I once read somewhere that Sean Connery left school at the age of 13 and later went on to read Proust and Finnegans Wake and I keep expecting to meet an enthusiastic school leaver on the train, the type of person who only ever reads something because it is marvellous (and so hated school). Unfortunately the enthusiastic school leavers are all minding their own business.
Children in home-school conflict situations often receive a double message from their parents: "The school is the hope for your future, listen, be good and learn" and "the school is your enemy. . . ." Children who receive the "school is the enemy" message often go after the enemy--act up, undermine the teacher, undermine the school program, or otherwise exercise their veto power.
My brother was a year younger than I am and he was never in the home with me hardly at all, ... My mom had to take him to every school there possibly was to get him some education. He ended up first in Columbus, Ohio, for grade school, then went to a high school for the deaf and Galludet in Washington.
It's a funny thing, in the US we all believe that we have a right to go to school. We have a right to a good education. And we don't. The U.S. Constitution contains no right for a child to go to school, let alone for a child to go to a good school. And yet, we know that if they don't go to a good school, they're less likely to be able to realize all that this country has to offer.
I never went to school for that. In high school we had photography, which was great. That was another moment of discovery. I had a great teacher - I can't even remember her name now. I ended up going to boarding school for my last high school years and they had a dark room there. Of course there was curfew; you were supposed to be in bed at a certain time. But I would sneak out and sneak into the dark room and work all night.
The most important steps that I followed were studying math and science in school. I was always interested in physics and astronomy and chemistry and I continued to study those subjects through high school and college on into graduate school. That's what prepared me for being an astronaut; it actually gave me the qualifications to be selected to be an astronaut.
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