The following is a post by contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
You know how sometimes you have a really good idea that pays off for years to come? I had one of those a few years ago. We were studying geology and I knew we’d need a variety of interesting specimens to study, so I put out a call on a Yahoo group I was on. I asked who would be willing to exchange rocks with me.
We wound up with a fantastic collection of rocks that we still frequently pull out to study today.
I’ll readily admit that I probably got the better end of the deal than some of the people we exchanged with since everything we’ve found looked like “just a rock” and I wasn’t really sure where to look for anything more interesting. (I’ve done some research, though, so I’ll give you some tips in a bit.)
The best rocks we got, based solely on levels of information, came from a lady in Arizona, who sent each of her rocks in a sandwich bag labeled with name of the rock and where it came from. Yeah, she was pretty awesome.
In my defense, though – and in defense of others like me – learning to identify the rocks is a good experience, too.
Where to Find People With Whom to Exchange Rocks
With the Internet, it shouldn’t be very difficult to find some folks to exchange rocks with. Try asking:
- Your blog readers
- Facebook friends
- Out-of-town friends and relatives
It probably goes without saying that you should use caution and only exchange rocks with people with whom you feel safe sharing your address.
Where to Find Rocks to Exchange (or Keep!)
Okay, as I said, I had to do a little research because I wasn’t very good at this our first go-round. Here’s what I found (and now I’m going to have to go hunting again to see if I can do better):
- In your yard
- River beds
- Road cuts (where roads have been cut through rock)
- At the bottom of hills or slopes
- Lawn and garden stores
Also, keep rock-hunting in mind when you travel out of town for business or vacation. And, make sure that you have permission to take rocks where you find them. Nature centers and national parks may frown upon rock collecting from their property.
Once you’ve collected rocks, you can mail the ones you’ve chosen to exchange. We wrapped ours up in newspaper or paper towels and shipped them in a bubble-wrap-padded envelope.
You might find this online guide to starting a rock collection helpful.
Have you or your children ever collected rocks? Do you have any helpful tips to add?
Kris blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She is the classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason homeschooling mom to three amazing kids, the Christ-following, sweet tea addicted wife to one unbelievably supportive husband, and the formerly obese, couch-potato-turned-healthy runner of a bunch of 5K races and two half-marathons.