So you want to start strewing in your homeschool, but you have no idea where to start.
I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s easy, and you can be doing it in the next few minutes. Don’t overthink it, that’s when you get into trouble.
Take the next step and strew just one thing and that will lead to another and another. Before you know it, strewing becomes a way of life, and it doesn’t require much extra thinking and planning.
So here are the five simple steps to make strewing happen in your homeschool.
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Brainstorm Ideas and Items on Hand
Brainstorming is the most time consuming, yet necessary step.
First, ask yourself what you already have that is underutilized, but might be received with renewed interest.
I did this recently when I remembered some subscription boxes my 14 year old had received but hadn’t fully engaged. They were hidden in my art closet, and I rearranged to make them more accessible.
My idea was to strew some of the materials for anyone to use, but as she saw me moving things around, she jumped up and wanted to check one out. Perfect.
What things might you already have to consider for possible strewing?
Books- particularly large picture books you can open up on the table. Think of those best-loved books you haven’t read to your younger kids. What forgotten books do you have hidden on a shelf that could be pulled out.
Craft supplies- from the simple such as pipe cleaners and pony beads to the more intricate like jewelry making or woodworking. What do you already have that could be used creatively?
Trash/Recyclables-don’t all kids love a box? Boxes are often used as cars, trains, dollhouses, doll beds, rockets, and so much more in our house. What else has the potential for strewing? Old magazines for a collage, cereal boxes for an art journal, or a broken electronic to deconstruct would all be options to consider.
Memorabilia/Ephemera- do you have any travel keepsakes such as photographs, tickets, or foreign money? How about some unusual objects from different places?
Gather and Organize
Now that you’ve thought of all those things you already own to strew let’s gather a few. Pull out a box or basket and put those things in one place to give you the opportunity to analyze whether they would be a welcomed addition.
You don’t have to pull everything out, but grab a few you could place in different areas. Maybe a quick craft for the kitchen table one morning and some nature finds to collect in a quiet corner.
Again, don’t overthink this, just gather the first three things on your brainstorming list if you get overwhelmed. There will be other times and opportunities to expose them to everything on your list.
An educating life is not built in a day.
Choose and Clear a Location
So now you’ve narrowed it down to your first two or three items to strew, let’s choose a location and tidy up a bit.
Housekeeping is not my favorite activity, but I do find that items are more inviting when they can be seen clear of clutter.
It’s a constant battle to keep our kitchen table clear, but when I intend to leave something attractive out for the kids, it needs to be picked up. If not, then it’s hard for anyone to notice an interesting game, book, or craft.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Before you know it, you’ll be picking up interesting things you find outside or at a thrift store because you think they would interest your children, not because they are ‘educational.'” quote=”Before you know it, you’ll be picking up interesting things you find outside or at a thrift store because you think they would interest your children, not because they are ‘educational.'” theme=”style6″]
We need to take an idea from marketers and designers. An inviting, pleasing display is much more likely to gain our child’s interest.
So what can we do to grab their attention and pique their interest?
Rearrange– I love to rearrange books, shelves, and furniture. There is something about starting with a clean slate and reimagining what space can be used for that invigorates. Just this week I moved plants that had been in for the winter back outside and by doing so freed up a table in our kitchen as a potential strewing space.
Keep Them Coming Back for More– How do you do that, by keeping things fresh and appealing. Stores are continually changing their display to keep customers interested, and sometimes we need to do that in our homes. When things stay the same, we can all pass by something every day and not take notice. But, pull something out and place it somewhere new and suddenly it’s rediscovered.
Wait and Observe
You’ve done your part; now it gets hard.
Don’t cajole and don’t take it personally if they don’t express an immediate interest. Can you mention it? Sure, I do.
“Hey, did you notice that new game on the table? Do you want to play?”
Happily accept their yes or no. I told you this was the hard part.
But what if it’s completely ignored? Brush off your hands, pick it up, and have another go. It’s all you can do and not be the martyr homeschool mom.
On the other hand, maybe they loved it, and now you’re on the way to the library to get more books on starfish, or sign language, or World War 1. You never know what will grab their attention.
So during this time, you have some quiet jobs to do.
- Observe what works and where
- Think about the other things you have written on that big brainstorming list
- Rearrange a shelf or table to make way for another strewing opportunity
- Research other free or frugal ideas for strewing
- Pay attention to your children interest and use those as inspiration in your planning
Integrate Strewing into Your Homeschool Routine
At first, this process may seem cumbersome, but as you use strewing and see it’s potential for your homeschool, it will become effortless.
Just yesterday I completely rearranged a table to allow for new items, cleaned and reorganized a bookshelf, and created a new nature collection.
Before you know it, you’ll be picking up interesting things you find outside or at a thrift store because you think they would interest your children, not because they are “educational.”
Give it a try. It will change your entire perspective on learning and education.
This is part of the 5-day iHomeschool Network Hopscotch. Go check out all the wonderful encouragement and inspiration.
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