Please contact the Contest Coordinator at with any questions. We love your feedback!

The Essay Contest has closed. Contest winners will be posted after the holidays. Check back in August for next contest!

Essay Contest Guidelines

Submission Dates: September 1st–November 1st
Entries must be postmarked on/before November 1st.

Format and Submissions:

  • Students may submit two (2) different essays.
  • Word limit per essay: 700 (does not include Title)
  • Typed and double-spaced in 11- or 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Print 2 copies on white, unlined paper
  • Type the student’s Entry ID on the top of each page. This number will be found on your Entry Form Confirmation message. NO OTHER identification should appear on these pages, to ensure the judging is anonymous.

Note to Parents: Essays must be completely the work of the student entering the contest. No assistance in editing or proof reading is permissible. While we encourage students to brainstorm and discuss topic options with their parents, the construction and language of each essay should be entirely done by the student. Parents may:

  • Type essays for younger students.
  • Direct students to resources where answers can be found (e.g. suggesting a student look in a dictionary or specific book if he or she has a question about spelling a word or a specific topic).
  • Help students understand the grammar or spelling suggestions made by the Word processor.

Entry Fee and Forms

To enter, fill out the Entry Form on the Enter the Contest page. Each student may enter up to 2 essays. Each essay requires a separate Entry Fee and Entry Form. Multiple entries may be mailed in the same envelope (two copies of each essay) and the multiple entry fees may be included on one check.

Regular Fee $15.00 per entry
HSLDA Member Discounted Fee $10.00 per entry

Please pay via check or money order made payable to "HSLDA" with a note of "Essay Contest" in the memo line.  Foreign checks not accepted.  Contact the Contest Coordinator if you have any questions regarding payment:


Contest winners will receive a cash congratulations, plus a wonderful transcript booster!

Category 1 2 3
1st Place $100 $150 $200
2nd Place $75 $100 $150
3rd Place $50 $50 $100
Honorable Mentions (2) $25 $25 $50

Where the Contest Profits Go

All contest profits go to our charitable arm, the Home School Foundation, which uses them to provide low-income homeschooling families with access to educational and legal resources to help them continue homeschooling.

To learn about the mission and funds of the Home School Foundation, visit their website at

Mail Essay (2 copies) and Entry Fees to:

Please mail Entry Fee payment, and 2 copies of your essay to:

Attn: Essay Contest
PO Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134


  • Essays will be kept anonymous and evaluated by a panel of judges appointed by HSLDA. The judges will select 12 to 20 finalists per category.
  • Essays will be judged on originality of thought, grammar, spelling, logic, clarity, writing style, and content. For more information, check out Hear It From the Judges.
  • All decisions of the judges are final.

Other Information

  • Winners will be notified in early January and announced on the website shortly thereafter.
  • Essays become the property of HSLDA and will not be returned. Entry in the contest constitutes permission for HSLDA to publish the essay at its discretion. Full credit will always be given to the original author.