Posted on

Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

strewing in your homeschool to spark curiosity

I walked into the kitchen to find my youngest two kiddos (9 and 6) deep in concentration at the table. Glancing at the pile of tiny clay food, it was clear that they’d been up awhile. These two are early risers.

I’m not.

For my own sanity, and to keep them out of trouble (bright and creative minds are uniquely dangerous when it comes to too much unsupervised time), I started strewing things for them to discover a few years ago.

Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

Put simply, strewing is leaving something out for the kids to discover, piquing their interest. Putting things in the path of your kids — spreading a feast, so to speak, and letting the kids take from it what they will.

Strewing is popular with unschoolers, and I think it’s one of those things that anyone can adopt and pull into their homeschooling — or life. It’s a great way to incorporate more self-directed learning, giving kiddos ownership of their time and education. But, there are a few things to remember when it comes to strewing…

Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

No Expectations

The first, and most important thing to consider when it comes to strewing, is that parents should have no expectations for how — or if — the materials will be used.

Really.

Strewing is all about sparking curiosity and letting kids run with it. You’ll set yourself up for disappointment as a parent if you’re putting something out as the start of a new unit study or because you think your kids need a bit more practice in an area.

Strewing fails when we get caught up in a desired outcome. If I strew space stuff — a book, games, maybe queue a video on curiosity stream, and put out some space tous, but the kids fiind a book on Ancient Egypt on the shelf and dive into that instead, it might feel like I’ve failed. And I did, if I set out to start a unit study on space with them.

But, when I keep in mind that strewing is about sparking curiosity, and not product placement, I realize that the Ancient Egypt play and conversation the kids are now involved in is a huge win. They’re owning their learning, and it’s a natural part of their lifestyle.

RELATED: Interest-Led Homeschooling And Your Gifted Children

strewing in your homeschool

 

It Can Be Anything

“What do I strew?” is probably the most common question I get when it comes to strewing. Most people who hear me talk about it get the whole leaving things out for the kids to find thing. They struggle with the what to leave out and the how to keep it from costing a fortune part of strewing. If you do too, I want you to relax.

Strewing can be just about anything:

  • books
  • queued videos
  • DVDs
  • games
  • toys
  • puzzles
  • building blocks
  • science kits
  • historic toys
  • art supplies
  • crafts
  • recyclables

Whatever you dream up — you can probably strew it.

To help you get started, I created a printable for you to download, print, and hang up in your school room or put into your planner to give you a bit of inspiration whenever you need it. Simply drop your name and email in the form below and check your email for your printable!

 

You can also learn more about our #StrewtoLearn email series and join in here! What cool things have you strewed out for your kiddos? Let me know in the comments.

Posted on

RLL #107: Learning as an Unschooling Family with Robyn Robertson

rll 107 learning as an unschooling family with robyn robertson

 

I truly believe that the best way we can educate our gifted and twice-exceptional (2E) kids is through homeschooling with self-directed learning and unschooling.

Self-Directed Learning vs. Unschooling?

Self-directed learning is a self-motivated pursuit of knowledge not based on a required set of circumstances but learning for its own sake. Using an unschooling approach to learning simply means that activities and lessons are not structured or required.

Children constantly learn through their interactions and experiences with the world around them.  Many families find that creating their own flexible homeschool and allowing their kids to be the driving force in their learning is the very best educational option for our above-average kids.

RLL #107: Learning as an Unschooling Family with Robyn Robertson

Self-directed learning and unschooling is better for gifted and 2E learners

Our kids aren’t cookie cutter, why would we think a one size fits all of educating will fit them? An example might be a kiddo who loves math and excels ahead of his same-age peers but is also struggling with reading. We could encourage his reading through the “strewing” of picture books about math, making them available for him to discover. This would likely be more interesting to him than a remedial reading curriculum. 

A lot of gifted kids are energized by making “dive deeps” into areas of interest. In our family, there is a genuine need to go into detailed study! Just because measures like tests or projects show mastery has occurred doesn’t mean our kids are done with learning about the subject. With self-directed homeschooling, limits are easily removed in open-ended learning at home; there is no timetable to follow. By exploring those tangents, our kids are motivated to learn more in depth and with greater passion.

