A tweet led me to a term that I had never heard before “strewing.” This post gives a nice description of this homeschool concept: as “leaving material of interest around for our children to discover.” Google says the verb form is to “scatter or spread (things) untidily over a surface or area.” Basically strewing is exposing students to interesting books, objects, places, etc and letting them choose where to take their learning path. Strewing is also the design of a quality museum.
I have definitely used this idea with my own children and have had it in mind when I picture teaching in my ideal classroom. But seeing it spelled out was the perfect articulation for what I don’t like about the Common Core or any “standards.”
Standards control learning and kill curiosity. Strewing on the other hand allows the strewer (probably just made up that word) to influence the learner without controlling her. That is how I envision the perfect school. Master learners creating interesting experiments and simulations that apprentice learners will want to become invested in out of their natural curiosity.
I want to strew but standardization fights against it by requiring that every child learns the same stuff. Hard to guarantee that if students are allowed to wander all over in the subject. Definitely will be thinking about how to subvert Common Core to allow maximum “strewing” time in the future…