Strewing…What is it?

We know there is unschooling and carschooling, there is even fridgeschooling, but there’s another new term which is popular. Even though it’s a new term the practice of it isn’t new…in fact, I’m sure everyone does it to varying degrees. Did you know that ‘strewing’ has now become an ‘official’ homeschool/unschool term? I’m sure that many of us do it quite naturally but there is still good value in the practice of it, so I decided to write and share about it today. Strewing simply refers to the placement or scattering of objects and learning materials around the house where children will discover them.

The dictionary defines strewing as:

  1. To spread here and there; scatter: strewing flowers down the aisle.
  2. To cover (an area or a surface) with things scattered or sprinkled: “Italy . . . was strewn thick with the remains of Roman buildings” Bernard Berenson.
  3. To be or become dispersed over (a surface).
  4. To spread (something) over a wide area; disseminate.

I strew books that may be of current interest but I also strew books and computer games that may not be MY area of interest nor even in our realm of study topics but simply to put something new or different before the children. I often strew art books, grammar books, lovely picture books with beautiful illustrations, and books filled with inspiring quotes. I may strew computer games that teach electricity or Australian history, Art History or House/Architectural Design or things like that. I also strew video’s and DVD’s although I do try to keep them in the lounge room. Sport equipment, musical instruments, board games, posters, quotes, etc.

I’ve strewn collections. We have a sea shell collection and a rock collection that often inspires a child to look at it and then ask questions in order to learn more. We also strew with excursions! Some times we’ll go on an excursion if it relates to a topic that we’re learning about (Science and History usually) but we also go out to places for no other reason other than, ‘just because!’ How about strewing with food?

Unschooler’s are very good at using this method and I personally suspect it is similar to how Sally and Clay Clarkson describe their ‘learning centre’s’ in Wholehearted Child. Personally, I don’t get hung up on how others describe it as I know I do it naturally. The only problem with strewing in my house is that while often an abode for creative and stimulating discoveries, the place can also look rather hotch-potch. However, not everyone’s home is like this so I don’t blame strewing, it’s just me.

When I raised this question on a forum there were some great responses and one lady suggested rain-gutter bookshelves. What? Being raised in a mining town where homes are often built from tin metal and now rusting, did not build a pretty picture in my mind, until said friend sent some links. Have a look, they might spark some creative ideas of your own! Just imagine, you could strew PC games, DVD’s, cookbooks, works of art…the possibilities are endless!

The Rain Gutter Literacy Revolution

Rain-Gutter Bookshelves

So, I wonder…do you strew? If so, how, what and where? I’d love to hear from you.