as a Kingdom: In
early Roman days, kids did not go to school. A Roman
boy's education took place at home. If his father could read and
write, he taught his son to do the same. The father instructed his
sons in Roman law, history, customs, and physical training, to prepare
for war. Reverence for the gods, respect for law, obedience to
authority, and truthfulness were the most important lessons to be
Girls were taught by their mother.
Girls learned to spin, weave, and sew. The rich had tutors for the
children, but mostly, the kids were taught at home.
as a Republic: About
200 BCE, the Romans borrowed some of the ancient Greek system of
education. Although they did not add many subjects, they did begin
sending their boys, and some of their girls, with their father's
permission, to school, outside their home, at age 6 or 7.
The goal of education in under the
Republic was to be an effective speaker. The
school day began before sunrise, as did all work in Rome. Kids brought
candles to use until daybreak. There was a rest for lunch and the
afternoon siesta, and then back to school until late afternoon. No one
knows how long the school year actually was; it probably varied from
school to school. However, one thing was fixed. School began each year
on the 24th of March!
Under the Republic, the children studied reading,
writing, and counting. They read scrolls and
books. They wrote on boards covered with wax, and used pebbles to do
math problems. They were taught Roman numerals, and recited lessons
they had memorized. At age 12 or 13, the boys of the upper classes
attended "grammar" school, where they studied Latin, Greek,
grammar, and literature. At age 16, some boys went on to study public
speaking at the rhetoric school, to prepare for a life as an orator.
Did the kids
of the poor go to school? At
the poorer levels, no. School was not free. Nor should anyone imagine
large classes in special buildings. Children, educated outside of the
home, were sent to the house of a tutor, who would group-tutor.
Children, educated in the home, were taught by intelligent and gifted
slaves. Children, in poorer homes, did not have slaves to teach them;
they were taught by their parents, as they were in early Roman days.
as an Empire: During the empire, the
Senate lost most of its power. The emperor was all-powerful. Still,
education continued as it did during the Republic. Kids studied
reading, writing, counting, literature, and how to be an effective
Education for Kids (BBC)