Some might call it strewing.Others, sneaky learning.
Still others prefer "childhood enchantment."
Whatever the moniker, the outcome is still the same. All of these methods lead to one thing, a delight-directed education. It's the no-fuss, fast-track way to encourage REAL learning...the kind in which a child personally invests and one which inspires (not requires) him to want to learn more.
But what exactly is "strewing?" you ask.(This post contains sponsored links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
To be honest, it's kind of an If-you-give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie story line. When strewing, you use a pre-existing interest or passion to lure your child into another interest or passion. One topic leads to another, which leads to the next, which leads to the next.
Here, let me explain.
My eight-year-old's daily routine looks a little something like this. He gets up thinking about Legos. He completes his Good Morning activities with lightning speed...in order to have extra time to play Legos. He dutifully does some school and then hurls himself downstairs to play Legos. More school. More Legos. He eats lunch and somehow veers the table discussion to Legos. Some quick chores and he's on to more Legos. Then during our family read aloud, there is a 100% chance he will be sitting on the living room floor, listening, while surrounded by a pile of Legos...
Well, you get the idea.
(To be honest, if he could build himself a little colony out of Minifigs, I think he'd declare himself king and start structuring the world's first plastic monarchy so that he'd never have to leave his bedroom Lego corner again.)
Now, I could just let him continue to build his Lego army in solitude, naively assuming he's preparing for some kind of brick apocalypse, OR I could use this pre-existing passion of Legos to lure him into learning.
I'll take door #2, please.
And here's where the strewing comes in.
I lay out some headphones and a few Heirloom Audio Adventures and casually mention that he can have some time to listen to a CD all on his own...while he plays with Legos, of course.
(He loves audio dramas and these particular ones are new to him. Based on the time-tested historical novels of G.A. Henty, the Heirloom audios are history from a Christian perspective. They are put out by some of the former producers of Adventures in Odyssey® and are narrated by a star-studded cast including Kirk Cameron of Fireproof, Sean Astin of The Lord of the Rings, and John Rhys-Davies of The Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones. In other words, they'd capture the attention of anyone with a heartbeat.)
He sifts through the available titles I've tossed his way...Under Drake's Flag, In Freedom's Cause, The Dragon and the Raven...and chooses With Lee in Virginia.
A few minutes into the series, he realizes that this is the very same LEE that I had mentioned when I came back from a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania a few weeks prior.
(I returned home laden with maps, photographs, souvenirs, and stories of a nation divided. We sat on the floor and retraced the turning point battle.)
He had listened intently then. But now after building and listening and building and listening on and off for the entire 2 1/2 hour drama, he's mesmerized.
He rushes up to the family library and begins culling a stash of Civil War related books for himself. The next hour finds him lost in a literary retelling of Lee and Grant and their opposing armies. Somewhere in the mix, he lands on Lincoln. He learns of his presidency, his obsession with cats, and his insatiable appetite for chicken casserole...little known facts that he learns from a presidential trivia book.
This new found, and somewhat whimsical, knowledge of Honest Abe leads to a new topic of table conversation...oddities of presidents past.
While lingering over lunch, we all discuss the fact that the "S" of Harry S. Truman doesn't stand for anything. The 33rd president never actually had a middle name. We speak of 350 pound William Taft and the bathtub "incident" of '09. And praise Ronald Reagan for the birth of the blueberry flavored jelly bean, made in his honor.
With heads full of presidential potpourri, my kids do a quick meal cleanup, then clamor to the game closet. All five of them launch into a heated game of Hail to the Chief, a homemade game of presidential facts that my daughter created for one of her PBL presentations a few years back.
When the final question is answered, the money tallied, and a winner declared, the kids all scatter and the presidents are forgotten.
And my son? The one who started this delight-directed adventure in the first place? Well, he heads downstairs to do what he does best, build Legos.
Only this time, he decides to pop on another Heirloom Audio Adventure. Before you know it, we're all discussing the Vikings and their European invasions.
And that, my friends, is the lazy momma's way of directing a delightful education.
Mouse. Cookie. The End.