Caleb won the 2nd grade spelling bee this morning!
The next to last contestant misspelled "blue", which Caleb spelled correctly. His next word was "chew".
The 2nd grade list had several homonyms on it, and the caller had said before the bee began that it was up to the contestants to ask for definitions or sentences if they needed them. I think that's what threw the little girl off. Caleb realized it earlier in the bee when asked to spell "toe".
My friend Jenny's daughter Abigail won the 1st grade bee. We left right after the 3rd grade bee because Caleb and Jacob were both antsy and bored. It was good for us to stick around for that bee, though, because Caleb had a chance to hear the words on the 3rd grade list. They're quite a bit harder than the 2nd grade list, so we'll need to get an early start on them next school year.
Another friend of mine had a son participating in the 5th grade bee. I'm not sure how the bees for 4th grade and up work, but I think each grade participates separately, with the winner from each participating in an overall bee. The winner from it will represent the homeschool association in the county bee next month. The winner of the county bee will then either participate in a regional bee or go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.
Many years ago when I taught middle school, I worked with preparing my students for that bee. The word list is actually a book of several lists that follow different topics. The words range from very easy to exceptionally hard. I remember the first year we participated in it. I was trying to encourage my students to get involved, and they wanted me to give them examples of the words they'd have to spell. I started reading from one of the lists and several students decided they didn't want any part of it. A few of my gifted students wanted me to tell them some of the harder words, so I challenged them to spell "otorhinolaryngology". I read the definition to them (the study of the ear, nose, and throat) and showed them how to figure out the word one part at a time. By the end of the day, many of them could spell the word. I had several students participate in the bee that year. Only a handful participated the next year, and no one did the year after that.
I don't remember ever participating in anything other than class spelling bees when I was in school. I would've loved to work toward the Scripps National Spelling Bee. In fact, I may get out those three lists/books from my teaching days just for fun. Yeah, I'm a nerd.