Tolkien the homeschooler

Concerning Tolkien’s early education:

Mabel soon began to educate her sons, and they could have had not better teacher.

His favourite lessons were those that concerned languages. Early in his Sarehole days his mother introduced him to the rudiments of Latin, and this delighted him. He was just as interested in the sounds and shapes of the words as in their meanings, and she began to realize tht he had a special aptitude for language.

She also tried to interest him in playing the piano, but without success. It seemed rather as if words took the place of music for him, and that he enjoyed listening to them, reading them, and reciting them, almost regardless of what they meant.

-Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, p.30

I’m glad she didn’t make him play piano.

I’m also glad he wasn’t always stuck in school, where he would be required to spend several hours a week playing ball in gym class.

Nothing beats a taylored education that is aware of the child’s deeper interests, if it can be managed.