The Gift of “How to Learn”

Published with Permission
Written by Jessica Hulcy


Early in homeschooling, I read the biography of American physicist Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Manhattan Project, who was responsible for assembling and leading the team that developed and detonated the first atomic bomb. True, Oppenheimer was a genius, but it was his “immersion method of learning” that struck me. At age 5 his grandfather gave him a collection of rocks, and he quickly learned to lisp all the difficult geological specimen names. After several obsessions with architecture, poetry, and painting, Oppenheimer, at age 11, returned to his rocks and began to correspond with the New York Mineralogical Club via his new found typing ability.

So passionately and professionally did Oppenheimer pursue his correspondence that Club members assumed Oppenheimer was an adult. When they invited him to present a paper to the Club, they were astounded to meet a 12-year-old boy, whom they made an honorary member. (more…)