We've developed a unique way of schooling here. It's come about through trial and error, failure and success. We look for what works and run with it, and abandon what doesn't. We make plans and drop them at a moments notice. Some days we just drive up and down hills, because that's the only thing we can do. Usually our kids lead the way in their learning, in the form of play. Kids are natural learners after all, and they're good at it. Our job is to introduce new concepts and material into their games and see what they pick up. Fynn is a natural born scientist in that he learns everything he possibly can about whatever he is into and runs endless experiments to discover th' truth of th' matter.
Well, two people gave Fynn metal detectors for Christmas, so we decided to take one of them out to our classroom and try it out. I wasn't sure if he'd be interested or not, nevertheless we packed up our gazelles (the wagons are gazelles), metal detector and a digging stick and went to th' field.
Fynn walked around with the metal detector a little bit, but soon lost interest and we went back to playing cheetah and gazelle, which is what we usually do out here.
Well, one of the gazelles got bit by a cheetah and had to be taken to the gazelle hospital, which is in another field about half a mile away. So we walked. On th' way we saw something in th' snow.
After looking at it for a bit we realized what happened. Can you tell from looking at the pictures?
What me and Fynn came up with is that a bird was eaten by a much larger bird, and it left quite a mess of blood and feathers, along with a really spectacular wing print in th' snow. And then of course a fox had to come and check out th' scene.
But we didn't delay long, we had injured gazelles to tend to. So off through the field we went, forging our way through snow that had turned to ice. If you've never walked through eight inches of hard packed snow you don't know what you're missing.
Finally we made it to the gazelle hospital. Fynn gave them some medicine and sat with them while they were resting.
As they were resting i decided to grab the metal detector and see what i could find. There was a little trail nearby so i thought to walk it, thinking this would be a likely place to drop something. I walked th' trail swinging the detector in slow arcs in front of me. Fynn got curious and started following me. Soon we heard that lovely sound of detected metal. Imagine a cheap battery operated buzzer and you'll know what i'm talking about. Nevertheless Fynn was excited, he got down and started digging with his hands, even though i'd brought along a digging stick. After a minute or two he pulled up an old rusty square lid. I hadn't seen him this excited in a long time.
By this time he was hooked and wanted to look for more things. He took th' metal detector again and started swinging it in a slow arc, like he'd seen me do. I told him i followed th' trail because people drop things and that'd be a good place to find something. He agreed and kept to it. After a while we heard that buzz again, th' one we both now love. He put down th' detector and started digging again, but found nothing. I got out th' digging stick and we took turns digging, stopping periodically to test the area with the metal detector to make sure we were in the right spot.
We dug for nearly half an hour. Which is a long time when you're digging. At one point Fynn exclaimed, it's like we're finding a surprise, or a treasure. I started talking about going home and getting a shovel, or waiting till th' ground thawed out, but Fynn said just keep digging Papa, we're almost there. And then, and you archaeologists will know what i'm talking about, that oh so satisfying thump of th' digging stick hitting something solid, that isn't a rock. We had found metal.
Fynn was jumping up and down with excitement. Dig it out Papa, dig it out he kept saying. What do you think it is i asked him. I don't know, dig it out and let's see. So we kept digging, but now with a target and a new ambition. To me it looked like a thick cog. We kept alternately digging and prying and realized that this thing had holes in it, and was not circular as i at first suspected.
A few more minutes and we got th' thing out of th' ground, what ever it is. Neither one of us could figure out what it is, so we decided to keep it and do some research, ask around a bit. We'll start a box of things we find with metal detectors and save them, perhaps turn them into art work. All in all it was an exciting discovery.
All that digging in frozen ground made us hungry, so we packed up our gazelles with gear and treasure and headed home. Back through th' snow and ice, over hills and down long streets. Lunch never tasted so good.