Homeschool Student Writing Contests: Developing Skills in Preparation for College

Homeschool Student Writing Contests: Developing Skills in Preparation for College
Page content

Why Enter A Writing Competition?

If you’re looking for ways to encourage your child to write with focus and excellence, a writing contest is a great way to motivate a young author! Homeschool student writing contests offer the chance to write about specific topics with the chance to win prizes or recognition. The contests listed below offer a wide variety of incentives and topics for writing. Everything from personal stories to poems are judged through these different competitions. Using these competitions as a motivational tool can help passionate writers get critiqued, or reluctant writers be spurred on towards top-quality work.

A List of Homeschool Student Writing Contests

PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest Open to children Kindergarten through 3rd grade, this contest, sponsored by local PBS stations, offers students the chance to write and illustrate a story. Kids can view the winning stories from 2001 until the present to see what makes a story stand out. You enter through your local PBS station, and the deadline is late March. Every person who enters gets a certificate of achievement, and other prizes are awarded to the top winners.

The Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards Sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, this contest is open to students in grades 7-12. There are 30 categories in which a student can enter including humor, poetry, short story, personal essay and film and animation. Prizes include scholarships, recognition and exhibition. Some categories entries are due in January and others are due in February.

National History Day Contest The National History Day Contest has two divisions. The Junior division is open to 6-8 grade students, while the Senior division is open to 9-12 graders. Each year a theme is selected and you write about the theme. Entry categories include documentary, exhibit, paper, website or performance. Prizes are certificates, trophies, medals, monetary awards and scholarships. Deadlines vary by state. A list of state co-ordinators is available on their website.

Breaking Barriers Essay Contest The Breaking Barriers Essay Contest is open to students in 4th through 8th grades and is a chance for writers to share personal stories about overing obstacles. Scholastic sponsors this contest, and the central theme is following Jackie Robinson’s values of justice, commitment, courage and teamwork. The deadline each year is early March. Prizes include a trip to a Major League Baseball All Star Game, laptop computer, a visit from Jackie Robinson, and books from Scholastic.

Brilliantly Ridiculous Invention Contest Another contest sponsored by Scholastic, the Brilliantly Ridiculous Invention Contest, is open to students in 2nd through 8th grades. The deadline for entry is March 4th, and students need to write about a creative invention and also illustrate it. The invention needs to make the world a happier, better place. Ten winners will receive a $1,000 savings bond.

More Homeschool Childrens Writing Competitions


VFW Patriot’s Pen Writers Contest The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsors this annual writing contest. Students in grades 6th- 8th grade can enter the 2014-15 competition by writing a short essay (300 to 400 words long) on the topic “Are You Proud Of Your Country?” All winners received savings bonds valued at $1,000 or more. The top winner received a $10,000 savings bond. The deadline for 2015 is early November 2014.

Allstate Keep The Drive High School Journalism Awards This annual contest, sponsored by Allstate, is open to students in 9-12 grades. Deadline for entry is late March. There are three cash prizes, with the top prize being $2,000. There are two categories in which to enter, broadcasting, where a videotaped segment would be submitted, or print, where students submit articles that have been published in a school newspaper. After reading the rules section, for homeschoolers, it appears that if your school doesn’t have a newspaper, you can submit an article that was published by a local newspaper.

Scholastic Book Fairs- Kids Are Authors Contest Open to K-8 students that work in groups of three or more, and have an overseeing adult sponsor, students work to create a book that would be considered for publication. This contest deadline each year is March 15. The book the students create has to be 21 to 29 pages, and can be fiction or non-fiction. There are two grand prize winners (one non-fiction and one fiction) who each receive $5,000 of Scholastic book materials for their school or non-profit organization of their choice. The grand prize winners also receive 100 copies of their book. Twenty-five honorable mention winners will receive certificates and $500 of Scholastic book materials for their school or non-profit organization.

What’s The Real Goal?

While winning a competition is always a big victory, an important goal of entering a writing contest is to develop and enhance a child’s writing skills. If your homeschool student keeps that in mind, the journey can be fun and rewarding. While in the process, if your child happens to win, or gain recognition, then there is an added bonus! Homeschool student writing contests can provide motivation to write, and also offer a creative voice for your young author.

Image Credits

Pencil Image: wikimedia commons, Bleistiftzwinge_fcm.jpg, photographer: Frank C Muller

Pencil Tip Image: wikimedia commons, Pencil Tip.jpg, photographer: Christian Fischer