Today's Word is....
Whenever you start learning a new job, hobby, subject, whatever - you always encounter new words. The people who have been doing this new-to-you-but-old-to-them activity throw buzzwords around and they just expect you to know what they are talking about. The same is true of homeschoolers so I'm starting a Blog-tionary, a blog-dictionary, of some of the common buzz words you will hear in the homeschool lexicon.
Today's word is:
No, its not something you do when you are sick. Although it can come in handy when you are sick...
What it means:
To strew means to scatter or spread things untidily over a surface or area. You know, like your kids do with their dirty clothes. When you hear a homeschooler say "strewing" you can be fairly sure they aren't talking about making messes. They are talking about the strewing of ideas and new experiences. You've heard the phrase, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Well, strewing is the leading the horse to water part.
Strewing can be done many different ways. You can place books on different topics strategically around your house for the kids to pick up at random. You can lay out materials on the table for a new project and let the kids discover it in the morning. You can plan outings to a variety of different places and see what sparks your child's imagination. Find random craft/nature materials, lay them out on the floor and let the kids do whatever they think to do with them. Watch what they are doing, observe their thought processes and gather valuable information to help guide them in their education. There is a plethora of online classes available to homeschool students now. You could let you child try some out - let them choose the topics and make sure they know they aren't "committed" to it, just exploring. Strewing is more intentional than just letting the kids wander the library and find things. You, as the parent take the lead in guiding them to the "water" but they may not realize that you are leading them.
Strewing can be used to break up the monotony of daily homeschool work. When you sense your kids are ready for a break but you don't want the learning to stop, plan to strew some new ideas in front of them the next day. Plan a few outings that you wouldn't normally do, or experience an old favorite in a new way. Scavenger hunt in the library or a museum. Get out in nature and explore - let them collect things to bring home. When you get home, help them identify the things they brought home. They could create a collection or draw them in a book. You don't know where strewing may lead and its important that you allow your child to follow that interest and encourage them! Even if it's messy.
How we use strewing in our homeschool:
I am not as elaborate in this technique as some other homeschool moms might be but I do use it regularly. We like to travel so when we take a road trip - I try to plan a wide variety of experiences to pique their interests. They will often come home wanting to practice a new craft or skill they saw or wanting to learn more about the history of a place we visited. We also love to read so I will check out books from the library on a new topic and lay them out all over the dining room table at night for them to find in the morning and declare it a "reading morning". More often than not, the kids will see the books on the table and dive in without me saying a word. I'll come into the dining room to find them already engrossed in whatever they find. This inevitably leads to a lot of, "Hey Mom! Look at this!" "Mom! Did you know...?" They will even share books and talk about what they are reading together... without fighting.
We have also done a lot of trial classes. Gymnastics, music, robotics, dance, and online classes... Many places offer trial classes for free. Online learning sites like www.varsitytutors.com and www.outschool.com offer one time only classes - where it's not a course but rather an overview class or a fun introduction to a topic. Varsity Tutors often has free group classes led by experts and even a few celebrities. We have used both sites and enjoyed them immensely.
YouTube is another great resource for strewing! There are sooooooooo many great YouTube channels for science, history, social studies, and skill based crafts. Set aside a time to surf with your kids (never let them surf YouTube alone!) and let them create a playlist of topics they want to learn. Guide their choices lest they want to fill their list with videos of watching kids play with toys or watching other people play video games. My son and husband have taken up forging - making knives and swords - by watching YouTube channels. I learned to crochet from YouTube. My middle daughter is learning the ukelele by watching YouTube videos.
Strewing takes relatively little work on the part of the parent but it does require some forethought and planning. There is no need to create "work" based off of what you are introducing because its for fun... They will create their own "work." Yes, for fun! They won't even know it is work! They are ENJOYING IT and the best part is - you get to watch :).
Today's strew worked out kind of nicely: Working on a mad lib TOGETHER - hello parts of speech! Good-bye fighting. This led to them reading the rest of the magazine (National Geographic Kids) together.