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Many children throughout modern history have been home schooled, and then
become highly successful members of our society.
You would be amazed at some of the people, from the 1700's through today, who spent some or all of their time
being schooled at home rather than in the schools!
- 2002 Geography
Bee (and nearly every other year!)
- This year's first and third place winners are home schooled, and the
winner is the youngest of the 55 contestants, at only 10 years old. Two
other top ten finalists are home schooled...
- Ansel Adams,
(1902-1984) arguably the greatest photographer of the 20th century
- "At twelve, unable to stand the confinement and tedium of the classroom,
he utterly disrupted his lessons with wild laughter and undisguised contempt
for the inept ramblings of his teachers. His father decided that Ansel’s
formal education was best ended. From that point forward, the boy was
home-schooled in Greek, the English classics, algebra, and the glories of the
ocean, inlets, and rocky beaches that surrounded their home very near San
- John Adams, (1735-1826) 2nd president of the United States
- John Adams was taught to read at home, and then happily went for lessons
with a handful of children, taught in the kitchen of a neighbor woman.
He was considered "fitted for college" and proceeded to Harvard at age 15...
- John Quincy Adams, (1767-1848) 6th president of the United States
- "The rector of the school thought him impertinent and merited a thrashing,
as he informed his father. Adam's response was exactly what his own father's
would have been. "Send the boys (John Quincy was 12 or 13 at the time) to me
this evening," he answered. He had no wish to see his children subjected to
such "littleness of soul" he explained to Abigail in a letter..." "Adams
arranged for tutors for the two boys, and the opportunity for them to attend
lectures at the university."
Louisa May Alcott, (1832-1888) author of
Little Women and
Little Men, among others
- primarily educated by her father
Alda, actor, screenwriter and producer
- Alda started college at 16, after being partially
homeschooled... in his autobiography
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned
- Bronson Alcott,
- Wilson Bentley, (1865-1931) pioneering work
in the area of photomicrography, most notably his extensive work with snow
- self educated,
The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A. Bentley
- Colfax family, (1980's) Grant, Drew, Reed and Garth. Parents David and Micki
became "well known in the 1980's for "homeschooling" three of their sons into
Harvard." The boys... have gone on to become Fulbright and
Rockefeller Fellows with high honors at
- The Colfax boys didn't attend school, but instead were homeschooled in
their "Forty-Seven-Acre Classroom." Drew completed his studies at
Harvard and became a physician. Read more in their books,
Hard Times in Paradise and
Homeschooling for Excellence
- Agatha Christie,
(1890-1976) author of many, many mysteries including
Murder on the Orient Express...
- Taught at home by a governess and tutors, as a child Agatha Christie never
Edward Curtis, (1868-1952) photographer of the early 1900's
- "complicated, passionate, self-educated pioneer and visionary artist who
rose from poverty and obscurity to become the most famous photographer of his
Demaine, assistant professor of computer science at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and the leading theoretician in the emerging field of
- home-schooled by his father, traveled around the United States, settling
somewhere new every 6 to 12 months; he started college courses at 12, and
received his doctorate at 20 and at the same age became the youngest professor
ever at M.I.T. In 2003 he was granted a MacArthur "genius" fellowship...
- Thomas Edison,
- "Edison entered school in Port Huron (at age 7), but his teachers
considered him to be a dull student. Because of hearing problems, Edison had
difficulty following the lessons and his school attendance became sporadic..."
"He was taught at home by his mother, a former teacher..."
Paul Erdos, Hungarian mathematician
- "Until he reached his teens, Erdös's mother kept him out of school,
fearing that it was the source of childhood contagion." His biography:
The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdös and the Search for
- Benjamin Franklin,
printer, inventor, statesman, and more
- attended grammar school from age 8 - 10
- Guterson family, (1980's) 3 sons
- "It is this contradiction--schooling his own children at home, while
teaching his neighbors' children in school--that Guterson tries to dissect and
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense
- C.S. Lewis,
Chronicles of Narnia
- He was tutored at home by his mother and a governess at first, then after
mother's death (about 10) was sent to various boarding schools, and later was
sent to live with a tutor, who prepared him for Oxford.
