Kathleen Melin

By Heart:

A Mother’s Story of Children and Learning


“By Heart” shares the surprising story of one family’s journey from compliant public schooling to radical home-based learning. This literary homeschool memoir takes readers from the tundra of Bethel, Alaska, to the placid farm country of Wisconsin, all the while exploring the homeschool lifestyle.

A literary page-turner of a memoir that strips away facades and invites readers to an intimate portrayal of one homeschool family.  Ultimately, this rare and heartfelt telling affirms all those who live their lives beyond tidy boxes and categories.

 “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
Author of Brenda My Darling

About the Author

Kathleen Melin

Kathleen Melin is the author of the progressive education and parenting memoir By Heart: A Mother’s Story of Children and Learning at Home (Clover Valley Press October 2008).  Her creative work has appeared in Dust and Fire, Feminist Parenting, and Eric Utne’s Cosmo DooGoods Urban Almanac. She has worked as a magazine editor, a newspaper reporter, grant writer, ghost writer, publicist, and as a freelance writer for national and regional publications. She holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and has taught at the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Summit School for the Arts, and at seminars and conferences around the country.  She lives on her ancestral farm in Wisconsin where she cultivates creativity.

Coming Soon

Blue-Collar Daughter

A coming-of-age memoir of the 1960s about a determined daughter’s quest to break out of the domestic role imposed on girls and go to college.

Beautiful Brain

A memoir of the surreal journey following a brain hemorrhage from the place between and back to life that shares the gifts of the crisis and the struggle to live in peace and wholeness

Blue Pearl

A fifteen-year old girl makes one futile attempt after another to find her mother, ignoring her own inner knowledge and the rumors of disruption in the outside world.  When two sudden shocks collide, she must face who she is and reconcile her fantasies with the stark limitations of the home she never questioned.



“Wow! I am so thankful that we chose you to work on our mother’s biography.  The whole process has been a gift for her – a chance for her to think back and see how her life unfolded into what it is today…..You really know how to capture HER voice.  Thank you for this gift to our entire family.” Jenny H.


I believe everyone can write and that we all have stories to tell. As an instructor, I create a safe space for these often powerful and deeply personal expressions.

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