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Frequently Asked Questions

I have elementary-aged children. Does Homeschool Science Colorado offer anything for younger kids?

HSC is working on forming an elementary-level (Division A) team for the 2017-2018 season, and is also offering parents the option to register their own Division A teams for an informal competition in early 2018. Division A teams are far more relaxed and less structured than the middle school and high school level teams. Here is a short description. Parents take turns presenting elementary science principles and ideas at meetings as well as helping at the tournament.

To apply for our elementary team, or to register a team of your own, please visit our applications, documents, and forms page.

How does the acceptance and team assignment process work?

For the B and C Divisions, after being accepted to HSC, your child will be assigned to a team. Each team consists of up to 15 members. All disciplines of science including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and engineering are covered by 23 individual events. On B1 and C1 teams, our more competitive teams, members are assigned to a minimum of 3 events, along with a partner for each event. Our other teams may have an option for taking on fewer events. Events consist of study, lab, and building topics, or sometimes a combination of these. Beginning in the fall, students prepare for their event by studying independently, meeting with partners for study or building sessions, practicing labs, or whatever else the event requires.

In the spring, our teams compete with teams from other nearby schools at the Regional Tournament. Study events are tested, labs are conducted, building projects are demonstrated and rated. At the end of the tournament, medals are awarded to the top three event pairs in each event, and both competitors in the event pair receive a medal. In addition to individual medals, event scores are totaled to create overall team scores. Teams are ranked, with trophies awarded to the top five teams. About half of the Regional teams will advance to the State Tournament, which is conducted in a similar fashion. Winning teams from each division at the State Tournament will advance to the National Tournament in May.

How are team and event assignments made?

You will be asked to share your preferences in this area, which will be taken into account. However, the Board of Directors will assign students to teams and events based on a variety of factors, including the schedule of other events, previous experience, and partner dynamics. Visit our applications, documents, and forms page for a list of the upcoming season's events.

Do I get to pick who my children have for event partners?

Please let us know your preferences, and also if your students would like to share an event with a sibling to make coaching or transportation easier. Please understand that while we will try to accommodate requests, assignments depend on a variety of factors.

What is expected of me as a parent?

The strength of a homeschool team is that the parents are the primary coaches. Resources at your disposal include friends, local experts, a good internet search engine, and high school or college level textbooks. Other parents and team leadership will share their expertise and assist you, but you remain the primary coach of your own child.

Elementary team parents take turns presenting activities and concepts to the group. This should take an hour or two of preparation. In addition, we need your support at our tournament early in 2018.

Parents are also expected to attend all team meetings and competitions. Parents are responsible for planning and guiding study or building sessions, and covering event costs. Speaking of which...

How much will this cost me?

Our dues are as follows: Division B and C: $35 per year for the first child and $25 per year for additional children from the same family. Division A: $15 per year for each child. If you have children in both groups, you would pay the first child price for your oldest student and the additional child price for any siblings. This covers team registration for tournaments, a team t-shirt, and rule book information. Additional expenses may vary depending on the type of event. Visit our applications, documents, and forms page for a list of the upcoming season's events along with some estimated expenses.

Each family is also responsible for travel costs to the Regional Tournament in Pueblo, and the State Tournament in Golden, CO. Additionally, a team that competes well at Regionals and State may be able to continue on to Nationals. If a team advances to Nationals, all team members and families will be responsible for those travel costs.

When and where are the team meetings?

Meetings for 2017-2018 will be held at the new 21C Library at Chapel Hills and Jamboree in Colorado Springs. From September through December, meetings are held once a month on the second Monday. In January, we begin twice monthly meetings on the second and fourth Monday. That schedule continues until the competition season ends in April or May. You will also schedule regular study or building sessions with each of your partners.

In addition to regular team meetings, optional skill-builder meetings will be held on additional Mondays at East Library during the fall. These skill-builder meetings are geared towards young competitors to help them gain a solid general science foundation to help them in their individual events. Specific skill-builder meeting dates to be announced.

How much time will this take my student?

Just like a speech and debate team or a student orchestra, participation in Science Olympiad requires students and parents to devote time to individual study in each assigned event and weekly study with event partners outside of team meetings. Our goal is to have each event team ready to compete by January to make sure our students have a solid foundation in their events and to allow time for last-minute fine tuning. The amount of time and effort required to reach this point will vary between events, but all events wil require dedication from both parents and students.

How much time will this take me, the parent?

Again, the time required varies by team level and assigned events. Team meeting attendance is required for one parent from each family. On competitive teams, parents should expect to spend some time weekly setting up study sessions and helping their students prepare for each event. The amount of time will depend on your knowledge of the event subject as well as other factors.

Your student will have regular partner study sessions for each event, which you will need to coordinate with your event partners. Expect partner study time to increase in the spring as you near competition. Construction events might take many building sessions throughout the season. Our B1 and C1 teams require a larger time investment than a less-competitive team.

How does this fit in with my regular schooling?

While a great addition to your schooling, Science Olympiad is not designed to replace regular science classes. Your students will still need to follow a science curriculum, especially at the high school level. This will benefit them as they take on more difficult events in future years and will prepare them for college-level study after graduation. Many high school students use Science Olympiad as either an extracurricular activity or an additional science credit.

Some parents take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling and allow more study time in the spring as competition nears, while others stick with a standard schedule all year.

Is there a book or curriculum I can buy that teaches everything my student will need to know for each of the events?

Probably not. At the beginning of the season, each event has one or two pages of rules put out by the Science Olympiad organization, explaining the event parameters. For some events, you may be able to find textbooks or event manuals which closely match these rules. Other events may require using all the resources at your disposal.

How does the team communicate?

Our main forum for communication is a Yahoo email loop. When you join the team, you will be invited to join the Yahoo group and asked to follow the discussions there.

When does my child have to make a commitment to the team? Can I back out later if we don't like it?

Registration is currently open for the 2017-2018 season. Please contact us for more information on how to join. Non-refundable team fees are due by the September meeting. No events will be assigned to your child until team fees are paid. Please consider your commitment seriously. Your child will become part of a team, and will be assigned events with other students. While we recognize unexpected circumstances can arise, a team member leaving during the season affects multiple event partners as well as the team as a whole.

What are the benefits of participating in Science Olympiad with Homeschool Science Colorado?

Your children (and you) will get an amazing science education and team experience! Students participating in Science Olympiad develop exceptional problem solving, test taking, and construction skills. They also learn research techniques, test taking strategies, and teamwork. In most cases, you will find even younger students covering college-level information in their study area.

We have seen bored and unmotivated students become invested in their subjects and work harder than they ever have before. We have also seen advanced, science-hungry students finally being challenged and finding camaraderie among like-minded peers. We have several graduated seniors (now college students) who are grateful for the study skills they learned, as well as having Science Olympiad on their transcript. What can Science Olympiad do for your family? Join us and find out!

To learn more about the benefits of Science Olympiad, please homeschoolsciencecolorado@gmail.com. To talk to a former Homeschool Science Colorado competitor, email us at askalum.hsc@gmail.com.

How can I find out more?

Feel free to contact us at homeschoolsciencecolorado@gmail.com. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have. To find out more about the Science Olympiad organization visit the National Science Olympiad website.