Homeschool Essay Contest

Short Story Contest

Click here for a pdf of version of the rules.


To foster development of excellent communication skills through the written word, NCFCA conducts an annual Writing Contest. For the 2017-2018 season, the focus will be the short story. This contest is meant to encourage homeschool students to learn the art of storytelling in a compelling, inventive and thoughtful way, addressing life issues from a biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God. The writer should carefully consider what message is being communicated and strive to present that message in a strong and relevant fashion.


Contest Rules

  • Entry Deadline for all submissions: March 1, 2018. 11:59 PM Central Time
  • Participants must enter the appropriate contest age category and meet the eligibility requirements of NCFCA (generally age, homeschool status, agreement with Nicene Creed) whether or not they are affiliated. Participants must have or create an account at
  • Contest entry fee is $10.00 for NCFCA Affiliates and $25.00 for those students not affiliated with NCFCA.
  • Stories must be under 4,000 words and can be on any theme.
  • The short story may be based on or inspired by actual events. The short story may be of any genre, such as drama, tragedy, satire, or comedy.
  • All entries must be the original work of the student. Copyright-protected characters may not be used without written permission of the author.
  • No submission may be used either in its original form or reworded for NCFCA Speech competition. The submission may not have been submitted to any other contest or have appeared in any print or online publications.
  • Each student may enter only one short story into the competition.
  • Each short story must have a title. The title page must be included in your submission.
  • The short story should be typewritten using 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and formatted with a footer that includes your full name and the page number (i.e. John Smith  Page 1).
  • All submissions become the property of NCFCA.
  • All Winners will be notified via email, and then announced via the NCFCA website on April 16, 2018.

Contestant Age Division*

  1. 9-11 Years Old
  2. 12-15 Years Old
  3. 16-18 Years Old

*Age by September 1, 2017

Submission Instructions

  • In order to participate in the Short Story contest, visit the NCFCA Store from your Dashboard and select either the Affiliate or Non-affiliate Short Story entry.
  • After you pay for your entry, you will receive a receipt via email. You will need your invoice (receipt) number to submit your Short Story.
  • Submit your short story via the submission form here.  This form is also available under Affiliate Benefits from your Dashboard.
  • Please contact the NCFCA office with any questions regarding your submission at


First Place: 

Trophy to be presented at the 2018 NCFCA National Championship

Recognition at Regional Championship

Recognition and publication of short story on website

$50 cash prize

$50 NCFCA credit towards registration or products


Second Place:  

Trophy to be presented at the 2108 NCFCA National Championship

Recognition at Regional Championship

Recognition and publication of short story on website


Third Place:

Trophy to be presented at the 2018 NCFCA National Championship

Recognition at Regional Championship

Recognition and publication of short story on website


All submissions will be evaluated in a three-step judging process with a panel of judges appointed by the Executive Director of NCFCA.

Finalists will be notified by email and then announced via the NCFCA website on April 16, 2018.


Submissions will be evaluated according to the criteria provided in the Evaluation Rubric.

Evaluation Rubric


  • Writes and presents a work of literary merit and universal appeal
  • Demonstrates style, originality, and creativity
  • Moves, entertains, instructs and/or provokes the audience to thought
  • Creates mood, develops the emotional and intellectual complexities of the piece


  • Portrays distinct, well-defined character(s) with consistency
  • Balances the development of each point and incorporates fluid transitions
  • Transitions smoothly between character(s) and scenes
  • Employs accurate grammar and spelling

Overall Effective Communication

  • Presents a fresh, thoughtful or entertaining story
  • Effectively creates scenes in the mind of the audience
  • Holds audience’s attention, establishing emotional and mental rapport

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.

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