Friday, October 14, 2016

Making History #WingWritingChallenge Day 28

I haven't done much history making in my life time. Don't get me wrong ... I've done a lot, but I'm not really all that ground breaking, you know? 

I chose to homeschool my kids, which wasn't received with a lot of enthusiasm at first within my family, but there are three of us - I also have two cousins who have decided homeschooling is the right path for them - and we all started at roughly the same time. If what we did was making history, then we all did it together.

Becoming a self-published author was pretty ground breaking for me - and I definitely made some personal history for myself by doing so - but I have a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old cousin who has done the same thing. SIXTEEN. In my opinion, that right there is making history.

Okay, so, this post isn't going to be about me making history - although I helped a little in the history making. This one is all about my daughter, Maya.

Mentioning the fact that I homeschool earlier in this post wasn't an accident. I know it doesn't always seem like it, but I really am a girl with a plan. 

I've homeschooled for more than thirteen years. Maya is now a senior in high school. It's scary terrain. She's my first. She's my guinea pig - poor thing. She and I are always breaking new ground together. My kids and I, we're a team. They trust me and I trust them. It works. It's scary, but it's absolutely amazing all at the same time. Homeschooling truly was the right way for us to go, and I'm so grateful we jumped in. I wouldn't change that decision for all the money in the world.

In 2009, our family relocated to Cary, North Carolina. This was a great move for us for many different reasons. One of the biggest ones was homeschooling. Cary was only about fifteen minutes west of Raleigh. It was a really great location for us. The city's capital boasts a lot of great museums - almost all of them free of charge. It is also in Wake County, which has more than 7,000 homeschooled kids. This is both good and bad. Bad because parents got so fed up with the way the school system was run in that county that a large portion of them decided that pulling their kids from public schools was their best option. Good in that there was a wonderful homeschool community for us to become involved in once we arrived. I'd never had that in Colorado. I felt a bit like a lone wolf regarding our schooling choices for many years. Having a big support system and endless opportunities to be involved with other homeschooling families was a big bonus for us.

We became a part of the Cary Homeschoolers group. It was a big one - made up of more than 200 families. Our first experience with them was at a Christmas cookie exchange at a local park. I remember it was incredibly cold that day - unusually so - and it felt even colder to us Coloradoans because of all the humidity in the air. Humid cold is so much colder than dry cold. From that day forward, the kids and I immersed ourselves in this group and were happy to be a part of it.

In late 2010, it was announced that Cary Homeschoolers was going to participate in the Scripp's National Spelling Bee. This spelling bee started in 1925. It wasn't until 2011 that homeschooled students were allowed to take part in the competition. This was a big deal, and Maya decided she wanted to be involved.

The local spelling be for Cary Homeschoolers was held at a library in Cary in January, 2011. Guess who won?

That photo is not the best ... but you can see Maya's name there, right? :)

This was her with a celebratory balloon and candy bar our neighbor's left for her after her first bee.

That first local round was challenging, but nothing like the regional round. The packet of study words I printed from the Scripp's website was almost twenty pages long. Maya studied a lot on her own, but she and I studied together, too. We did it every day, several different times and for long stretches. This took place for a little over a month.

Maya worked hard. She got frustrated a few times, but she never gave up. We both saw those words so many times, I even had a few dreams about them. 

On February 26th, we went to the North Carolina State University campus for the regional competition.

There were 82 kids throughout the state of North Carolina who had gotten to this stage of the competition. 

The bee started at nine that morning, and Maya competed for nearly four hours. She got tripped up on a word - one that she knew how to spell, which was the awful part. She got thrown off because the presenter pronounced it differently than she'd been practicing it. By the time he corrected himself, it was too late. She was flustered and got it wrong. I felt bad because it wasn't a particularly hard word. That was the worst part - seeing her frustration after she misspelled a word we both knew she knew how to spell.

When it was all said and done, Maya came in at thirteenth place.

We celebrated with a lot of hugs - and pizza at Chili's.

Maya also scored two Hurricane's game tickets for being a finalist at the regional level.

She decided to take me, her study partner. She was well aware of the fact that her mom was (is) a Caniac. I don't really care too much about sports. Hurricanes hockey, though, well, that's a different story.

This isn't important to the rest of this post, but I feel the need to include here that the Hurricanes won that game. It was a celebration, though, as was the whole spelling bee experience. Okay, maybe the hockey win is relevant after all.

Yes, at the age of eleven, my sweet Maya made history. She was a homeschooled kid who competed in the Scripp's National Spelling Bee the first year they allowed homeschoolers to enter. Think about that for just a second. This national competition was held for eighty-six years before they made it open to homeschool students. That's a long time. Not only did Maya enter the first year she was eligible, but she won that first local bee ... and coming in at thirteen out of eighty-two in the regional bee wasn't too shabby, either.