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What I Learned About The Brain Today

One of the things I have added to our homeschool is Goldie Hawn’s program..Mind Up.

I also added Foundations from Classical Conversations and it matched up for Science we learned about the 3 parts of the nervous system, the main one being the Brain of course.

Using Mind Up, I taught the kids about our brains specifically. We learned how the prefrontal cortex is the orchestra leader and is what makes up process and think, the hippocampus is where our memories are stored and the amygdala is what helps us sense danger. This is where out flight, fright, freeze comes from.

To briefly summarize I taught them how the amygdala cuts off the rest of our brain when we sense danger so we can react quickly. This is a good thing, however sometimes this can be activated when there is not a real threat of danger. Maybe it’s a stressful situation, something overblown in our head and until we quiet it down, we cannot think clearly.

We talked about examples like when a kid might sense a monster in the room. The fear can be paralyzing but it’s not real. We must learn to shut the panic off to think clearly or logically. The best way to do that is with deep breaths. Throughout the day we do a lot of shallow breathing especially when hovering over a screen. Taking a deep breath is as powerful as anti anxiety medication because it releases dopamine. This is what I have read at least and I do believe that.

This is because breathing deeply releases endorphins in your brain. … The autonomic nervous system and dopamine are connected, so when you breath deeply, you activate the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, which in turn releases dopamine into your brain.Nov 1, 2017

How often is the advice given to calm ourselves down to take deep breaths. This is one quick way to quiet the amygdala to then use the rest of our brain.

Many times we tell our kids to use their brains, but we don’t explain how.

Reading Goldie’s book to parents, I am reminded to be present and mindful. So many of our parenting freak outs, overwhelming moments, can be helped with just mindfulness. I know I react poorly when my amygdala is set off in my home and how a few deep breaths could make a difference in my parenting.

This afternoon I started something called couch time. Where one by one I invite each kid to sit next to me and just look into their eyes, free of any distractions and let them just talk to me. I ask if there is anything they want to share or show me. Today Izzy showed me her art book one page at a time and I really delighted in her work and I could tell that made a difference. It was better than the usual, “Oh good job” as I swept or made a meal.

Elly talked to me about how she knew she wanted to stick it out with piano.

Josh told me how he doesn’t like it when his sisters wake him up early and Genny who overhead him, spent her time telling me how it was Joshua who woke them up. But we talked about a solution.

These are fast times we are living in. My goal is to be more mindful.

Americans are the second least happiest kids on the planet. They come right before UK kids for being the most unhappy. How can this be? Is it the screens? Wi-Fi? Overscheduled?Divorce?

I can work on the things I have control over and that is my brain and hopefully I can give my kids the tools to control theirs.


Christian, Homeschooling, Mother of 6 with way too many ideas.

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