Monday, August 13, 2012

Herkimer Diamond Mining

So, although homeschooling 'officially' starts in September, we decided to use this trip as a kickoff to our homeschooling experiment. We put a little more thought into it, used the experiences to ask questions, get them to ask questions, investigate, etc. And for the most part it was successful...........

The Expectation:

I had never been to Herkimer before, nor had I gone diamond mining before. Frank had talked about it. His brother goes a lot and has shown us his many treasures. I was excited and very interested to check this out. Let me set the scene: Diamond Mining!! Pictures like the one above, are posted EVERYWHERE. The campground has a jewlery case full of these diamonds, jewlery made out of the diamonds, paperweights, you name it! I had visions of digging up little nuggetts of shiny treasure. I wasn't envisioning anything HUGE but several inches maybe. So we get our gear, go in and pay and get ready to dig up awesome diamonds. Remember, the girls were hoping to get a bucket full to sell at $50 a pop in order to buy a cruise ship...

The Reality:

We show up to a shack that immediately put Deliverance banjo music into my head. There were giant rock piles, dirt piles and MUD. I took my children to the bathroom before starting and it felt like something out of Silence of the Lambs. But 'I am going to keep an open mind', I think to myself.  Up we go hauling all our tools and shovels. As we are walking up, a woman and her daughter are walking down. They inform us that the diamonds are EVERYWHERE! So I think 'OK This could still be great!' Finally, Let's Start Looking!!

And looking, and looking.......and digging, and smashing rocks with mallets, and digging some more.........OOOOOOHHHHHHHH! WE FOUND ONE!!! Ok sorry but it looked like broken glass and was the size of a polly pocket shoe (and you all know how much I love those!). After about an hour, we found 5 more polly pocket size 'diamonds.' Another hour goes by, it is hot and humid, Frank has smashed about 2700 rocks and NOTHING! The kids have resorted to playing house on some rocks that resembled a table and chairs and I just sit quietly and wait.......As we decide to leave, I am feeling somewhat guilty, like we didn't give it a fair shot............... until I hear another person say (who had a sledgehammer going against a 50 lb boulder) "I'd keep going if I thought there was a HUGE ONE INCHER in there." REALLY?! A one incher is considered HUGE? I'm done!

 I took the kids back with me to the campsite and OCD Joe decides to go back for MORE! So I send him on his merry (and deluded) way and go poolside with the kids. I guess this could be considered our first FAIL of the homeschooling experience. But oddly enough, it wasn't. I was shocked but my eldest asked to go back after an hour of swimming! OCD Joe & daughter came back with some really cool 'diamonds.' They both enjoyed the experience and me and my youngest enjoyed the pool.

Maybe this control freak is starting to learn that it doesn't all have to come from her or be planned by her to be a success?

NAH probably not!

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