Fostering a Love of Rocks in Your Homeschool

Does your child love rocks? Perhaps you find a beautiful mess of rocks all over their bedroom and your home. And let's not forget when you suddenly realize that the horrible banging in your dryer is not the motor or drum malfunctioning, but a collection of rocks from the days earlier excursions.

Have you ever been on a nature walk and your little cherub excitedly shows you the most beautiful rock they have ever seen? Maybe you gaze upon this gray lump of hardness and wonder what's so exciting about this dirty inanimate object?

Foster a Love of Rocks and Minerals

I must admit, rocks are kind of an obsession around here. My fella has been collecting rocks since he was a toddler and he found a sparkly piece of quartz at the playground. Now, his little sister is following suit.

I’m here to tell you that there is a whole branch of science called geology dedicated to the earth's physical structures. More specifically, the study of rocks is called petrology.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you foster that love of rocks in your kiddos while also helping you to maintain your sanity.

Geology Kits and Supplies for Kids

You can start your kids with their own rock identifying kit. Then, they will be able to more easily identify the rocks they find in the wide world. Then they will know if the rocks are:

  •  igneous
  •  metamorphic
  •  sedimentary

Rock collecting is a fantastic gateway into earth sciences.

Since my kids love rocks so much, they also collect minerals and fossils. Did you know that there are starter identification kits and even games available for your little rock hound?

Sort and Classify Rocks

Fostering a Love of Rocks in Your HomeschoolYour child can also sort and classify their rocks by:

  •  size
  •  color
  •  texture
  •  shape
  •  hardness

Did you know that your child can use the Mohs scale to test a rock's hardness? This is also known as the scratch test. It is a simple way to see how easily a specimen scratches.

Another test you can perform on your rock specimens is the acid test. This is performed with vinegar and is an easy way to identify if your rock contains any carbonate or calcium.

A magnifying glass or a pocket microscope is helpful to see up close the tiny flecks, imperfections, and differences of the treasures your kids find.

Give your older kids a notebook for writing down their findings and observations.

Books about Rocks and Minerals

If your child is fascinated with rocks and minerals, be sure to supply them with as many child-appropriate books on the subject as possible. Even preschoolers can enjoy visually stimulating books, while older kids will love to learn the science behind their favorite rocks.

  • illustrated rock and mineral visual encyclopedias
  • rock and mineral field guides.
  • picture books all about the science of rock collecting and geology

Display Your Child's Rock Collection

Display rock collections with a nature table

So, what's a parent to do with all these rocks that invade their home? How about displaying them?

  • Create a nature table to display some of your child's larger or more interesting specimens.
  • Homeschool bookshelves can be an option since large rocks can make fabulous bookends.
  • Boxes, jars, and chests that the children keep in their rooms for their treasures.
  • Egg cartons—For smaller specimens, we cut the top off egg cartons and use the bottom portion to hold rocks and minerals.
  • Display case—You can purchase glass and plastic display cases for your child's rock and mineral collection.

Of course, at some point, you have to remind your little geologist that they already have fifteen pieces of limestone and that your home really cannot hold anymore. Therefore, we've had to become more selective in which specimens we bring home.

About the Author

Erin Vincent • Nourishing My ScholarI'm Erin, an introverted homeschooling mom to two intense extroverted kids. We are child led with a heavy emphasis on read alouds, games, art, nature hikes, and hands-on everything! My kids just learn better when they can use their hands. You can find me at Nourishing My Scholar.

We traded the hustle and bustle of city life for the quiet that only farm life can provide. This creates a wonderful environment for our children, complete with chickens, goats, ducks, and cows. I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls. When we're not homeschooling, you'll find me curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book or possibly enjoying a random dance party in the front yard to the newest Disney soundtrack.

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