Swartz’s parents were quick to recognize their son’s enormous intellect and gave him space to cultivate it.... They often deferred to his judgment and ignored his quirks. If they noted his moodiness, they would do so cryptically, as if afraid to offend....Footnote: "When he was 15, Swartz stumbled across his platonic ideal for a high school education: A Boston Globe story 'about a boy who learned while traveling the country with his father, and is now an assistant professor at MIT,' as Swartz summarized it. 'Amen to that!' he wrote."
The Swartzes allowed Aaron to take control of his own education at a young age, and he officially withdrew from high school after ninth grade. Between the Web and a grueling diet of books (Swartz would consume more than 100 per year), there wasn’t much he couldn’t master on his own.
His father recalls him holding forth passionately on abstract legal concepts as a child. As an adolescent, he became devoted to the fiction of George Saunders, a writer with strong moral commitments whose idiosyncratic style (Saunders routinely makes up words) appealed to the autodidact in him.Footnote: "Swartz later became a die-hard David Foster Wallace fan, too. Wallace once remarked that the unwritten 'end' of his masterpiece, Infinite Jest, could be 'projected by the reader somewhere beyond the right frame,' and Swartz spent months mining the text for clues. He eventually knitted them into a plausible conclusion, which he laid out on his blog under a 'gigantic spoiler' alert."
From a TNR article by Noam Scheiber about Aaron Swartz, the computer genius who killed himself last month. Since he killed himself, it's hard to know how to take this information about how he educated himself and how his parents accommodated him, but let's look at this and the contrast to what the opposite, the notorious Tiger Mother everybody was talking about 2 years ago.