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Andy's Story

Homeschooling Nine Children Alone After Tragedy

When Andy and Kirsten Keusal married in late 1999, they already knew they were going to homeschool any children they had. As they met some homeschooling families, their dream of teaching and mentoring their children at home was affirmed by the positive results they saw in those children’s lives. 

Andy and Kirsten had several children and embarked on a rewarding homeschooling journey together through the years. 

But then tragedy struck. Shortly after giving birth to their ninth child in June 2016, Kirsten was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Despite fiercely battling the illness for many long months, the cancer won the following spring. 

The Keusal Family

Since Kirsten’s passing, Andy has focused on developing close-knit relationships with each of his kids and providing each one with a personalized education at home. 

The task of single-handedly raising and home educating nine children, plus keeping a household, is daunting! But Andy has embraced the challenge as a way he can honor Kirsten’s memory and legacy.

Living with nine children 15 and under is beautiful and chaotic all at the same time,” Andy shared.  “As you might imagine, there are numerous conflicts every day (opportunities for growth and sanctification!) but generally we all get along well and enjoy getting to be with one another so much of the time.”

Andy loves the tremendous unity with his children that has grown out of their shared experiences. He said that they have all grown closer through their family prayer times, and they are available to support each other through life’s challenges. 

In March 2018, Andy took his kids to the Ohio Statehouse to talk with their legislators and participate in a rally against a bill that would negatively affect their ability to homeschool. There, they met HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly. As Andy and Mike discussed the Keusals’ situation and how they had recently found themselves in a tight spot financially, Mike encouraged Andy to reach out to HSLDA Compassion for a grant. 

“At first I was reluctant because I thought the grants were only to cover annual HSLDA dues, and we were already lifetime members,” Andy said. “But Mike explained to me that the money could be used for any homeschooling needs, so I eventually applied for the grant.” 

The Keusals qualified for a grant, which enabled them to purchase math and science curriculum for an entire year, many supplementary books they had on their wish list, a used laptop, and some music lessons for three of the children. 

“I would not have been able to purchase most of these things had we not received the grant. We are so grateful for those who have unselfishly donated to this fund,” Andy said. “Our family’s life has been significantly impacted for the better by their kindness and generosity.”

You can help more families like Andy’s be able to afford the educational materials and resources they need! Your most generous gift today will go directly to help make a child’s day—and change a child’s life—by making homeschooling possible. Thank you for partnering with us in this important work!

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