Beyond the Lesson Book: Pets
One of the best things about home education is that it opens opportunities for learning that simply can not fit more traditional schedules. We will take a regular look at some irregular ways to maximize learning opportunities. Pets are a great place to start. Certainly I understand that children in public school have pets. I also understand that time shortages exist. Our lifestyle lends itself to getting the most out of every experience!
In a homeschool setting, the responsibility for caring for a pet covers a much broader spectrum than simply seeing him a few hours a day. Housetraining a puppy is an all-day proposition and waiting is not an option for a puppy. Both necessary tasks (I.e. English) and fun times (I.e. TV shows) alike bow to the needs of a puppy. Managing interruptions, sacrificing time, putting another (even if it is a four-legged other) are critical character concerns a puppy can teach. As a child ages, even night-time needs can become their challenge…a slow start in the morning will not upset the entire day!
The freedom to delve deeper into a topic offers great education possibilities. Over the years, the additions of new pets to our home have initiated many school projects. Researching breed characteristics (of dogs, horses, rabbits and even chickens) honed research and report skills. Persuasive writing techniques blossomed with a disagreement on which breed of dog we should purchase. Lessons on compromise presented themselves as well. Biology understanding deepened with a look at horse genetics. Catching a love of learning involves being interested in what you are learning. Pets are a terrific tool for planting seeds of learning excitement.
Even physical fitness requirements can flow into and out of a pet. Building dog agility or horse-back riding into the school day accomplishes much more than just meeting state mandates for physical education. The homeschool lifestyle is a course study in flexibility, individual passion and creativity. Enjoy the uniqueness of your children and your family as you accomplish the over-arching goal of education.