Education is a parenting topic that's as divisive as it gets for many reasons, least of all being that there are so many options now. In addition to public and private schools, there are charter schools, Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, and of course, there's also homeschooling.
Advocates for public schools have long-voiced their grievances with parents who make the decision to homeschool their children ("they're not professional educators"; "their homes aren't equipped for learning"; "their children aren't getting the social benefits of a public setting"), but when it comes down to it, there are some incredibly successful, smart people who were homeschooled -- and who can argue with that?
Here are 10 famous people who were homeschooled.
Michelle Kwan began her homeschooling during her eighth grade year in order to focus on ice skating. The payoff? She went on to become a two-time Olympic medalist and five-time World Champion. Not bad.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt began homeschool once her career started taking off. She alternated her education by attending a traditional high school when she wasn't busy. Being that she's a successful actress, producer, television director, singer, and songwriter, she's a great example of how homeschooling can develop and hone interests that go beyond what is offered in school.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was homeschooled in first grade by her mother. After that, she excelled in regular classes, having a third-grade math level and fifth-grade reading level at the age of 6.
Serena & Venus Williams
Tennis phenoms Serena and Venus Williams were both homeschooled by their father so they could focus on what they are clearly amazing at: Tennis. Worked out all right for them.
Seven-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift was homeschooled from around the time she was 14. In 2007, Swift told CMT: "My home schooling has been a great experience. I feel like I’ve had the best senior year possible. It’s awesome that I’ve been able to stay on the same path to graduating that I would’ve been on if I’d stayed in high school. I’m going to graduate this year, and I’m so excited about that. My education was always a big deal to me, and I’m so glad homeschooling allowed me to keep it up."
Tim Tebow's parents chose to homeschool their son because of their faith, but that didn't stop him from playing on local public sports teams. When he was a college sophomore, Tebow won the Heisman trophy (a first!) and had this to say about his win: "A lot of times people have this stereotype of home-schoolers as not very athletic. It’s like, 'go win a spelling bee or something like that.' It’s an honor for me to be the first one to do that."
Golden Globe-nominated actress Jena Malone makes an interesting point about homeschooling, saying, "The great thing about homeschool is you can learn what you really need to learn, and you can take things that you're really interested in. I take so many extra courses: Creative writing and German, and I'm really interested in the Renaissance, and I can really get more in depth on it one year if I wanted to."
The Jonas Brothers
When Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas were getting their start, all three boys were homeschooled by their mother, Denise. In an interview with Homeschool.com, Denise said, "I have learned so many wonderful things from homeschooling that I certainly would choose to do it this way all over again ... it’s just a great way to live life and to educate your children and your family."
Famous homeschooler Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Tony. She has a Hollywood Star on the Walk of Fame, and she's won four People’s Choice awards and a British Academy of Film award. NBD, right?
From second grade to eighth grade, Dakota Fanning was home-schooled in order to keep up with her busy acting career. In August of 2011, she enrolled at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
I kind of agree. I was really excited about Condi Rice at first thinking she had a more traditional homeschool education.
I guess I would be more interested in seeing non showbiz people as homeschool success stories. Besides Tebow, most of these people weren't traditionally homeschooled in the way that most homeschoolers can relate to their own lives.
I have a friend who homeschooled all three of their girls, with the help of her husband (by the way, she has her GED, and that is it). They did a lot of online work with the girls. One of the girls is now a doctor (oncologist), another is a professor, and the third is an LVN. She still wonders if she did enough for them. I always reply, "Are you kidding? You devoted your whole life to them!" .