The Rock Box

Today I did more stuff in the house and worked on autoharp music and went shopping at Aldi. I also did laundry and edited for a while.

The primary achievement of the day, however, was finding the rock box. And yes, it is what it sounds like: a box of rocks. As I was organizing things in the schoolroom, Lucy got it into her head to find the rock box. Only it wasn’t where we thought it was.

We looked and looked. Finally, it was Jasper who found it. He can barely remember it and therefore is not emotionally attached to it like most of my other children are, but he still managed to recognize it and pull out of the cupboard where it’s been hiding.

I’m pretty nostalgic about the rock box myself. It dates back to 1994, when we had just returned to Texas from Africa. I was trying to figure out how to handle homeschooling two kids, since Flynn was now ready for kindergarten. We were on a shoestring budget.

One day I found myself in Books-a-Million, and I saw they had various types of rocks for $2 apiece, the kind where you pick out your rock and then find a little slip of paper telling all about it. I got a rock and the piece of paper and took them home to the kids. I found a flat cardboard box and glued the paper on the bottom in the corner. We talked about the rock–I believe it was tigereye–and everyone got a chance to handle it and admire it.

Over the next few weeks, as we continued to try and settle into our new home and new life, I bought a new rock every time I went to Books-a-Million. We learned about each new rock and we had quizzes, where I’d put the rocks on the table and the kids had to identify them. Once Flynn learned how to read, I could remove the rocks from the box and then let him or Lina put them back, with each rock on its correct label.

Once we had all the different kinds of rocks that Books-a-Million offered, our collection became rather static, although from time to time I did add a new rock or two, even if they didn’t have labels. Every so often, we’d pull out the rock box and see how many the kids remembered. We never glued the rocks to the labels.

Now, after years of obscurity, the cardboard box is falling apart—but the rocks had quite a comeback moment this evening. Lucy wants to mount some of them and frame them as a decoration for her wall. We showed them all to Jasper and put them on their correct labels. It’s funny how a little thing like that can bring back such a flood of memories, and the flavor of that long-ago time when the kids were little.

One thought on “The Rock Box

  1. I LOVED the rock box! I’ve never lost my lost of knowing what rocks are from that simple activity; in fact I was thinking about it today because I’m wearing a necklace with some tigereye beads. The box must be saved!


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