Articles for November 2013

Minimalist Homeschool Pet Project

It must be the stage for middle school girls.  All of our daughter’s friends are collecting new pets into their homes.

Daily I hear about a new animal that one of her best friends will be getting over the coming weekend.  One friend has now collected three new baby kittens and a little rabbit on a leash.  The other friend is getting a small flock of chickens and a teenage kitten.

Looking back, we have had a number of pets through the years; a salt/pepper mini-Schnauzer named Max, a deaf-blind white cat, we babysat a friend’s tarantula for the summer, one bearded lizard, one lop-eared rabbit, we raised 25 chicks from eggs for a farmer friend, nurtured an injured duck to return to her farm flock, numerous walking sticks, six gold fish, a hissing Madagascar cockroach, and currently a black mini-Schnauzer.  We are a pet family and enjoy variety of creatures in our home, whether for their healing or for permanent happiness, but we usually limit it to one species at a time.

Homeschool Chicken Hatching Project - Incubator and eggs, Day 2.
Homeschool Chicken Hatching Project – Incubator and eggs, Day 2.

As I hear about the accumulation of new pets and I look at our family schedule, we don’t need another pet.  Rather, I, don’t need more pets.  Daughter is going through a very nurturing stage in life, wanting to babysit, and cuddle a kitten, but as a whole, the family does not need another creature of any size or habitat.  Taking on a pet is more than just a momentary feel good experience, it is being responsible for a creature’s life.

We are loving our Schnauzer and she is a wonderful experience in responsibility and unconditional love.  Often, she is an experience of patience for myself, as I patiently remind family members to fill the water bowl or lug the feed up from the basement.

As we minimize our home and our homeschooling, we don’t need to start filling the new found space with pets.  For me, adding a new pet is not supporting our focus of simplifying our lifestyle.  Quality time with our one pet, and solid experiences with learning discipline and responsibility is my current focus.

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