Have you heard of the term, Strewing?
It pops up in unschooling (and homeschooling) circles. Although, in the homeschooling circles, I think they’ve altered the meaning and intent. Unfortunately, this can make it a little confusing.
When it’s really not.
Strewing is simply placing things in a child’s path, for them to discover. Or not.
But let’s talk a little about how it works and how parents might misunderstand it a little bit.
I’m Sue Patterson, and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m on a mission to help parents see that unschooling really DOES work.
We just need the right information, a little support, and some action on your part.
Knowledge + Support + Action = Unschooling Success!
Some of the ways I can help:
I can help you with all of that… so let’s dive into Strewing!
Strewing is a term that surfaced back in the 90s on the AOL message boards. Sandra Dodd referred to it, and the term made sense to a lot of people.
When I hear the term Strewing, for some reason, I visualize legos strewn all over the floor. I think there must have been some funny Erma Bombeck story about this or something. But strewing really is just what it sounds like… casually leaving things in a person’s path or line of sight. Like scattering seeds in a garden or sprinkling a path with flower petals. (That’s better than my lego visual.. I think i’ll work on replacing that!)
I’m going to give you some key points to think about. But if you’re looking for a lot of IDEAS about strewing, grab the Unschooling Guide I’ve made for it. It’s called, Strewing. Clever, right?
Unschooling Guide: Strewing
You've heard the word "strewing" used in unschooling circles but you're not really sure what it means, right?
This Unschooling Guide will walk you through what is - and what isn't - strewing! You'll be excited to discover:
- Pages of Strewing ideas for your home and how to find more in your community
- Advantages to strewing - for the kids and for you!
- Tips and suggestions for strewing
- Journaling options to help you dive a little deeper into the idea of strewing
- Resources and links for more information
Prepare to be Inspired to Strew!
What is Strewing?
- Strewing is when parents leave things out that they think their child might be interested in or something interesting that the parent discovered moving through daily life.
- Strewing is about giving children the opportunity to discover something new and expanding their world. It may be expanding only ever-so-slightly or it may turn into a huge jumping off place.
- Strewing is about feeding that natural curiosity that lives in all of us.
- Strewing is about focusing on the Present only... what's in front of us right now?
- Strewing can be things… like magnets in a basket on the table, road trips to places we’re curious about, conversations that relate to what’s happening in the child’s world.
I think the biggest key to successful strewing is not being attached to whether the child is into what we’re offering. You’ll want to look at your own motivations and seeing if you need a little more deschooling.
So what are you putting in their paths? Toys, items from nature, curious finds… but also conversations or excursions out into the community.
What they’re not though, is “bait” to get the kids to do what we want them to do. This is where the homeschooling community gets a little off base. Strewing flashcards and saying, “Sometime this morning, ok?” That’s not strewing.
If you find yourself hoping they open that Algebra book you’ve laid out on the coffee table… another red flag for you that you need a little more time with deschooling.
Strewing is about finding something you’re pretty sure your child might find interesting, and strewing their path with that. Not a sugar-coating for trying to get them to do some kind of school work that has been bothering you that they’re NOT doing.
All about Choice
Another piece about strewing is the idea that kids get to choose. Freely. Without worrying about “will this make mom happy?”
This helps them explore their own curiosities AND gives us more data about them. It helps us know what we might want to strew more of - next time. Maybe they rejected something because of timing. Or maybe they’re more tactile learners. So many variables exist for why something might not a “strewing success.” That’s why pulling our ego out of it is important. It’s not REALLY a “strewing success”... it’s just data for next time.
Don't Overthink It
Strewing can eventually become second nature to you.
When we approach life with our eyes open to what's in front of us - instead of mentally checking off items on our to-do lists - we NOTICE things on our own path.
Instead of worrying, "What shall I strew?" you'll begin to think more like, "Oh, hey! Mikey would like that!"
It's hard to get to that place when you're busy configuring how to move those kids through the various hoops we've been convinced are important. Most of the time, that's our own conditioning that needs to be reconsidered. But once you do that, you can live in the Present instead of worrying about the future. And you can simply ENJOY finding little things that make your children's eyes light up!
Strewing involves knowing your kids well. If you've just brought the kids home from school - or they've been forced out of school during the pandemic - you may just now see things about your children that you hadn't realized when they were away from home all day long.
This can even be true for families that have been homeschooling/unschooling for a while.
We're in a unique situation where we're all home. Parents have opportunities now to see how kids have matured or grown - without having to catch a quick look as they're running out the door to meet friends, get to a rehearsal, or make it to practice.
That's a huge advantage to unschooling - you get the chance to observe and learn about the kids. You don't have to orchestrate some wildly complicated schedule.
You can relax.
And while you're relaxing, you're getting to know each other as partners - as people who change and grow - sharing a life together.
Grab the Unschooling Guide about Strewing for more ideas - including some journaling pages that will help you gain a little clarity on how strewing can work at your house!
I’m starting something new that you might want to tap into. It’s called A Q4Sue. If you have a question, I have a link that will connect us! I’ll get you an email with resources that are specific to you and your question so you won’t have to wander around the internet searching for good unschooling material about something you’re worried about.
I’m excited about 2022 and all the new ways we’re dreaming up to help more families embrace unschooling, get reassurance - you know - all the Knowledge and Support your need to be Successful at Unschooling!
Click the button to request unschooling resources from me!
That’s it from me! I hope you have a great week with the kids. Enjoy all the wonderful things that pop up into your path. Reach out if you need some help. And I’ll be back again next week!