Prominent people who were homeschooled

Prominent people who were homeschooled


Throughout history, a remarkably high percentage of accomplished people were homeschooled, including many great mathematicians. Here is a growing list of such achievers:

  • Ansel Adams, (1902-1984), the finest landscape photographer of the twentieth 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 homeschooled in Greek, the English classics, algebra, and the glories of the ocean, inlets, and rocky beaches that surrounded their home very near San Francisco."[50]
  • John Adams (1735-1826), U.S. President. Learned to read at home, and was then taught in the kitchen by a neighbor with a handful of children. He matriculated to Harvard College at age 15.[51]
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women and other great works, was taught by her father.[52]
  • Susan B. Anthony, leading pro-life feminist and advocate of women's suffrage. Her father homeschooled her.[54]
  • Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. David Brooks wrote, "His mother didn't enroll him in the local schools because, as Raffi Khatchadourian wrote in a New Yorker profile, she feared 'that formal education would inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority.'" [55]
  • Jane Austen (1775-1817), one of the most popular novelists of the early 19th century, was school-educated for only a year, after which she was taught at home by her father, her brothers, and herself, using their large family library.
  • Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), inventor of the telephone. His deaf mother taught him to read and write, and he returned the favor by inventing the telephone to try to help her (and other deaf persons) communicate.
  • Willard S. Boyle, the inventor of the CCD that is at "the heart of virtually every camcorder, digital camera and telescope" and is used in "every picture on the Internet, every digital and video camera, every computer scanner, copier machine and high-definition television," and for which he was awarded a shared Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009.[59]
  • Mary Breckinridge (1881-1965), pioneering American midwife and founder of Kentucky's Frontier Nursing Service. Mary's father was a diplomat, and she was educated in America and abroad by private tutors.[60]
  • Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the brilliant American businessman and philanthropist of the late 1800s, his father was a poor weaver and Andrew dropped out of elementary school[63] and had only five years of formal schooling.[64]
  • George Washington Carver (1864-1943) Botanical and agricultural researcher and educator. Born a slave, Carver "learned to read, write and spell at home because there were no schools for African Americans in" his area.[65] He did not attend school until age 12, when he went to a one-room schoolhouse in Missouri; he later graduated from Minneapolis High School in Kansas. Became the first black student at Simpson College in Iowa, transferred to Iowa Agricultural College in 1891. Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1894 and a Master of Science degree in bacterial botany and agriculture in 1897.[66][67]
  • Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789-1857), one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, was taught by his father during an 11-year retreat to the country to escape the French Revolution. His father "wrote his own textbooks, several of them in the fluent verse of which he was master. Verse, he believed, made grammar, history and, above all, morals less repulsive to the juvenile mind."[68][69]
  • Agatha Christie (1890-1976), best-selling English mystery writer. Christie was homeschooled by her mother, who encouraged her to write from a very early age. At sixteen she was sent to finishing school in Paris. [71]
  • Winston Churchill (1874–1965), British statesman. It was at home that he was taught how to read, write and do math, and was not enrolled in a school until several months into the school year at the age of seven. After only about two years at that school, he was abruptly pulled out and then spent several years under the instruction of two maiden sisters in a less formal school setting.[72]
  • Charles Dickens, prolific English author who could not afford school. His "passions for reading were awakened by his mother," who homeschooled him with a curriculum that included English and Latin.[73]
  • James B. Eads, the greatest river engineer ever; by age 13 he spent his "time reading in his library. So began Eads' education as an engineer. He tinkered with his own inventions at home, building a six-foot long model steamboat when he was in his early teens. And he was intrigued by the inventions of others."[74]
  • Thomas Edison (1804–1896), the most prolific inventor in the history of the world and considered by many to be the most influential person of the last 1000 years.[75] His mother pulled him out of public school at age 7, after just a few months, and began homeschooling him by reading from the Bible.
  • Robert Frost, the leading American poet of the 20th century and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He "disliked school so much he became physically ill; what schoolwork he did was done at home until he passed the entrance exams and entered high school."[79]
  • Evariste Galois (1811–1832), among the brightest mathematicians ever and the founder of Galois groups and fields and Galois theory. "Until the age of twelve Galois had no teacher but his mother, Adelaide-Marie Demante."[80]
  • Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), one of the greatest Founding Father. He was not allowed to attend school because his parents were not married. Instead, he was homeschooled using Greek and Roman classics in the family library.[81]
  • Matthew Henry (1662-1714), "nonconformist" Presbyterian minister in England, and author of Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, perhaps the most esteemed devotional commentary of all time. Under State persecution, Henry was homeschooled by his father, and for a time by a tutor, before moving on to a Christian school in 1680.
  • Zac, Taylor, and Isaac Hanson, of the band Hanson. Educated at home by their mother, and later by a tutor. [83][84]
  • Jaime Herrera. She was recently elected to the U.S. Congress.[85]
  • Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910), abolitionist, writer, and women's rights activist. Julia was educated by tutors at home and in girls' schools until age 16. [86]
  • Carl Jacobi (1804-1851), a prominent and prolific German mathematician, was taught at home until the age of 12 and was taught the classics and mathematics by a maternal uncle.[87]
  • Joan of Arc (1412-1431), one of the greatest military leaders ever. Taught domestic skills and religion by her mother. [88]
  • C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), the author of the Chronicles of Narnia and other famous works, was taught at home by his mother and a governess until age 10, and later sent to be taught by a tutor to prepare him for Oxford.[91]
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), American president. "Though his [formal] education was limited to a few months in a one-teacher school, Lincoln avidly read books such as the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress and Weemss Life of Washington."[92]
