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)

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Category 1 (Ages 7–10*): Cubist Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the Cubist period in your entry: Geometric abstraction; multiple vantage points, contrasting vantage points.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*): Rococo Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the rococo period in your entry: Soft, pastel color palette; decorative embellishments; scenes of lighthearted entertainment.

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*): Impressionist Art

Incorporate one characteristic of art from the Impressionistic period in your entry: Thick, broken brushstrokes; soft, pastel color palette; loose forms.

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

See Rules & Guidelines for important instructions!

*All ages are as of January 1, 2020


Poetry Contest

March 1–May 1 (contest is closed)

Let’s see how clever you can get! For this year’s poetry contest, enjoy the complexity of the English language and mechanics of poetic literature. Do this by telling a story or expressing a message through a poem you create with a specific alphabetic structure (category details below), all the while maintaining your special voice.

Category 1 (Ages 7–10*)

Write a poem in which every new line begins with the exact same letter. You may choose the letter. 
Maximum poem length: 20 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.

Category 2 (Ages 11–14*)

Write a three-stanza poem in which the first letter of each new line spells the message “SPRING IS HERE” or spells “SPRING” as three couplets.
Maximum poem length: 6 (“SPRING”) or 12 (“SPRING IS HERE”) lines. 
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.

Category 3 (Ages 15–19*)

Write a poem in which each new line begins with consecutive letters of the alphabet. You may choose which letter you start the sequence with.
Maximum poem length: 26 lines.
Rhyme pattern: Poem should have a discernible rhyme scheme.

See Rules & Guidelines for important instructions!

*All ages are as of March 1, 2020


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

Category 1 (Ages 7-10*): Vibrant

Category 2 (Ages 11-14*): Impressive

Category 3 (Ages 15-19*): Ornate

See Rules & Guidelines for important instructions!

*All ages are as of June 1, 2020


Essay Contest

September 1–November 1 (Now accepting submissions!)

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!

*All ages are as of September 1, 2020

Enter the Essay Contest!


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.