The benefits of self-directed learning and unschooling point to just how good it is for gifted and 2E kids.

There’s a confidence that comes to children when they have buy-in to their learning. Self-directed learners are motivated in their learning and hesitate less to investigate new things.

More flexible learning gives us a way where overexcitabilities and asynchrony are less of an issue. Home is a safer environment in which to learn strategies to handle differences and adjust behaviors.  Homeschooling parents are readily available to give our kids the support they need if they’re asynchronous. Scaffolding can provide for areas where our child might struggle, so that they can continue to learn and create at their level. Take for example the child who has difficulty with handwriting, but who has a great imagination and concocts wonderfully imaginative stories. Allowing her to dictate her story to a parent to record is a way of giving her space to explore her talent as a “writer” while supporting her as she works on penmanship.

Unschooling benefits the whole family by creating space to create.

Grace Llewellyn explains, “You don’t need a schoolteacher to get knowledge – you can get it from looking at the world, from watching films, from conversations, from reading, from asking questions, from experience. When you get down to it, unschooling is really just a fancy term for ‘life’ or ‘growing up uninstitutionalized.’” 

Unschooling gives us more room to explore interests and have wonderful life experiences in the safest of environments, within the family, those relationships will always be their very best teacher. Important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, fostering authenticity and lifelong learning take time and attention which we can adjust and focus on while we homeschool.

Ultimately, as parents of these “outside-the-box thinkers,” we learn to trust our children better and respect their learning needs. All kids have an intrinsic desire to learn and create; but our kids tend towards MORE of everything. In self-directed learning and unschooling, we can be our kiddos’ greatest champion, cheering them on to becoming the very best people they can be.

unschooling life learning grace llewellyn

Families who already use self-directed learning and unschooling provide support and encouragement.

This week’s podcast episode is a conversation with Robyn Robertson of Honey I’m Homeschooling the Kids. She shares the background of her unschooling family and makes an important analogy of self-directed learning as being a journey we travel on with our entire family.  Some of the ideas Robyn and Colleen share in this episode are:

  • Travel together as a family in your learning, even if everyone is learning about different things.
  • Keep going back to knowing why you’re doing it and adjust as needed.
  • Experience life together, share stories as a family. This will cause you to build connections through these shared experiences.
  • Take field trips, have family projects, attend independent classes and enrichment programs, enroll in online courses and exercise programs, and leave room for a lot of personal time. If the individual wants to pursue a formal class, that can be unschooling as well!

Learning Mindset Happiness is goal Robyn Robertson

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

            

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

Posted on

101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

101 reasons eclectic homeschooling works for gifted kids

It started out an easy, relaxed conversation, and then the mom at the library asked me the question I most dread answering… “What curriculum do you use with your kids?”

I always stammer and then feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I mean, how can I possibly even answer that semmingly simple question? You, dear reader, can pop a search into the sidebar and find posts of curriculum past, but I’d have to warn you that those plans almost always changed right after posting them… we just don’t stand still around here, and we loathe ruts.

We’re eclectic.

101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

We pick and choose from a bunch of different approaches to learning, curriculums, and styles — and we are very often following a child’s lead, diving down rabbit holes, and even leaning into more unschooling than schooling.

It suits us — a family with several gifted and twice-exceptional kiddos. Maybe it would suit you too?

I’ve compiled a bunch of reasons that an eclectic approach to homeschooling is right for gifted kiddos. What would you add?

101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

  1. Eclectic Homeschooling allows you to incorporate your favorite aspects of other methods.

  2. You can settle into an ease of mind and enjoy homeschooling again once you let go of overly rigid programs and curriculums.

  3. Your children can explore their own passions freely.

  4. Eclectic homeschooling allows for gifted kiddos to embrace unschooling in their strongest areas.

  5. Delight directed learning is a natural way for kids to learn.

  6. When homeschooling eclectically, you can incorporate any curriculum you want to without worrying if it fits into a specific method.

