The modern Christian Homeschooling movement began in the seventies, but really took root in the eighties when Dr. James Dobson began to champion the idea on his radio program. In 1983, two attorneys, Mike Farris and Mike Smith, formed the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) to fight for parental rights to homeschool. In 1986, a group of Christian homeschooling parents in Lancaster county began the first annual homeschool convention. In the eighties the legal situation in Pennsylvania was unclear. In 1988, HSLDA succeeded in having the Pennsylvania Homeschool law ruled unconstitutional. After this, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law in 1988 making homeschooling an approved educational option for all parents. Now CHAP’s annual convention has about 5,000 attendees and serves families all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states.
CHAP began as L’CHEA
In 1986, a group of Christian homeschooling parents formed a support group named Lancaster County Home Education Association, L’CHEA. They held the first convention at the Farm and Home Center with just a few vendors and speakers. God continued to bless this group, and the convention kept outgrowing its venues. It traveled to The Worship Center, Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster Mennonite High School, and Elizabethtown College. In 1993, in what was a giant leap of faith, the convention was moved to the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Since going to the Farm Show Complex, the CHAP convention has become one of the largest in the world.
By this time, the reach of L’CHEA grew well beyond Lancaster County, and a change was in order. In an effort to better describe its mission, L’CHEA changed its name in 1994 to the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania.
CHAP has been working in the political arena since 1987, lobbying for significant changes to Pennsylvania homeschool law in 1988 and 2014. CHAP continues to to work on improving the homeschool law in PA. In 2000, CHAP founded a program called CHAP Home Educators Lobbying Program (CHAP HELP) to help educate legislators about homeschooling.
SUPPORT GROUP EVENTS
CHAP works with Homeschool Support Groups throughout the state by providing resources, speakers and individual workshops to assist and encourage homeschool families.
CHAP attends and exhibits at a variety of events with the goal of promoting homeschooling, distributing materials, and initiating discussion about the benefits of homeschooling.
CHAP has also been involved at the national level. CHAP representatives have participated in the Home School Legal Defense Association’s (HSLDA) federal lobbying program. CHAP board members have consistently attended the National Center for Home Education (NCHE) and the Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership’s (formerly The Teaching Home Magazine’s) national conferences. CHAP board members also have spoken at local, state and national meetings on home education topics.