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Below is a collection of some of my favorite homeschooling quotes. I hope they get you thinking and inspire you. I will be adding to the list as time allows, so please check back frequently!

In the meantime, if you are interested in or considering homeschooling, click here to read about what you should know if you think you might want to homeschool.

“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secret.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In those days a boy on the classical side officially did almost nothing but classics. I think this was wise; the greatest service we can to education today is to teach few subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.”
C.S. Lewis

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Thoreau

“[Homeschooling]…recipe for genius: More of family and less of school, more of parents and less of peers, more creative freedom and less formal lessons.” Raymond S. Moore

“When one teaches, two learn.” Robert Heinlein

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”  Gandhi

“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”  Agatha Christie

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.”  Ivan Illich

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  William Butler Yeats’

“I don’t blame the big schools for the approach that they take. With thirty two kids in a room, it is impossible to cater education toward each child. Children do have to wait because there are a lot of children to wait for. It is necessary to provide tight order and structure or chaos would take over. It is important to start school at an early hour with a full seven hour day in order to fulfill state requirements..For some kids ‘school’ [might be] the best place. But for our family, it is not.” Nikki Schaefer

“Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.”  Plato

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” Robert Frost

“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” Edward Everett

“Education is the movement from darkness to light.” Allan Bloom

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature.” Charlotte Mason

 “Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind.” – Charlotte Mason

“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.” John Holt

“We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.” John Holt

“It is the duty of a citizen in a free country not to fit into society, but to make society.” John Holt

“Children may be more capable of competent self-directed learning than we give them credit for…” John Holt

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” John Holt

“Children are, by nature and from birth, very curious about the world around them, and very energetic, resourceful and competent in exploring it, finding out about it, and master it. In short, much more eager to learn, and much better at learning than most adults.” John Holt

“People always understood, sensibly enough, that before you could teach something you had to know it yourself. But only very recently did human beings get the extraordinary notion that in order to be able to teach what you knew you had to spend years being taught how to teach…” John Holt

“The beauty of home education is that it gives a family more time together–time to solidify relationships, to communicate values, and to focus on each child’s individual needs in a consistent and unhurried atmosphere.”  Kimberly Hahn & Mary Hasson

“Teaching is a function, not a profession. Anything with something to offer can teach.” John Taylor Gatto

“…you either write your own script or you become an actor in someone else’s…” John Taylor Gatto

“If you put fleas in a shallow container they jump out. But if you put a lid on the container for just a short time, they hit the lid trying to escape and learn quickly not to jump so high. They give up their quest for freedom. After the lid is removed, the fleas remain imprisond by their own self policing. So it is with life. Most of us let our own fears or the impositions of others imprison us in a world of low expectations.” John Taylor Gatto

“An eternal question about children is, how should we educate them? Politicians and educators consider more school days in a year, more science and math, the use of computers and other technology in the classroom, more exams and tests, more certification for teachers, and less money for art. All of these responses come from the place where we want to make the child into the best adult possible, not in the ancient Greek sense of virtuous and wise, but in the sense of one who is an efficient part of the machinery of society. But on all these counts, soul is neglected.” – Thomas Moore

“All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.” Walter Scott

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Mark Twain

“Homeschooled children benefit the community because they are not shaped by peers but by parents.”  Mary Kay Clark

“We parents need to have confidence in ourselves, confidence in the graces which God gave us, and confidence from our own life experiences and knowledge. We can know and must demand what is best for our children.” Mary Kay Clark

“[Parental] authority must be tempered…with loving kindness and patient encouragement. To temper authority with kindness is to triumph in the struggle which belongs to your duty as parents…All those who would advantageously rule over others, must as an essential element, first dominate themselves, their passions, their impressions…” Pius XII

“Don’t worry about socialization. Wherever people congregate, there is going to be interaction, socialization.” Where is it written that it needs to be in schools?  Mary Kay Clark

“In reading the lives of the saints, I cannot recall a single saint who benefited by going along with the crowd.” Mary Kay Clark

“Do not let phone calls and other people..keep you from fulfilling your own priorities with your own children. Too many mothers spend so much time helping others that their own children suffer. Charity DOES begin at home.” Mary Kay Clark

