MTHEA Spelling Bee

DATE:   Thursday, November 2, 2023
TIME:    10:00AM   
PLACE:  The Brentwood Public Library
               8109 Concord Road  
               Brentwood, TN  37027
COST:    $  5 per student for MTHEA members
               $10 per student for non-MTHEA members 

‚ÄčMiddle Tennessee Home Education Association (MTHEA)¬†is hosting the 2023/24 school-level Spelling Bee. This bee¬†is the first step towards eligibility to participate in the¬†Scripps National Spelling Bee¬†held annually near Washington, D.C.

This bee is open to Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee Homeschoolers (residing in one of the 51 counties listed in the FAQ section - see below) who have not turned age 15 on or before August 31, 2023 and who have not passed beyond the 8th grade before August 31, 2023.  All participants must meet Scripps Eligibility Requirements.

Most participants will be in 4th-8th grades. Younger students are invited to participate, but please prepare them for competing with older students. The words to be spelled will be from the same list regardless of students' age or grade. In addition to correct spelling, vocabulary questions may also be asked at any level of the bee.
The first place winner of this MTHEA Homeschool Spelling Bee, along with all school spelling bee first-place champions in the 51-county Tennessee Titans sponsorship region, will qualify for the regional semi-finals. The regional semi-finals will consist of a 50-item computer-based spelling and vocabulary test administered between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. CST beginning sometime in January or early February 2024.
The 50 highest-scoring students in the semifinals online test qualify to participate in person at the Tennessee Titans Regional Spelling Bee to be held in February or March of 2024 in the West Club of the Titans Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Regional Bee is open to the public, and anyone not competing is invited to attend as a spectator.

The first place winner of the Tennessee Titans Regional Spelling Bee is sponsored by the Tennessee Titans, including paid airfare and hotel accommodations, to attend with a parent and participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled Memorial Day weekend 2024 in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.




‚ÄčAll words, definitions, pronunciations and pronouncer guide word lists for all bee levels are provided by Scripps National Spelling¬†Bee and are entries in Merriam-Webster¬†Unabridged, the official dictionary of the Scripps¬†National Spelling Bee, available at:

Scripps publishes a list of study words for students participating in school bees each year.  All of the words from the 2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List can be found in the books listed in the Great Words Great Works list here. These are the 450 words recommended for 1st through 8th grade students.  We will provide you with a this list once you have completed registration for the MTHEA spelling bee! 

This MTHEA Homeschool Spelling Bee will be using the 2023/24 Rules for Local Spelling Bees as published by Scripps. We highly encourage you to review these rules and eligibility requirements with your student/s prior to attending the Spelling Bee.  A copy of the Rules can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

 For any spelling bee:

For a School-Wide or Homeschool Group Spelling Bee:

  • Step One:¬†Students should first learn the study words from the¬†2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List. The Study List will be sent to students who register for the 2023/24 Spelling Bee. Some of these study words will be asked¬†at the (home) school¬†bee and all participants are strongly encouraged to learn as many of these words as they can prior to the day of the Bee.¬†
  • Step Two:¬†When your students master the 450 study words from the 2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List, they may get a head start on preparing for the next level of competition by learning the words organized by bee level in Words of the Champions. Again we will provide this to those who have registered for the 2023/24 MTHEA Spelling Bee.¬†

For a Regional or State Bee:

  • Step One:¬†Ensure your school spelling champion knows the¬†study words on the¬†2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List.
  • Step Two:¬†When your school spelling champion masters the 450 study words on the¬†2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List, s/he is ready to learn the words and do the activities in¬†Words of the Champions. Words of the Champions consists of approximately 4,000 words grouped by bee level (bee level 1 ‚Äď early elementary, bee level 2 ‚Äď later elementary, bee level 3 ‚Äď middle school) that will be widely used by Regional Spelling Bees. Words of the Champions also includes words from the 2023/24 School Spelling Bee Study List in each bee level.
  • Step Three:¬†When your school spelling champion masters the 4,000 words in¬†Words of the Champions s/he is ready to expand his/her¬†spelling skill set by playing the fun word games at¬†Merriam-Webster's Word Central¬†and studying spelling patterns of words introduced into English from a variety of other¬†languages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Does my child have to be a resident of Tennessee to participate?
A:  Yes! Your child must be a homeschooled student residing in one of the Middle Tennessee or West Tennessee Counties (see list of included counties) included in the Scripps Tennessee Titans Sponsorship Region* and registered with either their County LEA or a Church-related umbrella school (CRS).  Students attending public, private, parochial, charter or virtual schools are not eligible to participate in this Bee. Students may only participate in one Spelling Bee.

