Thank you to all who stopped by to comment or emailed. Our cat is doing a little better. Our washer is not.
We've had this washer since we moved into our house. It's a stacked model with the dryer above it. We lack the space for separate units, but it was the one set of appliances I did not want to do without. When you spend the first eight years of your marriage lugging a laundry bag, you just want the luxury of being able to wash clothes whenever the mood strikes you. Even if it's 10PM and you're in pajamas.
I come from a long line of do-it-yourself-ers. We've tried for a week now to fix the problem, but it still eludes us. My first thought was that the washer belt broke, because it stopped at the end of the wash cycle. I figured it didn't keep going because it had to spin, and it can't spin if something is wrong with the belt. My father and I spent a good part of a day trying to figure out how to access the motor, since the screws were tight and rusted. When my father finally got the front panel off, the belt looked fine. That had to mean it was the motor. The manual said the washer would automatically shut off if the motor overheated, and it certainly smelled like something had overheated. So we got a new motor. Yesterday, my father put in the new motor with the new belt and we tried to run a small load. Everything looked like it was working perfectly...until the dial clicked to the rinse cycle and the motor started to overheat again. My father still wants to try a few things before we give up on it, he just needs to find the right tools.
Home educator that I am, I thought of an analogy. Our educational system isn't working. We have a lot invested in it, so it's logical to look for solutions by starting with less expensive fixes we can do ourselves. So we patch and prod, replace older parts, and try our best to make it work. Then we call in a repairman (consultant) to see what he can do with it. The question is, how far are you willing to let the repairman overhaul the system? At what point do you decide that this isn't working, we need something completely new?
For homeschoolers, it's easier to tell if we need to replace part of our methods or curriculum, or whether our system needs to be scrapped and replaced with a new one. We have less invested in the machine and more invested in the future. We want our kids to succeed. If that means we have to drop the math program we spent over $100 on because it is confusing and making our child hate math, it's a no-brainer. We are not trying to fit our child into a machine that may have outlived its usefulness. We are picking the best and most useful techniques to help each of our children flourish.
I am still hoping we can fix the washing machine. It still has a functioning dryer attached to it.