Kathleen Melin, Author and Educator


WINTERCOVER2.inddBy Heart: A mother’s story of children and learning at home shares the surprising story of one family’s journey from compliant public schooling to radical home-based learning. This literary memoir takes readers from the tundra of Bethel, Alaska, to the placid farm country of Wisconsin, all the while exploring the homeschool lifestyle. Daring and compassionate, it portrays homeschooling as a progressive choice and thoughtfully examines classic tensions — homeschool decision, schedules and curricula, socialization, and the economics of co-parenting. By Heart offers a view of a homeschool lifestyle deeply connected to nature and its cycles. Unflinchingly human, it explores doubts and concerns while remaining steadfastly passionate to the homeschool choice. By Heart is a “must- read” for those considering the homeschool life and a soothing companion to parents in the midst of it.  For educators and policy makers, it reveals an insider’s experience of the homeschool reality; meanwhile, searching the historical and cultural complexity of education.  Ultimately, this rare and heartfelt telling affirms all those who live their lives beyond tidy boxes and categories.


“I wasn’t homeschooled; none of my people were homeschooled; my wife wasn’t homeschooled; none of her people were homeschooled. School taught us that rearing children on our own would be a bother, and so our daughter and son missed out, too. Looking through the window that By Heart opens, I’m struck by how much all of us lost. This book is a work of genius. Unique.

John Taylor Gatto, Author
Dumbing Us Down
Weapons of Mass Instruction
The Underground History of American Education

 “I’m a proponent of Waldorf schools, in large part because they strive to create a home-like atmosphere for the children – students have the same class teacher from first through eighth grade, they work at an unhurried pace, the curriculum is profoundly connected to Nature, and everything is done with beauty, rhythm, and love. This sounds a lot like home schooling, doesn’t it? Why is it that home schooling is the exception rather than the norm? Kathleen Melin tells the story of her journey to home-schooling with compelling honesty and instructive insight. You will learn much from her experience.”

Eric Utne, founder of the Utne Reader
Cosmo Doogood’s Urban Almanac

“More than an account of someone trying to escape the frustrations of a rural school system, Kathleen Melin’s compelling story gives us the complicated, difficult truth behind the romance we’ve all tried on for at least a few seconds – of doing it ourselves; of teaching our own children at home . . . .   As with our lives, there’s no necessarily happy ending, but a multisided handful of directions her thoughtful account considers. It’s a story anyone who has, or who ever had, children will profit from reading.”

Barry Silesky, Author/Poet
John Gardner: Literary Outlaw
This Disease
Editor, ACM

Listen to the Wisconsin Public Radio interview with Jim Oliver …...

Coming soon for young adult readers . . . . . 


The Blue Pearl

Kanna, a fifteen-year old girl nurtured in the idyllic settlement of Luxa, determines to find the mother who abandoned her at birth.  Kanna’s radiant lapses of connection with the concrete world reveal a slight oddness about her, but is she odd?  She makes one futile attempt after another to find her mother, ignoring the rumors of the growing disruption in the outside world and her own inner knowledge.  Along with her closest friends, Sylvan and Poppy, she must choose the affiliation that will be her path for life. When two sudden shocks collide, Kanna must face who she is and reconcile her fantasies with the stark limitations of the home she never questioned.



 Additional Articles and Publications

Truly Blessed by Carrie Hokanson with Kathleen Melin, private publication, May 2017.

By Heart: A mother’s story of children and learning at home, audiobook, narrated by the author, ACX publication, September 2015

“Global Somatics™ Process: A Contemporary Shamanic Approach,”Suzanne River interviewed by Kathleen Melin, Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities: Contemporary Sacred Narratives, Ed. Amanda Williamson and Glenna Batson, Sarah Whatley, Rebecca Weber, Intellect Books Ltd., Bristol, United Kingdom, and Wilmington, NC, May 2014.

“On Reading,” Otherways Magazine, Sydney, Australia, Aug.-Oct. 2010

“On what I wish I’d done differently,” Va Homeschoolers Voice, Vol. 13, Charlottesville, VA, March-April 2009.

“A Letter to the Virginia Homeschoolers,” Va Homeschoolers Voice, Vol. 13, Charlottesville, VA, March April 2009.

By Heart: A Mother’s Story of Children and Learning at Home, Duluth, MN, Clover Valley Press, October 2008.

“Riding Lessons,” Dust and Fire, Vol. XXII, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN, March 2008.

Cosmo DooGood’s Urban Almanac 2006. Minneapolis, MN, Eric Utne, 2005.

Cosmo DooGood’s Urban Almanac 2005. Minneapolis, MN, Eric Utne, 2004.

“Blue Lupine,” A Woman’s Place, Minneapolis, MN, winter 1995.

“Daddy’s Lunch Box,” Feminist Mothering, Crossing Press, 1994.

Health Careers, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Organization, Bethel, AK, 1987.

Journalism in the Twin Cities Reader, Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, Corporate Report, Midwest Aviation, Where Magazine, Eugene Magazine, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press

My portfolio also includes brochures, web text, radio copy, newsletters, press releases, grants, guidebooks, and fundraising tools.