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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
Fax: 503-253-7345
Phone: 503-253-9633  

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For 29 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Home-School Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

Annual National Contests

This list of annual national contests is not exhaustive, but does include major, established contests in many interest areas.


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 practice.

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 friends.

Key to Listings

In the parenthesis after the name of the contest, I = Individual Entry; T = Team Entry; followed by grade levels.

Language Arts


 •  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 "Does Patriotism Still Matter?". Info.

 •  The Laws of Life Essay Contest. Info.

 •  Sons of the American Revolution's George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest (I, 10-12). Info.

 •  The Grannie Annie (I, 4-8). Info.

 •  NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund Youth Essay Contest (I, K-12). Info.

 •  Being an American Essay Contest (I, 9-12). Info.


 •  Weekly Reader's Student Publishing Contest (I, 3-12). Info.

 •  National Scholastic Press. Info.

 •  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.

Foreign Languages

 •  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). Info.

 •  Mathcounts (I or T, 6-8). Info.

 •  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 Search. Info.

Science & Technology

 •  Science Olympiad (T, K-12). Info.

 •  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, 9-12). Info.

 •  National Engineers Week Foundation Future City Competition (T, 7-8). Info.

 •  Stockholm Junior Water Prize (I/T, 9-12). Info.

Computer, Vocational

 •  USA Computing Olympiad (I, 7-12). Info.

 •  American Computer Science Contest (I/T, 7-12). Info.

 •  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.

The Arts

Art, Essay, Photo, Poetry

 •  Home School Legal Defense Association. Info.

Multiple Disciplines

 •  National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (9-12) Identifies artists in the performing, literary, and visual arts (Cinematic Arts, Dance, Jazz, Music, Photography, Theater, Visual Arts, Voice, Writing). Info.

Art & Writing

 •  The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (I, 7-12). Info.

Art and Crafts

 •  The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest (I, 4-12). Info.

 •  Arbor Day National 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, K-12). Info.


 •  Jean Wells Worship Guitar Class Annual Worship Contest. Write an original worship song. (I, Child, Adult) Info.

 •  Music Teachers National Association Student Competitions. Info.


 •  Vision Forum's San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Info.

Speech & Debate

 •  The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association Home school students age 12-18. Formal speech and debate. Info.

 •  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, "Does My Generation Have a Role in America's Future?" 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, K-12). Info.


 •  National Junior Horticultural Association Contests (I/T) Eighteen contests. Info.

Community Service

 •  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 Principals.

Resource E-Mails

Do you like Special Offers and learning about new and useful resources for your home school?

Then you will want to check out the Resource E-Mails that come to your mail box!

These free newsletters are made possible by the fine suppliers who advertise in them and the Resource E-Mails.


HSLDA offers homeschooling families a low-cost method of obtaining quality legal defense that gives them the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone.

(Use discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee.)

The Teaching Home
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Teaching Home Back Issues

Fifty-one back issues are offered online or by mail order.

The information, inspiration, and encouragement packed into each back issue never goes out of date.  They are always relevant, applicable to your needs today.

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Sunnyside Up

Saturday Morning Erins

Emily, 3, and Erin, 1, always accompany us on our Saturday morning routine of errands.

One Saturday we had just finished our errands and were pulling into the driveway when Emily asked, "Daddy, can we do some Emilys now?"

Submitted by D. O'Hearn, New Hampshire.

Send your humorous anecdote to

God's Love for Us

Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He will forgive our sin and give us eternal life.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

Bible Reading Schedule

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.

See The Teaching Home's Bible reading schedule online at

Christian Music Online 24/7!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to these online stations:

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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
   •  Integrating Contests into Your Curriculum
   •  Local and State Contests


List of Annual National Contests

Recommended Resources

   •  Williamsburg Retreat: Christian Family Vacation
   •  Birch Court Books: Timely Helps for Your Family
   •  Basic Christian Education: Bible Based Curriculum
   •  Judah Bible Curriculum: Year of the Bible


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 lives.

May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory during this New Year!

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Veteran Homeschoolers Invite Your Family
To Vacation with Them – Back to 1774!

Is your family ready for the refreshingly fun change
of pace that others from all over the U.S. will soon enjoy?

Christian Family Retreat - Williamsburg, Virginia

•  Explore the history of the founding

•  Experience our Christian Heritage
   with living history studies!

•  Invest in memories that will
   deepen family ties

•  Fellowship with like-minded

•  Build lasting friendships

3 Weeks to Choose From: Feb. 26 - March 21, 2010
Spacious, comfortable, private accommodations. Full retreat package affordably priced as a ministry to Christian homeschoolers.
Details & Registration at

Williamsburg Retreat
Box 7665 Columbia MO 65205 / (573) 356-3657
Sponsored by MOMYS (Mothers of Many Young Siblings)

    Benefits of Participating
    in a Competition

1.  Motivation

One of the best ways for children to learn is to actively participate in something they care about.  Contests are great learning motivators.

2.  Knowledge and Skills

A competition can provide a practical learning experience which results in expanded academic knowledge and improved skills.

3.  Character

The character qualities of persistence and diligence are called for in working on a long-range goal such as some contests require.

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 work.

6.  Rewards

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 included.

Timely Helps for You and Your Family!

1.  Siblings:  Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. Go beyond merely "getting along" to friendship!

2.  Character:  The Gold Thread.  Inspire "nobleness" in your son through this allegory of a prince following his "gold thread" through the forest back to his father.

3.  Encouragement:  Pocketful of Pinecones. A homeschool mother's diary shares her ups and downs and incorporates practical guidelines for nature study.  Heartwarming and encouraging!

4.  Bible:  "Then and Now" Bible Map Book.  Full-color Bible maps with clear plastic overlays of modern cities and countries make Bible study interesting and educational.

Birch Court Books
Free Media Mail Shipping with $20 Purchase  Free catalog.  800-655-1811
N7137 County Hwy. C, Seymour WI 54165

Find Family-Safe Games at

    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 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.)

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 yourself.

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 national contest.

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 contest administrator.

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.

5.  Deadlines

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 benefits possible.

6.  Costs

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.

Is It Time for a New Start?
Let Us Help You!

    Bible Based Curriculum – Full Service Homeschool
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    Integrating Contests
    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.

2.  Prepare.

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 what's involved.

3.  Learn about the history or background
      of the contest subject.

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 activity
      to create a unit study.

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 environment.

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 for research.

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 time.

Many contests will provide educational information or even lesson plans, as well as how to comply with the contest rules.

8.  Have your children maintain portfolios.

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 perspective.

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 Pursuit.

    The Year
    of the Bible

How Long Has Bible Class
     Been on the Back Burner in Your Homeschool?

It has been said – and it is true – that
     "Bible class should be the centerpiece
     of a Christian education."

Judah Bible Curriculum gives you Confidence
     in teaching your family the Bible.

Make 2010 the Year of the Bible
     in your home school.  Begin today!

Judah Bible Curriculum

Box 122, Urbana IL 61803  /  217-344-5672

    Local and State Contests

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 on Science Fair Projects, read articles online at Home Science Tools website.

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 Annual National Contests in the sidebar at the left.

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