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Homeschool teams excluded from MATHCOUNTS


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Wouldn't the most mathematically gifted kids from whatever school they're attending do MathCounts? If you have a 1200 student secondary school, that's a BIG pool of kids to find the most mathematically gifted ones!

 

I do understand, if you have a lot of homeschool teams, possibly having a homeschool preliminary and letting the top X teams go on. (They do that with science fair, spelling bee, geography bee and so on here, with the preliminaries pulling in homeschoolers from a set geographic area and serving the same purpose as a school-level bee/fair), but not barring homeschool teams entirely.

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Apparently kids who didn't make their school team (each school can field a four-person team and up to four individuals) have been claiming to be homeschooled, and it's gotten too hard for the MATHCOUNTS people to ferret them out. I understand their frustration, but this penalizes real homeschoolers for the unethical behavior of schooled kids (& their parents)! :glare:

 

When we first got involved with MATHCOUNTS I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming they were to homeschoolers, but at first I was dismayed by the documentation they wanted (to be sure you were a valid homeschooler). Then I realized that kids who were, say, number 9 or 10 at their school would have been sorely tempted to say they were homeschooled to avoid these quotas.

 

The goal of the MATHCOUNTS organization is to generate excitement about and skill in mathematics at *all* levels and at *all* schools, not just to identify the elite ... that's why the national competition is *not* the top 200+ kids in the country, but rather the top four from each state. That skews the competition also, but the only way around it is to move to a smaller state -- harder to do than just saying you're homeschooled :001_smile:

 

~Laura

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Yay! Thanks for this - I hadn't heard.

 

I've been involved with MathCounts for several years. Both of my kids loved participating, and last year my daughter coached homeschoolers here in Richmond. I'd like to stay involved, but the news last week was disheartening. To move on to state level from Richmond Chapter, you need to be either on the best (only 1!!) team or be one of the two best individuals not on that team. Very difficult to go on to states, considering that the region's gifted magnet middle schools all participate! They get to cherry-pick the best kids in their whole counties.

 

As homeschoolers, we've yet to even attract four kids from the entire region to form a team. Nonetheless, we have a lot of fun (& learning) with the two or three kids we get annually. We'll continue whether or not homeschooled teams are allowed. We've had three kids go to states in the last few years as homeschooled individuals, and one of those kids even made the Virginia team and went to Nationals. Not easy, but it can be done. So we'll continue to grab whatever kids we can and have fun learning.

 

That said, I hope MathCounts reconsiders.

 

~Kathy

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Homeschoolers shouldn't be penalized for others' misdeeds. I think you need to organize and protest somehow.

 

Our school picks the team by asking students who want to participate -- usually one or two (!!) -- and then *forcing* others -- that's our math teacher's method! All of them then take a test and top scorers go on. We usually have four participants and one or two alternates.

 

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:glare: So they grandfathered in existing teams that have already competed. Which means kids eligible this year for the first time are still excluded. Does this also mean that in a couple of years when the existing members age out that we're back to no homeschool teams at all?

 

Yes. :glare: We were planning to start a team next school year. :glare:

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