Most important... were the moral and civic responsibilities that would be expected of citizens of the Republic, the inculcation of the qualities of the vir bonus, "good man".
The military arts were all that Rome could afford to spend time studying. When not waging war, the Romans devoted what time remained to agriculture. The concern of Rome was that of survival, whether through defense or dominion. It was not until the appearance of Ennius (239-169 BCE), the father of Roman poetry, that any sort of national literature surfaced.
To the Greeks, the ability to play an instrument was the mark of a civilized, educated man, and through an education in all areas of mousike it was thought that the soul could become more moderate and cultivated
Whereas Greek boys primarily received their education from the community, a Roman child's first and most important educators were almost always his or her parents. Parents taught their children the skills necessary for living in the early republic, which included agricultural, domestic and military skills as well as the moral and civil responsibilities that would be expected from them as citizens.
Cato the Elder not only made his children hardworking, good citizens and responsible Romans, but "he was his (son's) reading teacher, his law professor, his athletic coach. He taught his son not only to hurl a javelin, to fight in armor, and to ride a horse, but also to box, to endure both heat and cold, and to swim strongly".