Photo Contest

2013 Guidelines

Submission Dates: April 1st through June 1st 2013.

Please only submit entries during these dates! Entries need only be post marked by June 1st.

Entry Form

Photo Contest

Click image above to download ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Poetry Contest Archives
2012   2011
2010   2009
2008   2007
2006   2005


Submit a poem that follows the format (rhyme scheme, length* and meter) of one of the model poems below that coincides with your age group. We allow up to five entries per student. For this year’s contest, we’ve selected poems by famous English poets from the Romantic era of the 19th century. Their poetry is often characterized by imagination, emotion, love of nature, and simplicity of expression.

*For categories 2 and 3; your poem(s) may be up to 3 stanzas longer than the model poem.


Choose one theme from the list that coincides with your age group and write your poem based on the selected theme. If you are writing more than one poem, you may use more that one of the different theme options.

Category 1: (Ages 7–10: choose one theme per poem)

  • A Pet
  • A Person
  • A Place

Category 2 (Ages 11–14: choose one theme per poem)

  • Smell
  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Taste

Category 3 (Ages 15–19: choose one theme per poem)

  • Where you are
  • Where you’ve been
  • Where you want to go

We try to choose themes that leave plenty of room for your imagination and interpretation. Our goal is to avoid dictating your responses and allow you to think of many imaginative ideas to fit the theme. Our judges love it when a student comes up with something they had not thought of before.


Category 1: Homeschoolers* ages 7 to 10 as of May 1, 2013.
Category 2: Homeschoolers* ages 11 to 14 as of May 1, 2013.
Category 3: Homeschoolers* ages 15 to 19 as of May 1, 2013.

*For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been home educated in the past year and received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education.

*The staff and immediate family members of HSLDA and all related entities (PRO, HSF, GenJ) are not eligible to participate in contests sponsored by HSLDA or any of the related entities.

Format and Submissions

  • Poems must be the work of the student entering the contest. No assistance of other parties, including but not limited to editing or proof reading, is permissible.
  • The poems should be typed in at least 12 point font and single spaced, with a double space between stanzas. Parents may type poems for young students who have not yet learned to type.
  • Each poem must have a title.
  • Each author may enter up to five poems. Each poem requires a separate entry fee.
  • Only one poem per page.
  • The student’s phone number should appear at the top of each page. NO OTHER from of identification should appear on these pages, to ensure the judging is anonymous.
  • The poem must be accompanied by a completed entry form.

Poems, entry form, and entry fee must be mailed to:

Attn: Poetry Contest
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134-9000

Entries must be postmarked on or before June 1st, 2013. Only entries sent to the above address will qualify for the contest.


1. Regular Entry Fee$15.00
2. HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee$10.00

The check should be made payable to “HSLDA” with a note of “Poetry Contest” in the memo line. Please do not enclose cash.

Prizes for Each Category

Category 1 2 3
First $100 $150 $200
Second $75 $100 $150
Third $50 $50 $100
Honorable Mentions (2) $25 $25 $50


  • Poems will be evaluated by a panel of judges appointed by HSLDA.
  • Poems will be judged on originality of thought, writing style, and adherence to both the theme and the traditional requirements of the form.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • Results of the contest will be released by mid-July 2013.

Other Information

  • By submitting a poem you:
    • Grant Home School Legal Defense Association the right to publish all or part of your submission.
    • Agree to all rules and the decisions of the judges and sponsors.
  • Home School Legal Defense Association is not responsible for any lost, damaged, misdirected, delayed, mutilated, incomplete, illegible, or postage-due entries or mail.
  • All profits from this contest will go to the Home School Foundation’s Special Needs Children Fund.

Please contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org with any questions.

Category 1 (Ages 7–10)

At The Seaside
By Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup,
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.

The Cow
By Robert Louis Stevenson

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
And eats the meadow flowers.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14)

Break, Break, Break
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman’s boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

The Flower
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went
Thro' my garden bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o’er the wall
Stole the seed by night.

Sow’d it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried,
“Splendid is the flower!”

Read my little fable:
He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.

Category 3 (Ages 15–19)

A Red, Red Rose
By Robert Burns

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Afton Water
By Robert Burns

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stock-dove, whose echo resounds thro’ the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
Far mark’d with the courses of clear winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary’s sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
There oft, as mild Ev’ning sweeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As gathering sweet flowrets she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.