  7. You can incorporate STEM into just about any lesson easily.

  8. Notebooking is a natural fit for documenting and letting kids take ownership of their own work when using the eclectic method. 

  9. Got voracious readers? It’s easy to “count” that independent learning as school when you let go and let the child lead.

  10. When you’re eclectic in your homeschool, it’s easy to incorporate unit studies and let the kids explore the rabbit trail-y topics they find interesting.

  11. You can easily design lessons to fit the individual needs of each of your kids with eclectic homeschooling.

  12. Learning happens in a more organic, relaxed way when you’re eclectic.

  13. There’s a lot of flexibility so you can adapt when your children have a variety of interests and activities outside the home making for crazy schedules.

  14. It’s a great method to use to teach kids of varying ages, skill levels, and passions.

  15. You can spend as much time as needed to fully research and understand a topic or concept.

  16. With eclectic homeschooling you aren’t held to specific time frames like 36- or 48- week periods so you can school year-round.

  17. It’s a great way to be purposeful and organized about the educational goals you set for your individual kiddos.

  18. Relaxing the choices and adapting to individual needs can make for a more peaceful home. 

  19. Being eclectic means you can pivot easily to meet the specific needs of your gifted or twice-exceptional kiddos. 

  20. Eclectic homeschooling allows for kids to learn through their own unique learning styles.

  21. The eclectic method of homeschooling allows families to create an atmosphere of learning that is all their own.

  22. Being eclectic means you can pick and choose from a bunch of different methods and curriculums to meet your kids where they are in each different subject.

  23. Passion-driven learning is lifelong learning.

  24. Your entire home becomes a learning environment when you homeschool in an interest-driven, eclectic way because you tend to start strewing things for your kids to find.

  25. Eclectic homeschoolers see learning opportunities all around them.

  26. It’s easy to teach kids of different ages and abilities with eclectic homeschooling as you’re already picking from various sources, you can adapt to different levels as well.

  27. You can tweak curriculum as you go to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your gifted kiddo.

  28. Anything can be a learning resource when you think eclectically.

  29. Eclectic homeschooling makes it easy to take time off whenever you need to.

  30. You can effortlessly foster that lifelong love of learning in your kids by encouraging them to explore their interests anytime during the day.

  31. Learning can happen anywhere when you’re an eclectic homeschooler.

  32. Eclectic learning might be right for you if you love to mix and match your curriculum.

  33. Gifted kiddos are asynchronous and don’t fit those boxed curriculums anyway.

  34. It’s a cinch to fill gaps when you find them when you’re not tied to a single curriculum.

  35. Eclectic homeschoolers can fill their days with the beautiful — books and nature

  36. Save money by not buying a boxed curriculum and focus on picking and choosing to suit your kiddos’ needs and interests.

  37. Eclectic homeschooling provides a perfectly custom education for your child. 

  38. Eclectic homeschoolers learn right alonside their kids.

  39. Incorporating lots of experiments is super easy with eclectic homeschooling.

  40. There’s more time for art and music.

  41. Eclectic homeschooling looks different for every family, so there’s no pressure to be anyone but yourself. 

  42. If you find yourself leaning towards several different methods of homeschooling, then you’re already an eclectic homeschooler… Embrace the adventure.

  43. Gifted kids get the freedom to pursue the things they love in an eclectic homeschool. 

  44. It never gets boring in an eclectic homeschooling home — there’s always something new to try.

  45. Gifted kids learn differently than their neurotypical peers, and eclectic homeschooling allows them to be themselves.

  46. Being eclectic means it’s easy to meet each individual kiddo where they are and allow them to learn new things every single day.

  47. Oftentimes families discover that what they thought would work well in the fall, is not a great fit by spring. Eclectic moms know it’s okay to switch things up mid-year.

  48. Being eclectic makes it easy to adapt to both strengths AND weaknesses.

  49. Rather than feeling frustrated that one curriculum can’t do it all for a kiddo, eclectic homeschoolers enjoy the journey of finding exactly the right materials for each varied subject.

