Meet Blaine Koval
Blaine was born into a homeschooling family, the youngest of four children, and has been home educated his entire life. Like his parents, CHEA members, Michael & Susan Koval, Blaine has been actively involved in South Bay Faith Academy, a CHEA Support Network PSP in Redondo Beach, California. He is the third student in his family to be selected as a recipient of the Susan K. Beatty Scholarship!
Blaine plans to attend The Master’s University to pursue a degree in Computer Science while also minoring in Music.
The Homeschooling Lifestyle: Growing Closer to Family and God
Despite the name, homeschooling is not primarily about the location of a person’s schooling. In my home, homeschooling is a worldview in which the parents are the best teachers of their kids, because it is in this way that both parents and children can best glorify God. This leads to a way of life that reflects these beliefs. Benefits of this homeschooling lifestyle include better schooling and better relationships with siblings, parents, and God.
I recognized these benefits whenever I interacted with public schooled kids, which was mainly when I played on sports teams. When I told my teammates that I was homeschooled, their first question was usually, “You get straight A’s because your mom grades your work, right?” I would answer with something like, “Actually, because my mom grades my work, I probably get a worse grade than I would from a different teacher.” This shows one of the many benefits of homeschooling: my mom has been grading my work since kindergarten and therefore knows my work best, which means she can take into account how well I could be doing and how I have improved (or not) in the subject. No other teacher would take the time or effort to grade my work so carefully.
Another homeschooling blessing I am most grateful for is that through the years, my siblings have always been my best friends. We played games together, ate together, talked together, and quoted our favorite movies together. There was a point when everyone was still living at home that we would play a game after lunch. We went through many streaks with different games, including Dominion, Catan, Uno, and many others. We even got to a point in our 15-minute time limit where we were able to play two full games of Masterpiece. As one could imagine, my relationship with my siblings was not always great and never perfect, with the greatest strain coming out when we played these games, as we were all pretty competitive. This, however, is precisely what made being around them so great. Instead of being at a public school where I would be able to pick my friends and not hang out with someone if I did not like them, I was forced to reconcile with my siblings no matter what. My siblings were and are the greatest agents of my sanctification, which is to say, they are the greatest friends I have ever had.
During lunch, instead of us all eating whenever and wherever we wanted, we would sit around the kitchen table and Mom would read a book out loud to us. It is in this way that we got through many great books and series, including Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett, The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, and many others. Not only has this been lots of fun, as we read many great books that I will probably be reading for the rest of my life, but it also further implanted the truth that my siblings are my best friends as we experienced life together and enjoyed the same books together.
A major part of my homeschooling experience is that every night around the dinner table, my dad would give each kid an opportunity to talk about the various classes we were taking and what we were learning. In high school, my oldest sister took a class that used the Socratic Method. The talks at the dinner table those nights were especially memorable and influential, because I was taught what it looks like to think hard and well. Even though my oldest sister was the one taking the class, we all learned not to blindly accept other’s assertions without clarifying what they mean. Not only was I prepared for when I took these classes later, but I came to appreciate even more the idea that homeschooling is something that involves the whole family.
Homeschooling is not really about how children are educated; it is a lifestyle that is based on the belief that parents are the best educators of their kids, and that family members should love each other. More importantly, however, while this worldview has brought my family closer to each other, it has also brought us closer to God. Although homeschooling has many benefits, there is nothing more important to me than a close relationship with my family and my Lord.
Each year, CHEA’s Support Network provides the Susan K. Beatty Scholarship, named in honor of CHEA’s founder, in the amount of $1000, to a CHEA Member who is also a member of a CHEA Support Network Group and a graduating senior. Deadline for application is February 28 of each year.
Congratulations Blaine. You painted a beautiful picture of how a Christ centered home works. I can visualize how schooling together in the hone with your siblings as friends and parents as teachers helped to sanctify you and educate you powerfully. To God be the glory! I pray you will be able to do the same with your children. The Masters University is a fabulous and wise choice.
Homeschool parent of one daughter.