Every year, HSLDA offers creative contests in poetry, videography, short story writing, photography, art, and essay writing. HSLDA’s contests provide 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. Contests are open to all homeschooled students (ages 7–19).

Poetry Contest

February 1–April 1 (contest is closed)

The poetry contest is for students who enjoy writing in a rhythmic, structured way. Past contests have challenged participants to write haikus, poems based on well-known poems, humorous retellings of famous nursery rhymes, etc. Students who appreciate succinct creative writing will enjoy this contest.

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 February 1, 2022


Video Contest

February 1–April 1 (contest is closed)

The video contest is new! It is for students who enjoy visual storytelling.

Details about this contest are coming soon!

Photo Contest

June 1–August 1 (contest is closed)

The photo contest is for students who enjoy visual arts and taking snapshots of life around them. Past contests have challenged participants to take photos based on descriptive words, phrases, etc. Students who have a flair for exploring concepts visually using everyday scenes—or even composing scenes—will enjoy this contest.

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


Short Stories Contest

June 1–August 1 (contest is closed)

The short stories contest is new! It is for students who enjoy narrative writing.

Details about this contest are coming soon!

Art Contest

October 1–December 1 (now accepting entries)

The art contest is for students who enjoy using wet and dry art mediums. Past contests have challenged participants to create artwork based on elements found in notable works from past eras of art (impressionism, romanticism, etc.). Students who like to apply their artistic vision by hand will enjoy this contest. 

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*):

Starry Night Over the Rhone, Van Gogh

Implement at least one of these qualities from this masterpiece into your entry: nighttime scene, impasto quality, primarily navy and yellow palette.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*):  

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, Friedrich

Implement at least one of these qualities from this masterpiece into your entry: deep aerial perspective, use of a single human figure, highly contrasted color palette. 

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*):

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Seurat

Implement at least one of these qualities from this masterpiece into your entry: pointillism technique, social scene as subject, gentle pastel palette. 

Enter Now

*All ages are as of October 1, 2022


Essay Contest

October 1–December 1 (now accepting entries)

The essay contest is for students who enjoy persuasive and informative writing. Past contests have challenged participants to respond to events like the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining what invention would be useful during such a time, or to select and explain their choice of an historic event they wished to have observed, etc. Students who have the courage to present a good argument will enjoy this contest.

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)

From Gutenberg’s printing press to today’s smartphone, many significant inventions have changed the way we live. But there is still so much room for ingenuity! If you were to invent something new, what would it be, what would it do, and why would you invent it? Explain in a descriptive essay.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)

Suppose you are stranded alone on a desert island where there is no electricity, no cell tower signal, or any other sign of civilization. You have a stockpile of food and help is on its way—in a couple months—but in the meantime you must survive. Explain in a persuasive essay what three inventions would you want to find washed up onto the shore with you and why.

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)

Imagine that you wake up just inside the entrance to an unfamiliar cave with no memory of how you arrived there. You sit up, look around, and notice a blow-dryer and garden spade. You feel inside your pocket and find a small spool of wire. As you finger the unfamiliar items, everything comes flooding back to you! In a narrative essay, explain how the three items (blow-dryer, spade, and wire) refresh your memory of what happened. 

Enter Now

*All ages are as of October 1, 2022


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.