One of the things that has become important as I change to a discipleship model is to recognize real learning in everyday activities. What is real learning? Learning is to gain knowledge or experience in a particular area of life. We are more inclined though to define learning only after it is complete. This robs us of giving credence to the process. For example – we put ourselves, and our children, under pressure until they have learnt their multiplication tables – we don’t give any credence to the process of learning their mulitplication tables. We look for the end product and praise that, not the process. The process is learning – it isn’t a part of learning, or a precursor to have learnt, it is learning.
We need to see the learning going on in our home and recognize all aspects of it. In looking over my archives on my blog I found this post from April 2006, that shared a lightbulb moment for me, where I started to accept the process as significant:
The Process is more important than the end Product
We hear this phrase, we may even use it, but what does it really mean? It’s the process not the end product that counts. Yesterday as we were going through our lessons and activities and I actually “saw” this happen. Usually it is a case of me giving myself a telling off, “Process not Product, Process not Product” I say to myself as I get uptight when the end product does not met my expectations! But yesterday it was a case of “WOW, she’s in a Process here – and the process is much better than the end product!”
Let me share what I saw:
Easter is coming up and Jessica is making a set of coloured paper cubes (instead of coloured eggs) for our Celebration Dinner Sunday night. Inside each cube/box will be a scripture typed on a small piece of paper and then rolled. On the outside of the box will be a sticker/symbol to help us focus on Jesus.
It was as she was working on this task that I realised the Process potential and I forgot to focus on the end Product. I also realised that I generally record the product and don’t give recognition to the process. But it was the process that was hugely educational.
She had to photocopy the cube-net from a book but that had problems. We worked together on tracing the shaded design from the book so she could photocopy just an outline of the cube-net. The paper jammed in the photocopier – another skill to learn. She discussed the size of the cube – did she want to enlarge or reduce the pattern? What would be the ramifications of making the box too small? Too big? How could she get the box to stay closed without using glue on the lid/flap?
She will make a box everyday this week – I wonder what she will learn along the way.
Later in the day Jessica was doing some research on medieval fashion as a part of organising her brother’s birthday party. She was just not getting what she wanted so asked me to help her in her online search. I showed her how to Google for images only. She then had to work out the best way to cut and paste these images – from thumbnails or from open files – to get a clear copy. Then she had to work with Microsoft Word to find the best way to layout the copied photos.
I usually would have recorded that she completed a notebook page on medieval fashions, but no, she learnt a lot more than that. She learnt about the fashions, how to search online for images, how to arrange images on a Word document without using text boxes.
Jessica has been working on an a4 size bag made from felt. She has had a purpose for this bag right from the start so she chose felt not only because it was quick to work with but also because it would hold the things she wanted the bag for. Once she stitched up the seams she realised it was a bit plain and wanted to decorate it. So she has designed a Spring theme appliqué, once again using felt though gluing the pieces on not stitching. This was a good lesson in design not only to design the appliqué but to consider her initial design as it would have been “better” to appliqué before stitching it up. When she began to glue on the appliqué pieces she had to put a piece of cardboard in the bag so the glue didn’t go the right way through, she thought this through even more and put the cardboard in a plastic bag so the glue didn’t stick to the cardboard, but the plastic bag was a better choice than Plastic Wrap.
Once again I would have recorded that Jessica completed a small bag made from felt. That is recording the product not the process. The process she went through included learning about design (using clip art), including Technology with choosing the best material for a task and working on how to put something together, the sequence of putting a pattern together, and problem solving. Math was also included as she measured and worked with balance (scale) in her designs. English has been involved not only because she has discussed the process with me but because she talked about what she has made and how.
I thought my yesterday was a fairly cruisey day, quite relaxed and we just did what we could but that is looking at the end products each of our children produced what about the processes that each of them went through? As I change gear in my head I have to say – Fantastic! Not only did we have a great day, but I learnt a little more to relax in focusing on the Process!