Our History


Homeschool History 101

The concept and practice of homeschooling has been around since children were first born. (That would be Cain and Abel, etc.) It has only been since the mid 1800′s that removing children from the home for the purpose of education was begun in earnest. 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. Learn about the Law and browse available forms for more information.

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.
As L’CHEA, grew it outgrew its name as well. The ministry expanded to reach across the whole state. In 1994, in an effort to better describe its mission, L’CHEA changed its name to the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania or CHAP.

CHAP’s Current Activities

GOVERNMENT – CHAP has been working in the political arena since 1987, leading to the passage of the current law in 1988. CHAP continues to to work on improving the homeschool law in Pennsylvania. In 2000, CHAP founded a program called CHAP HELP, which stands for CHAP Home Educators Lobbying Program, to help educate legislators about homeschooling.

CONVENTION – Held annually on the 2nd (second) full weekend of May at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, the CHAP Homeschool Convention serves to promote excellence in homeschooling. Featured are: nationally known speakers, exhibitors displaying their educational products and services, and numerous workshops on a variety of homeschool topics. With attendance of over 8,000, it is easy to see that home education is a growing conviction with many. When registration material is available, it will be listed on our Convention page. Please check the CHAP Magazine, CHAPeNews and the CHAP Facebook page for convention updates.

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.

EVENT DISPLAYS – 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.

MEDIA – In an ongoing effort to keep both the public and homeschoolers informed about homeschooling in Pennsylvania, CHAP offers numerous media outlets.

  • Print – The CHAP Magazine, first published in 1989 as a monthly newsletter, is now offered as a full-color, quarterly magazine filled with articles and resources to encourage the homeschool community.
  • Web – CHAPonline.com, our primary web presence, was originally launched as CHAPboard.com in 1998. CHAP continues to maintain a positive web presence in the homeschooling community. In 2000, as part of our effort to improve the Pennsylvania law relating to homeschooling, CHAP instituted an e-mail newsletter (CHAPeNews) which is delivered to subscribers free, on a monthly basis.
  • Social Network – In 2011 CHAP launched the CHAP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChristianHomeschoolPA).

AFFILIATIONS – 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.