Have you heard of this method to free your mind of scattered and overwhelming thoughts? If so, have you considered using it with your kids for a variety of great benefits? It's an easy way to help your kids learn how to express themselves on paper (and gives you a great opportunity to connect!).
Here's my definition:
Brain Dump: When an individual takes all thoughts and feelings and records them on paper, journal, or notebook. Alternative approaches to paper are typing into document or recording voice.
My Brain Dump Background
I have been using this technique since high school. I didn't have a specific term for this sanity saving practice. My high school years and beyond were crammed with classes, sports, and work. As much as I thrived with all of this activity, I needed a way to organize my racing thoughts and anxiety about making sure I got everything done.
I have fond memories of sitting at my bedroom desk, joyfully jotting down all my thoughts and feelings about school, sports, boys, and work. This approach also worked beautifully to help me craft essays, papers, and other homework assignments.
I had no organized system for it. I would randomly write down what was in my brain to schedule in my planner and add to my to-do list. My informal system helped me all the way through graduate school and continues to help me today.
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I had an "aha" mommy moment. I could use the idea of a brain dump to help our homeschool. A brain dump could help me with planning, organizing, and leading our homeschool. It could also help my boys in their various learning styles and personalities.
Reasons To Use A Brain Dump In Your Homeschool
- Boost Learning: A brain dump is a fantastic way for your kids to brainstorm. Use for planning projects, collecting thoughts on a subject, and reviewing concepts.
- Psychological: Brain dumps can be used to help kids deal with common struggles, like anxiety and depression. Taking a closer look at thoughts and feelings can be extremely helpful in processing and overcoming such struggles.
- Special Needs: Kids with special needs like ADHD or autism may find a brain dump to be a starting point to organizing their thoughts.
- Toddlers to Teens: All ages can benefit from doing a brain dump. Younger kids can draw or use material, like playdough, to express their thoughts. They can also narrate their thoughts and feelings to an adult or older sibling who can record for them. Older kids can practice their writing and doodling skills while they work on brain dumping.
How To Use A Brain Dump In Your Homeschool
There are a number of ways that you can include brain dumps into your homeschool. As with all homeschool advice, I suggest you look at your family and its unique situation.
Perhaps doing a brain dump first thing during your morning gathering time would be the best way for everyone to prepare for a successful homeschool day?
Or maybe your homeschool could benefit from a brain dump in the afternoon to release pent up frustrations, synthesize learned concepts, or collect thoughts?
You may want to schedule a specific time of day for a brain dump. Some homeschools may prefer to brain dump when the need arises and, therefore, keep pencils and paper close by to grab whenever needed.
To take the pressure off, consider setting a timer for 1-5 minutes. A limit on how long your kids will be writing can help alleviate stress with known expectations.
If you hear "But I don't have anything in my brain!", offer a topic or two for your kids to select for their brain dump.
A notebook or journal per child is a great way to organize your homeschool brain dumps. Your kids can customize this special place to record their thoughts and feelings
The #1 thing that I want you to emphasize with your kids and yourself: Don't worry about spelling, grammar, and punctuation!
Your brain dump space is your own. Use it at your will. It is not a novel or a newspaper article. It is there to help you and your kids develop increased self-expression and organization of thought and feelings.
To provide my boys a visual to reference as we start this process, I created this Brain Dump For Kids printable. To get your FREE instant download, simply click below.
What ways do you help your kids organize and process their thoughts and feelings?