Federal Relations


Bright Spots in Home Schooling

February 17, 2005  

Homeschooled artist wins two awards

By Christina Ishizu

"It looks real," commented a Patrick Henry College student, viewing the winning entry in the 2004 Home School Legal Defense Association Art Contest. Prominently displayed in the college's main building, where HSLDA is headquartered, Adam Nisbett's painting features five sparrows, each of a different species, sitting on a barbed wire fence surrounded by wildflowers. Beneath the painting, on a small placard, is a verse from Luke: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God."

"I think we heard about the contest from the HSLDA email newsletter," Adam recalls. He began the project a month before the due date, working diligently on weekends and in his spare time. He drew material from his avid bird watching and his mother's encouragement. "My mom had wanted me to do sparrows. The painting is for her."

Adam has always loved birds. "Since he was five years old, he'd watch the birds at our birdfeeder and sketch them," says Adam's mother. "Because we homeschooled, he could spend time watching the birds in the morning, when the birds are out, and drawing, and then come in and do school later." Adam agrees. "Homeschooling has encouraged me to pursue and excel in whatever I'm interested in."

Mrs. Nisbett, currently expecting her tenth child, says that she can't remember how she was introduced to homeschooling. "It was just God's plan for us," she asserts. "We made this decision before we had kids."

This is not the first time Adam has won national acclaim. Earlier last year, Adam won first place in the 2004 Junior Duck Stamp Contest. This was extra special, says Adam, because it was the last year he was eligible for the national contest's junior division. He has entered the contest for the last seven years, winning Missouri's state competition in 1998 at age 11. When asked if he is considering the adult division, Adam says that although the quality of the pictures rises dramatically, winning the junior division gave him a taste of what to expect if he does enter: "I got to meet the judges of the adult contest as part of my prize, and talk to them." Both contests are sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which also offers a conservation curriculum. "It was really good because it combined science with art," says Mrs. Nisbett. "I highly recommend it."

Now a student at the University of Missouri–Rolla, Adam is pursuing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

Adam's advice to aspiring artists? "Practice. With bird art, you really want to get out and watch the birds." He raised the ducks that are featured in the winning duck stamp, and says that watching them grow has definitely aided his drawing. "I'm really thankful to the Lord for the talent He's blessed me with," he adds, "and I hope that people will give glory to His name when they see it."

Adam's artwork can be viewed at his website, http://www.adam-nisbett.com. His award winning duck drawings from the past seven years are on display, in addition to other drawings since 1999.

 Other Resources

Find out more about HSLDA's annual art contest!

Follow this link to learn more about the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program contest and curriculum.

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