Did you know that March is Women’s History Month?
Since we have some really bright and innovative homeschooling young women in the Sparketh community, March seemed like a really good time to share about some of our favorite famously creative homeschooled women throughout history! There are actually a lot of them (it was hard to pick just 5.)
Because homeschooling lends itself so naturally to creative pursuits and discovery independent study, it’s not really a surprise that many, many famous creatives come from a homeschool background (a lot of famously creative men were homeschooled, too, but that’s a whole other post).
Keep reading to learn about 5 famous women who were homeschooled and grew up to shape the world with their creative skills and talents. For each famous creative lady listed below, there are also some ideas on how you can study and learn from her in your own homeschool setting!
Anna Mary Robertson AKA “Grandma Moses” ( 1840 – 1926): Primitive American Artist
Most Known For:
“Grandma Moses” is a well-known American folk artist most remembered for her ability to capture imagery of rural American life. She is also remembered for being self-taught and for beginning her professional art career at a late age… well into her seventies!
This famous American artist grew up on a farm as one of ten children, where she learned at home. Later, she married a farmer and they began a homestead of their own. While all of this might make her seem more like a “farmgirl” than an artist, it was Grandma Moses’ farm experience that made her unique insight into this facet of American life so special. As many homeschooling families will attest, learning from life is a big part of the homeschool lifestyle. It is obvious that Grandma Moses’ farm upbringing was a hugely inspiring part of her artistic legacy. Her reputation as a self-taught artist also indicates her homeschooling roots.
More learning for your young artist:
If you have a young artist at home, and/or are interested in learning more about Grandma Moses, here are some great resources to use in your homeschool:
- Sparketh is an incredible ongoing resource for homeschooled artists. Students can sign up for online art courses taught by professional artists!
- To learn more about Grandma Moses or her particular art style (folk art) try some of these fun activities at home.
Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941): English Author, Journalist, and Critic
Most Known For:
Virginia Woolf was an early-twentieth-century English writer who is most well-known for her uniquely modern style. She was one of the first novelists to use the stream of consciousness writing style. She also brought many, then-taboo, topics into her writing, such as feminism and mental illness. Though she was a journalist and critic as well, Woolf is most remembered for her contributions to literature via novels such as Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own and Orlando.
Virginia Woolf came from a prominent and extremely well-educated family in England. Her father was a scholar and author who valued learning and literature, and she (along with siblings) received a very comprehensive at-home education. Though she was not able to attend university due to her family’s Victorian standards, Woolf (like Grandma Moses) maintained an attitude of self-discipline and learning throughout her adult life. Through practice, observation, and self-study, Virginia Woolf grew into a prolific writer who helped shape the face of 20th-century literature.
“Literature is no one’s private ground; literature is common ground … It is thus that English literature will survive this war … if commoners and outsiders like ourselves make that country our own country, if we teach ourselves how to read and how to write, how to preserve and how to create.” – Virginia Woolf, “The Leaning Tower,” 1940.
More learning for your young writer:
If you are interested in helping your child learn more about writing (or Virginia Woolf) here are some things you can try at home.
- Consider teaching a unit on Virginia Woolf. There are a lot of mature themes in much of Virginia Woolf’s works, so reading and talking about her novels might be a better activity for students who are high school-aged.
- Try a stream of consciousness journal. Virginia Woolf sometimes employed a style of writing that we now refer to as stream-of-consciousness writing. Stream of consciousness writing involves recording the flow of thoughts as they occur, without trying to make them fit into any kind of structure (read more about this here). While you don’t want your student(s) to use stream-of-consciousness writing in their essays or structured assignments, this writing style can be a great activity to inspire creativity and get the “writing juices” flowing. Consider having your child start a journal and practice just writing thoughts down as they come! This can also be great for anxiety and to increase mindfulness (you may want to do it, too!)
Dimitra Milan (1999 — Present): Professional American Artist and Entrepreneur
Most Known For:
Contemporary artist, Dimitra Milan, is known for having a prodigious art career at an incredibly young age. By the age of 15, she’d sold paintings to private collectors all over the world. Her paintings and mixed media artwork have a very unique, dreamlike and romantic quality. As a professional artist of the modern age, Dimitra is also noteworthy for her entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to market her work and collaborate with organizations around the world. (You can check out her Website, here).
Born to a family of artists, and have always had a love of art, herself, Dimitra credits homeschooling for giving her the opportunity to integrate art into her daily life as a student. Like Christopher Paolini (whom you can read about in the 5 Famously Creative Homeschooled Men post), Dimitra completed her homeschool courses at an accelerated rate and graduated from highschool two years early– she used the remaining years of her adolescence to focus on her art fulltime.
In this interview about her work, Dimitra stated the following about the example set by her parents:
They (Dimitra’s parents) taught me that you don’t always have to be in the mood to paint. You just paint. Every day, for eight or nine hours straight just like any other career choice. Like everything else in life, it’s hard work, passion, and commitment that will make you successful. They not only told me these things, but they also demonstrate it in their own life and art careers.
