Historically, since 1985 Rally Day is the vehicle THEA has used to present the good news about home education to the Legislators of Tennessee.   It is THEA’s signature event.

The event is simple in a certain sense. Homeschooling families come to our state Capital in Nashville to meet their legislators who represent them, their State Senator and their member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.  Every person in Tennessee has one State Senator and one House of Representatives member.

THEA encourages every home school family to attend Rally Day so our legislators see that we want them to know what we are doing and so that when they vote on legislation, they will be thinking about you, your family, and your children, whom they represent.

Homeschooling families have used their freedom to educate their children well. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, www.nheri.org "The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests." 

The Tennessee Home Education Association leadership and membership has watched this track record of success since the beginning of the modern homeschooling movement in the early 1980's. THEA is passionately active in advocating to protect, defend, preserve, and expand homeschooling freedoms in the Great State of Tennessee. THEA promotes expansion of our freedoms with our state legislature so families can home school with greater freedoms. 

Thank you for working hard to develop a wise, peaceful, healthy family.  Come join us once a year for Rally Day to meet the two people who represent you in your State of Tennessee government, plus you’ll meet a lot of other freedom-loving, homeschooling people, too.






Sara Lee Harris Speech Competition

Calling All TN Home Schoolers, 8-18!!! to enter THEA & CCT's Sara Lee Harris Christian Apologetics Platform Speech Competition! THEA's only Speech Contest & only one with Cash Awards Announcing Winners on Rally Day

THEA chapters & TN home schoolers, please post on your websites, FB pages & forward to your email lists, support group, tutorial & co-ops! Thank you!!


Calling All TN Home Schoolers, 8-18!!!

to enter


Sara Lee Harris

Christian Apologetics Platform Speech Competition!

THEA's only Speech Contest & only one with Cash Awards 

Announcing Winners & Presenting Cash Awards


THEA’s Rally Day at the State Capitol

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

THEA chapters & TN home schoolers, please post on your web sites, FB pages & forward to your email lists, support group, tutorials & co-ops! Thank you!!

About the Competition:

This special Speech Contest, sponsored by Tennessee Home Education Association, THEA, www.tnhea.org, is usually open only to THEA members. However, having lost our opportunity for Rally Day at the Capitol in 2020 & 2021, we’re celebrating the return of our Homeschoolers Day at the Capitol by opening the Sara Lee Harris Speech Contest to all Tennessee homeschoolers.

As in previous years the two divisions of student competitors, Senior Varsity, ages 13 + up, and Junior Varsity, ages 8-12, will participate in this Platform Apologetics Speech Contest with different Apologetics questions to answer in their speeches and with different rules and guidelines specific and appropriate to each age group.

The Junior Varsity Worldview Apologetics Platform Speech Competition for Ages 8-12

The Junior Varsity Contest is what in Speech and Debate would be defined as an Apologetics Platform Speech Competition. To compete in this Contest, students ages 8-12 write a 3-minute maximum speech answering one of the five apologetics questions below. Your speech is first presented to our Judges as a written speech. We encourage you to practice it aloud to make certain it is no longer 3 minutes when presented orally, as the First Place Winner will present their speech as a part of the Rally Day program in the House of Representatives Chamber.

The SLH Apologetics Platform Speech Competition deals with issues of the Christian faith. The goal of this Speech is to motivate students to study their Christian faith and be prepared to articulate a defense of what they believe. I Peter 3:15. Junior Varsity students prepare a 3-minute maximum speech on one of the topics listed below.

JV Apologetics questions for the 2022 SLH Speech:

Choose one question to answer in your Speech:

1. Who is God? And what are some of His characteristics?
2. Is there evidence for the historical existence of Jesus? Is this evidence necessary for the Christian faith?

3. Does man need salvation?

4. Is the New Testament historically reliable?

5. What can we learn about God from studying His creation?


The Senior Varsity Worldview Apologetics Platform Speech Competition for ages 13 + up

To compete in this Contest, Senior Division students will prepare an 8-minute maximum Platform Apologetics Speech. Learn more about the Platform Apologetics Speech from the Ballots and the Judge’s Worksheet in the attachments.

The questions for the Senior Varsity Platform Apologetics Speech include some of the questions used for Stoa tournaments, our National Speech & Debate League, www.stoausa.org. Those students familiar with the Stoa Apologetics Questions will recognize that these are not all from the same category of questions but are chosen from multiple categories.

**We also want to be certain students realize that the SV Sara Lee Harris Apologetics Speech is first of all a Platform (written & memorized, not a Limited Prep) Speech and is also a scaled down version, an 8-minute version of the 10-minute Speech in Stoa tournament competitions.

SV Apologetics questions for the 2022 SLH Speech: 

Choose one question to answer in your Speech:

1.What does it mean that God is eternal? Why is this important?

2. Is there historical evidence for the life, death & resurrection of Jesus? Why is this important?

3. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Messiah? Why is this important?

4. What is the role of the Holy Spirit? Why is this important?

5. What does it mean to forgive? Why is this important?

6. Can morality exist without God?


The Awards schedule for the Sara Lee Harris Worldview Speech Contest is:

Senior Varsity, ages 13 + up:        

1st place-$500

 2nd place-$200

 3rd place-$125

Junior Varsity, ages 8-12:          

 1st place-$100

 2nd place-$50

 3rd place-$25

How to Participate in the Sara Lee Harris Apologetics Speech Contest

Submit Your Speeches Electronically

Students must e-mail 2 copies of their typed speech to THEA at these e-mail addresses: [email protected] and carbon copied to [email protected]

TYPE: "Sara Lee Harris Speech Contest" in the SUBJECT LINE, so we don't overlook your speech! If your email does not have "Sara Lee Harris Speech Contest" in the SUBJECT LINE, it will not be entered into this Contest.  The two copies of your speech can be sent as an attachment to your e-mail or typed into the body of your e-mail. One copy must have all the student's identification information along with the question they are answering in their speech. The 2nd copy can be in or attached and sent to the same two email addresses above but must have NO personal identification on it. This copy will go to the Judges. Thank you!

Your speeches must be submitted to THEA to [email protected] and carbon copied to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 12, 2022. We are not requiring audio copies of your speeches, only e-mailed submissions. Speeches not submitted on time will not be considered. 

Judging Criteria 

The criteria judges will use in evaluating both the Junior and Senior Varsity Sara Lee Harris Apologetics Speeches include an analysis of the content of the Speech and how effectively the question chosen is answered.

The judges will evaluate the Apologetics speeches by whether the speech is logical and well-reasoned. This is not primarily a devotional speech, but a well-reasoned, logical defense of a Biblical position.

Questions Judges will consider about your speech content include:

  • Did the student provide a researched defense of Biblical truth appropriate to their age group? 

  •  Did the student answer the topic / question selected for their speech?

  • Did the student present a captivating introduction?

  • Did the student integrate the topic with a clear thesis statement?

  • Is there a cohesive body of thought?

  • Did the student support assertions with outside evidence?

  • Did the student properly cite sources?

  • Most importantly, did the student provide a biblical basis for their position?

  • Did the student demonstrate a thorough, working knowledge of their topic, of Scripture and other sources?

  • Did the student appropriately use analysis and reasoning, presenting a logical, well-reasoned flow of ideas? 

Judges are encouraged to use the attached ballots (attached as .pdf docs) as they evaluate your speeches, though these are not shared with students, but only for our judges. The criteria regarding vocal and physical presentation, vocal pitch, rhythm, pitch, inflection, volume, facial expression, eye contact, pronunciation, energy, professional appearance, etc., obviously CAN NOT be used as judging criteria for either the JV or the SV SLH speeches. These speeches are judged based on their content and how effectively and thoroughly they answer the specific apologetic question.  Failure to address the topic or answer your question is, of course, a major flaw in the speech.

More specific details on the judging criteria can be found in the attached Judge's Ballots & Judge’s Worksheets for both the Senior Varsity and the Junior Varsity SLH Apologetics Speeches.

Don’t forget that this SLH Senior Varsity Speech is ONLY 8 minutes in length, not 10 minutes, and this SLH Junior Varsity Speech is ONLY 3 minutes in length, not 5 minutes!

Winners will be contacted on Monday, March 21st, 2022.  Results will be posted to the THEA, www.tnhea.org website on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.


Rally Day Activities

Celebrating Home Education!

A Call to Homeschool Families: Take the Good News about Home Education to your Legislators

House of Representatives, State Capitol Building, Nashville, TN 37243

TN Home Schoolers

Capitol Hill Rally & Legislators Reception Day

Rally Day, the Day on Capitol Hill hosted and sponsored by TN Home Education Association, www.tnhea.org, for Tennessee homeschooling families to bring the good report of home education to our elected law-makers. It is very important for our lawmakers to see their home-schooling constituents and to learn about the strength & vibrancy of home education in Tennessee!  Join homeschoolers from across our state on Capitol Hill for Rally Day!  We’ll gather for our Rally in the historic House of Representatives Chamber (see below) in our Capitol Building for a celebration of home education.


Our state legislators offices and Committee Rooms are in the newly renovated Cordell Hull Building 

...into the repurposed Cordell Hull Building.


The Rally

We will have our Rally in the beautiful and historic Tennessee House of Representatives Chamber in our Capitol Building. As other groups are doing since the move has occurred, we’ll have access to the House Chamber floor and the two galleries on either side of the Chamber for our Rally. We are connected to our lawmakers and their offices in the Cordell Hull Building through an amazing, beautiful under-ground tunnel!

Our Tennessee House of Representatives Chamber in the Capitol

Our Rally will take place in the House Chamber.  Following the Rally, Chick-Fil-A box lunches, which must be pre-purchased here, and will be available for families just down the hallway in the historic and gorgeous Senate Library. 

The Historic Senate

Library Staircase


The deep Underground Tunnel between the Capitol and the Legislative Offices in the Cordell Hull Building

Sara Lee Harris Winners:

Click Here

Homeschooler’s Lunch – PRE-PAY ONLINE

Lunch for home school families attending Rally Day will be served from tables in the beautiful Senate Library just down the hallway in the Capitol from the House of Representatives Chamber immediately following the Rally in the Auditorium.

There are four choices of Chick-Fil-A Box lunches, all include chips, cookie and bottled water.

To see the Homeschooler’s Rally Day lunch menu and to place your order, click here.

Legislators Luncheon on the 8th Floor of the Cordell Hull State Office Building

THEA will serve a luncheon to all the legislators and their staff in the Conference Rooms on the 8th Floor of the Cordell Hull State Office Building, just off the elevators. A homeschool group of parents and teens will represent us as they serve our guests, our Tennessee State law-makers, their staff, the State Troopers and other support staff.

Home School Day on Capitol Hill!! We need you there! Don’t Miss it!!

We look forward to seeing you there!

For parking in Nashville, see the two attached documents with information about the garages and surface lots including maps is included.

Student Congress

The Davy Crockett Stateman’s

Student Congress Overview


In conjunction with THEA’s Rally Day, our chapter devoted to speech and debate activities for home schoolers, Christian Communicators of Tennessee, www.cctennessee.org, sponsors the Davy Crockett Stateman’s Student Congress Tournament. In the Davy Crockett Statesman’s Student Congress, homeschooled students are lawmakers in a mock Congress setting where they participate in each session based on a basic knowledge of parliamentary procedure, the standard protocol of legislative bodies. This event also allows students to develop their speaking and presentation skills, and their logic. It also causes students to become aware of current events and develop a Christian response to these events.


The website for our Davy Crockett Statesman’s Student Congress tournament is: https://studentcongress.homeschooldebate.net.


Student Congress teaches and trains students in the basic procedures by which governmental bodies within a Republic operate whether a City Council, County Commission, State Legislature or the US House of Representatives and Senate. It is an exercise in applied Civics.


This is a fun and challenging opportunity for students to develop research, logic, and speaking skills in a large group setting, often defined as an individual debate in the context of a large group.


Student Congress is an activity for both new and experienced students. Students new to Congress find it a great introductory step into the world of speech and debate in a fun group setting. Experienced students hone their skills of presenting evidence in a concise, yet persuasive way, along with strengthening their logic and argumentation skills.


Christian Communicators of Tennessee, CCT, sponsors this two-day homeschool Student Congress in conjunction with THEA’s Rally Day at our Tennessee state Capitol. There are two divisions of students participating. The Junior Varsity, ages 8-12, have two sessions on the Monday prior to Rally Day. Their Congress concludes following their 2nd session with an Awards Ceremony.


