dison did not have a formal education and was mostly homeschooled by his mother. He had a curious mind and was interested in science from a young age. Edison was also an avid reader and read every book he could get his hands on. He turned his family’s basement into a laboratory where he worked on many experiments. It was in this lab that Edison developed some of his most famous inventions such as the electric light bulb and the phonograph. He also developed the motion picture camera, helping to revolutionize the film industry. 

Edison's ingenuity helped him become one of the most successful inventors of the 19th century. His inventions transformed society and changed the way people lived their lives. Edison's legacy continues to this day, inspiring generations of inventors and innovators. He is remembered as an icon of American ingenuity and hard work. 

Thomas Edison's teacher called him addled 

As a curious youngster, Edison's constant questioning of his teacher proved to be too much for her patience. Exasperated, she proclaimed that his mind must have been "addled." When Thomas reported this to his mother, she went straight away to confront the teacher at their place of learning - and a row ensued! As it turned out, Mrs. Edison decided then and there that her son would be homeschooled from then on since the educator had declared Thomas not teachable in any case.

Thomas Edisons left school early

Thomas Edison had limited formal education in his early years. He attended school for only a few months as a child, and his mother, Nancy Edison, took on the primary responsibility for his education. Despite this, Edison was a curious and self-motivated learner, and he developed a love for reading and experimentation at an early age.

At the age of 12, Edison began working as a newsboy on a train, and he used this opportunity to continue his education. He read books and conducted experiments in his free time, and he began to develop an interest in telegraphy.

“I remember that I was never able to get along at school. I was always at the foot of the class... I almost decided I must be a dunce.”

How Edison went on to invent without schooling?

Despite having no formal training, Edison was able to teach himself the basics of electricity and electronics. He studied books on the subject, performed experiments in his laboratory, and hired experts to help him learn more. He also made use of public resources such as libraries and museums to further his research.

Edison was blessed to have a mother who taught him at home, but he also invested much of his time in reading and studying. Not only did he explore their home library, but ventured out to the local public one too. His father's generous gesture of providing 10 cents for every book that young Edison finished must have been an encouragement as well!

Edison's mom's involvement in raising him

Nancy Edison, Thomas's mother, played an important role in his education. She encouraged her son to explore and experiment, granting him the freedom he needed to pursue his interests. Through her dedication and attention to detail, Nancy Edison found easy methods for encouraging her son's love of learning. She gifted him with R. G. Parker’s School of Natural Philosophy; a book that outlined how to do chemistry experiments at home.

“My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

Edison was an avid reader

From an early age, Thomas Edison was captivated by the stories of past civilizations and entranced by English literature. By his twelfth year, he had already delved into works such as Gibbon's Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Sears' History of the World, Hume's History of England, Paine's Age of Reason, and Newton’s exceptional Principia.

Edison was interested in building things

Throughout his life, Edison was known for his inventive spirit. He was constantly tinkering and inventing new things, even in a time before electricity and electronics were widely available. His passion for chemistry drove him to spend all his spare money on collecting chemicals from a nearby pharmacist and other items such as bottles, wires, etc. for experiments. He even went the extra mile by constructing a laboratory in the basement of their Port Huron house - something that not many people would be bold enough to do!

Fascinated by the notion of transmitting information over a wire, he was eager to discover all that he could about steam engines, electricity, battery power, electromagnetism, and the telegraph. With scrap metal in hand and Morse code at his fingertips, he built himself a telegraph set as an outlet for experimentation. Through these pursuits came a greater understanding of electricity and its potential to revolutionize every corner of the world.

Edison was a self-learner

As a home-schooled, self-taught youngster, Edison reaped lessons that would stay with him all his life. He realized he was in charge of his own education and had to take the initiative. He discovered how being persistent could help him gain both practical knowledge and wisdom from reading books. Additionally, methodical observation enabled him to uncover innumerable facts about the world around us; ultimately teaching him that learning should be an ongoing experience filled with joyfulness!

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Edison took several jobs 

To earn money, Edison took on odd jobs such as a newspaper seller and telegraph operator. He read as much as he could in between his shifts and on the train rides back to Michigan from New York City. It was during these times that Thomas Edison developed an interest in electricity - something which would prove to be invaluable in the years ahead.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In the late 1860s, Edison was employed as a full-time telegraph operator for Western Union in Cincinnati. His technical ability stood out and he developed a reputation among his superiors. Eventually, this led to him becoming an independent inventor who worked with gold and stock tickers., paving the way for several of his most famous inventions.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

“Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you’re working on.”

What if Edison went to a traditional school?

If Edison had attended a traditional school, he may not have been able to explore his interests in the same way. A lack of exposure to new information and ideas would have prevented him from learning as much as he did during his self-education journey. He also wouldn’t have had access to resources such as libraries or museums which allowed him to further his research. As a result, the world may have been deprived of some of his famous inventions such as the phonograph and motion pictures.

In conclusion, Thomas Edison’s self-education journey resulted in more than just expertise in electricity. It taught him that nothing is impossible if you are willing to put in the effort to learn. His story stands as a reminder that traditional paths are not the only ones worth pursuing in life. With dedication, curiosity, and passion for learning, anything is possible!

Despite not having a formal education, Edison's natural curiosity and dedication to learning led him to become one of the most famous inventors of all time. His innovations in electricity, communication, and sound recording revolutionized the world and continue to impact our lives today.

Mar 16, 2023
Alternate Learning

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