Strewing is one of those vague phrases homeschoolers toss out there and think everyone knows what they’re meaning. But really, what is strewing and what does it look like in a relaxed homeschool? Just what does relaxed homeschool strewing mean?
Here’s a glimpse as to what strewing means to me.
What is Strewing
As with all things homeschooling, everyone has an opinion and their interpretation of strewing. Is it merely leaving interesting items in an enticing environment in the hope your children will engage? Perhaps it’s being proactive in the things you scatter? Do we restrict it to simply offering things or does it include experiences and activities?
I have a wide view of strewing which includes things, ideas, experiences, activities, and more.
Why not? It can be so much more than a casually placed book or game.
- Eating at an ethnic restaurant
- Visiting an international market
- Watching a documentary
- Listening to different music
- Using Google Earth
When you believe learning opportunities are all around, strewing becomes effortless. Or at least a little less effort.
When our new Sprouts store opened nearby, we went on opening day, because I love Sprouts. They had so many unusual tropical fruits that day. We saw an enormous jackfruit and came home with a Buddha’s hand. I had no idea what to do with it, but we researched, made an infused water, and had a great time looking it over.
Think about it; we strew with young children and babies all the time, shouldn’t we just continue with older kids.
Why use Strewing in your Homeschool
So why go to this trouble, expense, and thought when it would be so much easier to hand them a textbook? Personally, giving them the textbook would be simple but monitoring their completion would be tortuous.
Instead, consider some of the benefits of strewing:
- It can include the entire family, versus everyone being segregated by grade levels.
- You never know what interest a child might discover.
- Mom and Dad get to enjoy the process and learn, rather than just be the taskmaster.
- Children experience a life of learning, versus learning confined to textbooks, tests, and grades.
- It leads to self-directed learning.
Recently, we began watching The Crown as a family. Honestly, I was never interested in royal families, but this show has connected so many events and people in my mind that I have become fascinated.
The other morning, my daughter that has become engrossed in this show began telling me about how she had researched royal etiquette. She explained how they are supposed to cross their legs, seating at an official dinner, and how attendees are to behave. This is noteworthy because it shows initiative from a child that usually dive deeper on her own.
If I had required her to research royal etiquette and give me an oral narration, she would have shut down. Instead, she willingly used research skills, recalled the information, and composed a retelling.
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How I use strewing in my relaxed homeschool
Creating an educating life through strewing is the only way I can survive this crazy homeschool life with six kids. Would it even be possible to have, at current count, five kids in 8 different subjects using different books while chasing a three-year-old? As my precious toddler would say, I think no.
So how do I use strewing in my relaxed homeschool?
- I don’t require science experiments, but instead, get subscription boxes that have the kids begging me to help them extract DNA from a strawberry.
- We don’t fill out a geography workbook. Instead, we read aloud Homesick by Jean Fritz and look up images of the places in China on Google. Then I’ll pick up The Story About Ping and Five Chinese Brothers to read with the younger ones.
- When I recognize my younger girls need a little more math practice, I grab Math Dice Jr, and we play.
- I stay on top of what classes the library is offering and sign them up.
- I’ll bring home a child’s balance I found at the thrift store.
- Find interesting tv shows and movies to fill our queue with thoughtful entertainment.
The possibilities and opportunities to strew and learn naturally are everywhere; we just have to break free of the mindset that makes us believe real learning only counts when it comes from a textbook.
We need to stop replicating school-at-home.
What Makes Strewing Different
Strewing does require some thought and openness, so how does that make it different and how does it affect our homeschool.
- I don’t sit down and declare that the next six months we will cover chemistry, but instead look for any science options that come our way.
- The field trips, museums, and ballets aren’t extras that I fret over participating in because we’ll get behind. They are our way of learning in the real world.
- Strewing allows us always to be learning and therefore, I don’t pay much attention to school years and grade levels.
- It also allows for you to change course quickly. If the expensive curriculum you bought isn’t working, don’t you feel pressure to continue because it was so costly. With strewing, you’re not as invested in the reaction of your children to a resource.
- Learning doesn’t occur between 9 and 2; you have to be willing to play that game at 8:30 at night because they are ready to play.
Give Strewing a Try in Your Homeschool
Strewing doesn’t have to be costly. It can be some beautiful rocks you found at the park.
Strewing doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be folding paper to create their own books.
And strewing doesn’t have to overly planned. It can be pulling over to watch the construction of a neighborhood because your five-year-old is interested in the construction of roads.
Don’t overthink strewing, just start.