My nearly 8 year old has decided that she would like to participate in HSLDA’s yearly homeschooler writing contest.


Gratitude is a powerful emotion that too often goes unexpressed and is frequently rendered ineffective by silence.  All of us are blessed by a myriad of people, yet the very routineness of their sacrifice leads us to take them for granted and to forget that they need encouragement too.

This year, our essay theme focuses on writing an essay in the form of a letter that directly thanks a person who has positively impacted your life.  The person may be a civic servant such as a sheriff, state representative, or firefighter.  Or perhaps a co-op teacher, grandparent, parent or church leader will come to your mind.

To get started, jot down your thoughts on what you’re grateful for and a person tied to those thoughts.  Then, consider the type of essay your letter should be (descriptive, narrative or cause and effect) and get started with expressing your gratefulness!

We encourage you to let your essay be more than a contest entry; consider sending your letter to the person who blessed you.  You never know the impact your gratitude may have! 

  • Category 1 (ages 7–10): Using the principles of a descriptive essay, write a letter expressing gratitude to someone who has influenced your life. A strong essay will vividly describe the details of what this person’s role is and what they have done for you.

You can find full info at the link.

Interestingly, our experience has been in line with thought in the Well Trained Mind, that creative writing can be difficult for young children, since they don’t have as much information to go off of. Therefore, many writing prompts that have encouraged my oldest to come up with a story have been uninspiring to put it lightly.

Instead, she has been focusing on writing to her 15 penpals across the country, and that has given her more confidence in her ability to write. This is actually mentioned in the book I linked above as one of the ways to have children write regularly, by the way. I sort of forgot that because we had incidentally been linked up with penpals through a homeschool penpal group on facebook.

Anyhow, the writing contest seems like a really fun thing for kids to do, and I think it’s so neat that they can choose things like this to participate in.

One of our local homeschool groups is hosting a math and science fair next month, so preparing for that will be next 🙂