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*): American Realism 

Incorporate one characteristic of American Realism art in your entry.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*): American Folk 

Incorporate one characteristic of American Folk art in your entry.

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*): Hudson River School

Incorporate one characteristic of Hudson River School art in your entry.

View Winners

*All ages are as of December 1, 2021


Poetry Contest

March 1–May 1 (contest is closed)

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)

Think of two foods that don’t necessarily go together and write about them in a poem.

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.
Example poem: Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)

Write a poem styled after Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky using whimsical and nonsensical language. 

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.
Example poem: Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)

Write a poem that uses a metaphor or simile that runs throughout the poem.

Maximum poem length: 16 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.
Example poem: A Red, Red Rose, by Robert Burns

View Winners

*All ages are as of March 1, 2022


Photo Contest

June 1–August 1 (contest is closed)

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 that reflects the single-word descriptor in your age category.

Category 1 (Ages 7-10*): Hidden

Submit a photo that embodies the word “hidden.”

Examples of hidden things: a kitten peering out from underneath a blanket, the glimmer of a precious gem in a cluster of pebbles, or a smile creeping up on a grumpy face. Show us something hidden!

Category 2 (Ages 11-14*): In Your Face!

Submit a photo that embodies the phrase “in your face!”

Examples of things “in your face!”: a ball of newspaper coming straight for the camera, a necklace charm dangling right in front of the lens, bright and loud colors. Show us things that are “in your face!”

Category 3 (Ages 15-19*): Nostalgic

Submit a photo that embodies the word “nostalgic.”

Examples of nostalgic things: antique store treasures, recreations of old photos, emblems of a favorite era in history or a family tradition. Show us something nostalgic! 

View Winners

*All ages are as of June 1, 2022


Essay Contest

September 1–November 1 (contest is closed)

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)

A friend is a special gift—someone whom you can play with, talk to, and trust. Sometimes you find friends in surprising places; maybe your friend is not your peer or is pretend. The comic Calvin and Hobbes features a great example of a make-believe friend, Hobbes the imaginary tiger. A friend can be a family member, one of your pets, or somebody from your church or another group. Tell us about one of your friends, whether real or imaginary. 

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)

Sometimes life places us in uncomfortable and uncertain situations. For instance, when a natural disaster occurs, our families may have to evacuate to a safer place than home. In a situation like this, it’s important to have the essentials ready to go—say, in an emergency backpack. If you were to prepare an emergency backpack, what would you put in it?

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)

Challenging experiences teach us important, practical lessons about life and about ourselves, and navigating a pandemic is no exception. Now, think into the future. . . .  If we were to experience another pandemic in 2051, what three significant lessons from this past year would you want to pass on to the generation of teenagers going through that future pandemic?

View Winners

*All ages are as of September 1, 2021


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.