Passing on the Love of Rocks!

Thank you Northwest Treasures and the Homeschool Review Crew for the opportunity to review Rocks and Minerals for Little Eyes from their Geology for "Little Eyes" series.

Many years ago when I was trying to finish up my Associate of Arts degree I needed to take a science with a Lab or another math class.  I looked at the math classes and went nope. Not happening.  I looked at the science classes. Remember it had to have a lab.  I quickly crossed off Biology. I was not about to dissect anything.  Chemistry was the next to go as it had too much math involved.  I settled for something called Physical Geography.  It was listed as a science. It had a lab.  It met the requirements I needed.  I fell in love.  Physical Geography is part of the Earth Sciences.  It's geology that focuses on the physical characteristics of the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.  I mostly remember the lithosphere stuff.  I was hooked on geology.

I went on to study Historical Geology and Physical Geology and briefly considered moving on to get a Bachelor's degree in Geology and becoming a geologist.  I was so smitten with rocks that I even spent time during spring break identifying rocks I found.

I passed my love of rocks down to Turtlegirl.  She studied rocks and read books about rocks and minerals.  She began her own rock collection.  Her studies were always informal.

I remember stopping at the Northwest Treasures booth at the home school conventions I attended. Unfortunately, as much as I drooled over the rock kits, I just didn't have the ability to purchase them.  Turtlegirl had to settle for teaching herself using whatever we could find but this summer?  This summer we are developing a love of geology in Supergirl. She is so excited that she now has her own rock collection from the Rocks and Minerals for Little Eyes kit.

What is Northwest Treasures?

Before I tell you about this kit let me give you a bit of background on Northwest Treasures and Patrick Nurre.  Northwest Treasures is a 501(c)3 organziation.  Patrick Nurre is "an ordained pastor, and is certified as a Biblical Creation Ministry Professional."  He has spent years doing field study and conducts geology classes and seminars.  He even leads field trips to places like Mt. St. Helens or Yellowstone National Park.

From the About Page:

At Northwest Treasures, we stand unabashedly for a young earth and global flood as revealed in Scripture. Most of our classes will reflect that worldview. However, our classes can be tailored, depending on your group, to share simply the science of geology without reference to our philosophy.

Rocks and Minerals for Little Eyes:

We received the kit which included the book,  a set of rock forming mineral samples, a set of rock samples, and a set of Alphabet Sheets.

Let me take a moment and tell you about these fun Alphabet Sheets.  There is a picture and a definition for every letter of the alphabet.   Some are rocks such as B  Basalt.  Others are minerals like J Jasper (a type of quartz).  While others are places or names of volcanoes: N Northwest "Most of the active volcanoes in the United States are located in the Northwest US."   These sheets came in a thick resealable plastic bag.  We've just enjoyed snuggling  together and looking through the pictures and reading them.  I do plan for Supergirl to use the ones for minerals and rocks to see if she can find those in her samples but I don't see these actually referenced in the book.

Rocks and Minerals Book Lessons:

This soft bound book includes an Introduction for Parents, 11 Lessons, 19 Activities and a Materials List.  It is 54 full color pages.  Questions and Activities are in red in the text.

The first two lessons really lay the ground work or foundation by discussing The Creation of the Earth (Lesson I) and the Flood (Lesson II).  These lessons are more Biblical in their focus and include scripture references and verses for Memorization.

Supergirl is an unusual student in that even though she is working at 2nd grade level for most things she is 20 years old and has had lots of exposure over the years to many topics including Creation and the Flood so these lessons were a little below her level but these are perfect for young students whose parents wish to lay a firm foundation for young Earth creationism.

Lessons III through X are more science focused as they explore rocks and minerals.  Lesson III explores What the Earth is Made of.  There are lessons on what rocks are made of, what the differences are between rocks and separate lessons for each type of rock.  The Young Earth Creation worldview is still clearly present woven into the lessons but these lessons do not have scripture and memorization verses.  You will still find sentences like "Some were formed during the Flood, but most were most likely formed at the beginning of the Creation,"  or "The Book of Genesis reveals to us that God made all things."

Some lessons are longer and some are shorter.  For example Lesson V is 3 pages long but lessons VIII, IX and X are each only 1 page.  I really appreciate that Mr. Nurre takes the time to really explain rocks.  Rocks are made up of minerals and minerals are made up of elements.  Elements are the atoms or the basic building blocks God used for all created things. (page 12).


Our most favorite part are the activities.  Every lesson has at least one activity and with only 11 lessons and 19 activities that means some lessons have more than one activity!

In the back of the book there is a master materials list.  This is great and I used it to start gathering what we needed but I do wish that it indicated which lesson it was needed for.  I love that each activity also lists what you need for that specific activity.

Most the activities give a brief statement that lays out the purpose of the activity.  For example Activity 14 (which we haven't gotten to yet but I am so looking forward to Making Metamorphic Rock Candy), says "Metamorphic rocks are thought to form through heat and pressure. This activity simulates that process.   Some are pretty self-explanatory like making crystals.

One of the things that I appreciate about the activities is that they use common items. For the Density Column in Activity 2, I did purchase some things like a cheaper store brand honey since I didn't want to use our raw honey but we already had just about everything else they suggested. 

I also really liked that many of the activities are edible.  Children, or at least my children really love being able to create something they can eat.  Our Making Crystals (Sugar.. aka Rock Candy) is not ready yet and we haven't gotten to Activities 13, 14, and 15. I sure am looking forward to Lava Rock Candy Dessert, Making Metamorphic Rock Candy and Making Sedimentary Rock Treats. I know we won't be getting there for a couple more weeks but I already bought the crisped rice cereal and marshmallows.  Don't tell Supergirl.  She's going to love that activity though!

How We Are Using Rocks and Minerals for Little Eyes

We are moving at a pace of about two lessons per week.  We do not always do the activity on the same day as the lesson so we work on this 3 to 4 times a week.

Turtlegirl is the primary teacher.  She reads the lessons the to Supergirl and leads the discussion.  I'm usually in the room when this happens and it really makes my heart happy to hear Turtlegirl sharing her love of rocks with her twin sister.

Usually the next day they would do the activity. We tended to do the activities more in the evenings or on weekends. Turtlegirl took the lead with those but they did become more of a family event at times.  The Density Column sat on my counter for a few days.  Supergirl made sure that everybody knew they should not drink it.  "Daddy! Don't drink it! It will make you sick." 

When we examined the crystals made from Epsom salts everybody took a moment to look at the crystals under a magnifying glass.  Only Supergirl and I stuck our hands in the bowl though to really feel the crystals.  I admit it, I really liked this activity even though it wasn't edible.

Turtlegirl shared with me that she thinks Supergirl's favorite activity so far was to make a clay model of the Earth.  "She really enjoyed it, mom.  She liked working with the clay."

 Even Dad got a bit involved with our Rock Investigation.  He asked what were doing and I said we were comparing rocks.  He even held a few in his hand to see which was heavier.

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a program from a Young Earth Creationism worldview to use to introduce your children to geology, then I highly recommend Northwest Treasures.

I also recommend checking out their video Taking the Mystery Out of Geology.  In this video Patrick Nurre defines 13 terms.  The video will give you a good feel for the philosophy and worldview that Northwest Treasures holds.

 Crew Leaders Amanda and Michele wrote reviews for physical kits as well.  Check out Amanda's review of Volcanoes for Little Eyes and Michele's review of Geology for Kids.

Crew members had a choice between the Dinosaurs and the Bible or Geology and Apologetics online classes.   Be sure to read their reviews at the Homeschool Review Crew Blog!


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