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Consider a field trip to the pet store

Field trips offer a hands-on learning experience your son won't get in the homeschool classroom. When it comes time for your son to learn about animals like cats, dogs, birds, fish and reptiles, why not head over to the pet store for the afternoon? Here's how to pull off a successful, fun and educational field trip to your local pet store:

Choose a store
First you'll need to select the store that you and your son may be visiting. Contact the store's employees to ask if they have any special programs in which your son can participate. For example, Petco has a field trip program specifically for kids. The staff teaches your son how to respect and care for animals. Your son will also get to explore various habitats and even environmental issues that pose problems for certain species.

Interact
While animals such as fish can't be played with, some pet stores allow customers to interact with dogs, cats and bunnies. Have your son choose his favorite animal to play with one on one. The benefits that come from human-animal interaction are overwhelming. Spending time with a pet can spark a desire in your son to learn more about that particular animal. Pets also teach your son responsibility and empathy.

Keep a notebook
During the field trip, encourage your son to note the differences between the various animals and their habitats in a notebook. As you walk through the store, work with your son to sort the animals into various groups, like domestic mammals, reptiles and fish.

Discuss
When you get home, ask your son about his favorite parts of the trip to start a discussion. Talk about the various needs of each animal and how to properly care for them to wrap up the lesson. Pick up a few homeschooling books about your son's favorite animal to facilitate further learning.

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