It is my pleasure to step into my new role as your representative for Area 17. This seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce myself.

I am Cindy Harasen, wife to Steven and mother of three. My oldest is son Max who will soon turn 18. Kyra is 16 and my youngest is Kaleigh who is 13. My children have never attended school and home-base for their learning is Neebing, Ontario, in the Slate River Valley about 20 minutes south of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

We attend the small but powerful Slate River Baptist Church and our love of the Lord and our beloved church family are our foundation. Our life and learning style is somewhat eclectic and the educational paths each of my children have embraced are true to their individual natures. We probably fall into the unschooling category but what we do and the way we do it is flexible and seems to change from year to year. This flexibility is in part what we love about homeschooling!

In the coming year Max will be finishing off his high school studies, which are primarily self-directed and include studying math and science with a private on-line school. This year he also had the opportunity to audit a second year university philosophy course which was a great success!

Kyra’s learning is more hands-on and less book-ish and includes managing her greenhouse of vegetables and herbs, caring for our chickens, tapping our maple trees, foraging for wild edibles and medicinal plants, making and selling jams & jellies, and honing many other skills including knitting, felting, sewing. This year she began a co-op position with a local dog-groomer and let’s just say that she has found her happy place! At the time of writing this she is unfortunately nursing a compound ankle fracture after taking a tumble off a long-board. Yup, she’s my risk-taker!

Kaleigh is completely different again. She lives and thrives with Down Syndrome and though school is not her favourite thing…she has her own strengths. She is the athlete in the house, competing in swimming, track and field and cheerleading with Special Olympics, while embracing her love of music and tackling a variety of unit studies throughout the year. She’s my girlie-girl and clothes and make-up are of particular importance this year. My full time job is to keep sourcing new adventures and opportunities for them so they continue to learn and grow and discover.


What free time I have left-over is used serving in a variety of volunteer capacities including as member of the leadership team for Thunder Bay Christian Homeschoolers, as well as Education and Communications Coordinator for The Right to Life Association of Thunder Bay and Area. But you know what they say – if you want a job done, ask a busy person! Well I’ve got the busy part down pat….as for my role here…I promise to do my best! I am always happy to connect and provide support and encouragement to other homeschooling families.

Written by Cindy Harasen area_17@ochec.org