  50. Learning through a variety of materials and methods means that the days never get boring. 

  51. Eclectic homeschooling doesn’t mean being random, it means being thoughtfully deliberate about what you want for your child then preparing a variety of materials to meet those needs.

  52. Eclectic homeschoolers have the freedom to choose co-ops and outside classes based on their kids’ interests instead of a specific curricular bent. 

  53. Eclectic homeschooling can be a lot more frugal than other methods. The library is a family’s best friend.

  54. When you’re an eclectic homeschooler it’s easy to tap into your kiddos’ unique learning styles and match their curriculums up with how they learn best.

  55. Interest led homeschooling with an eclectic bent means you can take time to listen to your kids and find out what’s already sparking their interests — and running with it. 

  56. It’s super easy to target specific areas needed. For example, we don’t teach language arts once our kids learn to read, but when my oldest needed help with grammar, we were able to pull in a workbook program that targeted the skills he needed to work on

  57. It’s easy to incorporate audio books from resources like Audible to let your child listen to learn.

  58. You can cover only the topics you feel are most important for your child to learn.

  59. Eclectic homeschoolers have an easier time accelerating as they’re not tied to a single curriculum.

  60. Acceleration in this way means it’s easy to look at dual enrollment options for high school, along with early college entrance opportunities.

  61. Field trips can be a big part of an eclectic homeschool.

  62. Eclectic homeschoolers drive their own schedule — perfect for non-morning people like us

  63. It’s easy to adopt the daily schedule that works best for your family when you’re eclectic.

  64. Got an eager preschooler or a gifted toddler? Incorporate learning into their day in a way that fits your family — without worrying about what others think.

  65. Play-based learning is perfect for young children — gifted or otherwise — and is easy to incorporate when you’re an eclectic homeschooler.

  66. Kids learn to read when they’re developmentally ready — you can be flexible and relaxed in your approach. 

  67. The eclectic method may be best for you if you feel learning happens organically when you’re relaxed.

  68. Eclectic homeschoolers know that learning can’t be forced, and they’re partners with their children in their own education.

  69. Learning happens organically all the time, and eclectic homeschoolers are able to embrace teachable moments.

  70. Eclectic homeschooling can bring peace to your home.

  71. The flexibility of eclectic homeschooling means that there’s more time for discovering outside passions.

  72. Celebrating creativity is an integral part of the eclectic homeschool.

  73. If your kiddo is a passionate artist, you can give them time, resources, and classes to explore their talents.

  74. For musical kiddos (like mine), it’s easy to take advantage of the off times at music studios to arrange private lessons.

  75. Morning Time (check out the NEW book by my friend Pam Barnhill) works perfectly with an eclectic approach.

  76. Flexibility and an eclectic approach builds your kiddos’ confidence as they learn to take charge of their own educations.

  77. Eclectic homeschooling allows you to use textbooks as a spine and jumping off point. 

  78. Incorporate documentaries into different subject areas to excite and engage your visual learners. 

  79. Embracing an eclectic, child-led style of homeschooling builds a family culture around learning, oftentimes eliminating sibling competition.

  80. Gifted kiddos tend to march to the beat of their own drum, so embracing an eclectic approach makes it easier for their quirks to shine.

  81. With an eclectic approach to learning, parents can adapt to things that cause their gifted/2e kiddos anxiety — like perfectionism — and structure the way they assess differently.

  82. With an eclectic approach, gifted kiddos can tackle several years worth of materials in a single year if they want to.

  83. Embracing a child-led, eclectic approach shows kids that learning is all around them.

  84. Eclectic learners can be self-guided… I give my older kids the teacher materials and let them run with them.

  85. Exploring a variety of topics lets kids find the things they love — and then run with them.

  86. Got unschool-y leanings, but aren’t completely comfortable letting it all go? Eclectic homeschooling is a great bridge to help you relax more and more.

  87. Being eclectic means you’re embracing the fact that homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning, and not necessarily a methodology.

