What to Do When Strewing is Rejected

Recently I found all kinds of things to strew in front of Charlotte.

I came across a website and DVD series that has an episode about a man who settled on the uninhabited Cocos Islands, later making himself king over the workers of his coconut plantation. His family ruled for 150 years before Australia brought that rule to an end. Doesn’t that sound interesting?

I discovered a TV program about Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin, and told Charlotte about it. I remembered we owned the book. I thought she would love to read it. And then there’s the movie version.

I subscribed to Explore Learning’s maths and science Gizmos and imagined all the fun Charlotte would have playing with them.

I found a chemistry book, The Joy of Chemistry, full of experiments that can be performed with materials easily obtained from our local shops. Perfect for Charlotte the Unschooling Chemist.

And what about the computer science tutorials I found on the Kahn Academy website?

There were other things too…

Don’t you think all these resources sound very interesting?

If I were a teenage unschooler, I would be very excited by what I’d found. I’d want to start watching, reading, clicking… straight away. So why did Charlotte screw up her nose and ignore my suggestions? I am a little disappointed.

What shall I do? Shall I keep nagging her to take a look at my strewing? I think for a moment and the answer comes loud and clear:

Leave Charlotte to learn what she wants to learn… and use the resources myself. Because when it comes down to it, it’s me who’s excited by what I’ve found, not Charlotte.

So I am using the computer science tutorials. I’m trying to work out how to translate and rotate my drawing using Javascript. I watched the TV program about Mao’s Last Dancer. I might re-read the book. I’m about to order a copy of the movie (for myself). I’m going to watch that DVD about the man who ruled the Cocos Islands…

I guess there’s always the possibility that when Charlotte sees how involved I am with my DVD, tutorial, book… she might suddenly become interested. She might settle down next to me and want to take a look after all. But if she doesn’t, that’s perfectly okay.

We are all different. We don’t have to learn the same things. There are so many interesting things to investigate, it doesn’t matter at all if Charlotte rejects some of my strewing.

So what do I do when strewing is rejected? I keep looking for other resources for my children and I use the rejected ones myself.

I’ve just discovered the ABC shop has Mao’s Last Dancer on special. I’ve ordered a copy (for myself). I am going to enjoy it!

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  1. Reply

    Okay, first off, I LOVED Mao's Last Dancer for many reasons. :-). I've said before in the homeschool forum I belong to that I think sometimes parents unknowingly try to live vicariously through their children's projects by taking a child's interests and then making a child do what the parent envisions. I've done it before and I'm sure I will unknowingly do it again. :-). It reminds me of my favorite H.A. Rey story, Billy's Picture. It's about a rabbit who is trying to draw a self-portrait and his friends come and draw on it to make the picture, "how it should be". Billy breaks down in tears when his picture looks nothing like a rabbit. The book ends with each animal doing their own self-portrait which is all they really wanted to do in the first place. As a parent it's so important that we go on our own learning journey and take on our own projects so that we can allow children to create their own self-portraits inspired by God. The last thing I want to add is that I think you would love the book, Project-based Homeschooling by Lori Pickert and her blog by the same name.

    1. Reply


      "As a parent it's so important that we go on our own learning journey and take on our own projects so that we can allow children to create their own self-portraits inspired by God." I like that very much!

      I guess sometimes parents get excited about something and just want to share with a child. Other times I find something I am sure complements one of my child's interests, like the chemistry book I thought Charlotte would love but didn't. You are quite right: I can't make Charlotte use that book just because it fits in with what I see as the perfect way to learn chemistry. She has her own ideas and has to be allowed to follow them.

      I've come across several references to Lori Pickert's book recently. I just went to Amazon and bought a Kindle version! Thank you for your recommendation.

      And thank you for your comment!

    2. Reply

      I think you'll really like the book because you do a lot of the things she recommends. If anything, maybe you'll get affirmation in the way you learn (but 3 happy homeschool graduates is probably all you need for assurance that unschooling works ;-)). One of the things I appreciate about PBH is that it works with any method of homeschooling. Like Lori says, it's more about incorporating certain strategies into our days. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

      Congratulations on exceeding your word count for NaNoWriMo. 🙂

    3. Reply


      I am enjoying the book! I haven't read it all yet, but I do like lots of the author's ideas. I agree that learning is serious work and children should feel theirs is valued. Having the necessary resources that are easily accessible is important. And although it is essential that adults don't direct and take over a child's learning… they need to step back and let them experiment and work things out for themselves… children do benefit if a parent is interested in helping them achieve their goals by providing materials, time, encouragement, interest… Yes, there's lots to like about PBH. I am sure I will find more interesting things to think about, and to apply or compare to our unschooling. I will have to finish the book so I can comment again!