The increased opportunity to model/teach values and life skills by example in homeschooling is one of the main reasons that many parents choose to homeschool. Obviously, Dimitra’s parents were able to demonstrate and support the values of hardwork, commitment, and creativity in their homeschooled daughter.
More Learning For Your Young Artist:
If you have a learner at home who is inspired by Dimitra, or who is interested in becoming a professional creative, here are some things you can bring home from this example.
- If your child loves to create art and, like Dimitra, is inspired by animals and nature, he or she would benefit from (and enjoying) participating in Sparketh’s art track on “Drawing Nature.”
- You can also use this young creative’s story/example to talk to your child about planning a career path. Especially if you have an older child or teen who feels confident about what career he/she would like to pursue, it might be time to think about ways you can utilize the flexibility of homeschooling to help your child pursue their dream job.
Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976): English Mystery Author and Playwright
Most Known For:
You can’t think of the mystery genre without thinking of Agatha Christie, simply because it would not exist (as we know it) without this notable English author! Agatha Christie was an extraordinary woman with a variety of interests consisting of everything from music to pharmacology to archaeology. Her powers of observation and interest in life-long learning no doubt gave her novels and short story collections (of which there are 80) much of their richness and realistic details! Her novels about her most famous characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple sold so many copies that -to this day- Agatha Christie remains the best selling novelist of all time ( in any genre, not just mysteries!) To learn more about her life and work, check out the official Agatha Christie website.
According to this source, Agatha Christie’s incredible shyness led her parents to choose homeschooling for her. She was taught by both her father as well as private tutors. Meanwhile, she also independently pursued her love of other interests, such as music, reading and writing. Like the other homeschooled women discussed in this post, Christie developed a life-long love affair with learning (are you sensing a pattern here?) She continued to learn about new professions, ideas and cultures throughout her adult life. Though she had a shy personality, her ability to take in and understand the world around her is powerfully obvious in her writing.
More Learning for Your Young Author
If you are interested in studying the works of Agatha Christie (or mystery writing in general) with your child, check out some of the below ideas and resources!
- What better way to study Agatha Christie than to read some of her stories together? Her novels contain a lot of great writing techniques and even historical information! Check out this blog post by a homeschool mom about how (and why) she reads Agatha Christie novels with her teens.
- Consider discussing the key elements of the mystery genre with your children! This free resource by Scholastic is great for introducing the topic of, “What Makes a Mystery?” to elementary school aged children.
- Once you’ve read some mysteries and talked about what makes them unique, ask your child to write their own mystery story! Make sure they outline it ahead of time and that their outline contains all of the “key ingredients” of a mystery.
Emma Watson (1990 – Present): Actor and Humanitarian
Most Known For:
This young English actor is most well-known for, and got her claim to fame from, her decade-long role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. She is also famous for her roles in other popular films, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast. However, she’s not just a celebrity; Watson is also well-known for her humanitarian efforts. She is a UN Goodwill Ambassador and actively promotes the fair treatment of women everywhere, as well as environmental preservation. She’s truly an example of a celebrity who uses her influence to support the causes she cares about.
While you probably know about Emma Watson, you may not have known that she was homeschooled. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I don’t have to tell you that Emma Watson (and her co-stars) pretty much grew up on the screen. Emma was cast as Hermione at the age of 10, and spent the next decade filming movies for the beloved franchise. Homeschooling allowed Emma to acquire an excellent education all while pursuing a professional career in acting. Unlike some child actors, it was very important to Emma to continue her education beyond high school. She attended two Ivy League universities- Brown University and Oxford University- where she completed her degree in English literature. It would seem that homeschooling prepared Emma pretty well for college academics, in addition to giving her the flexibility that she required to pursue a career in acting.
More Learning for Your Young Actor/Advocate:
Famous actor, Ivy League grad, humanitarian…if you or your child are feeling inspired by Emma Watson’s story, here is some inspiration you can bring into your homeschool!
- Find a cause and get involved! Did you know that research indicates that homeschoolers tend more be more involved with their communities than their public school peers? If you are feeling inspired by Emma Watson’s humanitarian efforts, talk to your child about ways he/she can find their voice, or help out with, a public interest matter.
- If you have a child with an interest in acting, then homeschooling can be a great advantage to him or her! Check out your local community theatre for upcoming auditions! Typically community theater plays have a practice/rehearsal schedule that would be extremely difficult for young adults on a public school schedule. However, if it’s a priority to your homeschooler, then the school schedule can work around those late-night rehearsals!
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of these amazing women who were homeschooled! While I was writing this, I was so inspired by their creativity. I also noticed that each of them seemed to have a lifelong love of growth and learning, which I think is something that we can all take inspiration from. Do you have any famously creative homeschooled women you’d add to this list? Drop a comment and tell us all about her!