The other day I shared a post on instagram about how we do geology in our homeschool through sharing a passion, specifically my husband sharing his passion for rocks. My husband is a a flintknapper. When we are out in nature he is always on the lookout for a rock that would be good for chipping. But I realized that we started our kids looking for rocks from the time they could walk. From the time our kids were born we took them hiking. From the time they could walk we let the walk as much as they could. We never rushed them, which meant hikes took some time. While we waited for them, we would often just start looking at rocks or leaves, or acorns, or whatever was nearby. We would pick up the unique rocks and show them to each other and to the kids. It started them in the habit of noticing and being aware.
Here are some ways we have encouraged an interest in rocks and geology:
1- Always stop at the rock shop. We live in an area close to multiple national parks and often travel to them, or by them. Each park has quite a few rock shops nearby and we always stop to check at least one out. The great thing about rock shops is that they label everything! Often they label it with the type of rock as well as the location. They also offer a variety of sizes to purchase, including small samples which are great for starting a collection.
2- We go to the rock shows in town. Rock show are another great place to find knowledgable people who love to talk about rocks! And when people share their passion it is contagious.
3- I pick up books about local rockhounding sites, gem trails, and geology when I run across them at the thrift store. We have found some great books this way. The guides usually have a picture of the type of specimens you can find as well as a map. The pictures can help get the kids excited about the possibilities. If there are sites close to where you live how about giving your child the reins and having them make plans for a day trip? Having them plan it gives them more ownership and more excitement.
4- Make space for a collection. Use a jar, a shelf, whatever you have!
5- When your child picks up a rock and tells you how pretty it is, encourage them to keep bring it home. When you get home fill a bowl with water, empty the rocks from your pockets into it and them lay them out on a towel and share your treasures with each other.
Some of our favorite books and guides:
Some of our favorite tools: