What is CHEA and Why Do We Need It?
By Penny Ross
Your homeschool rights and much of the support you get in homeschooling are the fruit of the hard work of three different organizations: Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Family Protection Ministries (FPM), and Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA). The quiet one of the trio is CHEA. They are content to work in the background, so many of you do not know what they do and how they bless us.
I was recently asked by one of our moms what she would do if asked about homeschooling by someone beginning to consider it. Without hesitating, she said she'd tell her to call me. Besides my own experiences homeschooling my kids and learning by the seat of my pants, do you know where I get most of my information? It is from the two or three homeschool leader events each year that I go to. And guess who sponsors those events? CHEA.
I then asked her what she would do if this homeschool inquirer was not local, but lived in another part of the state. Did you know that CHEA maintains a directory of support groups and private school satellite programs throughout the state? They are happy to refer people to groups and knowledgeable leaders right in their own community.
Finally, I asked her what someone might do to learn about homeschooling if they didn't know anyone currently homeschooling. In today's Google and smartphone world, it is highly likely that the person would begin her search online. An informative and easy-to-use website is not cheap and is beyond the reach of most local homeschool groups. Again, we rely on CHEA to reach prospective homeschoolers across the state and then funnel them toward our individual groups. And if that person chooses to homeschool solo and not join a group--who wrote the book that will guide her through the process? (An Introduction to Home Education) CHEA.
Did you know PSPs can now issue work permits? This has been a thorn in the side of high school homeschool students for many years. But CHEA did the legwork to get private homeschool groups the ability to issue work permits so that our students are no longer at the mercy of public schools in order to secure employment. And what about driver education and training? Even if you opt to use a private provider for these courses, isn't it a blessing to know that you could have taught it to your homeschooled students? Again it was CHEA who worked with the DMV and state legislature to make this possible.
In short, if you are a Christian and are homeschooling in California, you have been blessed by CHEA and benefited from CHEA's efforts--even if you were unaware of it.
CHEA's revenues come from Membership fees and Convention revenue. As homeschooling has become more mainstream, families have become complacent and are not as conscientious about donating to the organizations that have paved the way for the current freedoms we enjoy. Now I hear comments like “I’m not a CHEA Member since I don't go to the Convention every year.” That person mistakenly believes that the only benefit to CHEA Membership is a discount on Convention admission.
And now that another convention is coming to town, CHEA's revenues are threatened further. They already cut back office hours and staffing this year. It is time that every Christian homeschooling family in California step up to the plate and join or renew CHEA Membership each and every year.
We California homeschoolers need CHEA and are blessed by them. Let's be sure we're not “cheating” them out of their fair share for the work they do on our behalf.
Originally published in the April-May 2012 issue of The Hope-Full Homeschooler.