Have you ever had a problem that you kept throwing money at?
Last year, not long after moving, our family desiccated into mummies.
Not really, but my son and I especially were dealing with some serious dry skin.
First, I went the Target route. I would go through the lotion aisles looking for big promises. Every few weeks, I would throw a new kind of moisturizer in my cart, thinking that if I just hit on the right one, our dry skin issues would be solved.
But when we didn’t see significant change, I decided a group field trip to the dermatologist was in order. (When you homeschool, everything becomes a group field trip, doesn’t it?)
Trying another approach
After a short consultation with the dermatologist, we left with some free samples of stuff we were already getting at Target.
“It might just be the weather,” she said, as we slowly turned to dust.
I started to wonder if this was just how things were, and then I went to get my hair cut.
“Your hair is really dry,” my stylist said.
“Yes!” I exclaimed. Finally someone was acknowledging the seriousness of this mostly cosmetic issue 😉
“Is there a new conditioner I should try?” I asked. “Maybe a fancy hair mask?”
She didn’t hesitate in her response: “You could try all of that, but I’d just get a shower filter,” she said.
“You have to start at the root of these things – otherwise you’re just putting on Band-aids.”
So I went home and bought the shower filter she recommended on Amazon.
Within a week or two, our hard water was being filtered, and our skin and hair improved dramatically. We haven’t had a problem since.
Getting to the root
You might be wondering how my dry skin saga relates to homeschooling, but we often do this exact thing as homeschoolers.
Our child is struggling to memorize multiplication tables, so we keep buying new, expensive curriculum packages to “keep them at grade level” instead of just stopping and addressing the problem head-on.
Or maybe our kids get crabby and uncooperative during Morning Time, so we keep adding new books and switching out resources thinking finding the right book will fix it, when maybe the real solution is more protein at breakfast.
Why it’s hard to diagnose problems
The problem is, that once the school year starts, it’s hard to stop and really assess.
So instead we buy more and more Band-aids.
Or, we do what I almost did with Dry Skingate – we take our solutions too far, creating huge, expensive problems.
After realizing that our true issue was hard water, I investigated getting a water softener. Sadly, our 1926 home is not set up to add a water softener without quite a bit of plumbing work.
Still, I was tempted. If a water filter would help a little, a whole new plumbing system would help a lot, right?
But a filter was all we really needed.
More isn’t always better
We do this with homeschooling too. If a new illustrated Spanish dictionary helps, maybe a whole new program and private tutoring and speaking nothing but Spanish at home will help more … ?
So we have to be careful.
We have to stop, assess, and then reassess.
Because sometimes, the answer is time. Sometimes our kids need time, sometimes we need time, and sometimes, things just need to shake out a bit.
So, next time you confront a homeschool issue that needs attention – stop and ask yourself what is going on, beneath the first few layers.
And then maybe stop digging and give it a day or two.