7 Ways Your Child Can Benefit from HSLDA’s Essay Contest

HSLDA Essay Contest_Final

Exciting announcement ahead!

HSLDA’s writing contest is opening in September! Like past contests, there will be three age group categories with corresponding prompts and cash prizes:

Category 1 (ages 7-10): If you could be an animal, which one would you be and why?

Category 2 (ages 11-14): If you could travel outside of your country, where would you go and why?

Category 3 (ages 15–19*): Considering the role gratitude and generosity play in personal happiness, how should you and your peers approach life after high school? Write a persuasive essay outlining the values and ambitions that your generation should adopt to positively impact your lives.

Should you encourage your child to join? Absolutely! Here’s why:

  1. Motivation and Creativity: Writing papers only for school or a grade can sometimes create a black hole for drained creativity. However, entering a contest provides an inspiring goal of writing for a bigger audience and for a prize/recognition, thus encouraging your child to do his or her best work! Plus, the writing process often sparks new, fresh ideas and provides an outlet to try a new writing style or technique!
  2. Practice and Perseverance: As those who have faced a blank screen know, excellent writing requires both effort and practice. Writing for a contest encourages students to follow triumphantly through the sometimes daunting stages of writing like the occasional writer’s block and rounds of editing. An essay provides that outlet and reason to write and rewrite!
  3. Confidence: Like taking that first-ever dive underwater, plunging into the writing community can be scary at first. Writing is personal, so letting others read and criticize your work takes courage. In turn, essay contests can build self-esteem, since it gives you and others a chance give the child recognition and encouragement for a job well done! Plus, it provides a satisfying feeling of accomplishment!
  4. Boundaries: Writing contests provide structure in the form of deadlines, word count, and a specific writing prompt. It provides children practice with following directions. At the same time, rather than becoming overwhelmed with “writing anything you want,” it provides helpful parameters within which to practice writing and tap into creativity! If you are wondering about the guidelines for this contest, check out our page.
  5. Life lessons: Winning or losing in contests offers opportunities to dialogue meaningfully with your children about important life skills like healthy competition, sportsmanship, and how to handle potential failure. Win-win!
  6. Broadens perspective:Writing encourages writers to stretch their thoughts and emotions both internally and relationally. Not only do children have a chance to think about their own thoughts and feelings about a topic they may not have considered before, but to consider the larger world in a way they might not have before. What will your audience think about the topic? How do you write in a way that will encourage, motivate, or inspire your audience?
  7. Improves Communication: Writing prompts children to think deeply about a topic and formulate an articulate conclusion for an intended audience, which is an invaluable life skill. Oftentimes, we find we don’t really understand something until we have the opportunity to articulate and explain it to others.

Not only will the contest benefit your child, but proceeds from the contest will also bless families through the Homeschool Foundation, the charitable arm of HSLDA. Among other outreaches, they seek to help widows, and hurting families who are struggling to homeschool through hard times. By participating in the contest, your family will be helping to enrich the lives of others in the homeschooling community!

For more information about the contest, check out our page:

We are looking forward to reading the entries!

-HSLDA team

(Thank you to Vicki Bentley, Krisa Winn, Carol Becker, Kristy Horner, and Anna Soltis for all idea and writing contributions!)

Photo Credit: Graphic by Anna Soltis.

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