05/01/13 at 7:59 am
Homeschoolers are distinguished from the regular students in that the former get informal education while the latter get formal education. A negative feeling generally prevails about homeschoolers, and they are sometimes looked down upon as unsocial, unathletic, politically retrograde, culturally backward, or religious bigots and even less intelligent. This is, however, not a true perception. Many great men had been home schoolers, and many more have the potential to be great men in the future. In the most-developed countries, homeschoolers have even attained the highest achievable office like the Presidency of the United States. Very often, homeschooling is not a matter of choice, it is rather a constraint under certain circumstances like it is for the people who, for many reasons, are constrained to change their locations too frequently.
1. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, U.S. on February 12, 1809 and died on April 15, 1865 at the age of 56 years. His mother died when he was only nine years old, and he had to support his poor family. He had to do odd jobs like plowing, wood cutting, and carpentry work. He had a great ambition to learn. Although Abbey used to say of having gone to school “by littles” when he was 6, 7, 11, 13, and 15, yet the total period of his formal learning does not exceed even one full academic year. He was self-taught. He learned from reading books and newspapers borrowed from others. He wrote on wooden tablets with charcoal and on paper using a feather pen and blueberry ink. It is great that with this background he rose to be the 16th President of the United States and remained in office from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865. He is one of the most popular U.S. Presidents.
2. Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847 and died of diabetes in Nova Scotia on August 2, 1922 at the age of 75 years. His father, grandfather, and an uncle were elocutionists, or speech experts. Up to 10 years of age, Bell was a homeschooler and attended school from 10 to 14 years of age. Reading books from his grandfather’s library and going through tutorials, he prepared for enrolling at Edinburgh University. Through constant, hard work, he became a professor of vocal physiology at Boston University. The world-famous Helen Keller was his student. On March 10, 1876, he called his assistant located two floors above using his new invention, and saying, “Mr.Watson, come here.” It was the first sentence spoken on the telephone. Upon his death, all the telephones in North America were silenced to honor him.
3. Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice was born to Angelena Rice and John Wesley Rice in Birmingham, Alabama on November 14, 1954. Her name is derived from the Italian words “con” meaning “with” and “dolcezza” meaning “sweetness.” She was the 66th United States Secretary of State under President George Bush and remained in office from January 26, 2005 to January 20, 2009. Forbes Magazine named her twice The Most Powerful Woman in the World. Her mother, Angelina Rice, took a year off from her job as a high school teacher in order to homeschool little Condoleezza. Why her mother, who was a teacher in a high school, preferred to homeschool her daughter, even at the cost of taking one year off from her job is unknown. Obviously, the mother wanted to give her daughter her undivided attention to prepare her for overall excellence.
4. Ulian Assange
Ulian Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland Australia on July 3, 1971. He is best known as the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, the world-renowned publication of classified government documents to the public. WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, and since then it has reported about the American neglect, torture, and misconduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Assange and his WikiLeaks are considered “enemies of the United States” by the U.S. Department of Defense. Since his parents had a touring theater company, Assange was homeschooled for many years. He was the readers’ choice for Time magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year. Having been granted political asylum, he is living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 19, 2012.
5. Margaret Atwood
Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born to Margaret Dorothy and Carl Edmund Atwood in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on November 18, 1939. She is one of the most honored authors of fiction in recent times. She was homeschooled through sixth grade and had spent much of time in her father’s company. Since his father was an entomologist, she too developed a liking for animals. She is a vegetarian, and her book The Year of the Flood, written and published in 2009, enlightens the reader on the disastrous effects of genetic engineering and how it is going to impact future generations.
6. Francis Collins
Francis Sellers Collins was born on April 14, 1950 and was raised in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, U.S. He is a renowned physician-geneticist. He is best known for leading the Human Genome Project for the development of the human genetic map which is considered the biggest discovery of the century. Collins was homeschooled until the sixth grade. Collins authored The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief which was considered the best seller by the New York Times. Collins was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
7. The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers is a famous, American boy band comprised of three brothers: Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. They were born to Kevin and Denise. They belong to the Shore Region of New Jersey, and they are devout, Evangelical Christians. They were homeschooled by their mother. All the brothers wear purity rings which, according to them, is “a promise to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure till marriage.” They became famous after performing on the Disney Channel Children’s television network. In 2008 they starred in the Disney Channel’s original movies Camp Rock and its sequel Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam. The band was nominated for the Best New Artist Award at the 51st Grammy Awards. At the American Music Awards, the Jonas Brothers won the award for Breakthrough Artist.
8. Joey Logano
Joey Logano was born in Middletown, Connecticut, U.S. on May 24, 1990, is a racing car driver of the American Stock Car Auto Racing group. He drove for Joe Gibbs Racing from 2008 to 2012, won 2 races, and 41 Top-10 finishes. Logano is the youngest driver to win the nationwide series race at the age of 18 years, 21 days old. He was homeschooled, and this extended him the opportunity to devote more time to racing. During an interview, he said, “I have been homeschooling, and I really like that. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not going to school. I feel like I learn more that way.”
9. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was born to Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger in Boston, Massachusetts Bay on January 17, 1706 and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84 years. He was the 6th President of Pennsylvania and remained in office from October 18, 1785 to November 5, 1788. He was basically a homeschooler as he received only two years’ formal schooling. He was the oldest and wisest of the founding fathers of the nation. He was respected not only in America but also in other countries too, and it was therefrom that he was relied upon and conducted matters related to the European Countries.
10. Wilbur and Orville Wright
Wilbur was born in Millville, Indiana on April 16, 1867 and died in Dayton on May 30, 1912 at the age of 45 years. Orville was born in Dayton, Ohio on August 19, 1871 and died in Dayton on January 30, 1948. Both brothers are credited for inventing the world’s first successful airplane on December 17, 1903. They had an excellent learning environment in their home. Orville was a dropout, and Wilbur considered that a college degree “would be money and time wasted.”
The importance of formal education cannot be undermined, but the advantages of homeschooling in certain cases are also undeniable. Both the formal and informal ways of learning lead the learners to explore and apply the best of their capabilities. None of them tells anyone else about how to invent or conceive of what had never been heard of or seen before. What is more important is that leaning, not the way of learning, in this world is becoming more and more object oriented and pragmatic. What counts more than anything else in learning is the will and ambition to learn.