Your brain is wired to learn. It is constantly seeking to connect new information with existing ideas. It does this by passing electrochemical signals all over your brain.
Your brain is made up of neurons. It is the neurons that awaken with electrical activity when fired up. They are fired up by learning something new. The neuron is transmitting its signal to other potential neurons to connect with. It does this via the axon which extends from the cell body of the neuron. The axon is the part that searches far and wide for its precise destination, a fellow neuron to connect with. They connect at a tiny junction called a synapses and become joined. The information is then received via the dendrites to the cell body of the new neuron. The two ideas become literally connected. A neuron has only one axon with many small branches but many dendrites which are covered in synapses.
Neurons then respond to incoming information and send out their own signal to connect further. As the neurons become interconnected, through the connection of synapses and growth of dendrites, a complex neural network is formed.
Practice and repetition with constant real-world challenges trigger these mechanisms and reinforce existing connections making them stronger. The axons are wrapped in insulation which increases as the connections are reinforced. This then improves the signally in the neural network and leads to more formed ideas. As we continue to learn, practice and revisit a task, skill or knowledge, the connections we have made become more efficient as the neurons become reinforced and made stronger.
Weak, unused connections remain weaker. Some may even be pruned or eventually die.
Current Neuron Facts
The human brain has about 86 billion neurons.
Each neuron may be connected to up to 10,000 other neurons passing signals to each other via as many as 1,000 trillion synaptic connections.
Unschooling allows our children to learn via the real world. Our children’s everyday life experiences are creating neuro networks to be formed that can be added to when they discover new things and remain relevant throughout the continuation of their life as they pursue their own strengths and interests.
There is also good news for adults. Neurons continue to send out electrical activity, seeking and forming new connections, throughout our lives. You are literally never to old to learn. Be inquisitive, ask questions, find answers, try a new skill, delve deep into a topic. Talk to your children about what you are doing, be interesting, create your own Aha! moments and literally make your brain sparkle.