One of the concerns often brought up about unschooling (or home education in general) is that children will not be exposed to the ideas, information, skills, and opportunities that they will need for life.
The great news is that unschoolers have an answer for that – it’s called strewing.
Join me for the next 2 weeks as I share with you The Art of Strewing.
What Is Strewing?
Strewing is exactly what it sounds like – sowing or scattering things to spark the interest of our children. There are a few more particulars about the hows and whys to strewing, but the idea is simple enough to comprehend.
The term strewing was born many years ago by Sandra Dodd in a discussion about unschooling.
I just strew their paths with interesting things.
From there, it blossomed in the unschooling community as a term and as a practice.
What Does Strewing Involve?
Strewing can be as simple as finding a vintage toy at the thrift store that you know your child would love (as Denna did with her Alfie above).
It can also be made complex like planning a trip or arranging a room in order to spark discussion and curiosity.
No matter the difficulty, strewing involves three main things:
- Knowing your child’s interests and habits.
- Finding interesting things you think they might like.
- Placing those things in their path and letting them discover them.
Now, when I say “things” I don’t mean just physical items. We will get into more detail about that later, but for now just remember that strewing involves a holistic approach to learning and exploration. We want to use all of life as our fodder.
- Opening doors to new ideas and opportunities.
- Feeding the flames of interests and hobbies.
- Providing resources, structure, and information.
- Exampling research, and development strategies.
- Sowing seeds of potential.
How Does Strewing Work?
Strewing is different than most interest-led learning methods. It does not require or expect anything from the child.
Strewing is much less about providing a rounded education and more about enriching your lives and making it more meaningful, mindful, and observant.
And in the process of creating the kind of environment for your children where they have access to the world, every subject and skill they will need is presented in real time, through real sources.
Our expectations about what they “should” be doing and learning do not get projected onto what we strew. It is not a form of manipulation or sneakiness.
Strewing is a lot like how farmers sow seeds. You sprinkle things, ideas, and opportunities onto fertile soil and wait and see what happens.
Strewing shouldn’t be about putting something in our child’s path that we expect them to do. It is about sowing those seeds that have potential in them, but don’t necessarily come to life.
Articles About Strewing
I linked to some great articles about strewing above, but here are a few more:
- The role parents play in unschooling
- All they want to do is play
- How much strewing? And can there be too little?
- How strewing strengthens unschooling
This post is part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch – go check out some of the other series that are being featured (and check out the giveaways that are being hosted there)!
Here are the lovely ladies that are participating in the Autumn 2012 Hopscotch: