Tag Archives: fine arts

Art Contests for Kids

 

There are a lot of art contests for kids online, and homeschoolers are encouraged to enter them as well.  Our school days at home are fairly relaxed, so contests provide some healthy structure to our work. By participating in a contest, children have a definite goal a deadline to meet. They also recognize the need to present their very best work, even if it means re-doing something that’s already completed. If they win, they experience the thrill of victory, and if they don’t, they learn how to take defeat in stride to try again another day. They learn, as Henry Ford stated, that “failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  (Love those “failure/success” quotes!)

If you’d like to encourage your child to enter an art contest, here are a few to check out:

  • Constitution Day Poster Contest – This contest for ages 3 -12 celebrates the U.S. Consitution. Children are to create an 8 ½” x 11” poster showing how they have benefited from the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. A fun and creative contest, but you have to hurry – the deadline for submitting entries is October 1.
  • Teachers Against Prejudice is sponsoring an art contest for students in grades 1-4. The theme for the artwork this year is “Sharing Cultures.” Entries must be submitted by October 15.
  • This is My Math Art Contest sponsored by McGraw-Hill is for students in grades K-5. Young artists are to illustrate “What math means to me” and enter their work by October 29.
  • NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest – Have a wildlife artist in your family? If she’s 18 or under, she can enter this contest with her best drawing or painting of an animal. The deadline is November 1.
  • Smilemakers Pearcasso Art Contest – If your child likes to play with his food at mealtime, this may be the perfect contest for him! Artists ages 5-18 are to create their artwork with pears! Entries must be sent by November 15.
  • Decide to Drive Poster Contest – For students in grades 5-8, this contest focuses on the importance of driving without distractions. Entries must be sent by November 15.
  • Frogs are Green Art Contest – Kids ages 3 – 12 are invited to enter this contest focusing on green living. The deadline for submissions is November 30.

Contests for Kids

Last fall, three of my children entered a local art contest, and all of them won a ribbon! As part of their prize, each won a ticket to the local children’s theatre, and we were finally able to redeem them last night and see a musical together. What fun!

 Many organizations offer free contests for kids to enter, and children can learn some good lessons by participating. Not only do they have a project they need to finish well, but they have to complete it by a certain time or deadline. They develop their skills through the process, whether it’s art or writing, crafts or photography. They learn to be gracious if they win, and they learn how to deal with disappointment if they don’t. And through it all, they learn that to succeed at anything, they first have to try.

 If you can’t find any contests for kids in your local community, check out the ones available online. Here are a few with upcoming deadlines to get you started:

 ART:

SHADE Foundation Poster Contest – This contest is for children in grades Kindergarten-8th. Participants enter a 8 1/2” x 11 1/2” poster featuring five sun-safety action steps. The deadline is April 1.

Animal Rescue TV Art Contest To enter this monthly contest ,children draw or paint their favorite animal. For kids ages 16 and under.

Look and Learn Art – Based in the United Kingdom, this is a monthly international contest and is open to children ages 18 and under.

State Fish Art Contest – This contest is for students in grades 4th – 12th. Entrants draw or paint a state fish and include an essay about the habitat and behavior of that fish. The deadline is always March 31.

National Geographic Kids posts contests from time to time. Keep checking the website for updates.

WRITING

PBS Kids Go Writing Contest for children in grades K-3. Check with your local PBS station for rules and deadlines.

Kids are Authors Writing Contest – Sponsored by Scholastic, this contest is for students in grades K-8 to encourage them to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books. The deadline for 2011 is March 15.

Saving With Used Curriculum

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on plans for the school year in the fall — deciding what curriculum to use and figuring out the cost. I’m finding that as the children grow older, the cost of the books we need to buy goes up as well. Add that to the cost of regular school supplies, such as paper, pens, and notebooks, along with the cost of any extra classes such as co-op classes, sports clubs, or fine art instruction, and it’s easy to see that homeschooling can be expensive.

But there are ways to save, especially where curriculum is concerned. Used curriculum can often be found at a fraction of the retail price, even the most recent editions. If you are looking for used curriculum, here are a few places you can start:

Yahoo Groups: There are a number of yahoo groups that you can join where people post their used curriculum for sale. Once you contact the seller, the two of you work out payment and shipping. Go to Yahoo Groups and check out BobJonesCurriculumUsed_Homeschooling_Curriculum, ChristianCurriculum, All-Wholesome-BooksUsedHomeschoolBooks, and TheHomeschoolMomUsedCurriculum.

eBay: If you enjoy using eBay, look for the curriculum you need in the listings there. If you don’t like the auction-style format (it can become a little nerve-wracking sometimes), check to see if someone has listed the books as Buy It Now.

Used Curriculum Sites: You might find what you’re looking for by searching a used homeschooling curriculum site. Visit HomeschoolClassifieds, VegSource, and The Book Cover.

CraigsList: Often homeschoolers will list their curriculum on CraigsList.com. Click on the link for the city nearest you, look under the “For Sale” column, and click on “Books”. You can scroll through the list or do a search for the particular book you’re looking for. Remember to use caution when purchasing items from CraigsList, and meet the seller at a public location.

If you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for online, ask around to find out where homeschoolers in your area sell used books. Do they post it on an email loop, or is there a used book sale you can attend? You might even be able to simply borrow the books you need from someone who won’t be using them this year.

It is possible to homeschool on a budget, and buying used curriculum can help. For many homeschoolers, finding that good deal is all part of the adventure.

Outside Time

3476198340_db42244b50This week we’ve been spending time with family in Florida. Besides an occasional storm that comes up in the late afternoon, the days have been hot and sunny. With twelve children ages 1 to 15 looking around for things to do, we’ve had to designate the morning hours, which are generally a little cooler, as “outside time.” 

And it’s been a bit of a struggle. Usually, everyone is cooperative for the first thirty minutes or so; after that, they begin to whine and complain and ask to go inside. We’ve brought out scooters, rip sticks, bikes, bubbles, chalk, a hose, and a little wading pool, and still they’re asking to come in. They want to sit inside and watch T.V. and play on the computer. Granted, it’s more comfortable with the air conditioning, but they can come in during the afternoon to take a break and do those things. 

Should we keep enforcing Outside Time? I think so. Besides the fact that it’s a lot of kids with a lot of energy to have running around in only a couple of rooms in the house, it’s important that they learn how to entertain themselves with other things. Even if the outdoor toys are limited, and all that’s available to play with is a few sticks, some dirt, and a rock, chidren need to know how to use their imaginations and make up their own games. 

Often we think of creativity only in terms of the fine arts, but creativity is important in play as well. In fact, that’s where our creative processes begin, and sadly for many children, that’s where it ends as well, as their free time is consumed by television and video games. I’m determined, though, not to allow that to happen to my children. They’ll be glad to know (or maybe they won’t) that once we get home again, I’m instituting a daily “outside time.” I want those creative juices to flow!