Last week, our children participated in the Dodgen-Walton Science Olympiad Invitational, together with their team, Cedar Springs Homeschool. This invitational happens at the Walton High School in Marietta, GA. We compete against teams from public schools, private schools, magnet schools, charter schools, and there was another homeschool team, as well.
Invitationals are tough competitions which we attend in order to learn. We build on this experience. By the time we go to Regionals, State, and (hopefully) Nationals, we feel prepared.
Our daughter does not enjoy the events where you have to take a test. Instead, she prefers building events. This year, she and her partner, Zoe, participated in Bridge and Flight. Zoe had other events, with other partners. In fact, in Green Generation, she partnered with our son.
Speaking of our son, he dislikes building events. The coaches placed him in five written events, where he has to take a test: Crave the Wave (physics), Green Generation (renewable sources of energy), Dynamic Planet (earth science), Solar System, and Codebusters (decoding different cyphers). In each event, he had a different partner.
The coaches are homeschool moms who have learned how to teach and test the students over the years. This team has been to Nationals several times in years past, so we have a reputation to uphold.
We have another invitational in January, and then we go to Regionals in February. From there, hopefully we make it to State, which is in April, and then to Nationals, in May.
In addition to science, these competitions teach the students so much: communication skills (Slack, Trello), time management, kindness (the coach always tells them to share a pencil or goggles with a team that does not have one), politeness (the coach always tells them to thank the proctors as they leave the room), team spirit (one mom recently thanked me for my son’s character, because her son is new and my son has been very nice to her son, helping him with various details), initiative (you get promoted from B team to A team if you check Slack and respond timely to your coaches, and show that you care), organizational skills (uniform, books, laptop, pencils, binders, measuring tools etc – the students have to keep track of all that as they move from home to competition and from room to room during the competition).
Winning medals is fun, but we are after more than just a trophy or more knowledge. We want the “other lessons” I listed in the previous paragraph. Oh, and socialization.