Newsletter #360 - Archived Online.
For 32 years The Teaching Home has provided 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 updated 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 (not ages). Click on "info" after the listing for details.
• 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) 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 Writing Contest (I, 4-8). Info.
• NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund Youth Essay Contest (I, K-12). Info.
• Student Journalism Contest (I, 3-12). Info.
• National Scholastic Press Contests and Critiques. (Various) 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.
Math, Science and Technology
• Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology (I or T, 9-12). Info.
• Christopher Columbus Awards (T, 6-8). Info.
• Math Olympiads (I or T, 4-8). Info.
• Mathcounts Competition (I or T, 6-8). Info.
• The Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Contests (I, 7-12). Info.
• American Regions Math League Competition (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 International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) (I, 9-12). Info.
• Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (I, 5-8). Info.
• Technology Student Association Competitions. Info.
• TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) (T, 7-12). Info.
• National Engineers Week Foundation Future City Competition (T, 7-8). Info.
• Stockholm Junior Water Prize (I/T, 9-12). Info.
• Canon Envirothon environmental education competition (I, 9-12). Info.
• Skills USA Championships Career and technical skills; 77 separate events. Info.
• USA Computing Olympiad (I, 7-12). Info.
History & Geography
• National History Day Contest (I/T, 6-12) Exhibit, documentary, paper, or performance. Info.
• National Geography Bee (I, 4-8). Info.
Art, Essay, Photo, Poetry
• Home School Legal Defense Association (Essay, Art, Video, Photo, Poetry). Info.
• Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest. Info.
• National YoungArts Foundation (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.
• Make It with Wool Contest (Sewing, Knitting, and Crocheting). (I, all ages). Info.
• U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Junior Duck Stamp Contest (I, K-12). Info.
• Music Teachers National Association Student Competitions. Info.
• Vision Forum's San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (any age). Info.
Speech & Debate
• The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association. Homeschool 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). 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. Info.
• National High School Mock Trial Championship (T, 9-12). Info.
• National Management Association's Leadership Speech Contest (I, 9-12). Info.
This is just a sampling of many Bible quizzing organizations.
• World Bible Quiz Association. Info.
• Bible Quiz Fellowship. Info.
• The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Info.
• National Bible Bowl. Info.
• Listing of various quizzing organizations. Info.
• U.S. Chess Federation (I, K-12). Info.
• 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 Principals. See their 41-page listing of contests and activities.
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In This Issue
How To Make Contests
a Learning Experience
1. Benefits of Participating in a Competition
2. The Ins and Outs of a Competition
3. Integrating Contests into Your Curriculum
4. Local and State Contests
• Updated List of Annual National Contests
• Logos Language Institute: Language Learning with a Purpose
• Christ-Centered Curriculum: K4-2 Phonics, Reading, Math
• Birch Court Books: Classic Homeschool Books at Discount
In this newsletter 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.
(Read about the benefits of competition below.)
May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory.
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.
Benefits of Participating 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 motivators.
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 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.
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.
The Ins and Outs of a Competition
1. Explain Competition
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 homeschool community by the actions of homeschool 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 homeschoolers.
Many homeschool 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. Also see tips on HSLDA's website.
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.
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.
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 that topic.
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.
Web Research Guide provides tutorials to help you and your students conduct effective research on the Web, including how to:
7. Information Packs.
You might want to start collecting information on a few topics of interest to your children. Label an extra large envelope (or notebook) 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.
Or you can list applicable links in an e-mail filed on your computer.
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.
Free Online Resources at Bible Gateway
Acknowledgment: Some of these ideas were suggested by Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit.
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) on the BJU Press website.
County or State Fairs
Consider entering one or more of the many categories in your county or state fair.
See our updated list of annual national contests in the sidebar at the left.
Please send us information of other national contests that you know about, as well as your experiences in participating in a contest that we can share with others. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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