The crew has a challenge for us. Talk about homeschool mascots. I have to admit, I can’t really say we have a mascot… not like when you are in public school and have a large bird, pig, or wolf. But we do have critters about the place so I figured I could introduce you.
Homeschool Mascots – Lizzy the cat
Miss Lizzy came into our lives when our boy Chase passed away. I told the fellows I didn’t want another cat, that one was enough, but they nagged away at me. I finally said “Fine, you want another cat, it will be MY choice this time.” After all, I knew if I left it to them we’d get another brown cat and I didn’t want another brown cat. 🙂
Lizzy came from a home about an hour from here. Free cat, didn’t fit well with her owner, and … honestly when she was first here I wasn’t overly fond of her. She had TONS of attitude and would bite. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to turn her around until she had her first bath. I expected a fighting, snarling mess. What I got a cat who simply stopped once she realized I wasn’t giving in. She stopped. Won my heart in that instant as I knew then I could work with her.
She’s become my girl. I often say “Where’s my baby girl? and she’ll come running”. A super smart cat who I am fairly sure was removed from her momma too early, and wasn’t given the stimulus she needed in her previous home. She still has some bad habits, but she’s learning “NO BITES!”, and if she does means no attention will be given her and she’s not fond of that. She jumps up on a chair to be petted when asked. Purrs more often than growls now and is a good girlie overall.
Milo the cat
Milo here is my son’s cat. He’s an older boy now, three years younger than my son, he was an early birthday present. My son has loved cats since he was wee little and he chose Milo out of a box of nearly identical kittens.
Milo is a soft touch, not particularly intelligent, but a great cat for a lad. In his older age, he developed diabetes leading us to make our own homemade cat food. It keeps him in remission and means no more ear pricks for a “getting testy in his older years” cat.
Having a couple of cats has served us well in our homeschool. You’ll often find Milo laying on the bed with my lad keeping him company as he works. My son was given a stem challenge and chose to make toys for them. The making up cat food for them means practicing his math skills and following directions. He’s learned about parasites found in wild mice/voles and how freezing and cooking destroys viruses in meat. But most of all, he’s discovered the joy of loving on a cat… even a testy older-age cat! 🙂
Milo has been ever present as the lad learns, perhaps he’s learned a few things along the way too! (like not eating Mr. Friendly)
We started with one budgie, added two more, sold one because ganging up was happening, and then one died a year later. Now we just have YellowFeather. She’s a bit of a nut, but she likes to talk, loves seed bells, and if someone is getting loud, or an argument is happening… SCREECHING happens. Oh my! 🙂 She makes me laugh, and belongs to the lad.
He’s learning financial responsibility for her as he pays for her feed. I pay for toys, seed bells and gravel. We think she’s doing fine on her own and aren’t in a rush to get a second. The lad ALMOST has her coming to his palm to eat so patience is being rewarded, and more of an incentive to just keep YellowFeather on her own. She’s learning to be more people-friendly. Cleaning out is a pain, but less work with one than with two for sure.
Fireheart, our snake
We’ve had Fireheart the common garter snake for a few years now. She was discovered as a little snake along with two others. They had some damage, we kept them long enough to get better. We let two go and Fireheart stayed behind.
She ate lots of worms and we learned you can switch them to mice so we learned how to do that. Dealing with a somewhat stubborn animal allowed us times of rejoicing! 🙂 Eventually she learned to take deceased newborn bunnies too.
I recently learned while watching Snake Discovery that garter snakes can also eat bits of chicken, heart, beef and so forth. Small meals going over better than bigger ones (this part we had learned already). So we’re hoping to convince Fireheart to expand her repertoire of food a bit.
Although MOST of my bunnies aren’t pets OR even remotely a mascot they are a part of our everyday lives. My lad and I have an agreement. If I sell his mice I get a 10% commission, if he sells one of my rabbits, he gets the same commission (FYI…it works out better for him). 🙂
Now Gregory (pictured below) is MOSTLY a pet but he also helps us with our meat rabbits. A total love he is.
What does the lad learn from bunnies and even his mice?
- early lessons in reproduction
- balancing feed costs
- customer service
- website building
- cleaning, waste removal/care/disposition
- vetting your own animals
- animal welfare vs animal rights
- insurance requirements
- financial management
- and more
I used to raise mice for pets or feeders, but my lad wanted a way to earn some change so asked to take them over. Over the years he’s assumed more responsibility for them which is good to see.
Managing the mice teaches all the above plus more hands-on research. Testing out what food they like, learning to grow meal worms, fixing dry-tail, managing aggression, group sizes, colour management/genetics, and other things I haven’t considered.
So how about you? Do you have a homeschool mascot? Or even just friendly critters running about the place? Perhaps you think the idea of homeschool mascots is silly… and that’s okay too! If so, add a linky or leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.