About us here at Collective Snails...
We started keeping snails many years ago to encourage our youngest son in his love for snails, at the time
we had no idea how addictive snails would be!
At the end of 2017 we have got roughly 350 adult snails and approx 80 phasmids, so we can easily spend a couple of hours each day checking, cleaning spraying and feeding them. Luckily I have got 4 awesome children to help me.
All of our children are home educated.
In 2012 our eldest daughter was struggling with depression due to being bullied at school. At 8yrs old.
The school couldn't deal with it so we decided to keep her at home.
It was a spur of the moment decision made at 3am whilst our daughter was in tears about going back the following day.
Less than a year later we pulled our then 6yr old son out of school because he was so tired, angry & frustrated every day
after school due to finding reading & writing almost impossible.
By then he had had 2 sets of grommets because of hearing difficulties which meant that he didn't pick up on his phonics
& letter sounds in nursery class. The last straw was being told that he would have to sit a SATS test
even though the school knew he wouldn't be able to read the questions
- they were setting him up to fail and I wasn't going to sit back & let them do that to him.
Six months later we realised that our two eldest children were so relaxed & happy, eating properly & enjoying life again
just like a child should be able to do, that we made the decision to keep our youngest two at home as well.
It took a while to get used to a new routine and find out what works for us & what dosen't,
and to be honest, we are still learning even now. But we haven't looked back.
We don't have to follow a set curriculum or stick to set days, times & holidays or even weekends
- Our youngest daughter has always been an early riser so she is quite often doing her maths or handwriting practice
at 6.30 in the morning and by 8.30 / 9am all her 'hard work' is finished & she's got the rest of the day for her own projects.
We take each day as it comes & if one of them is having a 'bad day' that is fine,
we all have those now & again and we all know that there is no point trying to focus on something when your brain won't work
so we'll just go to the woods or the beach instead (we like to be outside as much as possible all year round)
We usually turn internet off most of the day (unless we need it for research) as it is fascinating to see the kids go from
"But Mum I'm bored, I need wi-fi time"
to doing something awesomely creative that they wouldn't of thought of if they hadn't been bored in the first place!
Just last week our youngest was about to complain that as his work was done he had nothing to do, and our 9yr old son told him "There's no point telling Mum you're bored, she'll just say 'It's good to be bored' Come on, lets go and make a lego robot"
We also have a fruit & veg plot in the garden & a greenhouse to keep them all busy growing stuff,
including Romaine Lettuce, Sweet Potato & Wild Horseradish, which is our snails main diet.
We usually do the essentials... reading, writing, science or maths for a short while most days, and the rest of the time
the kids are free to learn about whatever interests them - they suggest a topic & we do it...
in the last 12 months, at their own request, we have covered:
Bushcraft / survival skills - foraging, campfire cooking, den building, firelighting, knife skills, first aid & herbal medicine.
Native plants, flowers, bugs & wildlife, cave men, myths & legends, astronomy, paleontology, flower arranging, horticulture,
basic car mechanics, various science experiments, anatomy & internal organs (humans & animals), archery & shooting.
Woodwork - from home-made bows & arrows and birdboxes to trellis & fencing.
Brickwork, mixing cement & patio slab laying.
Farming - soil types, crop rotation, poultry, game & large animals.
They also help with all the painting & decorating, cooking, cleaning, food shopping
& lots of other things that they will need to do as they get older.
It is amazing, the things that I have learnt whilst studying with my children and I consider myself extremely lucky
to spend all this time with my kids and watch them learn & grow, and yes, we do get on each others nerves at times
but most families do anyway!
Here in Norfolk, UK there are approx 800 home educating families
so we meet up regularly with other home-ed families for days out, play dates & zoo trips etc.
This is why I only answer messages either first thing in the morning or last thing at night...
day time is Kids Time for me, I have all my notification settings turned off
and no internet during the day when we are busy!
Our Snail Rooms...
My extremely patient & creative Hubby really should get a mention too as he has gone along with most of my 'urgent needs' over the years and has built various animal pens, stables, shelters, pig sties, hutches, runs and of course, snail rooms.
We had a house move in 2017 and as we had more space we decided to have 2 heated, separate snail rooms
and some outside space for our native, cold tolerant & hibernating species.
I will be uploading photos of our snail rooms in the spring!
day temp 25 - 26* / night temp 20 - 22*
Achatina, Archachatina, Lissachatina, Pseudoachatina, Camaenidae, Pupinidae
1 Cherryhead Redfoot Tortoise.
day temp 20 - 22* / night temp 18 - 20*
Acavidae, Ariophantidae, Clausilidae, Discidae, Pleurodontidae, Subulinidae & Leptaxis Undata
1 Lionhead rabbit that has access to a cat flap in the wall leading to an outdoor run, so he can go in & out as he likes.
Cepaea - Hortensis, Nemoralis & Vindobonensis.
Helix - Albescens, Aspersa Maxima, Cincta, Lucorum, Lutescens & Pomatia.
Anguispira Alternata, Arianta Arbustorum, Eobania Vermiculata, Helicigona Lapicida & Neohelix Albolabris.
I have made a basic snail care page that is a general guide to keeping most species of land snail
and it covers the essentials such as housing, feeding & heating but over the years we have been experimenting with different
food plants - after losing quite a few snails when fed on supermarket bought lettuce & greens, we decided to find some alternative
green leafy stuff that we could grow ourselves to ensure that there are no chemicals used.
We have found that most of our snails really enjoy wild horseradish leaves!
Our snails mainly feed on wild horseradish leaves, romaine lettuce, sweet potato, mushrooms, fish food, plantains & nettles
along with the occasional slice of cucumber, apple, squash, sweetcorn etc.