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8/11/2011 11:13:15 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter--August 2011

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
Continuing Education - Shifting Thoughts into the Right Gear
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By Betty Statnick, M. Ed.
HSLDA Special Needs Consultant

Ongoing training is a must for professionals. You will find that
(among other groups) educators, engineers, lawyers, and physicians are
required to take classes, attend workshops/seminars, and do further
"research" in their respective fields. It is definitely not a matter
of, "I have already earned my degrees, so I have no need of further
learning."

Another way to keep abreast of new happenings and to confirm or
discount results of previous research or practice is to do extensive
reading. In her conversation with me, some years ago, one HSLDA
member told me about herself, "My house is insulated with books and
dust." I laughed heartily at her confession and told her that she and
I could be very good friends.

In this newsletter, I share with you (as a part of my own continuing
education) information from this book I have been reading. I give you
the opportunity to peer over my shoulder and read along with me.

Who Switched Off My Brain? (Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions) -
Revised Edition 2009
By Caroline Leaf, Ph.D.
ISBN: 978-0-9819567-2-5
www.drleaf.net

Dr. Caroline Leaf has been researching the brain for more than 20
years. Her conclusion is that brain science lines up with Scripture.
Her research (and that of others, also) debunks previously held
thinking that "the brain is like a machine, and if a part breaks, it
couldn't be repaired...that we were bound to a fate determined by our
genes--we are victims of biology."

She further comments, "Because I was taught at an early age that
change for the better was always a possibility, when I joined the
scientific community, I found the negative outlook difficult to
understand. I thought there must be something more that we could do
to reach children with learning disabilities...."

Dr. Leaf "explored the archives of brain research and found studies
from respected scientists suggesting that the brain really can
change.... This limited mind-body distinction was not an accurate
understanding of the mighty brain. The greatest part for me as a
scientist is that it all lines up with God's precepts. You have an
amazing brain filled with real physical thoughts you can control."

Dr. Leaf states, "The patterns for adulthood are laid down in
childhood, so an excessively stressed child could be prone to lifelong
stress-related illnesses." (Dr. Leaf emphasizes on Page 9 of her
book, "It is also important to recognize the necessity of consulting a
medical professional for comprehensive care, especially if you are
experiencing any serious medical issues. In no way do I want this
book to substitute for the care of a medical professional.")

She discusses toxic thoughts, which she defines as thoughts that
trigger negative and anxious emotions. Toxic thoughts produce
biochemicals that cause the body stress. They are stored in your mind
as well as in the cells of your body.

She calls these 12 areas of toxic thinking "The Dirty Dozen." (I have
included a sample of her comments for each of these items.)

1. Thoughts-- We can focus on some "negative" happening in our life
or we can heed Philippians 4:8 and experience the release of "feel
good" chemicals which will promote healing, memory formation, and deep
thinking, which increase intelligence when combined together. She
explains how behavior follows our thoughts.

2. Emotions-- Some fear-based emotions are bitterness, anger, hatred,
rage, anxiety, guilt, shame, inadequacy. She recommends this policy:
"Admit it, quit it, and beat it."

3. Words--These reflect our attitude.

4. Choices--What we decide concerning our thoughts, emotions, words
and behavior have consequences.

5. Dreams-- Dr. Leaf states that God may be warning us about
something in our dreams. She gives specifics about a disturbing dream
she had and three weeks later the events from that dream actually
happened. In the dream, God had already showed her how to pray her
way out of the situation.

6. Seeds of Unforgiveness-- Dr. Leaf elaborates on the benefits of
forgiveness: "God forgives you; your blood pressure is lowered;
relationships improve; and pain and chronic illness are reduced."

7. Faith-- Dr. Leaf explains that you have to sweep away negative
experiences where people of faith or the church may have hurt you.

8. Love-- "When you don't give or experience love, there is a
physical reaction in your brain expressed as stress in your body."

9. Touch-- She asks, "Did you lavish affection on your children? Or
did you push them aside in high chairs, play pens, car seats, baby
beds, nurseries, the back yard, or put them in front of the TV?"

10. Seriousness-- Humor shifts perspective.

11. Health-- "When (ill) health invades your body, your mind and your
spirit are next...." She goes on to applaud the value of physical
exercise in generating new brain cells.

12. Schedules-- She explains that the ever-increasing pace of life,
called the "acceleration syndrome," is causing a global epidemic of
"hurry sickness." She emphasizes that "If you don't build relaxation
into your lifestyle you will become a less effective thinker,
defeating your ability to accomplish the mental tasks that stole your
relaxation in the first place."

Dr. Leaf concludes her book with this statement: "God has given you
the gift of free will. This gift empowers you to take control of the
very thing that creates everything about who you are-- your thought
life."


Betty's Conclusion: The information in Dr. Leaf's book demonstrates
that mismatch between a child and curriculum or between a child and
learning style are only two of the many factors which can impact his
learning.

Faith Berens and Betty Statnick work together in the Struggling
Learner Department and often enjoy discussing the professional
development and spiritual books they are reading. Below, Faith shares
her thoughts, as well:

"This newsletter was a great reminder to me of how important it is for
me, as a Christian wife, mom, and homeschooler, to keep my heart,
mind, attitude, thoughts, and words pure before the Lord. I have to
daily, even hourly, 'take every thought captive' that is not of God.
Finally, it encouraged me to make sure I build time into our home
school schedule for fun, humor, and health. Betty, thank you for
sharing what you have been reading this past month!"

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world
does. The weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine
power to demolish strongholds. We demolish (or tear down) arguments
and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2
Corinthians 10:3-5
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More reasons to join HSLDA...
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