How to Prepare for a Spelling Bee

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Last year, our son attended his first Spelling Bee. He was in third grade, which is the first year a child can attend a Spelling Bee. On a national level, I see some first graders who make it to Washington, D. C. (usually homeschoolers) and I wonder how they got there. Their parents and teachers must have realized they are so good, they enrolled them and the youngsters blew their older peers out of the water.

BHEA Spelling Bee - January 2017

BHEA Spelling Bee – January 2017

Precocious kiddoes aside, third grade is where Spelling Bee starts. So how does one prepare for a Spelling Bee? Here are a few ideas: Continue reading »

First, I would invest in a good spelling curriculum. I use Logic of English Foundations for my second grader and Essentials for my fourth grader. I hear good things about All About Spelling and, also, about Spelling Zoo (IEW spelling program).

Secondly, I would let them read as many books as possible. Aim for at least one picture book a day for K-2 and at least one small chapter book (150 pages or so) per week for grades 3-5. In grades 6-8, children should read at least 100 pages per day.

Spelling Bee Logo

This may seem like a lot, but think about it. If your child is reading 20 pages in a longer biography, that covers history for the day. Twenty pages in a cool science book would cover science. Twenty pages in a mystery would cover fun reading. The rest, 40 pages, can be spent on a classic, which takes care of Language Arts and Reading.

Now, if your child can finish over 150 pages in one day in a single book only because they love that book, more power to them. Tomorrow is another day for another book. My son loves to read and he can finish a 250-page book in one day simply because he likes it. Don’t lose heart. We did not get here overnight.

If your child does not enjoy reading, you read to him. Take 20 minutes every day with books you know might interest him and I promise you that in a few months your child will be a more independent reader.

Last but not least, sign up for the National Spelling Bee newsletter. They have all sorts of ideas on how to study, Word Wall printouts, and book lists to read. Your homeschool co-op will have to pay a fee to enroll with the National Spelling Bee. Then, you will have access to their proprietary materials, which are VERY important. Hope this helps!


Spelling Bee

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We attended our first Spelling Bee and it was a lot of fun. My son got out in the third round, but he said he enjoyed himself and wanted to come back next year. As it is, he finished in the middle of the group, which is not bad for his first time and for being a third grader.

A Spelling Bee is simply a great experience in public speaking, recalling information you have learned, working under pressure, using your knowledge of phonics to tackle a new word, and thinking on your feet. I have written here before that vocabulary is the only proven predictor of future success.

BHEA Spelling Bee

My son, second from the right, pays attention during the BHEA Spelling Bee in Maryville.

I was glad the organizers had prizes for all the children participating. Even though it was a good experience for all, receiving a goody bag as soon as they got off the stage took the sting out of the loss for many of these children.  Continue reading »

There were some other special prizes for the three children who came in first, second and third, as there should be. I believe in rewarding effort and superior skill. But it was very nice that all children received a little something for the effort of signing up and showing up and humoring their moms. Yes, that would be me included!

This was the Blount Home Education Association (BHEA) Spelling Bee and it is considered “school level.” The winner goes straight to Regionals, which happen in Knoxville. The winner of Regionals goes to DC. So yeah, it would be a big deal to win the BHEA Spelling Bee one of these years.

We are just thankful that we got started with the experience. My daughter, who is in first grade, attended and enjoyed watching. She told me afterwards that she wanted to participate when she would be of the right age.

I was glad to see that they were OK with the pressure and did not think bad of the experience. On the contrary, they learned a lot from it and wanted to build on it in the future.

The Spelling Bee, which happened in a church in Maryville, TN, was attended by 13 brave children. A big thank you to the organizers, a team of moms and their teenagers, who have won the BHEA Spelling Bee in years past and have come really, really close to qualifying for the nationals. Hats off to you ladies for the hard work you put into this event and for giving our children a great learning experience!