Free Homeschool Stuff and Gem Mining Info!

Today we found a free homeschool handwriting booklet and also an interesting ebook on how to have a cool geoparty! Of course penmanship is important for homeschoolers, so we’ll take any help we can get there.

You can find the free homeschool handwriting, or copy work farm ebook here.

I’m not sure how much longer that will be free at the link above, so go ahead and get it now.

If your kiddos are interested in rocks, gems, fossils etc – this would be an awesome party to have for birthdays. We may even have a small geoparty this summer around the time our local gem show comes through. :-)

You can find the free geoparty .pdf here!

Our family is completely fascinated with “gem mining” so we took a trip to the Smoky Mountains in September of 2010. If you are ever in the Smokies with a couple rock hound children, we’ll give you some tips.

Our favorite gem mine happened to be Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine. The way it was set up worked nicely for sluicing, allowing shady areas as well as sunny areas. We definitely liked being able to go dig our own buckets of dirt. There was music playing on the radio, which seemed to help us mine away for hours.

The staff at the Mason mine were awesome as well. You could tell that they really enjoyed being there to help both kids and parents. They were quite personable, friendly, and made our day a complete blast. Sometimes you’d never spot a gem in that tray without one of them saying – “I see one!” We brought home some nice small rubies and sapphires in the rough, along with bags full of dirt for the kids to search in at home.

Wish I had some images to show you of the Mason mine, but the laptop hard drive crashed before I transferred all of our pictures to the main computer. We were lucky to get most of the videos, and some of our pictures – but unfortunately did not get them all.

Next, we went to the Cherokee Ruby mine. The lady that runs the mine was very nice, although a bit overwhelmed. She didn’t seem to have much help on the day we were out there. We didn’t get to dig our own dirt, which the kids did not like as much. The sluicing area was mostly all in the sun, and these little black bugs kept pestering the heck out of us. Nice mine here, but we didn’t do nearly as well as we did at the Mason mine. Here are a couple shots of the boys at the Cherokee mine…

Suicing at the Cherokee Ruby mine in North Carolina

Gem hunting at the Cherokee Ruby mine in North Carolina

Gem mining at the Cherokee Ruby mine in North Carolina.

Sluicing in the sun at the Cherokee Ruby mine.

Finally, we ended up at the Hiddenite Emerald Mine. We hit this one on our way back home, and simply had a blast. Played in the creek most of the day, met some nice people – and brought home a ton of river rock. There were a a number of ways to mine there, including digging your own dirt – but once we got into the creek we didn’t want to leave. :) Our oldest did spend some time with a few buckets of dirt in the sluicing area, but most of the day was spent collecting cool river rocks. Nope, we didn’t find any good emeralds – but sure had a great time looking for them! Here are a few shots from the Hiddenite mine:

Gem mining in the creek at Hiddenite Emerald mine in the Smoky Mountains.

Rock hunting in the creek at Hiddenite Emerald mine.

Looking for emeralds in the sluicing area of Hiddenite Emerald mine in NC.

Our oldest sluicing for some emeralds at Hiddenite.

Collection of river rocks from Hiddenite Emerald mine in NC.

Small container of neat river rocks the boys found in the creek.

Homeschooling families certainly do love having time to play in nature’s playground. Finding that free geoparty ebook got us thinking about spring and summer fun doing some more rock hunting! If you have any questions about the mines we went to, you can leave a comment here and we’ll be happy to answer.

Thanks!
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