Is Science Olympiad worth it?

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by hscmom » April 13th, 2011, 8:04 pm

Okay, just page down if you don't want ... a MOM'S point of view. :o I wasn't in SO in high school because they didn't have it. Now I'm a homeschooling mom of four kids (ages 10 through 17) and at a homeschool mom's group meeting someone mentioned SO and my three older ones (9,11, and 13) at the time enjoyed science so I thought I'd check out the local homeschool SO team. They had a competitive team and a JV team where kids could "try out" SO with just one or two events. That team did okay but it wasn't cohesive. It fell apart after competition season and one of the nicer moms in the group asked me, "Should we start our own team?" I wasn't sure about it, but we DID have fun at the competitions, so why not? :lol:

If it weren't worth it, I would've quit by now, as it takes a lot of the family's money and time. And, this time of year (States is in three days) it is absolutely insane. There are bird flash cards strewn across the family room floor, scars on the dining room chair from a too eager sumobot, spilled sand from the MP sand timer, and batteries in the trash from the battery buggy's last runs. We have boxes of notes, files of practice tests, and I get printer ink refilled nearly weekly.

But it's good for the kids... They are learning things that they don't yet appreciate because, unlike me, they are not yet middle aged! While it is great that all the kids know that a red-winged blackbird says konklareeeee, it's even better that the kids know how to study, how to work with people that they are necessarily fond of, how to push through really hard learning, how to plan a project, brainstorm, problem solve, and laugh through the tears. They have learned that often a hard effort is rewarded, but not always; that things are not always fair; the sometimes you luck out, and sometimes the flu hits on competition day. They've learned to work with people who view things a lot differently than they do, and who have different priorities. They've learned to value people for their strengths (some kids are great memorizers and some are better builders; some are strong in math, and others have better writing skills) and not envy those strengths. They've learned that commitment isn't easy. These kids (and YOU!) will be able to enter adulthood able to plan, budget, rework, debug, think, be careful, etc. And they've learned that they DON'T like food science but DO like ornithology, that building balsa wood things is too tedious but robots are more fun. Furthermore, when their SO days are over, I'm pretty sure that they will have some lifelong friends. That's important too.
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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by aubrey048 » April 14th, 2011, 4:49 am

QuantumLeaper wrote:However, I am worried about another teammate. I was the writer for Write it Do it and did a pretty good job writing the instructions by my standards. However, my partner accidentally knocked the structure over at the last minute (by putting on the last piece! :( ) and only the base was left intact. She left the room crying and I didn't know what to do aside from tell her that it was okay. She's still upset about it. Any suggestions???
Aww. Sorry to hear that. Actually, the same exact thing happened to my partner and I. According to the judge we would have won first had he not tripped and dropped it. My partner assembled the build int he remaining 5 seconds without the instructions, from memory. We ended up with a fourth place medal.
My condolences.
My partner and I were disappointed at first (because I take Science Olympiad WAY TO SERIOUSLY), but he's pretty happy-go-lucky so he cheered me up pretty quickly. By the end of the day we were making jokes about it and laughing our heads off. I guess we all deal with things differently.
Seeing your partner's personality, the best thing to do would be to not mention it for a while. If it ever does come up, remind her that she did an excellent job following the instructions and that the whole thing could have happened to anyone.
Kevlar wrote:I remember when I went in, I was a perfectionist. I think another poster in this thread i think, said that the first time, no medals at all for all the 4 events concerned. And (s)he nearly left the awards ceremony in tears. I remember being really bummed my first regionals at having won no medals of my own aside from a silvver team medal, but as you go on, you'll develop an attitude that isn't just about winning. And if your friend had completed it she would've probably medalled, but she should see that as not a failure but an achievement. (and something to laugh about later on)
Heh. That was me, I think.
hscmom wrote:If it weren't worth it, I would've quit by now, as it takes a lot of the family's money and time. And, this time of year (States is in three days) it is absolutely insane. There are bird flash cards strewn across the family room floor, scars on the dining room chair from a too eager sumobot, spilled sand from the MP sand timer, and batteries in the trash from the battery buggy's last runs. We have boxes of notes, files of practice tests, and I get printer ink refilled nearly weekly.

But it's good for the kids... They are learning things that they don't yet appreciate because, unlike me, they are not yet middle aged! While it is great that all the kids know that a red-winged blackbird says konklareeeee, it's even better that the kids know how to study, how to work with people that they are necessarily fond of, how to push through really hard learning, how to plan a project, brainstorm, problem solve, and laugh through the tears. They have learned that often a hard effort is rewarded, but not always; that things are not always fair; the sometimes you luck out, and sometimes the flu hits on competition day. They've learned to work with people who view things a lot differently than they do, and who have different priorities. They've learned to value people for their strengths (some kids are great memorizers and some are better builders; some are strong in math, and others have better writing skills) and not envy those strengths. They've learned that commitment isn't easy. These kids (and YOU!) will be able to enter adulthood able to plan, budget, rework, debug, think, be careful, etc. And they've learned that they DON'T like food science but DO like ornithology, that building balsa wood things is too tedious but robots are more fun. Furthermore, when their SO days are over, I'm pretty sure that they will have some lifelong friends. That's important too.
You sound a lot like my mom, who homeschools me. I guess I'm at an age where I'm beginning to appreciate the lessons I've learned in SO (so much so that I wrote an article for the local paper about it). I've learned that Ornithlogy is not my thing, but Anatomy IS. And that Mission Possible was too frustrating and that Helicopter was more my speed. I've learned that I'm not meant to be a technical writer, along with many life lessons. Mission Possible taught me serious patience. Spending all day and most of the night (repeat several times for good measure) doing frustrating things, even with people you like, can be insane. My partner and I are very good friends (we've known each other for about 10 years) but even we would annoy each other sometimes. Mission Possible taught me perseverance. I was BLOWN AWAY when we got a perfect score and beat a MP team that went on to Nationals! I never expected it in a MILLION YEARS!

