My children have been participanting in the BHEA Spelling Bee since 2015, I think. BHEA stands for Blount Home Education Association – a homeschool support group in a county other than our own. But, such is life. There is no homeschool group in Sevier County that runs a spelling bee, as far as I know.
We are also members of the Cedar Springs Homeschool Support Group in Knoxville. They used to run a Spelling Bee, but not anymore. They have shifted their focus to science.
The winner of the BHEA Spelling Bee goes to Regionals. If she wins Regionals, she goes on to Nationals. It’s that simple. Of course, it’s not easy. But it is that straightforward.
There are smaller perks, too. The kids get a goodie bag, a medal, a diploma, and a cupcake just for showing up. There are over 400 families in BHEA, but only about 17 children sign up for the Spelling Bee every year. On the day of the Bee, for some reason, only about 11 show up. It just goes to show that it takes a lot of courage to face the bell. Yes, there are other conflicts that keep people away. Also, last-minute situations arise. Last but not least, a lot of homeschoolers do not believe in competitions.
The kids that do show up tend to be excellent spellers. They will stick around for many rounds before they get eliminated. So quantity is not as important as quality.
This year, I coordinated the event and it was interesting. Zoder’s Inn and Suites, my husband’s business, has been sponsoring the cash prizes for the Top 3 for several years now.
We like the Spelling Bee because it encourages excellence in language arts, public speaking, and learning to control nerves. Life is full of competitions and exams. Our children need opportunities to get tested in small things before they have the ability to handle big occasions.