Lincoln, 16th president of the United States
- Tutors, self-educated
- Todd Lodwick,
Nordic skier, World Cup winner and Olympic 2002 skier
Augusta Ada Lovelace, (1815-1852) credited with being the first woman
- Daughter of Lord Byron, Ada was educated at home by governesses and tutors
hired by her mother. US Department of Defense named the programming
language ADA in her honor
Mandelbrot, Harvard mathematician who pioneered the study of fractal
- ...did poorly in school and was homeschooled by his uncle from age 12
- Margaret Mead,
- Sometimes she was even schooled at home by her grandmother. In school,
Margaret sometimes felt out of place because of her personal background...
- Yehudi Menuhin,
- "I went to school for precisely one day at the age of 6, by which time I
could read quite well, and write, and calculate a little. My one day was not
unhappy but bewildered. Very quietly I sat in the class, the teacher
stood at the front and said incomprehensible things for a long time and my
attention eventually wandered to the window through which I could see a tree.
The tree was the only detail I remembered clearly enough to report at home
that afternoon and that was the end of my schooling."
Paolini, author of the Eragon Series
- Eragon debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list, and quickly
moved to #1 on the children's bestseller lists nationally.
The Inheritance Cycle:
- Polgar sisters Sofia, Susan, Judit, chess masters
- Their autobiography,
Queen of the Kings Game...
- "never received a formal education"
(1733-1804) the discoverer of oxygen, and the father of modern chemistry
- Also the founder of the first Unitarian church in America. In his
mid teens he fell seriously ill with tuberculosis of the lungs, was forced to
drop out of school, and for a time abandoned his plan of entering the
ministry. As he gathered strength after his illness, he taught himself French,
Italian, and German and learned Chaldean, Syrian and Arabic. Privately, he
also learned the rudiments of geometry, algebra and mathematics...
- Gloria Steinem (1934- ) feminist, writer and co-founder of Ms. Magazine
- Ages 10-17 attended school on an irregular basis, while caring for her
emotionally disturbed mother...
Sutcliff (1920-1992) author
- "Childhood illness, Stills Disease, kept her close to home and under the
watchful care of her mother. She was home schooled by her mother, and in the
process was introduced to Celtic and Saxon legends. This had the unexpected
result of delaying her reading. Having been weaned on Beowulf, she could not
bear to read from a new reader's primer. It was not until she and her mother
returned to England in 1930 that she learned to read."
- Swann family
Alexandra, Victoria, Christopher, Dominic, Francesca, Benjamin and others (10
- "In spite of the rapid pace, however, we never skipped any grades.
Although we were in school every day, our hours were not long.
Accelerated education gives a young person an early start on life." Also
Regrets: How Home Schooling Earned Me A Masters Degree At Age 16.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) architect
- He was educated at Second Ward School, Madison [only] from 1879 to 1883.
He entered the University of Wisconsin at 15 as a special student, studying
engineering because the school had no course in architecture
- Virginia Woolf,
- "Virginia was educated by private tutors and by extensive reading of
literary classics in her father's library."
- Andrew Wyeth, (1917-
- "His parents, based in part on his frail health, made this decision about
his education. Rather than continuing to deal with schools any longer, he
attended until the third grade; it was thought best his father [N.C. Wyeth]
taught him at home." Read The Homeschooling of Andrew Wyeth
- Jamie Wyeth, (1946-
- "He left public school after the sixth grade to be tutored at home so he
could devote more time to art. Having acquired most of his own schooling from
private tutors, his father didn't consider a formal education necessary for an
Other reference sources, with lists of home schooled successful people:
- famous homeschoolers throughout history...
- by field, from educators (including university presidents!) to Inventors,
Generals to Artists, and many others...
Success Stories by Linda Dobson
- Presidents, business people, writers, visual artists, military personnel,
women, and more...
The Right Choice: Home Schooling, Chris Klicka
- Book with a chapter full of folks who "never received a formal education"
Copyright © 2002-2016 Carolyn K.
April 02, 2019