No, not sew or stew and nothing about a shrew. Strew.
The dictionary defines this as “to cover an area with loosely or carelessly scattered objects or material”. Sandra Dodd, homeschooling guru, coined the term for homeschoolers and defines it here
I love the concept of it, and embrace it in a very broad sense. Although we are ‘homeschoolers’, I seldom, if ever, think of myself as my kids’ ‘teacher’. I do think of myself as their facilitator and the ‘Strewer of their Paths’!
I like to bring as many things into my kids lives (or their paths) as I can, and allow them to pick up, latch on, mull over, or cast aside these things as they please.
I use my house to do it. I pin up maps, timelines, posters, papers, and quotes.
I don’t decorate some ‘schoolroom’ with these things. They are everywhere – yes, *everywhere*. I love a captive audience!
Conversations begin, questions are asked, factoids are recited to me over breaksfast, facts I did not “teach”. Maps are referenced very frequently. I have often seen one of the kids sitting intently, reading something I’ve put up or had to ask them where they learned about something only to be told it was on something I left around.
I also consider what I keep on the bookshelves that the kids frequent, strewing. I purposely look for copies of great books with interesting covers, bold print, gold embossment, or whatever looks nice to place on their shelves. I cull and rearrange the shelves frequently. They ask to be read things that I never thought to read to them, I find books in their rooms that are way over their heads, books being previewed and books I did not even know they read.
I have a very deliberate set-up in their literal path. I use a bookshelf they walk past 100 times a day to place things I think they might like and I change what is on it often. Toys, games, manipulatives, books, art supplies, and puzzles. I do not call their attention to it or tell them go and do something on it. It is really a buffet for them to choose from.
I also consider all the places I take the boys to be a form of strewing. It is an offering to them, they can pick what they want to look at and read about. They can stay as long as they like in front of something, or walk past it altogether. I am often surprised by what interests them in a museum
. I want to put as many people, places, things and experiences in front of them that I am able to – it’s a gift.
Strewing can also be applied to everyday experiences. The music I play, the talk radio on in the car, food being cooked, things I am interested in on the internet are all shared with the boys in my house. It is like a yummy piece of fruit being peeled and offered to share – they can say ‘yes, please’ or ‘no thanks’, return later for some or eat a whole bunch of something before they tire of it.
Dot their paths with tasty, little morsels.