My brother learned similar lessons too. He's in Division A, and spent countless hours on his events. He built 4 different hot air balloons before finally making the best design. He learned what academic hard work is, and memorized the scientific contributions of over 60 famous scientists! he made the top ten in 3/5 of his events, and his team (a puny, insignificant homeschool team made up of about 6 kids) got 8th at STATE! (Against 40+ schools, many of them SO heavyweights) We were so proud!

I know that I'm repeating myself, but... *sigh*
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Projected 2011-2012 Events: Anatomy, Microbe Mission, Disease Detectives, Tower, Optics, Helicopter.
Past Events: Anatomy (7th), Helicopter (6th), Mission Possible (1st), Write It Do It (4th, 8th), Ornithology (5th).

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by hscmom » April 14th, 2011, 12:23 pm

Great job, Aubrey. I wish you were on our team! We could certainly use you. Will your team be hurt by the new two-county rule?

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by gneissisnice » April 15th, 2011, 5:36 am

aubrey048 wrote:
My brother learned similar lessons too. He's in Division A, and spent countless hours on his events. He built 4 different hot air balloons before finally making the best design. He learned what academic hard work is, and memorized the scientific contributions of over 60 famous scientists! he made the top ten in 3/5 of his events, and his team (a puny, insignificant homeschool team made up of about 6 kids) got 8th at STATE! (Against 40+ schools, many of them SO heavyweights) We were so proud!

I know that I'm repeating myself, but... *sigh*
I didn't even know that Division A had a serious competition, I thought it was more of a learning "everybody wins" type thing. I don't know any schools that do Division A.

But that's awesome that he did well =)
2009 events:
Fossils: 1st @ reg. 3rd @ states (stupid dinosaurs...) 5th @ nats.
Dynamic: 1st @ reg. 19thish @ states, 18th @ nats
Herpetology (NOT the study of herpes): NA
Enviro Chem: 39th @ states =(
Cell Bio: 9th @ reg. 18th @ nats
Remote: 6th @ states 3rd @ Nats
Ecology: 5th @ Nats

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by aubrey048 » April 15th, 2011, 2:38 pm

hscmom wrote:Great job, Aubrey. I wish you were on our team! We could certainly use you. Will your team be hurt by the new two-county rule?

Kelly
Aww thanks Kelly! ^^

I think there are only 2 homeschool teams this year in our county (with a possible third joining this fall. POSSIBLY).
Last edited by aubrey048 on April 24th, 2011, 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Projected 2011-2012 Events: Anatomy, Microbe Mission, Disease Detectives, Tower, Optics, Helicopter.
Past Events: Anatomy (7th), Helicopter (6th), Mission Possible (1st), Write It Do It (4th, 8th), Ornithology (5th).

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by yogoperson » April 16th, 2011, 3:14 pm

HELL YEAH. I mean, why wouldn't it be? You spend all your time here, and you made a lot of memories with the people around you. It's fun, right? Frustration is a small price to play to have the opportunity to interact, make friends with, and know better the people around you. And it looks nice on your college application.
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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by Tramsarran » April 16th, 2011, 3:55 pm

Unfortunately, scioly is afterschool at my school and it's two days a week. I think that what's worth it the most from it are the friends that you make from it. A trip to NATS would be awesome.
Goodbye Science Olympiad, until next year.

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by Tramsarran » April 16th, 2011, 3:58 pm

All that studying and hard work for nothing if we screw up in my opinion. Maybe it would be more fun if before competition season all the schools could meet up and test each other, compete in building events, etc.
Goodbye Science Olympiad, until next year.

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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by yogoperson » April 16th, 2011, 4:02 pm

Tramsarran wrote:All that studying and hard work for nothing if we screw up in my opinion. Maybe it would be more fun if before competition season all the schools could meet up and test each other, compete in building events, etc.
You can, it's called an invitational, right? I'm not sure....
Tramsarran wrote:Unfortunately, scioly is afterschool at my school and it's two days a week. I think that what's worth it the most from it are the friends that you make from it. A trip to NATS would be awesome.
We put in a lot more time, we're serious about this.
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Re: Is Science Olympiad worth it?

Post by FueL » April 16th, 2011, 5:03 pm

Tramsarran wrote:All that studying and hard work for nothing if we screw up in my opinion.
One "disaster" inevitably happens at every Scio competition I've been to. It's unfortunate, but there's nothing you can do about it besides going in as well-prepared as possible. ;(
Tramsarran wrote:Unfortunately, scioly is afterschool at my school and it's two days a week. I think that what's worth it the most from it are the friends that you make from it. A trip to NATS would be awesome.
We also have two meets a week and whatever the captains can get together on weekends. Most of the studying/building goes on behind-the-scenes, at home or at our partner's house. IMO it doesn't make a difference whether it's 2 days a week or 6 - it's the individual motivation that counts.
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