We’ve had pets all our life. I grew up with them as well. I’ve always had cats, I’ve had fish, newts, frogs, dog, mouse, horses and a cow (yes you on the farm down the road). Matthew has had the pleasure of growing up with cats, fish, newts and tadpoles.
Now as you can see he loves his cats dearly. We’ve had a few unfortunate deaths which brought us to adopting Cheesecake, Gryffindor and Delaware back in 2017 but ever since Matthew and Gryffindor have been inseparable.
But why am I talking about pets? Especially with homeschooling?
Here’s the thing, it helps children become compassionate. Animals (well not tanked animals like fish) will become your child’s closest friend. It helps your child learn about taking care of the animal from food, water, grooming etc. And while yes some may see it as a chore or another thing to feed, it honestly becomes like part of the family.
We’ve also used these times like when we had tadpoles, to talk about the life cycle. We were able to watch them swim, learn about habitat, what they eat and how they come frogs.
Now of course you can start small. We’ve also gotten ants and Caterpillars as part of our science. I link that down below.
Disclaimer: Both links below are affiliated. It is completely up to you to use the links or not but I do make a commission with purchase.
Here is the link for the Caterpillars.
Here is the link for the Ant Farm.
But statistically kids with pets do better off. Here’s how:
-have better health. Kids with pets generally have less allergies, especially introduced at a young age.
– listen better. An article said obedience but I hate that word for children. Kids listen better overall. There was also a study showing that in correlation to kids having ADD or ADHD, it was higher with hyperactivity. Yes animals can absolutely get your child excited but they also make great emotional support animals as well.
– more physically active. Kids are less likely to be on screens then playing with pets (cats or dogs for the study done).
– be less moody. As I mentioned above they make great ESAs.
– have fewer behavioral problems
– have fewer learning problems
Now the study also noted that those with pets were also in better socio-economic homes meaning, that is also in correlation to the support a child needs or could need.
You can read more about it here and another article going into more detail on these benefits from the Drake Center.
From our own experiences, both myself in my childhood and from what I’m seeing with Matthew, love of animals have always been reciprocated without the need for words. We’ve talked about the circle of life, life cycles and where food comes from (farms and hunting).
I’ve also grown up visiting our local animal shelter, where we’ve adopted all our cats, to volunteer. As a mom, I’ve done the same with Matthew, not just to do good but teach responsibility and community.
So while Cats and Dogs may not be your thing, or tank animals (trust me I’m terrible with fish as much as we love them). Maybe start with ants or caterpillars. Use it as a lesson in responsibility and science.