For the last two years, my children have participated in our cover school's spelling bee competition. I have encouraged/required them to do this. Both times were really great experiences. The best part was the comradship with other homeschool kids.
I firmly believe most children need practice being up in front of an audience. I always tell my boys there will be times in their life they will have to stand up in front of a group of people and speak. It may be in their job, or just at a church business meeting. To me, it is a life skill.
I have to admit---I love competion. I grew up competing in 4-H most of my childhood. So, when it comes to things like a spelling bee, I can get really excited. Last year was a real nail-biter. One of my sons was in a round where these 4 kids-- then 3-- then 2-- spelled for 45 minutes without anyone missing a word. My son ended up being runner-up, but we loved it just the same. What a thrill!
WELL---yesterday I asked my kids if they wanted to be in the spelling bee this year. They didn't. But, I figured that's okay. They had the great experience for 2 years. Instead, they want to put their time toward other interests. I am both relieved and disappointed. Getting ready for a spelling bee takes lots of practice, but, oh, how I enjoy the day of the "bee"!