“I really didn’t consider it proper for my child to spend a year of her life learning how to be an eleven year old, then another year of her life learning how to be a twelve year old….(etc.). She has a mother at home. I’d rather she learn to be like her mother, and have plenty of time to do it.” Damian Fedoryka

“[Children] need more work with you (the parents), fewer toys, more service for others, less sports and amusements (which tend to put self before others), more self control, patriotism, productiveness and responsibility. In short, they need guidance along the path to self-worth as children of God. Parents and home, undiluted, usually do these things best.” Dorothy and Raymond Moore

“Wherever possible, home is by far the best nest until at least eight, ten or twelve. Psychologists and psychiatrists who understand child development would prefer an even later age. In a reasonably warm home, parent-child responses, the true ABC’s of sound education, are likely to be a hundred times more frequent than the average teacher-child responses in a classroom.” Raymond and Dorothy Moore

“The first education should be the harmonious development of the child’s physical, mental and spiritual powers. Providing warm and understanding responses to your children’s ‘hearts’ accomplishes far more than pressuring book knowledge into their minds. ” Raymond and Dorothy Moore

“Nobody rises to low expectations.” – Calvin Lloyd

“Unless education promotes character making, unless it helps men to be more moral, more just to their fellows, more law abiding, more discriminatingly patriotic and public spirited, it is not worth the trouble taken to furnish it.” – William Howard Taft

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

“It’s true there is just not enough hours in a day to teach children, clean the house and cook well. The difference between me and other mothers is that I’d rather hire out the cleaning than the children’s learning.” Theresa Thomas

“The same ones who brought the children physically in the world have the natural obligation binding in the natural law to provide for the mental, moral and social upbringing of their offspring. ” Fr. John Hardon

“You must pray…without prayer, all the schooling in the world will not produce the effect God wants homeschooling to give.” Fr. John Hardon

“The first real lesson I learned as a homeschool teacher is that … it’s the students that lead the way.” Patti Armstrong

“The ultimate quality of your life is not in your resume, but in the minds and hearts of those you mean something to because you gave yourself to them.” Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“…home-schooled students are able to successfully adapt emotionally, interpersonally, and academically to their first, and most challenging, semester in college.  That is probably because, having had the consistent teaching and support of a family and a community, they have developed strengths and convictions that provide a bridge over the troubled waters of a multitude of challenges and temptations.”  Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“God helps those who work, not those who are idle. No one helps an inactive person, but one who joins in the labor. The good God himself will bring…work to perfection.” St. John Chrysostom

“Nothing is so contagious as example.” La Rochefoucauld

“Go forth and help him fly a kite or build a snow castle. Those shoulders are too little to carry a burden, that brow is too young to be wrinkled, those feet are too lively to be stilled to a funeral’s pace.” Charles Doyle

“When the atmosphere encourages learning, the learning is inevitable.” Elizabeth Foss

Our entire school system is based on the notion of passive students that must be “taught” if they are to learn. . . . Our country spends tens of billions of dollars each year not just giving students a second-rate education, but at the same time actively preventing them from getting an education on their own. And I’m angry at how school produces submissive students with battered egos. Most students have no idea of the true joys of learning, and of how much they can actually achieve on their own. –Adam Robinson

“Unless a man’s will has a purpose and it is a good one, education will do nothing for him except to fortify his own egotism.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery– the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”
(The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223)

“Any book which inspires us to lead a better life is a good book.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.” Maria Montessori

“The child should live in an environment of beauty.” Maria Montessori

” You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden” Matthew 5:14


Recommended further reading:

Teach Your Own by John Holt


All other books by John Holt. 

The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise


Home Style Teaching by Raymond and Dorothy Moore


Designing your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist


Catholic Education Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn and Mary Rice Hasson


Catholic Home Schooling by Mary Kay Clark


Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss


Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich


Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto


On Marriage and Family Life by St. John Chrysostom


Stories for the Homeschool Heart by Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa Thomas


Dr. Laura Schlessinger on homeschooling.

Encyclicals and other Church Documents on Education

Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families by Patti Armstrong and Theresa Thomas