Every year, HSLDA offers quarterly contests in art, poetry, photography, and essay writing, open to all homeschooled students (ages 7–19). Through its contests, HSLDA hopes to offer homeschooled students the opportunity to hone their skills in a fun and creative setting that invites them to think outside the box and be rewarded for excellence.

Art Contest

December 1–February 1 (contest is closed)

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*): Expressionist Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the Expressionist period in your entry:

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*): Renaissance Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the Renaissance period in your entry:

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*): Realism Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the Realism period in your entry:

Optional: To add a little humor, students may choose to incorporate a quarantine-related twist (mask, gloves, hand sanitizer—anyone?) of their choosing into their entry.

Sources: For art history or other art-related materials, check out these vendors: Christianbook or Sonlight Curriculum.

View Winners

*All ages are as of January 1, 2020

Poetry Contest

March 1–May 1 (contest is closed)

Write a rhyming poem that encompasses your impressions of the time of day in your age category: 

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)


What comes to your mind when you think of the morning? It could be blueberry pancakes, doing chores, sunshine flooding your room, or hugs from your family! Or maybe it’s a feeling—excitement, grogginess, or cheer. Whatever it is, share your impressions of morning with us in a poem. 

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernable rhyme scheme.
Example of a morning poem: One Misty, Moisty Morning by Mother Goose

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)


What does the afternoon mean to you? Do you find comfort in the balance between the push of morning and the settling down of evening? Do you enjoy the symmetry of light distribution that can only occur near midday? Maybe you’re fond of afternoon walks in the rain or like to indulge in a specific lunchtime routine. Describe your afternoon impressions to us in a poem.

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernable rhyme scheme.
Example of an afternoon poem: Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)


How does evening speak to you? Does the dark, sparkling sky fill your mind with thoughts of the future? Do you enjoy how the gentle quiet of night complements the bustling energy of day? Perhaps your evening ritual is curling up on the window seat with the moon in view to pray for your loved ones. Reveal your impressions of evening to us in a poem.

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernable rhyme scheme.
Example of an evening poem: The Children’s Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

View Winners

*All ages are as of March 1, 2021

Photo Contest

June 1–August 1 (Now Accepting Entries!)

Words likely flood your mind when you analyze a photo to determine why it attracts your attention. If you think about it hard enough, you can probably even boil those words down to single-word descriptors. In this year’s photography contest, create a photo shoot that reflects the single-word descriptor in your age category.

Category 1 (Ages 7-10*): Small

Everywhere you look, you will find big things and even bigger things, like cars, trees, and skyscrapers. But if you look closely, you will find some small objects worth noting. For example, maybe your family has begun growing your own produce and now finding a few small, bright, juicy tomatoes in your garden means fresh tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner (your favorite!). Or perhaps you appreciate something small for its visually stunning effect—a hunk of pyrite that sparkles radiantly in the sunlight. Let these two examples of “small” things spark your creativity to interpret this theme in any number of ways. Submit a photo that embodies the word small.

Category 2 (Ages 11-14*): Natural

The abundant, elemental beauty of earth sometimes seems hard to find as urbanization expands. However, no matter where you are, the beauty of naturally-occurring, simple things or settings can be detected with sharp eyes—eyes that want to see it. Maybe your neighborhood is completely overtaken with dandelions. While not the most obvious candidate for a lovely subject, a dandelion can appear just as graceful as the most delicate rose in the right setting, with the right lighting, taken from the right angle. As the photographer, your task is to find that perspective! Let this example of a “natural” subject spark your creativity to interpret this theme in any number of ways. Submit a photo that embodies the word natural.

Category 3 (Ages 15-19*): Dazzling

Most dictionary definitions of dazzling relate to intense light or brightness and/or impressive quality. Can you recall when you encountered something dazzling? Maybe fireworks or a rainbow? While it might be difficult to project your own rainbow, you can still discover some dazzle in everyday settings. Picture the way the light hits your mom’s favorite glassware freshly cleaned with lemon juice, or how the light pours in through the stained glass in your church’s foyer. Let these few examples of “dazzling” things spark your creativity to interpret this theme in any number of ways. Submit a photo that embodies the word dazzling.

Enter the Contest

*All ages are as of June 1, 2021

Essay Contest

September 1–November 1 (contest is closed)

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)

Some foods are pure delight to find at the dinner table, and some foods make us wrinkle our noses. There are many reasons why this can be—textures, colors, smells . . . in an essay, use your five senses to describe what food you most commonly leave on your plate at the end of a meal, and tell us why you’d rather sneak it to the dog.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)

This year has been full of many serious things. In turbulent times, it’s important to keep a good sense of humor and to encourage each other with a good chuckle and lighthearted cheer. Write a funny essay that will persuade the judges to laugh.

An example of humorous writing can be found in this excerpt from Mark Twain’s essay “Advice to Youth”:

“Always obey your parents, when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run, because if you don’t, they will make you. Most parents think they know better than you do, and you can generally make more by humoring that superstition than you can by acting on your own better judgment.”

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)

Staying at home has its benefits, but it also has its challenges. This year, you may have found yourself thinking of some creative solutions to make a quarantine less burdensome. What invention can you imagine would make your life, and others’ lives, easier during a time in quarantine? Describe your invention and what we could gain from it.

See Rules & Guidelines on the entry form for important instructions!

View Winners

*All ages are as of September 1, 2020

All contest profits go to HSLDA Compassion, which uses them to provide low-income homeschooling families with access to educational and legal resources to help them continue homeschooling.

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