OMGOMGOMG!!! I haven’t talked much about BigGuy and Science Olympiad because, well, ummm… it’s our first year involved and it wasn’t as much of a “team” thing as we anticipated. So it kind of threw us for a loop. But OMGOMGOMG!!!
BigGuy and his partner–both fifth graders–took 4th place in Meteorology!!! Our team is allowed to have fifth graders because the size of our “school” is so small. The competition is mostly 6-8th graders. Two of the schools in the regional competition are private gifted schools with performance criteria for admission.
AND… we are the FIRST homeschool team to ever make it to state finals in Illinois! WOOHOO!!
You had to see it when they called our team name for Meteorology. BigGuy ran up, both hands in the air, with ABSOLUTE joy and amazement! NONE of us DREAMED that they’d place in meteorology because neither of the boys had done any extensive studying. BigGuy was on that team for whatever carryover knowledge he had from YEARS of “all things related to atmosphere and space” reading; and his partner had just finished a unit on meteorology in whatever mode of schooling his family does.
I had reminded the boys about some test taking techniques before they went in. BigGuy says that, on first pass, there were no answers that either boy knew right away. It was all a matter of what they could look up on their resource sheet–which was compiled of prior Science Olympiad – Meteorology test questions.
Our team also won the spirit award for our division (middle school is Division B). The spirit award is presented for (directly from the award itself): “displaying the best overall sportsmanship and spirit of the competition”. BAM! So much for those horribly unsocialized homeschoolers.
We had a nervous dance around whether we could GO to states because of a standing rule about homeschoolers and having to draw from two contiguous counties… which is biased when you consider that we were competing against private schools that require high achievement just to get in and have no restriction on geographic area for their student population. In fact, one of the schools at the high school level of the competition is a STATE wide math and science academy (the one that BigGuy wants to attend). It’s highly competitive to get in and they try to work with under-represented counties of the state to draw more kids from those areas in the name of equal opportunity. And these are often the top-scoring teams. Seriously?? We don’t have REMOTELY the resources that these places do!
Apparently this was an issue taken up with Science Olympiad a few years ago and at the national level, they weren’t hearing it. I’m hoping that with time, they’ve come to think more about it. I’m not assuming our team would go to nationals (I don’t even know if BigGuy can attend the state competition); but at some point, we might. And we get shoved out of enough things without getting shoved out of things we could rightfully earn.