Romans did not think well of teachers and teaching. Thus, the parents taught their children for the most part. In some cases, teachers were brought into the home. The education was basically practical. Boys were required to memorize the Laws of the Twelve Tables.
The main purposes of early education were to be obedient to law and custom and to keep the religion and morals. When schools were eventually established, reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught.
Mothers taught their small boys simple habits and family customs and manners. Fathers taught their sons family religious rites and outside skills in the fields. Upper class boys learned their skills from their fathers. Thus, learning was accomplished by observing and doing.
Young girls did not attend formal education.
(This page was updated in December 2012.)