By Heart: A mother’s story of children and learning at home shares the smart, gritty, and often funny 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, while exploring home schooling as a progressive choice.  It wrestles with the home school decision, schedules and curricula, socialization, and the economics of co-parenting, meanwhile offering a view of a lifestyle deeply connected to nature and its cycles. Unflinchingly human, it examines doubts and concerns while remaining steadfastly passionate to the home school choice.

By Heart is a must-read for parents grappling with education and considering the home school life.  It’s a soothing companion for those in the midst of it.  For educators and policy makers, it reveals an insider’s experience; 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
Author of Brenda My Darling

Truly Blessed: The Early Life of Carrie Hokanson

By Carrie Hokanson with Kathleen Melin

Growing up in southwestern Minnesota in a large German-heritage family offered security and warmth to Carrie Bachaus Hokanson. But life strikes us all. Carrie recounts her early years of love and loss as a farm girl who leaves home at 14 years-old, a nursing student in Los Angeles, and a Vietnam era bride. This personal memoir covers three decades from post-World War II through the Vietnam War and the classic life events of young womanhood during that time.

Private Publication 2017

Coming Soon

The Somewhat Accurate True Story of a Blue Collar White Girl

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.

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.