Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva was a mischievous and inquisitive child. His parents placed him in formal school at age 7, but his active, creative nature was stifled in a rigid educational setting.
Nancy Edison, a former schoolteacher, trained her youngest son in the basics and fostered his creative, inquisitive nature. As one Edison biographer put it, "She was determined that no formalism would cramp his style, no fetters hobble in the free rein, the full sweep of his imagination." Edison himself said of his mother, "She instilled in me the love and purpose of learning."
The results of Thomas Edison's love for learning are legendary. After beginning work as a telegraph operator in 1863, Edison invented improvements to the telegraph. He went on to improve fire alarm systems, stock tickers, and the telephone transmitter, and to invent, among other things, the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb.
Thomas Edison obtained the most U.S. patents ever given to one person, and ranks as one of the greatest inventors and industrial leaders in history. He also serves as just one more example of the power of parent-directed education.
(My personal note: "A love for learning." How many public schooled children have a true "love for learning"? That is something that we can instill in our children because we have the freedom to teach them in a more creative way that makes things more interesting and fun than the public schools.)