Q:  For what grade should I register my child?
A:  Register at the same K-8 grade level that your child is currently enrolled in with the above organization.

Q:  How do I log on to the Scripps website as a teacher?
A:¬† Even though as a homeschool parent, you are obviously your child‚Äôs teacher, you are not a "teacher‚ÄĚ holding your own classroom or school bee according to Scripps guidelines. Only the Homeschool¬†Spelling Bee Coordinator can access the secure areas of the Scripps website.¬† You may peruse the non-secure areas of the Scripps website for ideas and information.

Q:  My child is not yet in 4th grade but is an excellent speller.  Can s/he participate in this Bee?
A:   Yes!  Although the Scripps National Spelling Bee is designed for 4th - 8th grade students, students as young as Kindergarten have participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.   You may enroll your younger student/s in this MTHEA Homeschool Spelling Bee, but please prepare him/her for competition with older students.  No allowances will be made for age or grade.  All of the words given at this Bee are provided by Scripps National Spelling Bee.  
Q:  What time will be the bee finish?
A:  We have no way of knowing how well the spellers will spell, but generally the Spelling Bee is completed within a few hours.

Q:¬†¬†Which words on the ‚ÄúSchool Spelling Bee Study List‚ÄĚ will be asked of the¬†students during the homeschool spelling bee?
A:¬† ¬†The ‚ÄúSchool Spelling Bee Study List‚ÄĚ provided by Scripps has words appropriate for 1st ‚Äď 8th graders and is the word list they suggest your student study for the (home) school bee. ¬†You can assist your speller in learning as many of the words on the list as possible and/or supplement with your favorite spelling curriculum. ¬†Make sure to include proper pronunciation and definition(s) as provided at¬†¬†during study. ¬†Vocabulary questions may be asked at any level of the bee.

Q:  What is the best way to study for the Spelling Bee?  
A:¬†¬† Although every child is different, Scripps National Spelling Bee study tips, information, and links can be found on the Resource section of this website (above). ¬†Once your child has mastered the spelling words on the "School Spelling Bee Study List, the 4,000 ‚ÄúWords of the Champions‚ÄĚ words would be the next to tackle. Some books that contain words from the study list for this year are listed on the¬†‚ÄúGreat Words Great Works‚ÄĚ Book List¬†for each bee level and reading naturally enhances knowledge of spelling and vocabulary. Two movies typically enjoyed by spelling enthusiasts are "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Spellbound.‚ÄĚ
Q:  My homeschool student has already participated in a school-level bee this year but didn't win.  Can s/he register for and participate in the Middle Tennessee Home Education Association Spelling Bee this year?
A:  Absolutely not.  Scripps eligibility rules are very clear on this point, stating "once having been disqualified at any level of a sponsor's spelling bee program between June 2023 and April 2024, the speller remains disqualified for the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee program through another sponsor and/or enrollment in another school."
Q:  I have a question not answered on this page or elsewhere on this website. Who can I contact?
A:¬†¬†Please email MTHEA at [email protected] with your questions.
* The Scripps Tennessee Region sponsored by the Tennessee Titans includes all counties on this list. Homeschool students must be a resident of one of these Tennessee counties to be eligible for this Homeschool Spelling Bee.



Andrew Silvertooth  - 1st place

Josie Swertfeger  - 2nd place

Hannah Hornkohl - 3rd place



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