Self-Education Resources for Busy Parents

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

"...self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. The only function of a school is to make self-education easier; failing that, it does nothing."

-- Isaac Asimov

In previous posts in this series on parents' education, I've talked about why the parents' education is just as important as the kids' education, as well as how parents can get started in pursuing their own educations. Now I wanted to share some helpful resources for parents' education.

These are resources that I have found to be valuable in pursuing my own education:

  • Classics

  • Audio books

  • Writing in books

  • Commonplace book

  • Mentoring in the Classics

  • Math resources

  • Music self-education


Whether they were written long ago or in the modern era, classics are books that are worth reading over and over again because they have a depth that continually enriches the reader's education. For those of us who haven't read many classics, the classics from long ago can be hard to get into because of the language and writing style which are so different from that of modern books. A fantastic way to get started in reading older classics is with children's literature.

True classics from children's literature are not inane or boring; the lessons they have to teach are just as relevant to adults as to children. The language is generally more accessible in children's classics, yet they are still beautifully written. Here are 15 classics from children's literature that I have found to be particularly thought-provoking and useful in my own life as a parent:

And here are 5 quite accessible classics written for adults:

Lists of classics to read are just a starting point, but they can be very helpful for parents who need a little direction in how to get moving on their own educations. If you want more lists of classics to dive into, there are superb lists of classics in Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens and Hero Education.

Audio Books

One of the biggest self-education challenges for most parents is finding the time to actually sit down and read. I've already shared a few tips for finding more time to read here, but another thing that has worked fantastically for me is listening to audio books.

With audio books, I can easily listen to classics while doing other activities such as getting dressed in the morning, folding laundry, cooking, weeding, and cleaning. Audio books easily double the amount of time I can spend in pursuing my own education amidst my busy life.

Many high quality audio books of classics are actually FREE at Librivox! The only catch is that you need to pay attention to who the readers are, to make sure you select audio books read by people who you enjoy listening to. Some of my favorite readers are Elizabeth Klett, Karen Savage, Kara Shallenberg, John Greenman, and Mark Nelson.

Here are 10 of my favorite FREE classic audiobooks: