homeschool grandpa fishing with his catholic homeschool grandkids

Benefits of Grandparents Helping in Your Homeschool

Should I include grandparents in my homeschooling?

As promised, I’m following up on my previous article, Homeschooling Your Grandchildren. I want to share some reflections on the benefits of getting grandparents involved in the homeschooling of your children.

A Multigenerational Effort

The rise of modern, institutionalized education in the 19th and 20th centuries has caused us to lose sight of the fact that education was traditionally considered a multigenerational effort. In premodern society, the family unit was not today’s nuclear family (parents + siblings) but what sociologist Carle Zimmerman called the “trustee family.” These are broad family units that include multiple generations and various lines of descent within the same lineage.

In a trustee family, the extended family members were much more involved with one another than is typical of the modern family. Children were educated within this extended family system, not only by parents but also by aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Education was a truly familial enterprise.

Incidentally, this is the true meaning of the African proverb made famous by Hillary Clinton, “It takes a village to raise a child.” However, the African context referred to education within a tight-knit, clan-based society. Mrs. Clinton reoriented it to refer to the educational role of individuals outside the family (e.g., government, social programs, etc.), which is ironically opposed to the spirit of the proverb.

Grandparents in a Supporting Role

Today’s modern culture may make you feel it is abnormal or sub-optimal to involve your parents in your homeschooling. However, even though multi-generational education is uncommon today, it does have a long and distinguished pedigree in Western civilization. So, don’t worry about what others may say. Instead, let’s learn the benefits of home education with grandparents.

One quick note: While we understand that grandparents sometimes need to assume full-time educational responsibility for their grandchildren, this is generally not the norm. This article is geared instead to situations where parents are the primary educators, but grandparents are participating in a limited support role.

1. More Time Spent With Grandchildren

This is undoubtedly the most significant benefit of homeschooling grandchildren. Our atomized culture has grandparents seeing their grandchildren less than ever before. When grandparents are incorporated into homechooling, you buck this trend by ensuring children spend regular time with their grandparents. This is an all-around good thing for everyone involved and reinforces family bonds. So this is a win-win!

2. Frees Up Parents’ Time

When the work of homeschooling is distributed between parents and grandparents, parents have more time to focus on other things, whether that be recreation, working more intensively with a child who needs extra help, helping with a specific subject, or anything else.

Many parents choose to get grandparents involved when they are struggling or when they need some extra support. Grandma and Grandpa can step in to relieve some pressure. Whether this is by choice or necessity, it is another one of the great benefits of getting grandparents involved in your homeschooling.

3. Exposure to Unique Perspectives

When children spend a lot of time with grandparents, they are exposed to unique perspectives. Many of us—whether homeschooled or public schooled—at some point in our schooling were given a project requiring us to interview a grandparent about some life experience they had. The reason these kinds of projects are so ubiquitous is because they exemplify one of the most treasured aspects of grandparents: their ability to connect us with perspectives and experiences of a bygone age.

Grandparents are not only loving family members. They are living resources that give us access to the ideas and experiences of previous generations. This is an invaluable asset to your homeschooling. It is like having access to a living piece of history.

4. Notable Skill Sets

Grandparents not only offer unique life perspectives, but they also come with unique skill sets. What are your parent’s special skills that could enhance your homeschooled children’s lives? These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Fishing and hunting
  • Sewing and crafts
  • Mechanics
  • Gardening
  • Baking
  • Woodworking

Or, perhaps your parents are particularly fond of a given subject. In this case, Grandma or Grandpa could be your children’s literature, math, science, etc. teacher.


Lastly, grandparents can sometimes help financially. I often hear from homeschoolers who share that their parents subsidize their children’s online classes, book purchases, museum passes, etc. As a retired homeschool mom with nine homeschooled grandchildren, I handed down my homeschool library to my children. I also love gifting my grandchildren with new books and subscription boxes for birthdays and Christmas.

Whether you’re turning to your parents to help you in a pinch or just looking for a fun way to get them involved in your homeschooling, grandparents can bring many benefits to your homeschool and enrich your child’s education immensely.

What questions do you have about Catholic homeschooling? You can connect with other homeschool parents by joining our Homeschool Connections Community or our Facebook group today.

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