The Senior Varsity group of students ages 13 + up, have two sessions on the Monday before Rally Day with their Final Rounds held on Tuesday afternoon following the Rally in the House of Representatives Chamber and lunch in the Legislative Lounge of the Capitol. The SV students are divided in two groups, with all taking part in the Final Round which meet in either the House of Representatives Chamber or the Senate Chamber of our state Capitol Building.


Preparation for CCT’s Student Congress


Prior to the Monday and Tuesday Congress sessions, students research and write their own pieces of legislation, both bills and resolutions, written in keeping with our US Constitution, dealing with issues they are interested in and about which they would like to discuss and debate in their congressional sessions. These are issues they determine will better the society in which we live, just as our state and U.S Senators and Representatives. In the Student Congress tournament, student-legislators speak in favor or against the student-initiated legislation based on their research and preparation using proper parliamentary procedure.


The bills and resolutions written by the students are vetted, by the Student Congress Tournament Director, and are pre-selected for each session. Thus, the Calendar for each session is established. The Docket, which are the bills for the entire Congress tournament, are published and distributed to the students usually two weeks before the event.


To debate and discuss the bills and resolutions, students will need to review them, determine their position on the issues involved, study the issues, and then find, prepare, and bring evidence to support both a Pro and Con position. The reason it is helpful to gather evidence on both sides of an issue presented in a bill or resolution is so that you have the opportunity to speak regarding bills or resolutions that are heavily supported on the opposite side of the issue. Students use parliamentary procedure to make motions and propose amendments, as they debate,

clarifying their position and advocating for or against the bills, amendments, and resolutions.


Judges score each student legislator based their presentation and argumentation ability (organization, content, logic, and documented support), speaking technique (oral and physical presentation and style), knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and overall participation. In each session of Congress, one student will act as the Presiding Officer directing the discussion, debate and voting in the Chamber. Preparation is facilitated by learning about parliamentary procedure. Robert's Rules of Order is the definitive book on parliamentary procedure.

Additional Rally Day Information

Come join us once a year for Rally Day to meet the two people who represent you in your State of Tennessee government, plus you’ll meet a lot of other freedom loving people, too.

Lunches must be Pre Purchased 

Buy Lunch:  You may chose from 4 delicious Chic-Fil-A meals, plus a bag of chips, cookie, and bottled water.

Press here to sign up and buy lunch.   Select the meal you prefer and enter the number of people you want to buy lunch for and a window opens so you can enter their full names.  Enter the names and hit the “Submit” button.  You’ll be taken to the secure payment page.   On Rally Day at lunch time in the Senate Library everyone who has pre-ordered lunch may go pick up the meal they purchased.

All the people at registration and at the food line are home schoolers just like you.  Go through the line, get your lunch, find a convenient place to enjoy.

SECURITY” The Capitol Hill security team requires each person to go through metal detector screening similar to the airport.  Access into the Capitol Hill Legislative Office Buildings is controlled by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The primary entrance to the Tennessee House of Representatives chamber is from Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd (old Charlotte Avenue) between 6th and 7th Avenues, immediately across from the Legislative Plaza.  Passing through security you will be in the tunnel.  Walk to the end of the tunnel and there are two elevators.  In the State Capitol building the House Chamber is on level 2.

As an alternate there is a secure entrance to the State Capitol on the west or 7th Avenue side of the building.  Walk up the steps and go around the Capitol building to the left side. 

The primary entrance into the Cordell Hull building with legislative offices is from the 425 5th Avenue North, 37243 entrance.  In the Cordell Hull Legislator’s offices there is a tunnel to the State Capitol from level G.  THP has a security check station half way to the State Capitol.

Outstanding Students will be nominated and selected from each of the eight chapters in THEA.  Typically, two high school seniors and / or juniors are chosen from each geographic chapter and from our speech and debate chapter.

MHEA – Memphis-area Home Education Association
WTHEA – West Tennessee Home Education Association
MTHEA – Middle Tennessee Home Education Association
CSTHEA – Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association
METHEA – Mid-East Tennessee Home Education Association
NETHEA – Northeast Tennessee Home Education Association
SMHEA – Smoky Mountain Home Education Association
CCT – Christian Communicators of Tennessee
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