Fri Jun 1, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Homeschooled Child Wins US National Spelling Contest
By Elizabeth O’Brien
WASHINGTON, D.C. 1 June 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) -Yesterday evening, Evan O’Dorney, a 13-year old homeschool student from Danville, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that throughout round after round of constant challenge, he hurtled through words such as "schuhplattler", "Bewusstseinslage", rascacio". Edmonton champion Nate Garke misspelled the word "coryza" and lost closely before Evan finished with "serrefine", or "A small spring forceps used for approximating the edges of a wound, or for temporarily closing an artery during surgery."
Beating 285 other top spellers from throughout the country, Evan won a trophy and over $40,000 in prizes. Media News reports that this year, the 80th anniversary of the spelling contest will be broadcasted on national television. Jennifer, both a proud mother and Evan’s elementary school teacher, told reporters, "We’re hoping he gets to ABC….but either way, we’re going to celebrate."
After the competition, Evans himself admitted to ESPN commentator Stuart Scott that he enjoys other subjects such as math and music far more. "The spelling, it’s just a bunch of memorization." So what makes him different from the other children? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, not only is he a top spelling champ, but he plays piano concertos, has a first-black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a math champion as well.
Is it just random chance that the winner of the national spelling bee is a homeschooled child? Home school advocates suggest that home study has a significant impact on the development of a normal child. Home schooling doesn’t try and make a child fit one specific size or mold. Sometimes kids can be working on two or three different grade levels at once. If they love science, they might be a couple of levels ahead, but if they’re struggling in English, they might go a bit slower to make sure that the concepts are cemented in before moving ahead.
Charles B. Lowers, Executive Director of Considering Homeschooling, says "Homeschoolers overall do better academically, socially, and most important, spiritually." The majority of Christian parents still send their children to public school, he says, not realizing the catastrophic spiritual and social damage most children may suffer there. "While some parents maintain that their local school is different, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear, says Lowers, that the public schools are no place for Christian children." (See coverage http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06082407.html).
Weeks before the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Evan O’Dorney’s mom coached and quizzed him for up to two hours each day, showing how the personal attention and a flexible schedule at home gave him added freedom to do his best. In similar ways, homeschooled students throughout North America are excelling in various academic pursuits and public careers.
Most importantly, however, a strong home faith environment helps many homeschooled children to personalize their faith when the local public school system and mainstream media gives them a constant stream of secular messages. The busy schedule of most modern parents also does not allow them to be constantly present in the classroom and protect their children from material that either undermines their religious beliefs or prematurely destroy a child’s innocence.
Last year Pastor Brian Lewis of Los Angeles was extremely upset after his daughter was required to read, "Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. and watched R-rated Donny Darko in class without his consent. He sued the local school board upon noticing "behavioral changes" in his daughter afterwards. (see coverage http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06082407.html)
See related coverage:
Vatican to Catholic Homeschoolers: "I truly admire parents, who take on this great commitment"
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