What is Self Education?

What is Self Education? | Elemental BloggingAs a homeschooler I am often asked how in the world I can teach all the things my student needs to know.

My answer is that it is easy for me to teach the subjects I am strong in, like science and math. For the others, I learn what I need to teach through Self Education.

What is Self Education?

Their next question is almost always what the heck is Self Education?

Webster’s Definition of Self Education

self-educated (adjective): educated by one’s own efforts, especially without formal instruction.

My Definition of Self Education

Self Education is taking the time to continue my own education using the books and materials available to me, instead of traditional classroom time.

So, as you can see, self education involves an individual working to learn the given material they need to know on their own.

Why I Self Educate

As a scientist I don’t have a lot of experience with subjects like literature, latin and history. I took what was required in high school and in college I opted for much more interesting science and math courses!

So, now that I am faced with teaching these subjects to my children, I’m realizing that I have a lack of background knowledge. I could just use the curriculum I have, it’s all very good, but I want more. I want to be able to add to our studies in a relevant way, just like I can with science.

I researched my options and determined that a self-study of the subjects that I feel weak in was the best route for us.

Steps to Self Educate

With the advent of the internet, self education is easier than ever. Here are the steps I take when working to learn a new subject or shoring up a long forgotten one.

  1. Determine what I need to learn.
  2. Research the options, such as self-paced online courses, books, or traditional texts.
  3. Decided which option will work the best.
  4. Get to work!

In a way, planning a course for self education is very similar to planning a course for homeschool. It just requires a little more effort on my part! Check out how I set realistic self-education goals.

The Final Product

Self education does take a time commitment.  I have to set aside time each week to work on what I have planned, but I have learned over the last three years that it is worth it.

It makes me a better teacher because I am prepared for what’s ahead. I can add to our discussions and answer questions that princess may have.

Plus I enjoy learning, it is actually really nice to continue to be exercising my brain muscles after all these years.

by Paige Hudson



  1. Self-education certainly is a huge project, and there’s nothing quite like trying to give your child an education to make you aware of the holes in your own. I know it’s certainly had that effect on me!

    The Classical Homeschooling Carnival is up, including your post.

  2. I strive to self educate also. I, however, do not seem to find the time. Do you schedule it into your day? If so, what does your schedule look like? Thanks.

    • I try to read before bed as it relaxes me. As for scheduling, I do plan out what books I hope to finish during the year and then I work through the list. When I begin a book I figure out how many weeks I would like to finish it in and then I break up the chapters accordingly. I also post about my progress to keep myself accountable. Hope that helps!