Homemade Rock Kit

Today I would like to share with you some ways to create your own homemade rock kit. Yes, you can buy all types of rock kits, mineral kits, classroom sets, and even rock hound backpack’s but most of those are quite expensive. Since these pre-made kits aren’t in a frugal homeschool budget I wanted to give you ideas of what we have done.

homemade rock kit

First determine how much your children are really into rocks. Do they really want to learn about them OR do they just want to collect them and play with them? Either way your child can learn, observe, and explore rocks to their hearts content!

If your child really want’s to learn to identify and collect them for further study then I suggest you print rock identification charts or cards from below. Keep an eye out at garage sales or used book sales for rock books. We splurged and paid full-price for Rocks, Gems and Minerals (A Golden Guide). Disclosure: I used our Amazon affiliate links in this post to provide you with a quick reference. I may make some money from any purchases you make at no additional cost to you. Funny thing is we found an older version of the same book for .50 at a garage sale!

Second, go collect some rocks and start your own rock collection. You might even go fossil hunting if you live near a place to legally hunt them.

inside rock kit

Third, look through boxes and containers you already own to store your rocks in. If you find or purchase tumbled or shiny rocks you may want to store them in individual compartments versus one big box.

Here’s a peak inside our homemade rock kit:

inside rock kit left side inside rock kit rightside

Quick links for free Rock and Mineral Resources:

10 awesome rock resources for your little geologist from Kathy’s Cluttered Mind

K-5 Geosource- the one-stop professional development web site for Earth science

Ohio Rocks- interactive website geared for 3rd to 5th grade

Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association Teacher Resources

Rock Identification Tables-Identify almost any rock type you’re likely to find

Useful Rock and Mineral Identification Resources

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Ways to Help Pay for Back to School Expenses

As Summer winds down and the school supplies fill the shelves, you might wonder how to pay for all those back to school expenses. Since we homeschool and hubby is no longer in college we can keep our Back to School list short and sweet, or go BIG and crazy. I am a frugal shopper and WILL NOT PAY full price for anything I know will be discounted or free after rebate. I know that sometimes patience wins out during all these weeks of Back to School sales. I have a file cabinet drawer of school supplies yo prove it.

tips for Back to School Expenses
This year is a little strange with the local public schools heading back to class early around August 18! I just hope all the national chain’s are aware of the trend to start a week earlier then normal. Keeping my fingers crossed for free or nearly free paper at Staples like last 2 years!

The following are ways we use to keep our expenses down or ways we earn money through our affiliates. Links to our affiliates will help us fund our Back to School expenses without costing you extra. Thank you for taking the time to check them out.
1. Keep an eye on the weekly sales ads. For some reason this year’s ads aren’t as easy to come by ahead of time. The past few year’s I was able to view lists or ad scans 3-4 weeks ahead but now that I want to share deals with my reader’s it’s been much harder. I will still try to share some deals from Staples, Target, etc. Just to help you out. Remember to check to see if your State offers Tax-Free Shopping Weekend.
2. Earn Swagbucks for Amazon expenses. I use to use Swagbucks all the time for searching but since I got a smartphone I use SBTV at night while the phone is charging to rack up Swagbucks.

swagbucks logo
3. Shop via Ebates when shopping online. Right now Ebates partners are offering EXTRA Ebates which makes shopping via Ebates just that much sweeter! Some stores offering Back to School bonuses are Amazon, Kohl’s, Staples, and Ulta. Head on over for a complete list of stores offering bonus Ebates.
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back
4. Peruse Currclick for deals and free curriculum. Currclick is a company for homeschoolers with most of it’s curriculum created by homeschool families. What better way to save money and support other’s within the homeschool community!


5. Look at Educents for free printables and educational discounts. Each week there seems to be something free if not multiple downloads each week. I’ve had my eye on a few Math and Science products that went on sale recently through Educents.


6. Check out deals on Groupon. You never know what kind of deal you might find. I bought my husband a pair of wireless headphones he has had his eye on for months. I was able to save $30! I went back and checked local deals and found an indoor waterpark day pass for 50% off. Sounds like we will have a cheap one-day getaway once school starts and the crowds are down. Here’s an offer that might make a good teacher present:
Starbucks – $5 for $10 Starbucks Card eGift

Want to head out for some last minute Summer fun as a family? Check out deals below:
Family Fun_Summer

If you like to buy bulk or just love those big warehouse shopping deals check this out: $45 for a Sam’s Club Savings Membership package with a $20 gift card and four fresh-food vouchers.

7. Register for conferences as early as possible. This allows you to get Early Bird discounts such the Great Homeschool Convention. Remember to print your free ID’s for each of your child via Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. See how to wear them or what info to include by reading Conferences and Child Safety.Homeschool Conventions Dates

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Our Homeschool Back to School List

Homeschoolers need Back to School supplies just like any other student. We don’t even us that many worksheets or do that many lapbooks but still use lots of supplies. This school year Big Red will need to “officially” become a Preschool Student and do school work. I envision him using lots of pencils, markers, and colored pencils like Eldest and Princess.

(Check to see if YOUR State has a TAX-FREE Shopping Weekend!)
Back to School Homeschool List
I want my children to be free to use as much variety of supplies as well as whatever they need to create all year long. If you have children that use an art product as much as they breath like Eldest then you better stock up when items are cheap. Eldest loves to draw comics and write short scripts and stories. He likes to keep each of his ideas in a SEPARATE Composition Notebook! This can be pricey if you run out mid-year or have to keep a tight ration UNLESS you buy 10-15 just in case.

I also like to stock up for Operation Christmas Child, Christmas presents, and birthday’s for my nieces. Who doesn’t like fresh school supplies mid-year? So what does a homeschool family with four children put on their Back to School list? We keep the basics of printer paper, pens, glue sticks, and colored pencils but add in a few fun items as well.

We already own a nice stock of art supplies which include watercolors, chalk pastels, oil pastels, colored pencils, crayons, and paper. We use TONS of colored pencils since we do not allow crayons in our vehicles and we can NEVER EVER EVER have enough watercolor paper to satisfy my children’s artistic sides! I feel like we do not do art as much as we should due to the dilemma of high priced paper. (This is where those 40% JoAnn’s coupons come in handy!)

Here’s what I am keeping an eye out to find the best deals this season:

(Using our Amazon Affiliate links in case you want to order without heading out to the store!)

Composition Notebooks- 10 Eldest, 2 for everyone else + 5 for Princess’ birthday party
Colored Pencils- 4 packs + 5 for birthday favors + 2 for Christmas refills
.7 mm Pencil Lead- only if super cheap
Twistable Crayons- any count for Big Red AND van for Ramble Quest’s
Glue Sticks- not sure cause we ran out due to some that dried out
Colored Notecards- just because they are fun and a great size for review & games
Post-it Notes- both colored and shaped IF on sale for MOM
3-ring Binders- gotta assess what we have versus what we might need
Super Glue- lots since Eldest needs this for stop motion video stuff
Washable Markers- skinny & regular packs 2 for Big Red plus extras for Giving Back Pack
Sharpie Markers- never seem to have enough for Eldest!
Fabric pencil pouches for 3-ring binder- great for Busy Bags and drawing on the go kits
Back Pack- Big Red needs one that can double as overnight bag or Bug Out Bag

Back to School Items we own:

Protractor & Compass- brand new in package
Basic Sketching Tools- pencils, charcoal, etc.
Rulers- plastic, wooden, and flexible
Pencils- partial 5 gallon bucket from old business
Erasers, Kneadable & Art Gum- from last 2 years Back to School sales
Construction Paper- .25 per pack at a garage sale
Lunch Boxes- we own 6 or 7 from previous years and YES we do use them!
Backpacks- regular school bags, nature packs, and sling bags from Big Red’s birth

Did you miss out on our NOT Back-to-School posts from last year? Don’t worry you can check them out below:

Our Schoolroom

Our Curriculum

Our Students


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