Monday, April 13, 2015

Meet em' Mondays ( The Dingman Family)

Welcome to another week of Meet em' Mondays. 

This week I would like to introduce to you The Dingman Family from Oregon. 

Family Name: The Dingman Family
Ages of our children: 21,8,7 and 22 months
How long have we been homeschooling? 8 years total.

What state do you live in and is it Homeschool friendly?

We live in Oregon and it is semi homeschool friendly. We are required to register as homeschoolers and the kids have testing at the end of 3, 5, 8,and 10th grades

What is homeschooling to us? 

Homeschooling simply means freedom. Freedom to follow our kids interests, freedom to develop our own schedule or curriculum. Sometimes it's going to the art museum

(here they are at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam)

Or meeting a street performer in Germany

, or hanging out with search and rescue

, or volunteering to be a "victim" for our local CERT (community emergency response team) class

learning about Osmosis with food,

meeting some of the zoo animals face to face. 

What made you initially decide to start homeschooling?

I first learned about homeschooling in 1992 and started watching and talking to people. When my oldest (21) had issues in the public school system I pulled him out and started the deschooling process. Later when my younger children came along my husband and I decided that because our kids were already ahead of what they would be doing academically in public school that we would just continue doing what we were already doing. 

How do we choose our curriculum?

We don't! We don't use any set curriculum on a full time basis. We use a lot of free online resources and the children's interests to continue their active participation in their education. 
Do you stay with a schedule or are you more flexible? We are completely flexible, which we love! We have a general schedule (field trips on some days, or music lessons or Club activities we work around) but we love being able to decide on the spur of the moment to do something we hadn't thought about before!

How do you handle the family schedule?

We have our weekends generally set aside as family days, we have some activities that are specific days (music lessons, DIY team, 4H, swim lessons, etc.) but we also wish to remain flexible in most of our daily doings.

How do we make sure our children have regular interaction with peers?

DIY club, SciGirls club, field trips one to two times a week. Our children also have their friends that are in public school that they play with on a regular basis. One of our favorite saying is "just because it's called HOME schooling doesn't mean it has to happen at home."

If parents are considering their options between public, private or homeschooling, What advice would you give based on your own experience?

Relax would be my biggest suggestion, Don't fret about the "best" curriculum, each person, each family is different and what works for one won't necessarily work for another. Also give homeschooling more than a year, The first year is notoriously hard, and it may take the whole year or more to find what really works for you as a family. 

What has been the most surprising part of homeschooling?

How much they learn without a set curriculum! Yesterday my 7.5 year old was discussing ceropods and sauropods. They "discovered" multiplication and started using it before figuring out multiple digit addition and subtraction! Letting them explore the world around them, has given them more insight and drive to learn than sitting at a table working on books did in a year. 

Feel free to check out The Dingman Family blog:

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