ideas without the expectation of performance.
Perhaps I pull out a book about the periodic table and no one was interested, so I put it up for another day, but we all become engrossed with a YouTube video about The Arnolfini Portrait.
When Homeschool Strewing Goes Wrong
How hard can strewing be? You just put some books and games out, right?
Well, yes and no.
That’s the first step, but what comes next is the crucial factor in whether your strewing will be successful.
It’s sometimes tricky, but the determining factor is you.
- Are you demanding they be interested?
- Is your strewing too “contrived” and they see right through it?
- Are you overwhelming them with choices?
It’s okay, we all do these things at times, but it’s vital that we accept their interest at that moment. It may change tomorrow, but only if we don’t let our fear and exasperation overtake us.
When we wring our hands and declare they’re never interested in anything, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our children can sense our desperation and our expectations, which can deaden their curiosity.
The simplest way to encourage curiosity and banish the homeschool blahs is for us to be interested. What does that mean? It means we have to be interested in the world. How can we expect our children to find history fascinating, if we groan at the history museum?
Read the book, go to the museum, and watch the documentary because you find it fascinating. Before you know it, a child will join you.
Strewing is Creating a Life of Learning and Curiosity
Using strewing in your homeschool enables you to create a life of learning in a way textbooks never will. School and textbooks place limits on learning. They create an artificial environment which separates learning from life. Once “school-time” is over, children check out and actively avoid anything deemed too “schoolish.”
Why do we do this to our children? Why make learning such a dreaded activity?
When you homeschool and allow life and experiences to create an atmosphere of learning, you give your children the gift of an interesting life. Homeschool strewing makes learning tangible, rather than a series of arbitrary assignments children are told will benefit them “one day.”
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. ~Aristotle
Strewing is the Ultimate Homeschool Hack
So why is homeschool strewing the ultimate homeschool hack?
- It doesn’t require extensive lesson plans
- It happens every day, not just during the “school year”
- Life isn’t divided between learning, working, and playing
- Knowledge isn’t divided into unrelated subjects
- All learning is seen as valuable
Learning and strewing become a two-way street where everyone participates. No longer is learning and education seen as a top-down, one-way endeavor, but a web of ideas building upon each other layer by layer.
I hope you will give strewing a try in your homeschool. No matter your style or method of home education, there is room to bring the pleasure of homeschool strewing to your family.
Join my subscriber list and download my Quick Guide to Homeschool Strewing that has ideas for different kinds of strewing to implement in your homeschool.