      Thank you for the NaNo congratulations! I finished my novel a week ago. Today was the first verification day and we all copied and pasted our novels so the word count could be verified. The girls and I are all winners! It was a great experience. I wonder if you've ever done NaNoWriMo.

      Thank you for your comment. God bless!

    • Amy R
    • November 27, 2012

    Ooooh. I am so guilty of strewing with intent to then MAKE my daughter (hard to be the last homeschooler at home, I'm guessing) do whatever gem it is.

    I am still so wanting her (my 15yo) to continue with her online German class. I could cry at the thought of her giving it up. Her reason is not that the class is too hard. Not that the class is boring. Her reason is, she does not want to get up so early. She has held fast to that opinion for several months now…that she will finish the semester-which ends just before the Christmas break-and then that's it.

    Something she's very much wanting to do, the Homeschool Civil War Ball, has become MY "you'll get to do this if you'll do that". So manipulative of me, I should be ashamed, but I so want her to stay with the language course. (I also am worried that she's getting to be lazy…for that to be the only reason. The class is not super early or anything…but she will sleep 10 or 11 hours a night if she can)

    Congratulations on finishing your NaNoWriMo novel!!!!! That's WAY ahead of schedule, isn't it? I thought it was writing for the entire month of November.

    1. Reply


      Strewing with intent: that is such a good way of expressing the problem!

      Would it be such a great disaster if your daughter took a semester or even a year off from her course? She might miss it and return to the classes with more enthusiasm. If she was passionate about learning German she would probably want to sacrifice anything, even sleep, to make sure she learnt it. I am just thinking about my eldest daughter who never wanted to practise the piano. Eventually she gave up lessons but returned a year or so later when she regained her enthusiasm. She ended up doing very well at her exams and the break didn't make any difference. Actually I think it helped enormously.

      Just wondering if you could do the online classes yourself, Amy. It sounds like something you would really enjoy!

      Thank you for your congratulations! I completed 50 000 words on day 17 of 30 for NaNoWriMo. I wanted to finish as soon as possible so I could get back to writing about other things. The challenge isn't as difficult as it sounds. The hardest part is getting started each day. Once I began writing, the words started flowing. But I never actually wanted to sit down and begin!

      God bless you!

      • Amy R
      • November 29, 2012

      I don't know that it would be a disaster exactly, if my daughter didn't continue in German…but she loved our time in Germany a year ago, and wants to go there again. Also, this class is the first academic course she's been a part of…tests, practicing, etc.

      Of course, there's things I'm not saying…about the way she spends great swathes of time…this class is a good thing, and it gets her to get out of bed – which I think is a good thing in itself, too.

    2. Reply


      It sounds like you think the German course is of great benefit to your daughter. Of course I don't know all the ins and outs of the situation. Maybe sometimes it is worth pushing for something that you feel is really valuable. I hope it all works out for both of you.

      God bless you!

    • Katie
    • November 28, 2012

    I'm creating a blogroll of blogs that blog (at least occasionally) about homeschooling high school. (http://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/homeschool-high-school-blogs/) I came across yours today and would LOVE to add it. If you would consider this, could you email me? katie@letshomeschoolhighschool.com. Thanks in advance! Blessings…


    1. Reply


      I am so pleased to be included on your blog roll. Your website looks so interesting. I am planning on returning and exploring some more!

    • Elisa
    • November 29, 2012

    It all sounds super interesting to me..minus the Chemistry. 😉 I try to not push my boys at all. Easy to do now, that I'm exhausted, tired, and unmotivated to strew anything at all. But we still do our fair share of reading and I try to let them puruse their interests, even when I don't like their interests all that much.

    1. Reply


      "I try to let them pursue their interests, even when I don't like their interests all that much." I'm smiling! I think about my boys and their interests. It's easy to share my passions with the girls but the boys… I'm not really interested in cars but Callum is. Yes, so important to value what they choose to learn about even if I can't see what all the fuss is about.

      God bless!

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