Jul 102013

Did you know Ansel Adams may have had a specific learning disability? Ansel Adams was homeschooled and had difficulty with memorization.

Ansel Adams didn’t do well in traditional school and hated it!! Many of us are curious about famous people that were homeschooled, and we can learn how to better embrace our kids and their individual needs by looking at the lives of famous people who struggled in traditional school.

Who knows? Is your child artistic? Homeschooling might help build those skills! Let Ansel’s story be an encouragement for you and your child:

Ansel Easton Adams was a gifted artist who was “born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California, near the Golden Gate Bridge. His father, a successful businessman, sent his son to private, as well as public, schools; beyond such formal education, however, Adams was largely self-taught.” (from Answers.com)

These insights from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) help us understand the late Ansel Adams as a young boy:

“Home-schooled until he was nine, Ansel Adams resisted formal education. After he had difficulties in a string of San Francisco schools, Adams’ parents decided enrolling him anywhere else would be futile. He received the rest of his education from his father, tutors, the Panama Pacific Exhibition, and the world around him.”

“An enthusiastic beachcomber and insect collector, young Ansel lived in acute awareness of nature. Adams would later credit his father for tolerating his unusual path, saying, “I am certain he established the positive direction of my life.”

“In School…Each day was a severe test for me, sitting in a dreadful classroom while the sun and fog played outside. Most of the information received meant absolutely nothing to me. For example, I was chastised for not being able to remember what states border Nebraska and what are the states of the Gulf Coast. It was simply a matter of memorizing the names, nothing about the process of memorizing or any reason to memorize. Education without either meaning or excitement is impossible. I longed for the outdoors, leaving only a small part of my conscious self to pay attention to schoolwork… (p. 17)”

“Adams disliked the uniformity of the education system and left school in 1915, at the age of 12 to educate himself. His original passion was to become a concert pianist, but Adams became interested in photography after seeing Paul Strand’s negatives. Adams long alternated between a career as a concert pianist and one as a photographer.” (from Wikipedia)

The early chronology (from zPub) of Ansel Adams’ life shows that he was “an enormously curious and gifted child”. He suffered through a treacherous journey through the rigid structure of the public school system. Early on, he developed a distain for formal education that lead him to seek his own education outside of public schooling.

Ansel Adams taught himself to play the piano he undertook formal music studies with Marie Butler. Under her tutelage, Ansel excelled at piano. In 1915, his father bought a season pass to the Panama-Pacific Exposition for Ansel. Ansel visited the exposition daily.

According to zPub, Ansel convinced his parents to vacation in Yosemite National Park in 1916. While at Yosemite, Ansel developed an enthusiastic interest in both photography and the national park, and he would return to Yosemite every year on his now famous photography expeditions.

Ansel Adams had a passion, and was allowed to follow it, to his now famous status. For every child who doesn’t fit the traditional education mould, a home schooling parent can strengthen the child’s spirit and knowledge. In doing so, you may be creating the next famous expert in your child’s area of passionate interest. Just because a child doesn’t fit the mould, doesn’t mean the mould is broken! It may mean you have a gifted, and spirited individual living in your home, who may one day be the source of untold pride, joy, and inspiration for the homeschooled community.