Scientists claim that there are three things that stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain:
Put it in simple terms, if your child is immersed in something they enjoy, and they are not eating or having sex, it is pretty safe to say they are learning.
Radical unschooling is based on the principles of using your child’s passions as a springboard for learning.
Children remember that which makes them happy. (AKA Learning)
I see myself as a private investigator of happiness. As soon as my kids show an interest in or a passion for something, I make a note to help them have more of it.
Using these principles of internal motivation and happiness promotion, our weekly schedule now looks like this:
Corey, Kai, Maya – Piano & Drumming lessons followed by a browse in the local bookshop where they can choose one book each to buy, and a hot chocolate in the Loganberry Delicatessen.
I take all kids to our tennis club where Corey has a hit with his friend and I play tennis games with the other kids.
The boys spend time at home painting, modelling, building lego and playing Xbox, while Maya and Jack go to the museum.
Corey plays squad tennis for an hour while the other kids play at home.
This is our chill out day where the kids rarely change out of their pyjamas and spend time playing at home. What they like to play depends greatly on what they are into at that time.
For example, Maya has just come through an intense period of crafting where she spent hours on end making arts and crafts. Corey is also in an intense Minecraft learning period and has spent hours researching strategy on YouTube then applying it to his game.
The boys are also planning to launch their first business “The Belfast Lego Club” and have been building a lego city as props for their club. I’ve loved watching this creation take place!
Maya has an ice skating lesson and the boys have a private tennis lesson. Jack usually goes to the park or an indoor play facility.
Spent cooking, baking and playing at home.
Corey, Kai and Maya come with me to work at the local animal sanctuary. Here we walk dogs and play with young animals that need socialised for rehoming. Often the kids have to clean out the animal pens and care for the pets.
They have also learned how to respect and read animals and how ready they are for human handling which, has given them a tremendous sense of “other”.
I think that kids can relate better to small animals than they can to adults, simply because they are smaller than them.
Learning which animals need more time, patience and care has taught them to see a world outside of themselves and develop respect and empathy for other living creatures. This has really been a beautiful process to watch.