The list of national contests below is not
exhaustive, but does include major,
established contests in many interest
We have not noted the deadlines because
some are rather complicated with local,
regional, and national competitions.
These are yearly contests. If a
deadline has just been passed, there will be
another one next year. You can use the
time until the next deadline to research and
decide what contests you want to enter and
start preparing ahead of time. You
could even do a sample entry for
Individual or Team Entries
Some of these contests can be entered by
either an individual or a team.
You may want to take advantage of the
cooperation provided by a team effort –
either within your own family or with
Key to Listings
In the parenthesis after the name of the
I = Individual Entry; T = Team
Entry; followed by grade levels.
• Book It! Reading
Incentive Program (I, Preschool-6). Info.
• Scholastic Kids Are
Authors Competition (T, K-8). Info.
• National Council of
Teachers of English (I, 8 & 11). Info.
• Patriot's Pen Youth Essay
Contest (I, 6-8) Theme "When is the Right
Time to Honor Our Military Heroes?". Info.
• Civil Rights Defense Fund
Writing Contests (I, K-12). Info.
• The Laws of Life Essay
• Sons of the American
Revolution's George S. & Stella M. Knight
Essay Contest (I, 10-12). Info.
• The Grannie Annie (I,
• NRA Youth Essay Contest
(I, K-12). Info.
• Being an American Essay
Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
• Reconnecting the Circle's
Essay Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
• Weekly Reader's Student
Publishing Contest (I, 3-12). Info.
• National Scholastic
• IWPA High School
Journalism Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
Spelling and Handwriting
• Scripps National Spelling
Bee (I, -8). Info.
• National Handwriting
Contest (I, 1-8). Info.
• National French Contest
(I, 1-12). Info.
Science and Technology
• Siemens Westinghouse
Competition in Math, Science, and Technology
(I or T, 9-12). Info.
• Math Olympiads (I, 4-8).
• Mathcounts (I or T, 6-8).
• The Mathematical
Association of America's American Mathematics
Contests (I, 7-12). Info.
• American Regions Math
League (T, 9-12). Info.
• The Art of Problem
Solving Foundation USA Mathematical Talent
Science & Technology
• Invent America! (I, K-8).
• Science Olympiad (T,
• Team America Rocketry
Challenge (T, 7-12). Info.
• West Point Bridge Design
Contest (I/T, 7-12). Info.
• U.S.A. Biology Olympiad
(I, 9-12). Info.
• Intel Science Talent
Search (I, 12). Info.
• Discovery Channel Young
Scientist Challenge (I, 5-8). Info.
• Technology Education for
Today's Youth. Info.
• Christopher Columbus
Awards (T, 6-8). Info.
• Junior Engineering
Technical Society TEAMS & NEDC Contests (T,
• National Engineers Week
Foundation Future City Competition (T, 7-8).
• Stockholm Junior Water
Prize (I/T, 9-12). Info.
• USA Computing Olympiad
(I, 7-12). Info.
• Think Quest Internet
Challenge (T, ages 9-19). Info.
• Computer Science Contest
(I/T, 7-12). Info.
• The Skills USA
Championships Career and technical skills; 77
separate events. Info.
History & Geography
• National History Day
Contest (I/T, 6-12) Exhibit, documentary,
paper, or performance. Info.
• National Geography Bee
(I, 4-8). Info.
• National Foundation for
Advancement in the Arts (9-12) Identifies
artists in the performing, literary, and
visual arts. Info.
Art & Writing
• The Scholastic Art &
Writing Awards (I, 7-12). Info.
• National Kids-in-Print
Book Contest (I, ages 6-19). Info.
Art and Crafts
• The Wildlife Forever
State-Fish Art Contest (I, 4-12). Info.
• Arbor Day Poster Contest
(I, 5). Info.
• Make It with Wool Contest
encourages creativity in sewing, knitting,
and crocheting. (I, all ages). Info.
• NRA Youth Wildlife Art
Contest (I, 1-12). Info.
• U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service's Junior Duck Stamp Contest (I,
• Music Teachers National
Association Student Competitions. Info.
Filmmaking and TV
• Vision Forum's San
Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
Speech & Debate
• The National Christian
Forensics and Communications Association Home
school students age 12-18. Formal speech and
• National Forensic League
Speech Tournament and Student Congress. Info.
• The American Legion's
National High School Oratorical Contest (I,
9-12) To develop a deeper knowledge and
appreciation of the Constitution of the
United States. Info.
• Sons of the American
Revolution's Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical
Oration Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
• Veterans of Foreign Wars'
Voice of Democracy (I, 9-12) Audio essay,
"How I Demonstrate My Freedom." Info.
• National High School Mock
Trial Championship (T, 9-12). Info.
• National Management
Association's American Enterprise Speech
Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
10 Academic Areas
• United States Academic
Decathlon (T, 9-12). Info.
• U.S. Chess Federation (I,
• National Junior
Horticultural Association Contests (I/T)
Eighteen contests. Info.
• The Prudential Spirit of
Community Awards (I, 5-12). Info.
Many of the contests listed above have
been reviewed and recommended by the National
Association of Secondary School
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My parents occasionally mail vacation
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identifications. We spent much of the
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In This Issue
How To Make Contests
a Learning Experience
• Benefits of
Participating in a Competition
• The Ins and Outs
of a Competition
Contests into Your Curriculum
• Updated List of
More Than 55 National Contests
• List of 60
• Rejuvenate Your
Home School in Newsletter
• Internet Safety &
• FACE: Teach
Reading Skills Using the Bible
• Birch Court Books:
Great Science Adventures Series
• Oxford Tutorial
Service: High School College Prep
• Beautiful Feet
Books: The Landmark Collection
In this issue we talk about
competition. This is an issue that
requires a delicate balance in our own lives
and our children's.
