Unschooling Mommas

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"Children do not need to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world than anyone else could make for them." John Holt

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What is strewing? First coined by veteran unschooling mom Sandra Dodd strewing is leaving things out around the house and waiting to see if they spark your child's interest.

For example, in my house all of our board games are on a bookshelf. They are organized and look nice and neat. Is this really convenient? Well, no. Because more often than not the kids walk right by never taking the time to pull one of the games down and play it. Same goes for all of the great books I have on the bookshelf, or art supplies I have on our art shelves. All nice and neat, but they begin to blend into the decor and not get used.

What happens when I pull down the chess set and set it up on the kitchen table or leave a jar of pipe cleaners sitting out in the living room, or an interesting book or magazine left out on the porch swing to be discovered? More often than not these things that have been just sitting on the shelf will become new and interesting again. Learning will take place, new interests will be sparked, conversations will take place, and a normal day can become more fun and alive.

Here is a small list of strewing ideas to get you started:

interesting article from a magazine or cartoon strip

new or old toy (I recently found a Lite Brite at a yardsale cheap and my daughter loved it and the fact that Mom had played with one when I was a kid)

foreign coins

magnifying glass


art supplies

new foods

photo of an older president, artist, etc. frame and put on wall or mantle and see if anyone notices!

pretty shells or rocks on table


board games, cards, dice

box of family photos

computer left open to a favorite kid's site of funny you tube video

playing classical music or jazz or something that is different from what you would normally have on

But wait a minute, strewing is not just for physical things! There is a whole other element of strewing that allows children to go out and experience things they wouldn't normally just stumble upon. Places where they can take in new sites, sounds, smells. This could be as simple as shopping at a more ethnic type grocery store where your children can see and shop for new foods. Visiting an old antique store, or flea market and exploring things of the olden days.

Strewing outings have become a fine art where I am concerned. I am always seeking out new places to visit and things to experience, ways to take in new sites and sounds, to me that is what helps keep life interesting. Most of the things we do as a family are free or very low cost. You don't have to have a lot of money to open your kids up to new places. Take in consideration the things you do everyday and change them up a litte. Start at the library, online, and in your local newspaper and look for free local events.

Strewing around the house however is something I haven't done much of lately and would like to get back into doing. Our homes should be interesting places full of interesting things for our children to explore and play with. Not full of closets and shelves stuffed with things that never get used.

So, what are you waiting for? Start strewing today!