Home educators love to cut and paste. A popular choice for practising their cut and paste skills are lists of famous people who were home educated. Look – here comes one now….
The reality was… if you were born before schools were widely available (I note those born in the 1700s or earlier), female, black, poor, wealthy, a child performer, from an age when young children worked, lived in the middle of nowhere, or had poor health….. the chances are you would have had little or no school based education. This is not a positive / choice / elective thing. This is just the way it was. So let’s look at this list….
Abraham Lincoln – Impoverished family. Some schooling. At 9 his mother died. Mostly self taught.
Noel Coward – Chapel Royal Choir School , Clapham
Michael Faraday – “my education was of the most ordinary description, consisting of little more than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic at a common day-school. My hours out of school were passed at home and in the streets”
LeAnn Rimes – Child performer
Phillis Wheatley – Slave born c. 1753 Tutored by her ‘owners’
Benjamin Frankilin (B. 1706) – attended Boston Latin School for a couple of years but unable to continue due to a lack of money
Claude Monet – Le Havre secondary school of the arts
John Paul Jones (B. 1747) – Apprenticed at 13
George Washington (B. 1732)
John Philip Sousa – educated in harmony and musical composition from age six. Apprenticed at 13
Margaret Atwood – attended Leaside High School, Toronto and graduated in 1957
Henry Clay (B. 1777) – Assorted education/working childhood
Ansel Adams – Withdrawn from school in 1915 briefly tutored at home, returning to private school.
John Burrows (? Who he?)
Whoopi Goldberg – St Columba Catholic School , 331 W 25th St, New York.
Wright Brothers – Went to school. Wilbur briefly educated at home due to injury sustained at school.
William Samuel Johnson (B. 1727) – graduated from Yale College aged 17
Beatrix Potter – Wealthy family. Educated by governesses at home.
Irving Berlin – Left school at 8 to work to support family after death of father.
Sandra Day O’Connor – For most of her early schooling, O’Connor lived in El Paso with her maternal grandmother, and attended public schools and the Radford School for Girls, a private school.
Andrew Carnegie – educated at a Lancastrian school, emigrated to US and started work at 13.
Charlie Chaplin – Archbishop Temples Boys School.
Blaise Pascal (B. 1623) – Educated by father himself university educated mathematics/scientist.
Walt Whitman – Left school at 11 to work to support impoverished family.
Mark Twain (B. Samuel Langhorne Clemens) – Father died when he was 11 – started work as apprentice printer.
Andrew Wyeth home-tutored because of his frail health
Martha Washington (B. 1731) – Raised on parents 500 acre plantation
Soichiro Honda – Futamata Senior Elementary School.
Alexander Graham Bell – Royal High School, Edinburgh – left at 15
John Witherspoon (B. 1723) – attended the Haddington Grammar School, and obtained a Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh in 1739.
Robert Frost – graduated from Lawrence High School
Pierre Du Pont – (Which one is not specified) Wealthy family – typical education followed…. Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University, and Harvard Law School
William Blake (B. 1757) – Apprenticed at 14
John Burrows (? Again. Who he?)
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (B. 1689) –
College of Juilly
Andrew Jackson (B. 1767) – Educated at local school during American War of Independence. Joined army at 13. Prisoner of war and orphaned at 14.
Pierre Curie – educated at the Sorbonne where he became an assistant in 1878. In 1882 he was made laboratory chief at the School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry where he remained until he was appointed professor of physics at the Sorbonne in 1904.
Louis Armstrong – Impoverished childhood attended Fisk School for Boys
Charles Dickens – William Giles’s School, in Chatham. Started working age 12 – rest of family in debtors prison.
Felix Mendelssohn – Private school / university but travelled a lot.
John Wesley (B. 1703) – Early education with parents then Charterhouse School in London
Thomas Paine (B.1737) – Thetford Grammar School. Apprenticed at 13.
Peter Kindersley – King Edward VI School, Norwich and the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts
Catharine Beecher – Initially taught at home went to school for limited education available to girls.
Hudson Taylor – educated at home and at a private day school, and as apprentice to his father. At fifteen he worked in a bank to learn accountancy
Charles Peale (B. 1741)
Florence Nightingale – Wealthy family. Father – educationist financed schools on his estate, oversaw the education of his daughters.
Joseph Pulitzer – private tutors/school
Theodore Roosevelt – “Owing to my asthma I was not able to go to school”
Franklin D. Roosevelt – (different family although concatenated on list) Groton School
Charlotte Mason – Mostly educated at home
William Carey (B. 1761) – Father local schoolmaster. Apprenticed at 14.
Leonardo da Vinci (B. 1452) – Little known of early childhood. Apprenticed at 14.
John Stuart Mill – (This is not a good example!) Grew up “in the absence of love and the presence of fear… the boy worked alone with his father from 5 to 9 a.m., then assisted James (father) until noon with the lessons of two younger sisters. There is not a moment’s relaxation¦ no fault however trivial escapes [James’s] notice; none goes without reprehension or punishment. On one occasion all three children were kept at their books until 6 p.m. without a midday meal: the fault today is a mistake in one word”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (B. 1756) -Travelled widely from age of 6
Albert Schweitzer – At Mülhausen high school awarded his “Abitur” (the certificate at the end of secondary education).
Hans Christian Andersen – father died when he was 11 worked to support himself. Sponsor paid for him to go to a grammar school in Slagelse,
Ernest Shackleton – schooled by a governess until the age of 11, when he began at Fir Lodge Preparatory School in West Hill, Dulwich. At 13 he entered Dulwich College, a leading public school for boys
Joan of Arc (B. 1412)
There is a long history of actual educators who have developed the ideas of education otherwise than by schooling but that thread is broken and lost by the dumbing down of the home educators.