Surprisingly, although Benjamin Franklin was an accomplished inventor, scientist, writer, philosopher, statesmen, diplomat, and abolitionist, he did not actually graduate from the finest institutions of higher learning. Benjamin Franklin’s greatest education came not from any type of formal school but instead from his own life and experience.
Benjamin Franklin's Schooling
Here’s what is known about Franklin’s formal education:
- Franklin’s father sent Benjamin to the Boston Latin School at age eight. This public school designed to provide education in the humanities to all boys regardless of their social class. This was common practice at the time, especially for those who would eventually enter into ministry. Franklin’s father aspired that Benjamin would one day be a preacher, and thus sent him along this traditional track of education.
- Benjamin's father started to have second thoughts about Benjamin's potential future in the ministry and decided, instead, to transfer Benjamin to a school that focused on subjects like writing and mathematics which would be practical if Benjamin was to enter the family business.
- Benjamin was sent to the George Brownell’s English school for writing and arithmetic less than a year after he began at the Boston Latin School. Franklin immediately excelled, most of all in the field of writing.
- Franklin stayed at George Brownell’s school until he was 10, when family finances caused the need for Benjamin to stop his formal education in order to take up a post at his father’s candle-making store.
- At age 12, Benjamin took an interest in the business of printing, especially given his voracious appetite for reading and writing. As a result, Ben assumed an apprenticeship in the printing office of his brother James, where he learned much about the process of printing.
Further education came directly from Franklin’s personal studies and communications with others. There is no additional evidence of formal schooling.
By reviewing his history, it can be said that where Benjamin Franklin went to school is not as important as his contribution to history and the knowledge he brought to bare as a founding father of our country.