My Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor

What is This Strewing Thing?


I have been homeschooling my children for twenty nine years and have just discovered the new unschooling concept of strewing.

What is strewing?

Most of you young whipper snapper unschoolers today will undoubtedly know more about this than I, but bear with me.

From what I understand, Sandra Dodd invented strewing.


Apparently Strewing is the technique of leaving toys, manipulatives, articles, books, information, and other such learning materials laying around for the children to discover on their own!

The point is for them to delightfully learn the lesson that each item offers!

Taking advantage of  natural learning experiences such as nature walks, trips to the beach, visits to museums and zoos, and going shopping, and such where children are exposed to and can discover the educational value of the experience is also considered strewing, I believe.

I’ve been strewing for years, but I just didn’t know that what I was doing had a name and was actually a homeschooling technique!

Bethany has been very receptive to strewing.

However, if I didn’t also deliberately teach her, she wouldn’t learn.

Because of her disabilities she has always needed more structure than my other kids did.

Strewing has rarely ever worked with any of my other children, though.

That’s because they never seem to be interested in anything that I’ve chosen to strew!

I tend to strew when I’m feeling less than confident that they are learning everything I think they should know.

Then the educational seeds I’m trying to plant becomes coercive education with an agenda, and that’s not unschooling in my humble opinion!

To see strewing in action click here!

What do you think?
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  1. Phyllis at All Things Beautiful

    My older kids roll their eyes now when I strew learning materials for the youngers, but so far they haven’t said anything. 🙂

    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      That sounds like my older kids. They tease me about how we used to do school when they were little1

  2. Melissa

    I hadn’t heard of strewing, but it does seem like a wonderful technique for younger learners especially. I suppose it’s the casual, homeschooling equivalent of “preparing the environment.” I can see how it could be a challenge to set things up in this way without pushing an agenda, too, however. So much to think about!

    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      It is crazy! All the techniques, homeschooling styles, and curriculum available now… It’s mind boggling. We didn’t have so many choices back in the 80’s. We just did what we did!

  3. Betsy Price

    Sounds like a cool idea even for those of us who don’t unschool. Hopping in from Hip Homeschool Moms!

    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Yes! I think so too! Thanks for visiting.

  4. Pingback: Strewing in Action! |

  5. Kaye Swain

    How fun! I homeschooled my kids for several years – now help with those grandchildren who are in homeschooling programs. I remember John Holt and Growing Without Schooling too! 🙂 We have done the gamut – from unschooling to fairly structured homeschooling – depending on the child and their needs. We’ve also done public AND Christian schooling over the years. Each has been a blessing for different kids at different times. And I loved this “strewing” word. I am using a bit of that now with some of my grandkids and didn’t know it had a good word. Thanks for a fun and interesting visit.

    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Thanks for visiting and the follows, Kaye. We have tried a couple of different schooling options over the years too. Different needs for different kids. Some of our older sons tried part time public or private high school for their junior and senior years.

  6. Lula B

    I love strewing! Generally it works pretty well with my two (7 and 9). I can relate to what you say about how your underlying motives count! My personal challenge is to not make a big deal of a strewed item if it’s not jumped on by the children 😀 I was proud of myself this week – I strewed some rock samples when we were studying the rock cycle. The children were very interested in one sample and correctly identified it as obsidian but ignored the other two so I just quietly put them away for another time (patting myself on the back!)

    Lucinda (visiting via Hammock Tracks)

    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Very cool! Jeremiah and I have been going through a rock identification book. Our NYS Museum has a great collection that we love to visit! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll be sure to repay the visit later tonight! Looking forward to see what you’ve got to say!

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