Big Boy's school is hosting a spelling bee. Participation is optional. To assist with preparation for those who want to participate, all of the students brought home a word list of about 450 words that are from grade 1-5 reading level.
Big Boy loves to read but spelling is not one of his strengths. He spells phonetically and despite having a strong vocabulary and reading well above his grade level he seems to pay no attention to the way words are spelled. In class each week he has a spelling test but otherwise phonetic spelling is not corrected at school in his grade so I generally don't worry about it.
I asked Big Boy whether he wanted to prepare for and participate in the spelling bee. He participates in an extracurricular activity and our evenings and weekends are filled. He doesn't need to take on another activity if he doesn't really want to.
Big Boy was on the fence. Then he decided he wanted to participate because he wanted "to be good at something." He is good at so many things (and I think he knows it) but what I'm assuming he meant was that he wanted to be good at something in front of the whole school, akin to playing a sport.
So we started to prepare. I have no idea how to prepare for a spelling bee (and I'd love suggestions - we are still preparing because it's not taking place until next week!) so at first I thought I'd quiz him on the word list. He got nearly all of the words wrong. Then I had him study a small number of the words on the list before testing him. He got most of those wrong as well. We talk about how to spell each incorrect word, but it doesn't seem to help. It seems like he struggles with spelling the words out loud instead of writing them down, so I've tried to have him visualize what they words would look like on a paper. That didn't work either. Nothing seems to work.
Now I'm worried about what to do. Should I advise him to not participate so that he is not upset if he does poorly? Or do I keep quiet and let him participate, prepare him the best I can, and then let the chips fall where they may? He is a clever boy and he is so good at so many things, but if he is embarrassed during this spelling bee it might just crush him.
This is an optional activity and he was not overly excited about participating....so maybe I should push him to sit this one out? I just don't know.