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.
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.
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!
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Thanks for writing this post. Could you email me info about suggested ways to study or prepare students for local homeschool spelling bee. I am in the process of organizing one for our small group.
Hi Michelle, 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 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. 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 small group 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!