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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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