Meet Suzanne Kearney, Author of “The Liberated Learner” Column

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When Covid-19 upended the world, Suzanne Kearney was living a relatively normal life in the suburbs of Seattle, as a wife, and mother of three school-aged children. The instantaneous loss of her freedoms was a jarring reality check, and it defined a new appreciation for the gift of freedom that comes with being born in America. Thus began an awakening to better understand America’s founding documents, which quickly led to teaching others about the precious, and fragile, blessing of liberty that was so hard won by generations past.

When the Kearney family moved to North Idaho in 2021, it wasn’t long before she became involved in the community. As a veteran homeschooling mom who frequents public libraries, Kearney was devastated to discover our community libraries were not much different than those in Seattle. She knew a key part to preserving freedom lies in protecting the hearts and minds of children, so she showed up to speak at a meeting of the library board of trustees, which led to a serendipitous connection with a local grassroots group, whose focus was on returning children’s libraries to safe havens for inquisitive young minds.

Suzanne Kearney, giving public comment July 20, 2023, Post Falls Library.

Kearney’s background is in classical music, and psychology. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stanford University in 1996, minoring in Economics, followed by a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Performance from California State University, Long Beach, in 2001, and a Master of Music Degree in Music Performance from California State University, Fullerton, in 2004. 

With the goal of auditioning for symphony orchestras after graduate school, Kearney participated in various classical music festivals, including ones in Round Top, Texas, and Sarasota, Florida, recorded musical works for television, and won a concerto competition during her time at California State University, Long Beach. A rare medical diagnosis that affects less than one percent of musicians ended her symphony dreams, and set a course that brought marriage, and a family.

“I have homeschooled my kids from the very beginning, and never had a thought to do otherwise,” shared Kearney. “While my own experience in public school was mostly positive, I knew that I wanted to spend every precious moment I had with my kids as they were growing up.”

“Being home with them gives me the opportunity to invest in their minds, hearts, and spiritual walk, that I would never have if they were gone all day,” Kearney continued. “Some of the most teachable moments arise in the everyday living of life. If we don’t seize them in the short window they are available, we miss them, and I didn’t want that to happen.”

Having a son born with lymphatic malformation (LM) was a delivery room surprise to Kearney, and her husband, Shannon. Many children diagnosed in utero with LM are aborted. Her son was only six days old when he had his first of many surgeries. He lived with a tracheostomy, and feeding tube, for the first several years of his life. “We chose his name, ‘Timothy,’ before he was born, because it meant ‘honoring God.'” During the struggling times that come when caring for children with critical medical needs, Kearney kept a blog to document some of the ways she witnessed God working in their lives. Timothy is now 14 years old, and enjoys baseball, 4-H, Awana, coding, and speed cubing.

Currently, Kearney works in database management for Illustra Media, an organization that created, “The John 10:10 Project.” The John 10:10 Project produces faith-building apologetics videos, covering creation science, theology, and Christian living, with features from known personalities such as Lee Strobel, Stephen Meyer, William Lane Craig, and Joni Eareckson Tada.

Kearney stays physically active with swimming, running, and martial arts, holding a black belt in Seibukan Jujutsu. Her keen mind has been diligently trained to retain whole books from the Bible. “I make scripture memorization, and review, a daily habit, and have found that it is a great help to have scripture readily available, in my mind, when I need it.” She has completely memorized Proverbs, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, James, I and II Peter, and Revelation.

Kearney envisions starting a homeschool center in North Idaho. In early 2021, she attended a workshop hosted by the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center, and the passion to bring a one-stop destination for all things homeschool was ignited. Such a center will provide classes, parental coaching, Christian connections, life skills, counseling, trade education, a book library, and assistance to parents who have just begun the adjustment from classroom education. In the meantime, Kearney has joined Kootenai Journal as a regular columnist, writing “The Liberated Learner,” which chronicles the adventures of schooling children in the home.