Issue 76 | January 1, 2015 | NARHS spells success!

A new year brings great expectations for full school accreditation and for accomplishments by NARHS students.  Below you will read about a student who set goals for both spelling bees and math competitions and did very well.  His success story can supply all of us with some helpful tips for math and vocabulary / spelling studies.

Featured Student: Jacob Williamson

One enticing aspect of the local spelling bee was that the winner would be awarded a trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the Scripps National Bee. The unfolding events are told by Jacob's mother, Kara Williamson.

         "He got the list of words to be studied off the Merriam Webster web site called the "spell it" list and started to look them over. In March of 2012 with very little studying he took 2nd place!! Jacob was shocked that he had done so well on his first try He now believed he had a real chance of winning the Bee next year. Coming in second only put a fire in Jacob and he was studying with fervor on the very next day. So I went on Ebay and bought the full-unabridged version of the Merriam Webster's Dictionary. When it came in the mail I was shocked! I had never seen a dictionary so big before, it literally weighs at least 20 lbs and the print is so small I was afraid to show it to Jacob thinking it would deter him.  But not Jacob. He was ready to have new material to study with and he took that 2660 page dictionary and started on page 1 and never looked back. Writing down every word he didn't know in a book of his own took him about 8 months to get through it for the first time. When he was done he had created a book of his own containing 6,000-8,000 words he would need to study. Jacob went to the 2013 final local spelling bee and competed again and got 2nd again, after all that studying. But this did not deter him. His passion and his will to compete became even stronger. Knowing that in 2014 he would have his last chance, after that he would be too old,  he continued to study all on his own with no help (or nagging from us lol) from tutors, coaches etc. and went through that whole dictionary a second time. He voluntarily gave up most of his summer break, Christmas break and spring break in order to prepare to win. In March of 2014 he won the final Lee County Spelling Bee and secured a spot in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. With his passion in full force Jacob ended up as the 7th place finalist out of 281 contestants.
Since then Jacob has been interviewed by TV stations, radio, newspapers and magazines from all over the country!!



          Since he enjoyed the spelling bees so much I though I'd look into math competitions. After all I am a homeschooling mom and I want to continue to build a portfolio for his college applications. Again I was searching on the internet and found out about a math competition called the "AMC 10/12." Immediately I talked to Jacob to see if this was something he'd be interested in doing. Well it didn't go over with him so well; he felt like it would be nothing but taking math tests over and over.  So I had to ease him into it. He finally accepted that he would participate in the AMC 10/12 in Feb 2015. So in the meantime I found out about a math competition that was going to be held on Dec 15, 2014 at Florida Gulf Coast University. This would only give Jacob about 6 weeks to prepare and this type of math is not anything you'd see in a regular classroom textbook. He began studying, going though the 12 years of old tests that the University used in past competitions, only this time with no passion but just going through the motions. On the day of the competition he felt somewhat ready but was sure he would not place in the top 15 to get a trophy because there were over 1,200 strong math competitors at this event from pre-algebra to calculus. After the testing was over he felt like he had done horribly because he was not able to finish all the problems in the time allowed. At lunch he had considered going home but decided to stay for the award ceremony. He said maybe he'd win a door prize. However, when they got to the Algebra 2 awards (that was his competition area) he was shocked when they said his name for 15th place out of 165, it was priceless and he was so excited all the way home!!! It just touches my heart because Jacob has never had a teacher. I have become more of an administrator of our homeschool keeping logs, grading work and keeping the integrity of test taking along the way. I can truly take no credit for his accomplishments, I just give all the glory to God.  Now he is preparing to tackle the AMC 10/12 competition in February, The fires are beginning to flame again... to be continued!!

Please note: For the math competitions, Jacob had to study a little deeper using a book called The Art of Problem Solving to help him prepare for the AMC 10/12.

"Goals.  There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them."
~Jim Rohn