Pets in School

The righteous care for the needs of their animals. — Proverbs 12:10

Have you ever stopped to think about everything that’s not allowed in public
schools these days? Prayer, pocket knives, and prescription drugs are three
examples that immediately come to mind. Another prohibited item is pets. As
Snoopy well knows, Charlie Brown is not allowed to bring his dog to school. In
other words, kids often have to leave their best friend at home. While people
sometimes make a fuss about having to leave a forbidden object or two at home,
no one thinks too much about not being allowed to bring a pet to school because
that’s been the rule as long as anyone can remember.

Homeschoolers, of course, don’t have to get bogged down by the weight of
administrative policies, especially those that don’t make much sense. And from
what I’ve observed with my own kids, you should definitely allow your pet to be in
the room with your kids while they’re learning. Why do I feel so strongly about
this? There are many good reasons to allow your dog, cat, hamster, turtle, or
lizard into the schoolroom, but here are three immediate benefits of having pets
in school.

First, pets have a calming effect on students.

Do your kids sleep with their pet? Our family actually keeps a schedule for who
our little dog sleeps with each night of the week. (Rachael and I get Friday
nights.) We all sleep better when the dog is snuggled under the covers by our
side. The same is true during the day. My energetic son, who can struggle at
times to concentrate on his schoolwork, is able to quickly focus his efforts when
Flo is in his lap or on his shoulders. (She weighs only five pounds, so she does
make for a good winter scarf.) When they’re together, my son can relax and
becomes much more productive than when he tries to go it alone.

Second, pets enhance relationship building.

You’ve heard that a dog is man’s best friend. And there’s little doubt that children
bond emotionally with their pets. I cried for a whole day when my mom informed
me that the cat of my childhood had to be put to sleep after a long fifteen-year
life. My son wept for several days when his pet tarantula died after a short three-
week stay in our house. And when one of my boys was celebrating his thirteenth
birthday, my wife saved the day by nursing his pet hedgehog back to life from a
horrible case of dehydration. The point is that relationships are key to a healthy
life. This includes your child’s relationships with God, with their parents, with their
siblings, with other people, and with all of God’s creation, including animals.

Third, pets help your kids to be more responsible.

About a year ago, I wrote this article listing four strategies to help your kids be
more responsible while homeschooling. One of these strategies was based on
the following brainstorm: Instead of barking orders to take care of the dog so that
we could get to our schoolwork, I decided to allow the dog into the schoolroom. I
mean, what kid wouldn’t love to bring their beloved pet to school? How cool is
that? When I told my son that Flo could join him in the schoolroom, his
countenance immediately brightened. He quickly took care of the dog’s feeding
and walking so that the two of them could get settled into reading, writing,
spelling, math, and science. This may have been one of the smartest moves I
made in a long time, and all because I took advantage of the freedom that
homeschooling allows.

Don’t let your homeschool be hindered by the policies of other schools. Invite
your pet to school. Your students will be more calm and relaxed, they will learn
the priority of relationships, and they just might become more responsible. What
are some other benefits of pets in school that you’ve experienced?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

Davis Signature

© 2016 Davis Carman

Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of
Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of three
illustrated children’s books designed to instill a biblical worldview. Good Morning,
God is based on Deuteronomy 6, and A Light for My Path is an ABC book based
on Psalm 119. His latest, In the Beginning, is based on the Creation account in
Genesis. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now!

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