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HSLDA Homeschool Contests

My Child Has Special Needs. Is There a Contest or Category for My Child?

Every homeschooled child of eligible age is welcome in HSLDA’s contests!

Because the term special needs applies to students with a wide range of functioning abilities, HSLDA does not offer a contest or category specifically for children with special needs. We believe that rather than leveling the playing field for these students, this would segregate them and might actually do more harm than good by feeding feelings of inadequacy or confusion.

Instead, we invite all students of all talents and abilities to participate in one unified contest. Submissions are judged blindly; the judges know nothing about the entrants, giving all students the chance to have their entries measured without preconceptions about the quality of their work based on their learning challenges. Each student is treated equally with his or her peers.

Special Winners

We often find out after a contest that one or more of the finalists are students with special needs. Here are a few comments from families whose children with special needs experienced a special victory when placing as finalists:

The poetry contest has become a yearly tradition in [our] household the past few years. Sophie placed third a few years back with a simple poem she wrote at age 7 and then was a finalist this year. And her older sister Mia received honorable mention, her first recognition, this year. Both girls have special needs and are adopted from China … Anyway, it is a sweet gift from God, and we are grateful for the inspiration you give us to write poetry!
—Beth L.
Thank you so much for coordinating the contest; needless to say she is very excited to be a first-place winner. Art is the one thing that comes easy for Jenny Rose. She has the “gift” of dyslexia which allows her to tap into her creative side; however, it comes at a price. Spelling and math facts are always a challenge for her, but, by the grace of God, she will work through this and become the best Jenny Rose she can possibly be.
—Cindy A.


However, we do recognize that students with special needs face a unique set of challenges. If you are homeschooling a child with special needs and would like to request specific accommodations necessary to allow your child to participate in an HSLDA contest, please contact our contest coordinator at

We realize our contests will not meet the needs of every homeschooling family. But your feedback is important to us, so if you have specific questions or suggestions, please share them with our contest coordinator at If you are an HSLDA member, consider sharing your thoughts with our Special Needs/Struggling Learner Consultants.

Poetry Contest Photo Contest Essay Contest Art Contest