On the one hand, if we look at someone
else and think that they are doing better
than we are, we could become discouraged.
On the other hand, we could be challenged
and encouraged by another's good example when
we see what might be possible in our own
May the Lord richly bless your family for
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in a Competition
One of the best ways for children to learn
is to actively participate in something they
care about. Contests are great learning
2. Knowledge and Skills
A competition can provide a practical
learning experience which results in expanded
academic knowledge and improved skills.
The character qualities of persistence and
diligence are called for in working on a
long-range goal such as some contests
4. Direction and Confidence
Entering contests can help children
uncover lifelong interests, gain a sense of
responsibility, learn to think for
themselves, and ask questions – all of
which can boost their confidence.
5. Practical Life Skills
Children also develop everyday skills such
as how to work with others, fill out
applications, follow guidelines, keep
records, meet deadlines, and organize their
A contest implies rewards. Besides
the intangible rewards of accomplishment and
recognition, prizes are offered which are
sometimes quite substantial or are in the
form of a scholarship. Expense-free
travel to a national event might also be
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Topics of these 9 books are:
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The Ins and Outs
of a Competition
1. Explain Competition
Teach your child about competition and how
it can spur one on to greater
accomplishments. (See 1
Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians
Whether or not your child wins a prize,
the contest can be used to teach him about
being a good sport by handling success
modestly and disappointment graciously.
2. Prize or Participation
Even if your child doesn't win a prize,
taking part in a contest can be a positive
experience. You can request
participation certificates from the contest
sponsor ahead of time or create certificates
3. Be a Good Example
People, and the press, will often judge
the home-school community by the actions of
home-school students in the spotlight of a
We should teach our children godly
principles and how to be good examples both
as Christians and as home schoolers.
Many home-school students have won
national contests, thereby lending
credibility to home education.
4. Observe the Rules
It takes careful study to understand all
the rules of some contests. If you
have questions, be sure to contact the
Tip: Check out last year's winning
entries (you can often find these on the
contest's website) to get an idea of what the
judges are looking for.
You may have several deadlines to meet,
the first being your application.
Organize and plan the work on your contest
by breaking the whole into smaller goals and
setting your own deadlines for each.
Be sure to allow enough time to do your
best on the contest and to realize all the
Some contests require an entry fee, and
some contests might necessitate other
expenditures that you should be aware of
before you begin.
Check to see if you need to pay for your
own travel to a national event.
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• Teaches history of ideas which shaped
into Your Curriculum
1. Choose a contest carefully.
You may want to choose a contest with a
certain learning goal in mind. For example,
you may want to use an essay contest to
strengthen writing and reading skills as well
as to expand knowledge of the assigned topic.
Ask your children what topics they would
be interested in pursuing.
The sponsor or purpose of the contest
might affect your decision. If you do not
believe the United States should share its
authority with the United Nations, then you
would probably not want to write an essay on
the topic. (We didn't list that
For a contest to work successfully, you
should know exactly what is needed -- skills,
materials, entry fees, contest rules, etc.
You, as the parent, might want to try the
contest yourself (e.g., write a sample essay
on the topic) for full understanding of
3. Learn about the history or
of the contest
This will not only give your children a
valuable history lesson, but it will also
help them gain a greater insight into their
contest theme or subject.
Read books and magazines or listen to
music. For example, if your children are
entering a poetry contest, have them read
different kinds of poetry.
4. Take field trips.
Use any opportunities available locally
which relate to your contest. For example, if
your children are participating in an
environmental protection program, arrange a
trip to a nature reserve.
5. Broaden specific contest
to create a
If your children are entering a writing
contest, have them create artwork or crafts
that relate to their subject; if they enter
an art competition, have them write an essay
about the theme.
6. Maintain a resource-filled
Provide access to dictionaries, atlases,
almanacs, and an encyclopedia.
As well as traditional resources, teach
your children how to safely (under your
supervision) and efficiently use the internet
7. Information Packs.
You might want to start collecting
information on a few topics of interest to
your children. Label an extra large envelope
for each topic and fill it with clippings,
pictures, articles, statistics, notes, etc.,
on that topic.
These information packs will be a great
resource for your children during contest
Many contests will provide educational
information as well as how to comply with the
8. Have your children maintain
Include drafts and final copies of writing
or sketches, and photos of artwork or
projects. These records are great for showing
the improvement in students' abilities as
well as the work that was done.
9. Furnish a Biblical
Many contests will be secular in nature.
You can furnish a spiritual dimension by
using a Bible concordance, dictionary, or
encyclopedia to study what the Bible says
about your subject.
Acknowledgment: Some of these ideas
were suggested by Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium
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Publishers of Quality Children's Literature
Local and State
Support Group Science Fairs
Your support group may put on a science
fair, or you might volunteer to help do one.
For ideas and information, read articles
online at Home Science Tools website. • "Designing
a Science Fair Project"
Fairs & The Scientific Method"
Read an article about the benefits
of science fairs (including a basic
outline for a project), as well as practical
tips on setting up a science fair on the
BJU Press website.
County or State Fairs
Consider entering one or more of the many
categories in your county or state fair.
Contact your county Cooperative
Extension System for information on fairs
in your state, or see a list of state
fairs and city
and county fairs.
See our list National Contests in the
sidebar at the left.
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