Sarah did her first spelling bee today. The homeschool group we belong to did two bees, one for children in kindergarten through third grade and one for children in fourth through eighth. Let me just say, some of those older kids were dynamite spellers! The second bee ran really long because the participants just weren't missing any words. They spelled words I hadn't even heard of (and I love words!).
I taught Sarah to read when she was in preschool, because she was begging to learn (I hadn't been planning on teaching her that young, really). She took off and is a phenomenal reader. I gave her an online assessment partway through kindergarten, and she was reading on about a fourth grade level. I am still, halfway into first grade, amazed by some of the words she can read.
However, reading does not necessarily translate to spelling. We've started to focus more on grammar and spelling this school year, but she is still new at it and it doesn't seem to be as instinctive for Sarah as reading is. So I really didn't have any thoughts of putting her in a spelling bee this year.
But she knew about the bee. Nelson had been recruited to work the sound system, so Sarah knew that this event called a spelling bee was taking place. She wanted to do it. So I let her. But I'll be honest; I was nervous. I wasn't worried about her performance; I know her well enough to know she was never going to win and I honestly didn't care. No, I was worried about what her reaction would be when she missed a word. Sarah is a perfectionist. If we are doing a page of twenty math problems and she misses one, she wants another page of twenty problems so she can get a perfect score. I was afraid she would miss a word and just crumble.
Thankfully, it went better than I feared. She did miss a word during her first round in the bee, and she was bummed when she sat down, but she was not inconsolable. She listened to the rest of the bee, and she clapped quite enthusiastically for the winner. She did get restless during the older kids' bee (because it was LONG), but overall I was very proud of her and I told her so.
P.S. Nelson did videotape the bee if you want to see. She's not in it very long at all, but let me know if you want him to send you the video.
P.P.S. When considering titles for this post, I thought about including a deliberately misspelled word. I wasn't sure how many would get the joke though.