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Thread: Spelling Bee + Vocabulary

  1. #21
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    I like spelling bees too, for the reasons Kim said.

    Also I think it will be very hard to judge whether or not the definitions are correct, especially in a spelling bee-like setting. There are nuances for sure, unless you want kids memorizing dictionary definitions, which I assume you don't.
    Laurie, mom to:
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClairesMommy View Post
    Perhaps the reason why I have an issue with kids learning to spell words this way, by rote, is because I am a huge proponent of phonics. To me, spelling bees are just examples of memorization and nothing more. Yeah, a kid has memorized this really bizarre word that nobody ever uses or has heard of (which in an of itself is pretty pointless, IMO) but are they then able to attempt to correctly spell a word by breaking it down phonetically first? I don't think bees are like detrimental and messing up a kid's mind or anything like that, I just think they're pointless. You memorized the spelling of a word. Yay. Now, use that word in a sentence.
    I am not a huge fan of phonics only. There are so many exceptions and not everyone learns that way. Every word I know how to spell, at some point I memorised. Even now, when I see spell check has showed me a word is spelled wrong, I study it so that I know how to spell it the next time. DH and Alyssa work differently. They see a word one or two times and in most cases know how to spell it. They do use each word in a spelling bee in a sentence.

    ~Bonita~

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    As Missy pointed out, you are learning the skill of how to spell

    I understand that children studying obscure random words are learning how to spell them. I am saying that I think that this is time wasted that could be better spent on other things. I do not think that learning how to spell words that no one has ever heard of, or words that they do not know the meaning of, serves any point. If a child knows how to spell huipil, but has no way to use it.....well......who really cares? I think that it is unbalanced to focus so much on spelling with no thought as to meaning. I like the new focus on meaning/definition, and think that it will help parents to encourage more balance for their children.

  4. #24
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    I can see both sides. However, I tend to lean more toward Melissa's POV on this one.

    Maybe it would help those who are weak in the area of explaining the meaning of a word, to get better at it, which can be very helpful once you have your own kids

    Anything that can help our kids to "think" more is a good thing IMO.
    ~Mary

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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    I understand that children studying obscure random words are learning how to spell them. I am saying that I think that this is time wasted that could be better spent on other things. I do not think that learning how to spell words that no one has ever heard of, or words that they do not know the meaning of, serves any point. If a child knows how to spell huipil, but has no way to use it.....well......who really cares? I think that it is unbalanced to focus so much on spelling with no thought as to meaning. I like the new focus on meaning/definition, and think that it will help parents to encourage more balance for their children.
    While some words are hard unknown words, in order to advance in the spelling bee, you first have to learn the more normal common words. In Alyssa's spelling bee (which the winners advanced and if you progressed far enough, you could end up in the spelling bee in the OP), each child was given a list of 400 words to study. Only the older children would have gotten to all 400 words. There were about 50 words that were at a kindergarten level. 50 words that were at a 1st grade level. 50 words that were at a 2nd grade level and so on. By the time you got to words that you would not use on a normal basis, you are up to the 4th and 5th grade words. The time spent on the words that a child needs to learn is not a waste. The harder words that you can advance on are not a waste either. It makes learning fun and encourages learning. This is not a waste either. It is not (at least in our situation) taking away from other learning. It is not like we did less math or science so we could spend more time on spelling.

    ~Bonita~

  6. #26
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    I didn't realize we were simply debating your child. I thought we were debating the topic, which I assumed was spelling bees in general. My bad.

    Judging from the three replies on the article this just isn't something that most Americans care much about. I guess I feel the same. We focus a lot more on things like sports, art, dance, etc. I'm a huge fan of integrated learning ~ so the passionate focus on this one small part of the language ~ spelling without meaning, is really backward to me. I'm glad that they are changing the competition to force parents to be less myopic in how they train their children to perform.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    I understand that children studying obscure random words are learning how to spell them. I am saying that I think that this is time wasted that could be better spent on other things. I do not think that learning how to spell words that no one has ever heard of, or words that they do not know the meaning of, serves any point. If a child knows how to spell huipil, but has no way to use it.....well......who really cares? I think that it is unbalanced to focus so much on spelling with no thought as to meaning. I like the new focus on meaning/definition, and think that it will help parents to encourage more balance for their children.
    I am not debating just my child. My children are just the experience that I have. I do not see how anyone can think teaching a child to spell is a waste.

    ~Bonita~

  8. #28
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    I'm less interested in spelling bees than in spelling in general. It's a lost art. I see so many professional items with incorrect spelling: ads, signs, resumes, business correspondence, etc. It drives me nuts. It's one thing to rush off a post or an email, it's another to think it doesn't matter anymore.

    We didn't have spelling bees where I grew up but I used to wish we did because I was very good at spelling!

    Amusingly, my uncle is an incredibly smart academic-minded man who became a lawyer and then dean of a law school, and has written books, and is an esteemed professor, and he still can't spell.
    Laurie, mom to:
    Nathaniel ( 10 ) and Juliet ( 6 )




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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I am not debating just my child. My children are just the experience that I have. I do not see how anyone can think teaching a child to spell is a waste.

    This is a good example of how working on reading comprehension is so important, not just spelling . Nowhere did I say that learning to spell is a waste! Obviously learning HOW to spell is very important! Critical, in fact. However, I believe that learning how to spell words that one does know the meaning of is pointless. Context, critical! Sentence structure, imperative! Meaning, everything!

    There are only so many hours in a day. I'm sure a homeschooler is very well aware of that. So yes, I do feel that it could be time wasted to focus on learning how to spell words that one can't use in lieu of learning other critical skills like math or geography, or whatever it is that that time could be used on.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    There are only so many hours in a day. I'm sure a homeschooler is very well aware of that. So yes, I do feel that it could be time wasted to focus on learning how to spell words that one can't use in lieu of learning other critical skills like math or geography, or whatever it is that that time could be used on.
    I think people who get into the spelling bee thing don't do it in place of regular curriculum, its more of a secondary thing, almost like an extra curricular. I know my own school made everyone participate, but how much you put into it was really up to you. If you wanted to advance? You spent more time working on it. If you really didn't care, you spent little time at all and it ultimately has no bearing on your grades. So i don't think that time spent memorizing words really detracts from time learning other things anymore so than any other extra curricular does.

    I get not being all into it in general though, or maybe secretly hoping ones kids have no interest in doing it. Emma seemed very excited about the spelling bee this year and if that excitement had stuck, i wouldn't have been bothered by her putting in a lot of time to do well in it. Nor would i have been concerned that her regular curriculum was not teaching her enough about math or geography. I'm not super disappointed that she lost interest either though
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