"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast" (Proverbs 12:10a).

Is there anything sadder than watching a dog say goodbye to his favorite boy or girl as he or she goes off to school? Every day, countless pets are separated from their young masters as they leave for school, but not with homeschoolers. We are the fortunate ones who enjoy the privilege of having four-legged classmates to comfort us and make us laugh.

Since pets have always been a part of our family, making them a part of our homeschool was only natural. Morning and evening chores that involved our pets were incorporated into our children's daily schedule. To make up for any work involved with their care, they experienced the advantages of sharing a good book with a warm kitty or playing together with an effervescent puppy. Only during the winter did our children complain as they faced the cold weather to care for their furry friends.

Animals are not only special to us, but they are important to God as well. The pleasure of naming each of God's creatures was given to Adam (Genesis 2:19-20). After the flood, God made the covenant of the rainbow as a sign to both man and His creatures (Genesis 9:9-13). God also used His creatures to accomplish His specific will — a donkey talked to Balaam, ravens fed Elijah, and a great fish rerouted the rebellious prophet, Jonah.

Do you set a good example for your children in taking care of your family's pets? They need more than food and water. Daily grooming, exercise, and love are essential to their well-being. God values all of His creation, including animals. He requires good stewardship of these creatures and has entrusted their care to you. Keep your four-legged students attending class with your children. Remember, "a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast" (Proverbs 12:10)!

Lord, thank You for the animals You bring into our lives that give so much entertainment and joy. You are such a creative and loving God to think of so many different creatures! Challenge us today to be responsible and not neglect the care of our pets. In Jesus' name, Amen.