Homeschooling is about so much more than academics. The real value lies not in just learning facts, but in training the mind to think and instilling the love of learning through adventures and shared experiences. Kids often love contests because it offers them the opportunity to do something different – often for a good cause – with the bonus of a possible reward.
When our (now-grown) family is looking back and talking about our homeschooling years, we aren’t remembering the math problems, the Latin lessons, or which handwriting book we used, but we are reminiscing about the time our preschooler won tickets to Sesame Street Live in the local grocery store’s coloring contest (random drawing), the children that won or placed in essay contests, attending family camp, visiting The Holy Land Experience with grandparents in Florida, and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
Here is a (non-exhaustive) compilation of CONTESTS, CAMPS, and HAPPENINGS that will provide amazing opportunities for making memories:
- Meet Me in DC Contest for K-12 (deadline 3/31/2016) Students are invited to design an election poster that highlights important community issues
- Right To Life Poster Contest for grades K – 8, (deadline 3/31/2016)
- Scholastic Read2Me Challenge for parent plus children under age 14 (deadline 3/31/2016)
To enter, share a video or photo of you reading to your child. (Yes, there are actually going to be winners for just reading to your child – It doesn’t get any easier than that!)
- Celebrating Art Contest grades K – 12, (three contests annually, next deadline is 4/5/2016)
- Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge grades 5 – 8, video contest (deadline 4/20/2016)
- HSLDA Poetry Contest for ages 7-19, (deadline 5/1/2016)
- HSLDA offers 3 other annual contests: Essay, Art and Photo for ages 7-19. They are not currently active, so please check back.
- NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund, Essay Contest grades K – 12, (deadline 12/1/2016)
- Constitution Day Poster Design Contest grades K – 12, (deadline 10/1/2016)
- Creative Communication Essay Contest grades 4– 12, (three annual contests each for essay and poetry with multiple deadlines)
- Constituting America ‘We the Future’ Contests grades K – 12, (deadline 9/17/2016)
- IEW Annual Writing Contest ages 9 – 18 (soon to be announced for 2016)
- VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest grades 6 – 8, (deadline 11/1/2016)
- Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. States often have contests, check your state website.
- Swift Nature Camp (WI) for ages 6 – 15
- Frontier Camp (TX) for ages 7 – 17. Can attend anytime, but May 29 – June 4 is a designated “Homeschool week”
- Homeschool Family Camps: Hartland (CA), Jenness Park (CA), MIle High Pines (CA), Outdoor School for Homeschool Families and Youth Camps (OR), New Life Ranch (OK), Intervarsity (MI), Silver Birch Ranch (WI), Living Waters (WI) Sandy Cove (MD), Camp Susque (PA).
- Generation Joshua “politics, leadership and government” ages 14-19 summer camps, Student Action Teams, GenJ Clubs
- Patrick Henry College Teen Summer Camps ages 14 -18 summer camps (4/1 Early Bird Disc)
- TeenPact classes at your state capitol for ages 13-19 – four day class, ages 8-12 – one day class
::AUTHORS NOTE:: My politically-minded kids loved this class. My NOT-politically minded and (reluctant-to-go) kids LOVED this class. It’s like a civics 101 intensive. Everyone needs to learn how our state government works!
- Summit’s Student Worldview Conferences May-Aug conferences for ages 16 and up
- Worldview Academy Leadership Camps June-Oct camps for ages 13 and up.
- The middle school years are an especially great time for field trips. Check out this comprehensive field trip guide by state and plan your adventure!
- And don’t forget to check out “Homeschool Days.” Many attractions all over the country offer perks and deep discounts! Here are just a few – Six Flags, Colonial Williamsburg (VA), Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN), LegoLand (FL), and Mount Vernon (VA).
- Some attractions offer homeschool discounts with your HSLDA membership or just for the asking. Creation Museum (KY) currently has a promotion through June 30 that allows you to buy two adult tickets and get up to four kids’ tickets FREE. And check out the nearby and coming soon, Ark Encounter (opening July 7, 2016).
Now go have some fun and real life experiences!
Did you know that each department has consultants available to assist our HSLDA members? Please check out our web departments: Toddlers to Tweens, High School, and Special Needs. || Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.