Historically, since 1985 THEA's Capitol Hill Rally & Reception Day, 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 legislative event.
The event is simple in a certain sense. Homeschooling families come to Nashville, our state capital, to meet the two legislators who represent you, your State Senator and your 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.
Meet Kevin Boden, Esq., new HSLDA Attorney for Tennessee, as he joins us for Rally Day 2023!
Kevin and his wife, Wendi, became homeschooling parents in 2008, when their oldest child was in first grade. Now, many years later, they continue to home educate all eight of their children.
Kevin graduated from Wheaton College (IL) and received his J.D. from Seattle University. Prior to joining HSLDA, Kevin served on active duty in the US Air Force for 10 years as a Judge Advocate, which allowed Kevin and Wendi to homeschool in three different countries and five states. Kevin has served three years in the Alaska Air National Guard and continues his service as a drill-status Guardsman.
As an HSLDA Staff Attorney, Kevin serves as the primary contact for members in 12 states, including Tennessee. He is a strong Christian who is passionate about the freedom to homeschool and the blessings of being a dad. He also enjoys running, (almost) all things outdoors, and spending time with his family.
Calling All TN Home School students, ages 8-18, whose family is a member of THEA to enter THEA’s Sara Lee Harris Christian Apologetics Platform Speech Competition!
THEA's only Speech Contest & only one with Cash Awards
Announcing Winners & Presenting Cash Awards on
THEA’s Rally Day at the State Capitol
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
About the Competition:
This is a special Apologetics Speech Contest, sponsored by Tennessee Home Education Association, THEA for THEA members with students ages 8-18, held in conjunction with THEA's Homeschool Rally Day at the State Capitol, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
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 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.
The Junior Varsity Contest is what in Speech and Debate would define 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 six 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.
JV Apologetics questions for the 2023 SLH Speech:
Choose one question to answer in your Speech:
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. 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 2023 SLH Speech:
Choose one question to answer in your Speech:
1.What is the meaning of the sovereignty of God? Why is this important?
2. What is the Biblical teaching of atonement? Why is it essential to the gospel?
3. Why are the unity and the sufficiency of Scripture essential to the Christian faith?
4. How can God be both merciful and just?
5. Compare and contrast the modern environmental movement’s view with the Christian view regarding caring for the earth.
6. What are the unique features of Christianity that set it apart from all other religions of the world?
The Awards schedule for the Sara Lee Harris Worldview Speech Contest is:
Senior Varsity, ages 13 + up:
Junior Varsity, ages 8-12:
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 of your emails, 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, February 18, 2023. We are not requiring audio copies of your speeches, only e-mailed submissions. Speeches not submitted on time will not be considered.
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 Senior Varsity Apologetics Speech Ballot and the Junior Varsity Apologetics Speech Ballot 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 Apologetics questions. Failure to address the topic or answer your question is, of course, a major flaw in your speech.
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 Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Results will be posted to the THEA, www.tnhea.org website on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
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.
The Legislative Plaza across the street from the Capitol Building, covered with fountains and bordered on one side by the historic War Memorial Auditorium and Office Building which was built to honor Tennessee's WWI veterans.
Our State Legislator's Offices and Committee Rooms are in the Cordell Hull Building.
We will have our Rally in the beautiful and historic Tennessee House of Representatives Chamber in our Capitol Building. We will 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 92' underground tunnel.
Homeschooler’s Lunch – PRE-PAY ONLINE
Lunch for home school families attending Rally Day will be served from tables in the beautiful Legislative Lounge 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 map1 with information about the garages and surface lots.
The Davy Crockett Statesman’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 sponsors the Davy Crockett Statesman’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.
Here is the website for our Davy Crockett Statesman’s Student Congress tournament.
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 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 one session on Rally Day. Their Congress concludes following their Awards Ceremony.
The Congress Round for the Senior Varsity students, ages 13 + up, takes place in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol Tuesday afternoon following the Rally for all home schoolers in the House of Representatives Chamber and a lunch break. A Chick-Fil-A catered lunch takes place down the hall in the Legislative Lounge of the Capitol when the Rally concludes. Chick-Fil-A catered lunch can be ordered at this link beginning January 2, 2023.
The Congress Round for the Junior Varsity students, ages 8-12, takes place in the Legislative Lounge following lunch for homeschoolers. The Legislative Lounge as mentioned above is just down the hallway from the House of Representatives Chamber, site of our morning Rally.
Preparation for CCT’s Student Congress
Prior to Tuesday's 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. Instruction and information covering the details regarding Student Congress are available on Student Congress website at https://studentcongress.hoeschooldebate.net.
The bills and resolutions written by the students are vetted, by the Student Congress Tournament Director and are posted on the Student Congress website for students to review, research and study.
To debate and discuss the bills and resolutions, students review them determining 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, i.e. their number of times to speak on legislation. Judges use our Student Congress Ballot to record their evaluation of the students presentations. A link to the Student Congress Ballot is on the Student Congress website.
In each session of Congress, the Tournament Director or one experienced student will act as the Presiding Officer directing the discussion, debate, and voting in the Chamber. Preparation is definitely facilitated by learning about parliamentary procedure. On the website at the Student Congress Overview Tab there is a link to a Table of the Most Frequently Used Parliamentary Motions and a link to an Easy Chart of Parliamentary Procedures. Robert's Rules of Order is the definitive book on parliamentary procedure.
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.
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.