  88. Gifted kiddos thrive on novelty, and the eclectic approach is a great way to incorporate new things into learning. 

  89. Eclectic homeschooling is a mosaic where you take the best resources, information, and opportunities and break them up into small pieces, creating something entirely unique to you.

  90. Being eclectic means that there’s no one path and that you can try new things throughout your homeschooling career.

  91. Being eclectic allows us to take advantage of some pretty cool resources like Around the World Stories.

  92. We love using kits from Groovy Lab in a Box when we need a break from the regular lessons.

  93. The kids have had the opportunity to dive into Minecraft coding with programs from Connected Camps.

  94.  Little Passports helped the kids get an introduction to geography when they were young.

  95. My ten-year-old and I are learning to knit and crochet through inexpensive online classes at Craftsy.

  96. It’s super fun to find ways to surprise the kids in an eclectic homeschool, and one of our newest loves is the subscription from Brick Loot.

  97. There is no such thing as a perfect curriculum — for you OR your kiddos — so letting go of the search for the one thing that does it all frees you up to pick the best part of each different curriculum you come across.

  98. Because we follow the kids’ interests, we can snag several workbooks around a theme when Dover Publications (a fave from way back in my teaching days) has a good deal.

  99. Eclectic homeschooling is great prep for thinking outside of the box and using unorthodox methods to help kids learn — kind of like our Alexaschooling.

  100. With an eclectic approach to homeschooling, parents can totally tailor things to be exactly what each child needs to be most successful in life.

  101. Eclectic, relaxed, child-led homeschooling creates the perfect environment for a gifted kid — and family — to thrive in peace.

Are you convinced that it’s okay to slow down, relax, and let your child (and your heart) lead your homeschool? What other reasons or benefits do you find in an eclectic approach to homeschooling? Share in the comments or tag me on social media.

default avatar
Latest posts by Colleen Kessler (see all)
Posted on

RLL #100: A Celebration of 100 Episodes!

rll 100 a celebration of 100 episodes


It hardly seems possible we could be at our 100th Episode so quickly but here we are! These last few years have been a blast and we’ve had so much fun learning about our gifted / 2e / quirky, out-of-the-box kiddos while recording these episodes. We thought it would be fun to take a look back and listen to a few snippets from our favorite conversations, talks with parents, bloggers, authors, experts, and even some of the topics big and small we face in the day-to-day. Won’t you listen with us? You might find you want to go back and listen again to a favorite episode (or listen to one you might’ve missed!)  We also hope it inspires you to look forward to all the great conversations and episodes we have planned for the coming New Year.

RLL #100: A Celebration of 100 Episodes

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

            

d

end

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 
Posted on

RLL #92: Building Self and Setting Goals with Suki Wessling

rll 92 building self and setting goals with suki wessling


These quirky gifted or 2e kids of ours are often “square pegs in round holes” everywhere they go, not just in school. Bringing them home helps them to thrive in their own way and often a self-directed, child-led homeschool approach helps them to discover who they truly are and what they want to learn. In this episode, Colleen speaks with Suki Wessling, homeschooling parent, writer, musician and online instructor at Athena’s Advanced Academy about helping our kids learn to set goals and flourish as authentic individuals in lives of their own design.

RLL #92: Building Self and Setting Goals with Suki Wessling

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

            

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

Posted on

Not Knowing Everything Makes Me a Better Homeschool Parent

not knowing everything makes me a better homeschool parent

You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, I’m sure. Usually it means that 20% of the people in an organization do 80% of the work, but it means something different to a homeschool mom. To homeschool parents it may represent the 80% of people who declare they could never homeschool compared to the 20% of people […]

The post Not Knowing Everything Makes Me a Better Homeschool Parent appeared first on Raising Lifelong Learners.

khOg?d=yIl2AUoC8zA khOg?i=VzXg3GkB0GY:2U CNPvwq s:gIN9vFwOqvQ khOg?d=qj6IDK7rITs khOg?i=VzXg3GkB0GY:2U CNPvwq s:V sGLiPBpWU khOg?d=7Q72WNTAKBA

VzXg3GkB0GY