Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Madness and our "Brain Dump"

It is Monday and we had another snow storm yesterday that carried over into this morning. I know I should be used to snow, living in New England but it is only January and I am already sick of the "white stuff". ~
We started our morning off with shoveling and trying to get started with our morning studies. Mondays are never great days for us because we tend to have a hard time getting started into our week.
Today was no exception, we finally began and my youngest proceeded to remind me that today was supposed to be his "brain dump" day.
I am sure your asking "what is a Brain Dump Day". Well this came up during our de-schooling period when I was attempting to help the boys move away from the compulsory tendencies of public schooling and more into the child led side of learning and exploring.
I started this with my 12 yo and what we would do is:
Purchase a small journal and write on the cover: ALL ABOUT ME
Next we would subtitle each page that described something about them. For instance some pages would be: My Favorite TV Shows, My Favorite Movies, My Favorite Food, My Favorite Subjects etc...THINGS I AM GOOD AT or THINGS I AM BAD AT
Then we add the things they dislike: TV SHOWS, SUBJECTS, THINGS PEOPLE DO, FOODS THEY HATE, etc. THINGS I WANT TO LEARN, WHAT I THINK IS DUMB....etc.
{My reasoning behind this exercise was trying to get underneath all the feelings that
had my 12 yo all frustrated and distraught and his confidence level and self esteem was
very low, so I needed to find a way to get to the bottom and thought this tool might be
just the instrument to use} it was.
As we moved through the pages, you could see his mood change.. angry to happy and smiling to joking to then crying and then needing a hug...then talking some more about things that bother them and writing those down..and then crying again and then laughing through the tears. Sound exhausting doesn't it? Well it is. BUT, it really helped my 12 yo.

Now it was my 10 yo turn because he has been having a few rough days and came out of of the blue and said he needed a Brain Dump. So after, reading and math we sat to do our brain dump.
I really like this exercise because it teaches you so much more about your child and what his strengths are...we went back to last years, brain dump to see where he was at and he and I could not get over the difference in interests and how he had gained so many strengths.
For instance last year he wrote he hated reading ~ while this year he added reading to his page of things he liked, but commented (only books I like~ ) which is quite different from how he felt last year.
We add through pages and can continue throughout the year with this journal and sometime plan to make a scrapbook for him about his things only because he likes to do things with pictures instead of all words so I agreed to do this as well, once again following "his lead and his strengths.

So at the end of our brain dump mama learned we need to do even more hands on math, more science about animals because he wants to help and work with animals when he is grown up and he wants to work further on his grammar lapbook and make it more fun ~ oh and he also wants to know more about how things work, cable TV, cell phones, computers, and the stock market...lol I have my work cut out for me , :)

So if your learner is having a rough week and you cannot seem to get to the bottom of all those feelings that are pushed down so deep, try sitting down with a steamy cup of hot cocoa and doing a "brain dump" and you both will learn and feel a whole lot better. : O)

Tracey ~

1 comment:

Just Jen said...

looks like you got it all worked out! I can see all the sidebar links fine and you already wrote stuff...lol...you already have a blog list...you're rockin!

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