What is This Strewing Thing?

strewing homeschooling technique


I had been homeschooling my children for twenty nine years when I discovered the new unschooling concept of strewing.

What is strewing, you might be thinking?

Well, no doubt, most of you young whipper snapper unschoolers today will know more about this topic than I do, but bear with me.

From what I understand, a woman named Sandra Dodd invented this homeschooling/unschooling teaching technique.

Apparently Strewing is when you leave 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 has to offer them!

Purposely planning 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 are also examples of strewing, I do believe.

strewing unschooling technique
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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 everything she needs to know.

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

Strewing might have worked better with my other children if they had ever been interested in anything that I’ve chosen to strew!

Since I tend to strew when I’m feeling less than confident that my kids are learning everything I think they should know, I feel like I am being coercive with my own educational agenda, and I don’t really consider that to be unschooling!

Anyway, to see some strewing in action click here!

What do you think about strewing?
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14 Replies to “What is This Strewing Thing?

  1. 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. 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!

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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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