The flexibility of homeschooling allows you to nurture your child’s natural love of animals. You can integrate your family pets into your other studies, as well as devote time to learning and caring about them directly.
Math – Word problems are an important part of any math curriculum. You and your child can create word problems relating to your pet. For example: “For a spring project my sister Rowena hatched 11 chicks. Cupcake our dog had 7 puppies. Liza’s fish had 3 baby fish that survived. For all the new arrivals this spring, how many legs were there?” Note that the fish didn’t contribute to the number of legs!
English – Your child can read and write about pets. One interesting project idea is for your child to write a story or newspaper article from the point of view of a pet (yours or someone else’s). You can arrange a pen pal for your child who has a pet and the two children can exchange information about their furry (or not so furry) friends. Compare/contrast pieces about two different pets can also be a good project.
Science – Students can investigate the biology and behavior of their own pets or they can get hands-on experience with a farm animal through a 4-H project. There are 4-H programs in over 80 countries in the world. Kids can also choose to research the habits of a particular animal and write a report or create a blog or website to document their findings.
Social action – Volunteering at an animal shelter or helping to disseminate literature about pet adoption can be a great way for your kid to get involved in social action. You can be involved in this year-round, or around the dates of pet holidays, such as Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day (August 12).
Home Ec – Your children can research and cook food for your pets. They will learn what is good for your pet and what is not, as well as getting to experiment in the kitchen.
Art – If your pet will stay in the same place for long enough, your child can use him as a model for a life drawing. He or she can also practice photography by taking pictures of your pet in different positions. Pets are also excellent subjects for a film.
Pets can enrich your homeschooling curriculum in so many ways. Use this list as a base and be creative in creating your own learning opportunities. The only caveat is that it’s important to make sure that your pets don’t interfere with your other studies.