What is an Invitation to Learn?

I've had a lot of questions about some terms I use, lately.

What is an invitation to learn?
What is strewing?
What is a rich learning environment?
Why are you so passionate about make memories?

This photo is of Zeah's learning space a couple of years ago.  It still looks like this, but with some of the toddler items moved on, and more big-kid things (and mess, plenty of mess).  This room itself is an invitation to learn - there are a variety of toys, art activities, games and books (out of the shot) and she can set up to play and not have to pack it away right away.  The room is an open area off our living space so she can see and hear me while I do Mum things, or work from home.  For older kids, an inviting space might be games displayed on shelves, a comfy place to sit and read, quality books that are easy to find, art supplies that are accessible and interesting with images for inspiration, blank journals and nice pens, or a musical instrument in a living space (eg our guitars are on stands and even on the wall on hooks).

This (above) is an invitation to learn. For decades I've spent the quiet time after bedtime to place some items on our table about once a week or so to invite the children to create, read, play, and explore. This photo is from an early-years Australian animals unit study. On the table are some books, cards with words (memory, matching, copying), plastic and wooden animal figures, some items from nature and fiction & non-fiction books. There's also a wooden possum shape, pencils in earthy tones, and paper. Often these items will be at one end of the table, with breakfast served at the other end, to allow quiet time for the children to observe and consider what they might like to do with these items. 

For my teens an invitation to learn may look like:
a construction toy (maths)
sketch book and watercolour pencils or something different to usual
a dvd (we're talking a decade ago, on average)
a board game we haven't played in awhile
a couple of non-fiction books with pictures to flick through (eg wildlife books)
magazines like Double Helix

So, what is 'strewing'?  That's just a name for what I described above.  It's putting things around the home to attract the kids' attention.  And, in my experience, it works beautifully.

Strewing Tips:
don't do it too often
make the space (eg table, shelf) otherwise clear of clutter
less is more - the picture above is a lot
make it quality
mix it up
take an interest yourself - join them

Finally, making memories - why is it so important and how do we do it?  For us, memories are made doing small things like taking off to the beach, having a picnic in our yard, having a themed evening meal (dressing up is optional), volunteering, singing songs, taking hikes, and on a larger scale - travel to anywhere near or far!  As a mother of six adult children, I can say that I wish I'd had a chance to make more memories with them!  We did some awesome things together, then suddenly they were all grown and flown, and the chance for impromptu fun has become very, very rare due to vast distances between us now.

I hope this post explains these terms and what they mean to our family, and inspires you to add in some simple techniques to enrich your homeschooling and family journeys.


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