  • Countess Augusta Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), a visionary programmer and namesake of the ADA programming language, was homeschooled by governesses and tutors hired by her mother.
  • Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and last of the "five good Emperors" of Rome. In his Meditations, he says that he learned from his "great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally."
  • Benoit Mandelbrot, a Yale mathematics professor known as the "father of fractals" and the person who coined the term,[93] received no extended formal schooling and was taught at home by his uncle beginning at the age of 12.[94] 
  • Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999), noted violinist and conductor, never attended school, and was taught Mathematics, History and Hebrew by his father, and French, German, Italian and Spanish by his mother.[95]
  • John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), influential 19th century political and economic philosopher, was home-schooled by his father, James Mill. He learned Greek at age 3, Latin at age 8, studied economics, history, science, etc. before age 10.
  • James Monroe (1758-1831), highly successful U.S. President, homeschooled until age 11.[96]
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), German composer. "He was educated by his father, Leopold Mozart, a violinist of high repute in the service of the archbishop of Salzburg."[97]
  • Isaac Newton (1643-1727), considered the greatest physicist of all time. He was homeschooled until age ten, and then was an underachiever at school until he lodged with the headmaster.[98]
  • Christopher Paolini (1983-), the author of the best-selling Inheritance Trilogy (Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr). He was homeschooled by his parents, through an accredited correspondence course from the American School in Chicago, Illinois, from which he graduated with his high school diploma at 15 years of age. [99]
  • Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), one of the greatest mathematicians and philosophers of all time, was homeschooled by his father.[100]
  • George Patton (1885–1945), one of America's greatest generals. He was taught at home until age 11 based on his "father's theory of education" that "youthful mind should be led along a path that parallels the development of the mind of the race" by being read to by elders.[101][102]
  • Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), one of the greatest mathematicians ever and an original developer of the Theory of Relativity. Poincaré, who had diphtheria as a child, received special instruction from his gifted mother and excelled in written composition while still in elementary school. He entered the Lycée in Nancy (now renamed the Lycée Henri Poincaré in his honor), in 1862 and spent eleven years there. He entered the École Polytechnique in 1873, graduating in 1875. After graduating from the École Polytechnique, Poincaré continued his studies at the École des Mines. [103]
  • James Polk (1795-1849), President of the United States from 1845-1849, one of the few presidents who actually did what he promised to do (annex Texas, acquire western territory, and not run for a second term). He was homeschooled until age 18.[104]
  • Alexander Pope (1688-1744), one of the greatest and most-often quoted English poets and essayists. "From Twyford School he was expelled after writing a satire on one of the teachers. At home, Pope's aunt taught him to read. Latin and Greek he learned from a local priest and later he acquired knowledge of French and Italian poetry."[105]
  • Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), designer of the German VW Beetle automobile and founder of the Porsche motor company. He was homeschooled in addition to attending Regensburg Reichstechnikschule,[106] which is ironic given that homeschooling is illegal in Germany today.
  • Eleanor H. Porter (1868-1920), author of the classic 1913 novel Pollyanna and its sequel Pollyanna Grows Up, about an eternally optimistic missionary child who, by playing the "glad game", transforms an entire community. Porter, a Christian and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was "educated in public schools during her childhood until illness caused her to turn to private tutors. She then attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts."[107] [108]
  • Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), the father of modern chemistry and the discoverer of oxygen, dropped out of school as a teenager and privately learned geometry, algebra and numerous languages.[109]
  • Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866), a German recognized as the greatest modern mathematician. He was taught at home by his father, a Lutheran minister, until he was ten. After that he was tutored by a teacher from a local school until he entered the Lyceum in Hannover at 14. [110][111]
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), U.S. President. He was educated by private tutors at home through age 14, then entered Groton, an elite private school in Massachusetts, in 1896. [112]
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), U.S. President. "Roosevelt never enrolled in a public school. He was mostly instructed by private tutors until he entered Harvard College in 1876."[113]
  • Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961), was one of the developers of the theory of quantum mechanics in physics. "He was not sent to elementary school, but received lessons at home from a private tutor up to the age of ten ...."[114]
  • Joseph Smith (1805-1844), was a mayor, a lieutenant general, a political theorist, a city planner, and a religious organizer and the founder of the Mormon Church. He was deprived of a formal education but was mainly self taught and "instructed in reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic.".[115][116] His mother said that he was often "given to meditation and deep study."[117]
  • Mark Twain (real name was Samuel Clemens) (1835-1910), American author and satirist who said, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." Attended school through the 5th grade, where he "excelled only in spelling" and was frequently truant, then worked as a printer's apprentice for a local newspaper. His mother said, "He was always a great boy for history, and could never get tired of that kind of reading; but he hadn't any use for schoolhouses and text books."[121][122]
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who came to America in 1831, when he was 25 years old, and wrote a two-volume definitive study of American culture entitled Democracy in America.
  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Italian artist, inventor, and all-around "Renaissance man". Leonardo went to school in Vinci, where he learned to write, to read and to calculate, and was taught geometry and Latin. At 14, Leonardo moved to Florence where he began an apprenticeship in the workshop of Verrocchio. [123]
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), considered the finest architect ever, was taught at home by his mother who dreamed that he would become an architect. She used "Froebel's geometric blocks to entertain and educate her son" as his father led the family among various Baptist churches, where he preached.[126] Wright then attended high school but dropped out of college.[127]
  • Brigham Young, first governor of Utah, the leader of the Mormon Church, and founder of 200 towns and villages. He was homeschooled and had only "11 days of formal education."[128]


In addition, a number of prominent people have chosen to homeschool their children. David Guterson, author of the novel Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), which won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award, also wrote Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense (1992), an account of his family's homeschooling journey.[129] Actor and recording artist Will Smith and his wife actress Jada Pinkett Smith homeschool their children.[130] Michele Bachmann homeschooled her own children, but Minnesota authorities prohibited the homeschooling of foster children (Michele Bachmann also had 23 foster children).[131] Roseanne Barr stated in an interview that she has started to homeschool her 11-year-old son.[132] Kristin Maguire, head of the South Carolina board of education, which governs all its public schools, homeschools all four of her children.[133] Elizabeth Edwards, the late wife of the Democratic vice-presidential nominee (2004) and presidential candidate (2008) John Edwards, homeschooled both of their youngest children.[134] The wife of Glenn Beck homeschools their children.

Others were taught to read at home prior to any school. For example, Ronald Reagan was taught to read by his mother before attending school;[135] the only African American man to win the Wimbledon tennis championship (in a stunning upset that relied on a brilliant strategy), Arthur Ashe, was nicknamed the "genius" and had been taught to read by his mother at age 5.


Jouw naam/bijnaam
Website url
Je Punt profiel
Vul deze captcha in
Dit is een verplicht veld
Domeinregistratie en hosting via