homework about history

The History of Homework: Why Was it Invented and Who Was Behind It?

  • By Emily Summers
  • February 14, 2020

Homework is long-standing education staple, one that many students hate with a fiery passion. We can’t really blame them, especially if it’s a primary source of stress that can result in headaches, exhaustion, and lack of sleep.

It’s not uncommon for students, parents, and even some teachers to complain about bringing assignments home. Yet, for millions of children around the world, homework is still a huge part of their daily lives as students — even if it continues to be one of their biggest causes of stress and unrest.

It makes one wonder, who in their right mind would invent such a thing as homework?

Who Invented Homework?

Pliny the younger: when in ancient rome, horace mann: the father of modern homework, the history of homework in america, 1900s: anti-homework sentiment & homework bans, 1930: homework as child labor, early-to-mid 20th century: homework and the progressive era, the cold war: homework starts heating up, 1980s: homework in a nation at risk, early 21 st century, state of homework today: why is it being questioned, should students get homework pros of cons of bringing school work home.

Guy stressed with homework

Online, there are many articles that point to Roberto Nevilis as the first educator to give his students homework. He created it as a way to punish his lazy students and ensure that they fully learned their lessons. However, these pieces of information mostly come from obscure educational blogs or forum websites with questionable claims. No credible news source or website has ever mentioned the name Roberto Nevilis as the person who invented homework . In fact, it’s possible that Nevilis never even existed.

As we’re not entirely sure who to credit for creating the bane of students’ existence and the reasons why homework was invented, we can use a few historical trivia to help narrow down our search.

Mentions of the term “homework” date back to as early as ancient Rome. In I century AD, Pliny the Younger , an oratory teacher, supposedly invented homework by asking his followers to practice public speaking at home. It was to help them become more confident and fluent in their speeches. But some would argue that the assignment wasn’t exactly the type of written work that students have to do at home nowadays. Only introverted individuals with a fear of public speaking would find it difficult and stressful.

It’s also safe to argue that since homework is an integral part of education, it’s probable that it has existed since the dawn of learning, like a beacon of light to all those helpless and lost (or to cast darkness on those who despise it). This means that Romans, Enlightenment philosophers, and Middle Age monks all read, memorized, and sang pieces well before homework was given any definition. It’s harder to play the blame game this way unless you want to point your finger at Horace Mann.

In the 19 th century, Horace Mann , a politician and educational reformer had a strong interest in the compulsory public education system of Germany as a newly unified nation-state. Pupils attending the Volksschulen or “People’s Schools” were given mandatory assignments that they needed to complete at home during their own time. This requirement emphasized the state’s power over individuals at a time when nationalists such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte were rallying support for a unified German state. Basically, the state used homework as an element of power play.

Despite its political origins, the system of bringing school assignments home spread across Europe and eventually found their way to Horace Mann, who was in Prussia at that time. He brought the system home with him to America where homework became a daily activity in the lives of students.

Despite homework being a near-universal part of the American educational experience today, it hasn’t always been universally accepted. Take a look at its turbulent history in America.

In 1901, just a few decades after Horace Mann introduced the concept to Americans, homework was banned in the Pacific state of California . The ban affected students younger than 15 years old and stayed in effect until 1917.

Around the same time, prominent publications such as The New York Times and Ladies’ Home Journal published statements from medical professionals and parents who stated that homework was detrimental to children’s health.

In 1930, the American Child Health Association declared homework as a type of child labor . Since laws against child labor had been passed recently during that time, the proclamation painted homework as unacceptable educational practice, making everyone wonder why homework was invented in the first place.

However, it’s keen to note that one of the reasons why homework was so frowned upon was because children were needed to help out with household chores (a.k.a. a less intensive and more socially acceptable form of child labor).

During the progressive education reforms of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, educators started looking for ways to make homework assignments more personal and relevant to the interests of individual students. Maybe this was how immortal essay topics such as “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” and “What I Did During My Summer Vacation” were born.

After World War II, the Cold War heated up rivalries between the U.S. and Russia. Sputnik 1’s launch in 1957 intensified the competition between Americans and Russians – including their youth.

Education authorities in the U.S. decided that implementing rigorous homework to American students of all ages was the best way to ensure that they were always one step ahead of their Russian counterparts, especially in the competitive fields of Math and Science.

In 1986, the U.S. Department of Education’s pamphlet, “What Works,” included homework as one of the effective strategies to boost the quality of education. This came three years after the National Commission on Excellence in Education published “ Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform .” The landmark report lambasted the state of America’s schools, calling for reforms to right the alarming direction that public education was headed.

Today, many educators, students, parents, and other concerned citizens have once again started questioning why homework was invented and if it’s still valuable.

Homework now is facing major backlash around the world. With more than 60% of high school and college students seeking counselling for conditions such as clinical depression and anxiety, all of which are brought about by school, it’s safe to say that American students are more stressed out than they should be.

After sitting through hours at school, they leave only to start on a mountain pile of homework. Not only does it take up a large chunk of time that they can otherwise spend on their hobbies and interests, it also stops them from getting enough sleep. This can lead to students experiencing physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from their peers and society in general.

Is homework important and necessary ? Or is it doing more harm than good? Here some key advantages and disadvantages to consider.

  • It encourages the discipline of practice

Using the same formula or memorizing the same information over and over can be difficult and boring, but it reinforces the practice of discipline. To master a skill, repetition is often needed. By completing homework every night, specifically with difficult subjects, the concepts become easier to understand, helping students polish their skills and achieve their life goals.

  • It teaches students to manage their time

Homework goes beyond just completing tasks. It encourages children to develop their skills in time management as schedules need to be organized to ensure that all tasks can be completed within the day.

  • It provides more time for students to complete their learning process

The time allotted for each subject in school is often limited to 1 hour or less per day. That’s not enough time for students to grasp the material and core concepts of each subject. By creating specific homework assignments, it becomes possible for students to make up for the deficiencies in time.

  • It discourages creative endeavors

If a student spends 3-5 hours a day on homework, those are 3-5 hours that they can’t use to pursue creative passions. Students might like to read leisurely or take up new hobbies but homework takes away their time from painting, learning an instrument, or developing new skills.

  • Homework is typically geared toward benchmarks

Teachers often assign homework to improve students’ test scores. Although this can result in positive outcomes such as better study habits, the fact is that when students feel tired, they won’t likely absorb as much information. Their stress levels will go up and they’ll feel the curriculum burnout.

  • No evidence that homework creates improvements

Research shows that homework doesn’t improve academic performance ; it can even make it worse. Homework creates a negative attitude towards schooling and education, making students dread going to their classes. If they don’t like attending their lessons, they will be unmotivated to listen to the discussions.

With all of the struggles that students face each day due to homework, it’s puzzling to understand why it was even invented. However, whether you think it’s helpful or not, just because the concept has survived for centuries doesn’t mean that it has to stay within the educational system.

Not all students care about the history of homework, but they all do care about the future of their educational pursuits. Maybe one day, homework will be fully removed from the curriculum of schools all over the world but until that day comes, students will have to burn the midnight oil to pass their requirements on time and hopefully achieve their own versions of success.

About the Author

Emily summers.

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Who Really Invented Homework

The Surprising History of Homework Reform

Really, kids, there was a time when lots of grownups thought homework was bad for you.

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Homework causes a lot of fights. Between parents and kids, sure. But also, as education scholar Brian Gill and historian Steven Schlossman write, among U.S. educators. For more than a century, they’ve been debating how, and whether, kids should do schoolwork at home .

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At the dawn of the twentieth century, homework meant memorizing lists of facts which could then be recited to the teacher the next day. The rising progressive education movement despised that approach. These educators advocated classrooms free from recitation. Instead, they wanted students to learn by doing. To most, homework had no place in this sort of system.

Through the middle of the century, Gill and Schlossman write, this seemed like common sense to most progressives. And they got their way in many schools—at least at the elementary level. Many districts abolished homework for K–6 classes, and almost all of them eliminated it for students below fourth grade.

By the 1950s, many educators roundly condemned drills, like practicing spelling words and arithmetic problems. In 1963, Helen Heffernan, chief of California’s Bureau of Elementary Education, definitively stated that “No teacher aware of recent theories could advocate such meaningless homework assignments as pages of repetitive computation in arithmetic. Such an assignment not only kills time but kills the child’s creative urge to intellectual activity.”

But, the authors note, not all reformers wanted to eliminate homework entirely. Some educators reconfigured the concept, suggesting supplemental reading or having students do projects based in their own interests. One teacher proposed “homework” consisting of after-school “field trips to the woods, factories, museums, libraries, art galleries.” In 1937, Carleton Washburne, an influential educator who was the superintendent of the Winnetka, Illinois, schools, proposed a homework regimen of “cooking and sewing…meal planning…budgeting, home repairs, interior decorating, and family relationships.”

Another reformer explained that “at first homework had as its purpose one thing—to prepare the next day’s lessons. Its purpose now is to prepare the children for fuller living through a new type of creative and recreational homework.”

That idea didn’t necessarily appeal to all educators. But moderation in the use of traditional homework became the norm.

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“Virtually all commentators on homework in the postwar years would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in the NEA Journal in 1952 that ‘it would be absurd to demand homework in the first grade or to denounce it as useless in the eighth grade and in high school,’” Gill and Schlossman write.

That remained more or less true until 1983, when publication of the landmark government report A Nation at Risk helped jump-start a conservative “back to basics” agenda, including an emphasis on drill-style homework. In the decades since, continuing “reforms” like high-stakes testing, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Common Core standards have kept pressure on schools. Which is why twenty-first-century first graders get spelling words and pages of arithmetic.

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A Student's Guide to History Homework Help and Beyond

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When we learn about history, it's like taking a trip back in time to discover the interesting stories and important events that have shaped our world. History helps us understand where we came from, where we are now, and where we might go in the future. In this blog post, we'll explore the exciting world of history studies, talk about its advantages and disadvantages, and suggest some cool jobs for history buffs. Plus, we'll introduce you to Desklib, a handy tool that offers study resources, history homework assistance , and academic papers to make your history classes a breeze. 

Pursuing History: A Journey Through Time

About History as a Subject

History isn't just a list of events and facts; it's a story of how people have changed over time. It helps us understand what drove, challenged, and led to the success of those who came before us. While aiding you with the same by providing online history homework help assistance .

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1. Broadened Perspective: History enables us to see the world from diverse viewpoints, fostering empathy and critical thinking.

2. Analytical Skills: It hones our ability to analyse complex situations, make informed decisions, and predict future trends.

3. Cultural Understanding: Studying history helps us appreciate the rich cultural diversity that defines our world.  

Top Career Avenues for History Graduates

1. Historian: Imagine being the storyteller who uncovers hidden tales from the past, diving deep into research, archives, and historical narratives to unveil stories that haven't seen the light of day.

2. Museum Curator: Ever dreamed of curating history itself? As a Museum Curator, you'll collect, document, and present our history in cultural institutions and museums.

3. Archivist: If you're the meticulous type, archiving historical materials and making them accessible to scholars might be your calling.

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Current Approach to Learning History & Their Challenges  

1. Hard Memorizing

a. memorization builds memory retention skills

b. ensures you answer all the questions in your exams

a. Overemphasis on rote learning may hinder critical thinking.

b. may not retain information for the longest time

2. Long Note-Taking Techniques

a. Encourages active engagement with content.

b. Helps you to revise information as and when required

a. Time-consuming and may result in information overload.

3. Organizing Historical Information (Creating Timelines & Concept Mapping)

a. Facilitates a visual understanding of historical events.

a. Can be complex and time-intensive.

4. Relating Things/Events with Others

a. Relating historical events to one another promotes a holistic understanding of historical context

a. it requires comprehensive knowledge of multiple events.

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Curriculum and Instruction

Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

Whether homework helps students — and how much homework is appropriate — has been debated for many years. Homework has been in the headlines again recently and continues to be a topic of controversy, with claims that students and families are suffering under the burden of huge amounts of homework. School board members, educators, and parents may wish to turn to the research for answers to their questions about the benefits and drawbacks of homework. Unfortunately, the research has produced mixed results so far, and more research is needed. Nonetheless, there are some findings that can help to inform decisions about homework. What follows is a summary of the research to date:

There is no conclusive evidence that homework increases student achievement across the board. Some studies show positive effects of homework under certain conditions and for certain students, some show no effects, and some suggest negative effects (Kohn 2006; Trautwein and Koller 2003).

Some studies have shown that older students gain more academic benefits from homework than do younger students, perhaps because younger students have less-effective study habits and are more easily distracted (Cooper 1989; Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2001; Leone and Richards 1989; Muhlenbruck et al. 2000).

Some researchers believe that students from higher-income homes have more resources (such as computers) and receive more assistance with homework, while low-income students may have fewer resources and less assistance and are therefore less likely to complete the homework and reap any related benefits (McDermott, Goldmen and Varenne 1984; Scott-Jones 1984).

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from homework if appropriate supervision and monitoring are provided (Cooper and Nye 1994; Rosenberg 1989).

A national study of the influence of homework on student grades across five ethnic groups found that homework had a stronger impact on Asian American students than on students of other ethnicities (Keith and Benson, 1992).

Certain nonacademic benefits of homework have been shown, especially for younger students. Indeed, some primary-level teachers may assign homework for such benefits, which include learning the importance of responsibility, managing time, developing study habits, and staying with a task until it is completed (Cooper, Robinson and Patall 2006; Corno and Xu 2004; Johnson and Pontius 1989; Warton 2001).

While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night). When students spend more time than this on homework, the positive relationship with student achievement diminishes (Cooper, Robinson, and Patall 2006).

Some research has shown that students who spend more time on homework score higher on measures of achievement and attitude. Studies that have delved more deeply into this topic suggest, however, that the amount of homework assigned by teachers is unrelated to student achievement, while the amount of homework actually completed by students is associated with higher achievement (Cooper 2001; Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, and Greathouse 1998).

Studies of after-school programs that provide homework assistance have found few definite links to improved student achievement. Several studies, however, noted improvements in student motivation and work habits, which may indirectly affect achievement (Cosden, Morrison, Albanese, and Macias 2001; James-Burdumy et al. 2005).

Homework assignments that require interaction between students and parents result in higher levels of parent involvement and are more likely to be turned in than noninteractive assignments. Some studies have shown, however, that parent involvement in homework has no impact on student achievement. Other studies indicate that students whose parents are more involved in their homework have lower test scores and class grades — but this may be because the students were already lower performing and needed more help from their parents than did higher-performing students. (Balli, Wedman, and Demo 1997; Cooper, Lindsay, and Nye 2000; Epstein 1988; Van Voorhis 2003).

Most teachers assign homework to reinforce what was presented in class or to prepare students for new material. Less commonly, homework is assigned to extend student learning to different contexts or to integrate learning by applying multiple skills around a project. Little research exists on the effects of these different kinds of homework on student achievement, leaving policymakers with little evidence on which to base decisions (Cooper 1989; Foyle 1985; Murphy and Decker 1989).

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Balli, S. J., Wedman, J. F., & Demo, D. H. (1997). Family involvement with middle-grades homework: Effects of differential prompting. Journal of Experimental Education, 66, 31-48.

Cooper, H. (1989). Homework. White Plains, N.Y.: Longman.

Cooper, H. (2001). Homework for all — in moderation. Educational Leadership, 58, 34-38.

Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J, Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 70-83.

Cooper, H., & Nye, B. (1994). Homework for students with learning disabilities: The implications of research for policy and practice. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 470-479.

Cooper, H., Nye, B.A., & Lindsay, J.J. (2000). Homework in the home: How student, family and parenting style differences relate to the homework process. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(4), 464-487.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research. Review of Educational Research, 76, 1-62.

Corno, L., & Xu, J. (2004). Homework as the job of childhood. Theory Into Practice, 43, 227-233.

Cosden, M., Morrison, G., Albanese, A. L., & Macias, S. (2001). When homework is not home work: After-school programs for homework assistance. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 211-221.

Epstein, J. L. (1998). Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students. Baltimore: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED301322]

Foyle, H. C. (1985). The effects of preparation and practice homework on student achievement in tenth-grade American history (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 8A.

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Battiato, A. C., Walker, J. M. T., Reed, R. P., DeJong, J. M. & Jones, K. P. (2001). Parental involvement in homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 195-209.

James-Burdumy, S., Dynarski, M., Moore, M., Deke, J., Mansfield, W., Pistorino, C. & Warner, E. (2005). When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Final Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Johnson, J. K., & Pontius, A. (1989). Homework: A survey of teacher beliefs and practices. Research in Education, 41, 71-78.

Keith, T. Z., & Benson, M. J. (1992). Effects of manipulable influences on high school grades across five ethnic groups. Journal of Educational Research, 86, 85-93.

Kohn, A. (2006, September). Abusing research: The study of homework and other examples. Phi Delta Kappan, 8-22.

Leone, C. M., & Richards, M. H. (1989). Classwork and homework in early adolescence: The ecology of achievement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 18, 531-548.

McDermott, R. P., Goldman, S. V., & Varenne, H. (1984). When school goes home: Some problems in the organization of homework [Abstract]. Teachers College Record, 85, 391-409.

Muhlenbruck, L., Cooper, H., Nye, B., & Lindsay, J. J. (2000). Homework and achievement: explaining the different strengths of relation at the elementary and secondary school levels. Social Psychology of Education, 3, 295-317.

Murphy, J. & Decker, K. (1989). Teachers’ use of homework in high schools. Journal of Educational Research, 82(5), 261-269.

Rosenberg, M. S. (1989). The effects of daily homework assignments on the acquisition of basic skills by students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 314-323.

Scott-Jones, D. (1984). Family influences on cognitive development and school achievement. Review of Research in Education, 11, 259-304.

Trautwein, U., & Koller, O. (2003). The relationship between homework and achievement — still much of a mystery. Educational Psychology Review, 15, 115-145.

Van Voorhis, F. L. (2003). Interactive homework in middle school: Effects on family involvements and science achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 96(6), 323-338.

Warton, P. M. (2001). The forgotten voice in homework: Views of students. Educational Psychologist, 36, 155-165.

Related Topics

The Cult of Homework

America’s devotion to the practice stems in part from the fact that it’s what today’s parents and teachers grew up with themselves.

homework about history

America has long had a fickle relationship with homework. A century or so ago, progressive reformers argued that it made kids unduly stressed , which later led in some cases to district-level bans on it for all grades under seventh. This anti-homework sentiment faded, though, amid mid-century fears that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union (which led to more homework), only to resurface in the 1960s and ’70s, when a more open culture came to see homework as stifling play and creativity (which led to less). But this didn’t last either: In the ’80s, government researchers blamed America’s schools for its economic troubles and recommended ramping homework up once more.

The 21st century has so far been a homework-heavy era, with American teenagers now averaging about twice as much time spent on homework each day as their predecessors did in the 1990s . Even little kids are asked to bring school home with them. A 2015 study , for instance, found that kindergarteners, who researchers tend to agree shouldn’t have any take-home work, were spending about 25 minutes a night on it.

But not without pushback. As many children, not to mention their parents and teachers, are drained by their daily workload, some schools and districts are rethinking how homework should work—and some teachers are doing away with it entirely. They’re reviewing the research on homework (which, it should be noted, is contested) and concluding that it’s time to revisit the subject.

Read: My daughter’s homework is killing me

Hillsborough, California, an affluent suburb of San Francisco, is one district that has changed its ways. The district, which includes three elementary schools and a middle school, worked with teachers and convened panels of parents in order to come up with a homework policy that would allow students more unscheduled time to spend with their families or to play. In August 2017, it rolled out an updated policy, which emphasized that homework should be “meaningful” and banned due dates that fell on the day after a weekend or a break.

“The first year was a bit bumpy,” says Louann Carlomagno, the district’s superintendent. She says the adjustment was at times hard for the teachers, some of whom had been doing their job in a similar fashion for a quarter of a century. Parents’ expectations were also an issue. Carlomagno says they took some time to “realize that it was okay not to have an hour of homework for a second grader—that was new.”

Most of the way through year two, though, the policy appears to be working more smoothly. “The students do seem to be less stressed based on conversations I’ve had with parents,” Carlomagno says. It also helps that the students performed just as well on the state standardized test last year as they have in the past.

Earlier this year, the district of Somerville, Massachusetts, also rewrote its homework policy, reducing the amount of homework its elementary and middle schoolers may receive. In grades six through eight, for example, homework is capped at an hour a night and can only be assigned two to three nights a week.

Jack Schneider, an education professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell whose daughter attends school in Somerville, is generally pleased with the new policy. But, he says, it’s part of a bigger, worrisome pattern. “The origin for this was general parental dissatisfaction, which not surprisingly was coming from a particular demographic,” Schneider says. “Middle-class white parents tend to be more vocal about concerns about homework … They feel entitled enough to voice their opinions.”

Schneider is all for revisiting taken-for-granted practices like homework, but thinks districts need to take care to be inclusive in that process. “I hear approximately zero middle-class white parents talking about how homework done best in grades K through two actually strengthens the connection between home and school for young people and their families,” he says. Because many of these parents already feel connected to their school community, this benefit of homework can seem redundant. “They don’t need it,” Schneider says, “so they’re not advocating for it.”

That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that homework is more vital in low-income districts. In fact, there are different, but just as compelling, reasons it can be burdensome in these communities as well. Allison Wienhold, who teaches high-school Spanish in the small town of Dunkerton, Iowa, has phased out homework assignments over the past three years. Her thinking: Some of her students, she says, have little time for homework because they’re working 30 hours a week or responsible for looking after younger siblings.

As educators reduce or eliminate the homework they assign, it’s worth asking what amount and what kind of homework is best for students. It turns out that there’s some disagreement about this among researchers, who tend to fall in one of two camps.

In the first camp is Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Cooper conducted a review of the existing research on homework in the mid-2000s , and found that, up to a point, the amount of homework students reported doing correlates with their performance on in-class tests. This correlation, the review found, was stronger for older students than for younger ones.

This conclusion is generally accepted among educators, in part because it’s compatible with “the 10-minute rule,” a rule of thumb popular among teachers suggesting that the proper amount of homework is approximately 10 minutes per night, per grade level—that is, 10 minutes a night for first graders, 20 minutes a night for second graders, and so on, up to two hours a night for high schoolers.

In Cooper’s eyes, homework isn’t overly burdensome for the typical American kid. He points to a 2014 Brookings Institution report that found “little evidence that the homework load has increased for the average student”; onerous amounts of homework, it determined, are indeed out there, but relatively rare. Moreover, the report noted that most parents think their children get the right amount of homework, and that parents who are worried about under-assigning outnumber those who are worried about over-assigning. Cooper says that those latter worries tend to come from a small number of communities with “concerns about being competitive for the most selective colleges and universities.”

According to Alfie Kohn, squarely in camp two, most of the conclusions listed in the previous three paragraphs are questionable. Kohn, the author of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , considers homework to be a “reliable extinguisher of curiosity,” and has several complaints with the evidence that Cooper and others cite in favor of it. Kohn notes, among other things, that Cooper’s 2006 meta-analysis doesn’t establish causation, and that its central correlation is based on children’s (potentially unreliable) self-reporting of how much time they spend doing homework. (Kohn’s prolific writing on the subject alleges numerous other methodological faults.)

In fact, other correlations make a compelling case that homework doesn’t help. Some countries whose students regularly outperform American kids on standardized tests, such as Japan and Denmark, send their kids home with less schoolwork , while students from some countries with higher homework loads than the U.S., such as Thailand and Greece, fare worse on tests. (Of course, international comparisons can be fraught because so many factors, in education systems and in societies at large, might shape students’ success.)

Kohn also takes issue with the way achievement is commonly assessed. “If all you want is to cram kids’ heads with facts for tomorrow’s tests that they’re going to forget by next week, yeah, if you give them more time and make them do the cramming at night, that could raise the scores,” he says. “But if you’re interested in kids who know how to think or enjoy learning, then homework isn’t merely ineffective, but counterproductive.”

His concern is, in a way, a philosophical one. “The practice of homework assumes that only academic growth matters, to the point that having kids work on that most of the school day isn’t enough,” Kohn says. What about homework’s effect on quality time spent with family? On long-term information retention? On critical-thinking skills? On social development? On success later in life? On happiness? The research is quiet on these questions.

Another problem is that research tends to focus on homework’s quantity rather than its quality, because the former is much easier to measure than the latter. While experts generally agree that the substance of an assignment matters greatly (and that a lot of homework is uninspiring busywork), there isn’t a catchall rule for what’s best—the answer is often specific to a certain curriculum or even an individual student.

Given that homework’s benefits are so narrowly defined (and even then, contested), it’s a bit surprising that assigning so much of it is often a classroom default, and that more isn’t done to make the homework that is assigned more enriching. A number of things are preserving this state of affairs—things that have little to do with whether homework helps students learn.

Jack Schneider, the Massachusetts parent and professor, thinks it’s important to consider the generational inertia of the practice. “The vast majority of parents of public-school students themselves are graduates of the public education system,” he says. “Therefore, their views of what is legitimate have been shaped already by the system that they would ostensibly be critiquing.” In other words, many parents’ own history with homework might lead them to expect the same for their children, and anything less is often taken as an indicator that a school or a teacher isn’t rigorous enough. (This dovetails with—and complicates—the finding that most parents think their children have the right amount of homework.)

Barbara Stengel, an education professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, brought up two developments in the educational system that might be keeping homework rote and unexciting. The first is the importance placed in the past few decades on standardized testing, which looms over many public-school classroom decisions and frequently discourages teachers from trying out more creative homework assignments. “They could do it, but they’re afraid to do it, because they’re getting pressure every day about test scores,” Stengel says.

Second, she notes that the profession of teaching, with its relatively low wages and lack of autonomy, struggles to attract and support some of the people who might reimagine homework, as well as other aspects of education. “Part of why we get less interesting homework is because some of the people who would really have pushed the limits of that are no longer in teaching,” she says.

“In general, we have no imagination when it comes to homework,” Stengel says. She wishes teachers had the time and resources to remake homework into something that actually engages students. “If we had kids reading—anything, the sports page, anything that they’re able to read—that’s the best single thing. If we had kids going to the zoo, if we had kids going to parks after school, if we had them doing all of those things, their test scores would improve. But they’re not. They’re going home and doing homework that is not expanding what they think about.”

“Exploratory” is one word Mike Simpson used when describing the types of homework he’d like his students to undertake. Simpson is the head of the Stone Independent School, a tiny private high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that opened in 2017. “We were lucky to start a school a year and a half ago,” Simpson says, “so it’s been easy to say we aren’t going to assign worksheets, we aren’t going assign regurgitative problem sets.” For instance, a half-dozen students recently built a 25-foot trebuchet on campus.

Simpson says he thinks it’s a shame that the things students have to do at home are often the least fulfilling parts of schooling: “When our students can’t make the connection between the work they’re doing at 11 o’clock at night on a Tuesday to the way they want their lives to be, I think we begin to lose the plot.”

When I talked with other teachers who did homework makeovers in their classrooms, I heard few regrets. Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Joshua, Texas, stopped assigning take-home packets of worksheets three years ago, and instead started asking her students to do 20 minutes of pleasure reading a night. She says she’s pleased with the results, but she’s noticed something funny. “Some kids,” she says, “really do like homework.” She’s started putting out a bucket of it for students to draw from voluntarily—whether because they want an additional challenge or something to pass the time at home.

Chris Bronke, a high-school English teacher in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, told me something similar. This school year, he eliminated homework for his class of freshmen, and now mostly lets students study on their own or in small groups during class time. It’s usually up to them what they work on each day, and Bronke has been impressed by how they’ve managed their time.

In fact, some of them willingly spend time on assignments at home, whether because they’re particularly engaged, because they prefer to do some deeper thinking outside school, or because they needed to spend time in class that day preparing for, say, a biology test the following period. “They’re making meaningful decisions about their time that I don’t think education really ever gives students the experience, nor the practice, of doing,” Bronke said.

The typical prescription offered by those overwhelmed with homework is to assign less of it—to subtract. But perhaps a more useful approach, for many classrooms, would be to create homework only when teachers and students believe it’s actually needed to further the learning that takes place in class—to start with nothing, and add as necessary.


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History of Homework

The History Of Homework: How It All Started And When?

Homework tasks are an important part of academic life, as they facilitate the entire learning process. They are assigned to the students to help them clarify their concepts by indulging in deep analysis with self-study. But, the thought of working on the history of homework assignments overwhelms many students out there. They experience an instant fear and start seeing these assignments as a burden. The homework tasks have become quite complex due to the increasing competition. Nowadays, people prefer hiring professional homework help  to ensure high scores in their subjects.

Table of Contents I liked the piano. I always liked playing. And I just hated homework. What Is The Concept Of Homework? Here, homework is not a punishment. They really like coming to homework club. We want it to feel like home. History Of Homework: The Origins 1. Pliny The Younger:  2. Roberto Nevilis Of Venice: 3. Horace Mann:  My homework was not stolen by a one-armed man The Anti-Homework Wave Homework: A Form Of Child Labor 1. Homework In The Progressive Early & Mid 20th Century 2. The Cold War & Homework 3. Homework As A National Risk 4. Early 21st Century & The Homework Ban 5. Homework In The 21st Century We’ve done our homework and we think we’re going to be good with the Charger. Why Is Home Teaching An Essential Requirement? Conclusion I liked the piano. I always liked playing. And I just hated homework. — Mike Shinoda

But, do you ever wonder how did homework come into the picture? Who even invented homework, and for what purpose? In this blog, we will dig deep and reveal all these interesting facts for you.

What Is The Concept Of Homework?

Homework is a task or assignment work given to students by their teachers in school, college, or University. It has to be managed in the home premises and then submitted to the assigners. It usually includes the subjects and topics concerning the concepts that taught in the classroom .

The purpose behind the allotment of homework is to motivate the students to revise their concepts and ensure they have a fair understanding of the topics. This way, they have a better idea about their subjects, and there is a good scope for exploring further.

Homework remains an integral part of academics throughout the educational span. It empowers them by adding to their knowledge and allowing scope for the constant practice of the subjects. Working on a pile of homework assignments could be cumbersome for many. A professional  homework help  specialist could be a good option to unburden yourself.

Here, homework is not a punishment. They really like coming to homework club. We want it to feel like home. — Amy Campbell  

History Of Homework: The Origins

History of Homework: The Origin

Homework is an age-old concept, and there are many speculations about its origination. As per the researches, various events and personalities are often believed to influence the origins of homework.

Here, let us introduce you to two of the most popular, and accredited personalities in the history of homework.

1. Pliny The Younger: 

The earliest traces of the existence of homework can be traced back to ancient Rome, when a Roman educator and teacher on oratory, Pliny the Younger , gave birth to this concept. He instructed the students to indulge in at-home activities. It all happened in Quintilian. The goal of these practice exercises was to encourage people to develop their public speaking skills, in a rather casual environment.

2. Roberto Nevilis Of Venice:

In 1905, an Italian educator, Roberto Nevilis is credited to start the practice of assigning homework to students, as per various sources. There are rumors that Nevilis often used homework to punish his students. Later on, homework exercises started impacting the performance positively. It made homework a regular task all over the globe. But, as per further inspection this claim seems like a myth.

3. Horace Mann: 

In the 19 th  century , an educationist reformer and politician, Horace Mann came forward with his revolutionary idea to implement homework as a regular task all around the world. He possessed a deep interest in transforming the German education system by making public education mandatory. Needless to say, it was a part of his political goals, which possibly facilitated the concept of homework becoming a necessary task nationwide.

But, how did Horace Mann came forward with this life-changing idea?

It all started when Horace Mann visited Volksschulen, a people’s school during his trip to Germany somewhere around 1843. In Volksschulen, mandatory assignment work was a part of their academic essential. Students were allotted specified tasks to do at home. They have to be complete within a particular time frame with homework help  from their friends and family. Keeping his political enthusiasm in mind, Horace Mann brought the idea to America.

My homework was not stolen by a one-armed man — Nancy Cartwright

The Anti-Homework Wave

Back in 1901 when the concept of homework was gaining popularity across various geographical locations, the Pacific State of California banned homework. As per the reports published in several prominent newspapers of that time, including The New York Times, parents and medical experts declared homework to be extremely dangerous for children’s health.

Homework: A Form Of Child Labor

Homework: A Form of Child Labor

Yes, homework was indeed proclaimed as a form of child labor by American Child Health Association in 1930.

1. Homework In The Progressive Early & Mid 20 th  Century

The late 19 th  and early 20 th  centuries shaped a positive image of homework. This was the rise of the progressive era, where teachers started working on ways to transform homework into more personalized assignments that fit the requirements to meet the needs of individual students. Maybe this is when students started indulging their peers and family in their at-home tasks for  homework help .

2. The Cold War & Homework

After World War II , the Cold War started between Russia and America. The heating competition to outperform one another made U.S. authorities introduce meticulous homework in their education system to make sure that the American students achieve a higher success ratio in science and mathematics than the Russians.

3. Homework As A National Risk

In the 1980s, the U.S National Commission on Excellence in Education published a landmark report where it declared homework as an element that puts the nation at risk.

4. Early 21 st  Century & The Homework Ban

Due to the rising concerns of citizens and educators, the importance of homework was questioned again. Several published books from that era on this subject are the evidence.

5. Homework In The 21 st  Century

In the 21 st century, homework has become a vital aspect of the education system. It is constantly supported by the teachers, parents, as well as experts. Today, homework is consider as a crucial element to encourage the development of skills and critical thinking in the learners. The internet-driven modern era even has introduced the unique concept of professional assignment help . Various online services provide expert guidance to students who find it difficult to manage their complicated homework assignments daunting.

We’ve done our homework and we think we’re going to be good with the Charger. — John Fernandez

Why Is Home Teaching An Essential Requirement?

It is needless to say that the education system has evolved significantly since the early era. However, the educators prefer adhering to the traditional concepts as they perceive the home learning experience to be quite efficient. The assignments for  homework help  in the development of creativity, independence, and individual thoughts process.

Here are some of the significant points to support the fact that home learning experience is highly useful:

  • Scientific concepts demand constant practice and repeated revisions.
  • One can only achieve great results in the subjects that taught in class, with thorough learning. Else, the students may forget the material.
  • At-home learning is an excellent approach for enhancing students’ skills and talents.
  • The memorization of subjects is a practical way to gain expertise.
  • The efforts of teachers may go in vain if the assimilated study material is not revise by the students, on time. Back in time, educationists understood this well which resulted in at-home learning and made the educational process a lot easier.

Working on the homework tasks, or home learning involves some major stages:

  • Comprehension
  • Accelerating the process
  • Development of new skills
  • Applying the gained knowledge and skills practically

This is a promising way to empower the development skills in the learners which pushes them to go ahead and open the doors of success with a new perspective.

Homework is a form of home learning experience that has been through several ups and downs ever since its introduction in the education system. Despite being an integral part of the academic culture, homework remains a controversial concept. However, nobody can deny the exceptional benefits that homework offers. Recently there has been a spike in the services that offer custom  homework help to students. This makes it a lot easier for them to manage both, their studies and assignments.

1: Learn To Create Expert Notes in College

2: Summer Homework: Is It Really Beneficial?

3: Should Parents Permit Children To Use Assignment Help Services?



Homework in America

  • 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

Subscribe to the Brown Center on Education Policy Newsletter

Tom loveless tom loveless former brookings expert @tomloveless99.

March 18, 2014

  • 18 min read

Part II of the 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

part two cover

Homework!  The topic, no, just the word itself, sparks controversy.  It has for a long time. In 1900, Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal , published an impassioned article, “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents,” accusing homework of destroying American youth.  Drawing on the theories of his fellow educational progressive, psychologist G. Stanley Hall (who has since been largely discredited), Bok argued that study at home interfered with children’s natural inclination towards play and free movement, threatened children’s physical and mental health, and usurped the right of parents to decide activities in the home.

The Journal was an influential magazine, especially with parents.  An anti-homework campaign burst forth that grew into a national crusade. [i]   School districts across the land passed restrictions on homework, culminating in a 1901 statewide prohibition of homework in California for any student under the age of 15.  The crusade would remain powerful through 1913, before a world war and other concerns bumped it from the spotlight.  Nevertheless, anti-homework sentiment would remain a touchstone of progressive education throughout the twentieth century.  As a political force, it would lie dormant for years before bubbling up to mobilize proponents of free play and “the whole child.” Advocates would, if educators did not comply, seek to impose homework restrictions through policy making.

Our own century dawned during a surge of anti-homework sentiment. From 1998 to 2003, Newsweek , TIME , and People , all major national publications at the time, ran cover stories on the evils of homework.  TIME ’s 1999 story had the most provocative title, “The Homework Ate My Family: Kids Are Dazed, Parents Are Stressed, Why Piling On Is Hurting Students.” People ’s 2003 article offered a call to arms: “Overbooked: Four Hours of Homework for a Third Grader? Exhausted Kids (and Parents) Fight Back.” Feature stories about students laboring under an onerous homework burden ran in newspapers from coast to coast. Photos of angst ridden children became a journalistic staple.

The 2003 Brown Center Report on American Education included a study investigating the homework controversy.  Examining the most reliable empirical evidence at the time, the study concluded that the dramatic claims about homework were unfounded.  An overwhelming majority of students, at least two-thirds, depending on age, had an hour or less of homework each night.  Surprisingly, even the homework burden of college-bound high school seniors was discovered to be rather light, less than an hour per night or six hours per week. Public opinion polls also contradicted the prevailing story.  Parents were not up in arms about homework.  Most said their children’s homework load was about right.  Parents wanting more homework out-numbered those who wanted less.

Now homework is in the news again.  Several popular anti-homework books fill store shelves (whether virtual or brick and mortar). [ii]   The documentary Race to Nowhere depicts homework as one aspect of an overwrought, pressure-cooker school system that constantly pushes students to perform and destroys their love of learning.  The film’s website claims over 6,000 screenings in more than 30 countries.  In 2011, the New York Times ran a front page article about the homework restrictions adopted by schools in Galloway, NJ, describing “a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, especially in elementary grades.”   In the article, Vicki Abeles, the director of Race to Nowhere , invokes the indictment of homework lodged a century ago, declaring, “The presence of homework is negatively affecting the health of our young people and the quality of family time.” [iii] 

A petition for the National PTA to adopt “healthy homework guidelines” on change.org currently has 19,000 signatures.  In September 2013, Atlantic featured an article, “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me,” by a Manhattan writer who joined his middle school daughter in doing her homework for a week.  Most nights the homework took more than three hours to complete.

The Current Study

A decade has passed since the last Brown Center Report study of homework, and it’s time for an update.  How much homework do American students have today?  Has the homework burden increased, gone down, or remained about the same?  What do parents think about the homework load?

A word on why such a study is important.  It’s not because the popular press is creating a fiction.  The press accounts are built on the testimony of real students and real parents, people who are very unhappy with the amount of homework coming home from school.  These unhappy people are real—but they also may be atypical.  Their experiences, as dramatic as they are, may not represent the common experience of American households with school-age children.  In the analysis below, data are analyzed from surveys that are methodologically designed to produce reliable information about the experiences of all Americans.  Some of the surveys have existed long enough to illustrate meaningful trends.  The question is whether strong empirical evidence confirms the anecdotes about overworked kids and outraged parents.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provide a good look at trends in homework for nearly the past three decades.  Table 2-1 displays NAEP data from 1984-2012.  The data are from the long-term trend NAEP assessment’s student questionnaire, a survey of homework practices featuring both consistently-worded questions and stable response categories.  The question asks: “How much time did you spend on homework yesterday?”  Responses are shown for NAEP’s three age groups: 9, 13, and 17. [iv]

Table 21

Today’s youngest students seem to have more homework than in the past.  The first three rows of data for age 9 reveal a shift away from students having no homework, declining from 35% in 1984 to 22% in 2012.  A slight uptick occurred from the low of 18% in 2008, however, so the trend may be abating.  The decline of the “no homework” group is matched by growth in the percentage of students with less than an hour’s worth, from 41% in 1984 to 57% in 2012. The share of students with one to two hours of homework changed very little over the entire 28 years, comprising 12% of students in 2012.  The group with the heaviest load, more than two hours of homework, registered at 5% in 2012.  It was 6% in 1984.

The amount of homework for 13-year-olds appears to have lightened slightly. Students with one to two hours of homework declined from 29% to 23%.  The next category down (in terms of homework load), students with less than an hour, increased from 36% to 44%.  One can see, by combining the bottom two rows, that students with an hour or more of homework declined steadily from 1984 to 2008 (falling from 38% to 27%) and then ticked up to 30% in 2012.  The proportion of students with the heaviest load, more than two hours, slipped from 9% in 1984 to 7% in 2012 and ranged between 7-10% for the entire period.

For 17-year-olds, the homework burden has not varied much.  The percentage of students with no homework has increased from 22% to 27%.  Most of that gain occurred in the 1990s. Also note that the percentage of 17-year-olds who had homework but did not do it was 11% in 2012, the highest for the three NAEP age groups.  Adding that number in with the students who didn’t have homework in the first place means that more than one-third of seventeen year olds (38%) did no homework on the night in question in 2012.  That compares with 33% in 1984.  The segment of the 17-year-old population with more than two hours of homework, from which legitimate complaints of being overworked might arise, has been stuck in the 10%-13% range.

The NAEP data point to four main conclusions:

  • With one exception, the homework load has remained remarkably stable since 1984.
  • The exception is nine-year-olds.  They have experienced an increase in homework, primarily because many students who once did not have any now have some.  The percentage of nine-year-olds with no homework fell by 13 percentage points, and the percentage with less than an hour grew by 16 percentage points.
  • Of the three age groups, 17-year-olds have the most bifurcated distribution of the homework burden.   They have the largest percentage of kids with no homework (especially when the homework shirkers are added in) and the largest percentage with more than two hours.
  • NAEP data do not support the idea that a large and growing number of students have an onerous amount of homework.  For all three age groups, only a small percentage of students report more than two hours of homework.  For 1984-2012, the size of the two hours or more groups ranged from 5-6% for age 9, 6-10% for age 13, and 10-13% for age 17.

Note that the item asks students how much time they spent on homework “yesterday.”  That phrasing has the benefit of immediacy, asking for an estimate of precise, recent behavior rather than an estimate of general behavior for an extended, unspecified period.  But misleading responses could be generated if teachers lighten the homework of NAEP participants on the night before the NAEP test is given.  That’s possible. [v] Such skewing would not affect trends if it stayed about the same over time and in the same direction (teachers assigning less homework than usual on the day before NAEP).  Put another way, it would affect estimates of the amount of homework at any single point in time but not changes in the amount of homework between two points in time.

A check for possible skewing is to compare the responses above with those to another homework question on the NAEP questionnaire from 1986-2004 but no longer in use. [vi]   It asked students, “How much time do you usually spend on homework each day?” Most of the response categories have different boundaries from the “last night” question, making the data incomparable.  But the categories asking about no homework are comparable.  Responses indicating no homework on the “usual” question in 2004 were: 2% for age 9-year-olds, 5% for 13 year olds, and 12% for 17-year-olds.  These figures are much less than the ones reported in Table 2-1 above.  The “yesterday” data appear to overstate the proportion of students typically receiving no homework.

The story is different for the “heavy homework load” response categories.  The “usual” question reported similar percentages as the “yesterday” question.  The categories representing the most amount of homework were “more than one hour” for age 9 and “more than two hours” for ages 13 and 17.   In 2004, 12% of 9-year-olds said they had more than one hour of daily homework, while 8% of 13-year-olds and 12% of 17-year-olds said they had more than two hours.  For all three age groups, those figures declined from1986 to 2004. The decline for age 17 was quite large, falling from 17% in 1986 to 12% in 2004.  

The bottom line: regardless of how the question is posed, NAEP data do not support the view that the homework burden is growing, nor do they support the belief that the proportion of students with a lot of homework has increased in recent years.  The proportion of students with no homework is probably under-reported on the long-term trend NAEP.  But the upper bound of students with more than two hours of daily homework appears to be about 15%–and that is for students in their final years of high school.

College Freshmen Look Back  

There is another good source of information on high school students’ homework over several decades.  The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA conducts an annual survey of college freshmen that began in 1966.  In 1986, the survey started asking a series of questions regarding how students spent time in the final year of high school.  Figure 2-1 shows the 2012 percentages for the dominant activities.  More than half of college freshmen say they spent at least six hours per week socializing with friends (66.2%) and exercising/sports (53.0%).  About 40% devoted that much weekly time to paid employment.

Figure 21

Homework comes in fourth pace. Only 38.4% of students said they spent at least six hours per week studying or doing homework. When these students were high school seniors, it was not an activity central to their out of school lives.  That is quite surprising.  Think about it.  The survey is confined to the nation’s best students, those attending college.  Gone are high school dropouts.  Also not included are students who go into the military or attain full time employment immediately after high school.  And yet only a little more than one-third of the sampled students, devoted more than six hours per week to homework and studying when they were on the verge of attending college.

Another notable finding from the UCLA survey is how the statistic is trending (see Figure 2-2).  In 1986, 49.5% reported spending six or more hours per week studying and doing homework.  By 2002, the proportion had dropped to 33.4%.  In 2012, as noted in Figure 2-1, the statistic had bounced off the historical lows to reach 38.4%.  It is slowly rising but still sits sharply below where it was in 1987.

Figure 22

What Do Parents Think?

Met Life has published an annual survey of teachers since 1984.  In 1987 and 2007, the survey included questions focusing on homework and expanded to sample both parents and students on the topic. Data are broken out for secondary and elementary parents and for students in grades 3-6 and grades 7-12 (the latter not being an exact match with secondary parents because of K-8 schools).

Table 2-2 shows estimates of homework from the 2007 survey.  Respondents were asked to estimate the amount of homework on a typical school day (Monday-Friday).  The median estimate of each group of respondents is shaded.  As displayed in the first column, the median estimate for parents of an elementary student is that their child devotes about 30 minutes to homework on the typical weekday.  Slightly more than half (52%) estimate 30 minutes or less; 48% estimate 45 minutes or more.  Students in grades 3-6 (third column) give a median estimate that is a bit higher than their parents’ (45 minutes), with almost two-thirds (63%) saying 45 minutes or less is the typical weekday homework load.

Table 22

One hour of homework is the median estimate for both secondary parents and students in grade 7-12, with 55% of parents reporting an hour or less and about two-thirds (67%) of students reporting the same.  As for the prevalence of the heaviest homework loads, 11% of secondary parents say their children spend more than two hours on weekday homework, and 12% is the corresponding figure for students in grades 7-12.

The Met Life surveys in 1987 and 2007 asked parents to evaluate the amount and quality of homework.  Table 2-3 displays the results.  There was little change over the two decades separating the two surveys.  More than 60% of parents rate the amount of homework as good or excellent, and about two-thirds give such high ratings to the quality of the homework their children are receiving.  The proportion giving poor ratings to either the quantity or quality of homework did not exceed 10% on either survey.


Parental dissatisfaction with homework comes in two forms: those who feel schools give too much homework and those who feel schools do not give enough.  The current wave of journalism about unhappy parents is dominated by those who feel schools give too much homework.  How big is this group?  Not very big (see Figure 2-3). On the Met Life survey, 60% of parents felt schools were giving the right amount of homework, 25% wanted more homework, and only 15% wanted less.

Figure 23

National surveys on homework are infrequent, but the 2006-2007 period had more than one.  A poll conducted by Public Agenda in 2006 reported similar numbers as the Met Life survey: 68% of parents describing the homework load as “about right,” 20% saying there is “too little homework,” and 11% saying there is “too much homework.”  A 2006 AP-AOL poll found the highest percentage of parents reporting too much homework, 19%.  But even in that poll, they were outnumbered by parents believing there is too little homework (23%), and a clear majority (57%) described the load as “about right.”  A 2010 local survey of Chicago parents conducted by the Chicago Tribune reported figures similar to those reported above: approximately two-thirds of parents saying their children’s homework load is “about right,” 21% saying it’s not enough, and 12% responding that the homework load is too much.

Summary and Discussion

In recent years, the press has been filled with reports of kids over-burdened with homework and parents rebelling against their children’s oppressive workload. The data assembled above call into question whether that portrait is accurate for the typical American family.  Homework typically takes an hour per night.  The homework burden of students rarely exceeds two hours a night.  The upper limit of students with two or more hours per night is about 15% nationally—and that is for juniors or seniors in high school.  For younger children, the upper boundary is about 10% who have such a heavy load.  Polls show that parents who want less homework range from 10%-20%, and that they are outnumbered—in every national poll on the homework question—by parents who want more homework, not less.  The majority of parents describe their children’s homework burden as about right.

So what’s going on?  Where are the homework horror stories coming from?

The Met Life survey of parents is able to give a few hints, mainly because of several questions that extend beyond homework to other aspects of schooling.  The belief that homework is burdensome is more likely held by parents with a larger set of complaints and concerns.  They are alienated from their child’s school.  About two in five parents (19%) don’t believe homework is important.  Compared to other parents, these parents are more likely to say too much homework is assigned (39% vs. 9%), that what is assigned is just busywork (57% vs. 36%), and that homework gets in the way of their family spending time together (51% vs. 15%).  They are less likely to rate the quality of homework as excellent (3% vs. 23%) or to rate the availability and responsiveness of teachers as excellent (18% vs. 38%). [vii]

They can also convince themselves that their numbers are larger than they really are.  Karl Taro Greenfeld, the author of the Atlantic article mentioned above, seems to fit that description.  “Every parent I know in New York City comments on how much homework their children have,” Mr. Greenfeld writes.  As for those parents who do not share this view? “There is always a clique of parents who are happy with the amount of homework. In fact, they would prefer more .  I tend not to get along with that type of parent.” [viii] 

Mr. Greenfeld’s daughter attends a selective exam school in Manhattan, known for its rigorous expectations and, yes, heavy homework load.  He had also complained about homework in his daughter’s previous school in Brentwood, CA.  That school was a charter school.  After Mr. Greenfeld emailed several parents expressing his complaints about homework in that school, the school’s vice-principal accused Mr. Greenfeld of cyberbullying.  The lesson here is that even schools of choice are not immune from complaints about homework.

The homework horror stories need to be read in a proper perspective.  They seem to originate from the very personal discontents of a small group of parents.  They do not reflect the experience of the average family with a school-age child.  That does not diminish these stories’ power to command the attention of school officials or even the public at large. But it also suggests a limited role for policy making in settling such disputes.  Policy is a blunt instrument.  Educators, parents, and kids are in the best position to resolve complaints about homework on a case by case basis.  Complaints about homework have existed for more than a century, and they show no signs of going away.

Part II Notes:

[i]Brian Gill and Steven Schlossman, “A Sin Against Childhood: Progressive Education and the Crusade to Abolish Homework, 1897-1941,” American Journal of Education , vol. 105, no. 1 (Nov., 1996), 27-66.  Also see Brian P. Gill and Steven L. Schlossman, “Villain or Savior? The American Discourse on Homework, 1850-2003,” Theory into Practice , 43, 3 (Summer 2004), pp. 174-181.

[ii] Bennett, Sara, and Nancy Kalish.  The Case Against Homework:  How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It   (New York:  Crown, 2006).  Buell, John.  Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time . (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004). Kohn, Alfie.    The Homework Myth:  Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing  (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006).  Kralovec, Etta, and John Buell.  The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning  (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).

[iii] Hu, Winnie, “ New Recruit in Homework Revolt: The Principal ,” New York Times , June 15, 2011, page a1.

[iv] Data for other years are available on the NAEP Data Explorer.  For Table 1, the starting point of 1984 was chosen because it is the first year all three ages were asked the homework question.  The two most recent dates (2012 and 2008) were chosen to show recent changes, and the two years in the 1990s to show developments during that decade.

[v] NAEP’s sampling design lessens the probability of skewing the homework figure.  Students are randomly drawn from a school population, meaning that an entire class is not tested.  Teachers would have to either single out NAEP students for special homework treatment or change their established homework routine for the whole class just to shelter NAEP participants from homework.  Sampling designs that draw entact classrooms for testing (such as TIMSS) would be more vulnerable to this effect.  Moreover, students in middle and high school usually have several different teachers during the day, meaning that prior knowledge of a particular student’s participation in NAEP would probably be limited to one or two teachers.

[vi] NAEP Question B003801 for 9 year olds and B003901 for 13- and 17-year olds.

[vii] Met Life, Met Life Survey of the American Teacher: The Homework Experience , November 13, 2007, pp. 21-22.

[viii] Greenfeld, Karl Taro, “ My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me ,” The Atlantic , September 18, 2013.

Education Policy K-12 Education

Governance Studies

Brown Center on Education Policy

Preston Green III, Suzanne Eckes

November 7, 2023

Tom Swiderski, Sarah Crittenden Fuller

November 6, 2023

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The Big Question: Who Invented Homework?

homework about history

Crystal Bourque

homework about history

Love it or hate it, homework is part of student life.

But what’s the purpose of completing these tasks and assignments? And who would create an education system that makes students complete work outside the classroom?

This post contains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about homework. So keep reading! You’ll discover the answer to the big question: who invented homework?

The Inventor of Homework

The myth of roberto nevilis: who is he, the origins of homework, a history of homework in the united states, 5 facts about homework, types of homework.

  • What’s the Purpose of Homework? 
  • Homework Pros
  • Homework Cons

When, How, and Why was Homework Invented?

who invented homework

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To ensure we cover the basics (and more), let’s explore when, how, and why was homework invented.

As a bonus, we’ll also cover who invented homework. So get ready because the answer might surprise you!

It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact person responsible for the invention of homework.

For example, Medieval Monks would work on memorization and practice singing. Ancient philosophers would read and develop their teachings outside the classroom. While this might not sound like homework in the traditional form we know today, one could argue that these methods helped to form the basic structure and format.

So let’s turn to recorded history to try and identify who invented homework and when homework was invented.

Pliny the Younger

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We can trace the term ‘homework’ back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger (61—112 CE), an oratory teacher, often told his students to practice their public speaking outside class.

Pliny believed that the repetition and practice of speech would help students gain confidence in their speaking abilities.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

homework about history

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Before the idea of homework came to the United States, Germany’s newly formed nation-state had been giving students homework for years.

It wasn’t until German Philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762—1814) helped to develop the Volksschulen (People’s Schools) that homework became mandatory.

Fichte believed that the state needed to hold power over individuals to create a unified Germany. A way to assert control over people meant that students attending the Volksshulen were required to complete assignments at home on their own time.

As a result, some people credit Fichte for being the inventor of homework.

Horace Mann

roberto nevilis

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The idea of homework spread across Europe throughout the 19th century.

So who created homework in the United States?

Horace Mann (1796—1859), an American educational reformer, spent some time in Prussia. There, he learned more about Germany’s Volksshulen and homework practices.

Mann liked what he saw and brought this system back to America. As a result, homework rapidly became a common factor in students’ lives across the country.

homework about history

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If you’ve ever felt curious about who invented homework, a quick online search might direct you to a man named Roberto Nevilis, a teacher in Venice, Italy.

As the story goes, Nevilis invented homework in 1905 (or 1095) to punish students who didn’t demonstrate a good understanding of the lessons taught during class.

This teaching technique supposedly spread to the rest of Europe before reaching North America.

Unfortunately, there’s little truth to this story. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that these online sources lack credible sources to back up this myth as fact.

In 1905, the Roman Empire turned its attention to the First Crusade. No one had time to spare on formalizing education, and classrooms didn’t even exist. So how could Nevilis spread the idea of homework when education remained so informal?

And when you jump to 1901, you’ll discover that the government of California passed a law banning homework for children under fifteen. Nevilis couldn’t have invented homework in 1905 if this law had already reached the United States in 1901.

what is homework

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When it comes to the origins of homework, looking at the past shows us that there isn’t one person who created homework. Instead, examining the facts shows us that several people helped to bring the idea of homework into Europe and then the United States.

In addition, the idea of homework extends beyond what historians have discovered. After all, the concept of learning the necessary skills human beings need to survive has existed since the dawn of man.

More than 100 years have come and gone since Horace Mann introduced homework to the school system in the United States.

Therefore, it’s not strange to think that the concept of homework has changed, along with our people and culture.

In short, homework hasn’t always been considered acceptable. Let’s dive into the history or background of homework to learn why.

Homework is Banned! (The 1900s)

Important publications of the time, including the Ladies’ Home Journal and The New York Times, published articles on the negative impacts homework had on American children’s health and well-being.

As a result, California banned homework for children under fifteen in 1901. This law, however, changed again about a decade later (1917).

Children Needed at Home (The 1930s)

Formed in 1923, The American Child Health Association (ACHA) aimed to decrease the infant mortality rate and better support the health and development of the American child.

By the 1930s, ACHA deemed homework a form of child labor. Since the government recently passed laws against child labor , it became difficult to justify homework assignments.

who invented homework and why

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A Shift in Ideas (The 1940s—1950s)

During the early to mid-1900s, the United States entered the Progressive Era. As a result, the country reformed its education system to help improve students’ learning.

Homework became a part of everyday life again. However, this time, the reformed curriculum required teachers to make the assignments more personal.

As a result, students would write essays on summer vacations and winter breaks, participate in ‘show and tell,’ and more.

These types of assignments still exist today!

Homework Today (The 2000s)

In 2022, the controversial nature of homework is once again a hot topic of discussion in many classrooms.

According to one study , more than 60% of college and high school students deal with mental health issues like depression and anxiety due to homework. In addition, the large number of assignments given to students takes away the time students spend on other interests and hobbies. Homework also negatively impacts sleep.

As a result, some schools have implemented a ban or limit on the amount of homework assigned to students.

Test your knowledge and check out these other facts about homework:

  • Horace Mann is also known as the ‘father’ of the modern school system (read more about it here ).
  • With a bit of practice, homework can improve oratory and writing skills. Both are important in a student’s life at all stages.
  • Homework can replace studying. Completing regular assignments reduces the time needed to prepare for tests.
  • Homework is here to stay. It doesn’t look like teachers will stop assigning homework any time soon. However, the type and quantity of homework given seems to be shifting to accommodate the modern student’s needs.
  • The optimal length of time students should spend on homework is one to two hours. Students who spent one to two hours on homework per day scored higher test results.

who created homework

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The U.S. Department of Education provides teachers with plenty of information and resources to help students with homework.

In general, teachers give students homework that requires them to employ four strategies. The four types of homework types include:

  • Practice: To help students master a specific skill, teachers will assign homework that requires them to repeat the particular skill. For example, students must solve a series of math problems.
  • Preparation: This type of homework introduces students to the material they will learn in the future. An example of preparatory homework is assigning students a chapter to read before discussing the contents in class the next day.
  • Extension: When a teacher wants to get students to apply what they’ve learned but create a challenge, this type of homework is assigned. It helps to boost problem-solving skills. For example, using a textbook to find the answer to a question gets students to problem-solve differently.
  • Integration: To solidify the learning experience for students, teachers will create a task that requires the use of many different skills. An example of integration is a book report. Completing integration homework assignments help students learn how to be organized, plan, strategize, and solve problems on their own.

Ultimately, the type of homework students receive should have a purpose, be focused and clear, and challenge students to problem solve while integrating lessons learned.

What’s the Purpose of Homework?

who invented school homework

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Homework aims to ensure students understand the information they learn in class. It also helps teachers to assess a student’s progress and identify strengths and weaknesses.

For example, teachers use different types of homework like book reports, essays, math problems, and more to help students demonstrate their understanding of the lessons learned.

Does Homework Improve the Quality of Education?

Homework is a controversial topic today. Educators, parents, and even students often question whether homework is beneficial in improving the quality of education.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of homework to try and determine whether homework improves the quality of education in schools.

Homework Pros:

  • Time Management Skills : Assigning homework with a due date helps students to develop a schedule to ensure they complete tasks on time.
  • More Time to Learn : Students encounter plenty of distractions at school. It’s also challenging for students to grasp the material in an hour or less. Assigning homework provides the student the opportunity to understand the material.
  • Improves Research Skills : Some homework assignments require students to seek out information. Through homework, students learn where to seek out good, reliable sources.

Homework Cons:

  • Reduced Physical Activity : Homework requires students to sit at a desk for long periods. Lack of movement decreases the amount of physical activity, often because teachers assign students so much homework that they don’t have time for anything else.
  • Stuck on an Assignment: A student often gets stuck on an assignment. Whether they can’t find information or the correct solution, students often don’t have help from parents and require further support from a teacher.
  • Increases Stress : One of the results of getting stuck on an assignment is that it increases stress and anxiety. Too much homework hurts a child’s mental health, preventing them from learning and understanding the material.

Some research shows that homework doesn’t provide educational benefits or improve performance.

However, research also shows that homework benefits students—provided teachers don’t give them too much. Here’s a video from Duke Today that highlights a study on the very topic.

Homework Today

Maybe one day, students won’t need to submit assignments or complete tasks at home. But until then, many students understand the benefits of completing homework as it helps them further their education and achieves future career goals.

Before you go, here’s one more question: how do you feel about homework? Do you think teachers assign too little or too much? Get involved and start a discussion in the comments!

The picture on the front page: Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock.com

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World History Homework: All You Need to Know


Everything You Need to Know About World History Homework

Writing world history homework is exciting. Going back to past events and learning about origins, heroes and heroines, wars, survival, etc. is interesting. If you are just reading for fun, it is fun indeed. However, if your grades are involved, then you need to do more than just read for fun.

Before you start your homework, you need to have an idea of how to go about writing homework on this subject. We have provided you with the world history homework help you need to have good grades.

All You Need to Know about Writing Homework on World History

History can be boring to some students and world history might seem too broad to comprehend. If you have homework in this area, there is no cause for fear. Your homework can turn out great if you know how to go about writing it well. Here are some essential things you should know about writing your world history homework

  • World history is interesting

World history is interesting. Some people think it is difficult and boring but it is not true. The mind is interesting. However, you regard a thing in your mind that is how it will look to you. If you regard history as interesting, it will be easier for you.

  • Your homework is meant to make you learn

While doing your homework, learn. The essence of having a subject on world history is to learn about the history of different continents and people. The purpose of the lesson will be defeated if you do not learn. Learning will help you better present your paper authoritatively. It will also help you with future homework.

  • A reference is always helpful

To write your world history homework answers accurately, you need to consult the right references and books. It will help to straighten some areas of debate. Some facts may not be facts.

If your homework is on ancient kingdoms, tribes, races, and cultures, ensure that you get the right information before writing. For instance, the claim that Africans originated from treetops has been strongly refuted. Pieces of evidence are revealing that Africans do not originate from apes.

You may be given a reading list to help you handle the history homework better. Ensure that you have a trusted and accurate text to get the right information from. You can get materials for your world history homework online, but ensure that you can trust the information before using it.

Reading appropriately helps

When doing your world history homework, read appropriately. Have your assignment in mind while reading. There is a lot to cover when it comes to world history. You need to be specific to get the homework done within the timeframe you are given.

Focus on getting the answers to the questions you are given. This way, you will focus on the content that is relevant to you. Also, you can consult the required texts for the homework. If you want to read further, you can then read the suggested texts. Differentiating these texts will help you manage time while doing your homework.

Employ reading skills

If you are writing homework on world history, you want to maximize time as much as possible. You can adopt different reading skills that will help you like skimming and scanning.

Also, you should read in the way that is most beneficial for you. Know the environment, position, and time that suits your reading better. Do you read at night, on the couch, in the library? Whatever works for you best, do it!

You may choose to divide the text into chapters and pages for better comprehension rather than reading all through. It may also help if you summarize the entire text to afford you a better comprehension of it. It can help you focus on the section you need as you approach the text in detail.

While writing homework on world history can be exciting, it can also be a daunting task. However, if you have everything you need to know about world history homework, you will be smiling as you work. With these few tips, you will have fun reading and writing about world history.

homework about history

homework about history

Who Invented Homework and Why

homework about history

Who Created Homework?

Does it seem fair that you go to school for over 7 hours a day and then have to come back home and spend more time on schoolwork? On the other hand, does it seem fair that a kid in an Asian country who spends more than 8 hours a day at school and then six hours after that on homework eventually gets a job that will pay less than the job you will get? In today's globalized and highly competitive world it is difficult to clearly state the importance of homework. Current research shows that homework tends to have significant negative effects on the mental and physical health of students, but it also helps with learning and getting better jobs. 

Homework may seem like something that has existed forever, but the history of homework isn't as straightforward as you may think. In this article, we will show who invented homework, when was homework invented, and analyze the state of homework today.

Who Invented Homework and When?

It might be impossible to answer when was homework invented. A simpler question to ask is ‘what exactly is homework?’. If you define it as work assigned to do outside of a formal educational setup, then homework might be as old as humanity itself. When most of what people studied were crafts and skills, practicing them outside of dedicated learning times may as well have been considered homework. Let’s look at a few people who have been credited with formalizing homework over the past few thousand years. 

Roberto Nevilis

A common internet fact is that Roberto Nevilis was one of the first people to properly assign homework in the year 1095. He was an Italian pedagogue living in Venice who allegedly assigned homework as a punishment to lackluster students. In 1095, education and formal schooling, especially in Europe, was reserved for the noble classes and the wealthy. It would have been impossible for him to have been the creator of homework in the modern sense.  Looking deeper, no reputable website or source actually confirms Robert Nevilis as the creator of homework, rather it’s just one of those stories that the internet liked. 

Pliny the Younger

Another culprit according to the internet lived a thousand years before Roberto Nevilis. Pliny the Younger was an oratory teacher in the first century AD in the Roman Empire. He apparently asked his students to practice their oratory skills at home, which some people consider one of the first official versions of homework. It is difficult to say with any certainty if this is the first time homework was assigned though because the idea of asking students to practice something outside classes probably existed in every human civilization for millennia. 

Horace Mann

To answer the question of who invented homework and why, at least in the modern sense, we have to talk about Horace Mann. Horace Mann was an American educator and politician in the 19th century who was heavily influenced by movements in the newly-formed German state. He is credited for bringing massive educational reform to America, and can definitely be considered the father of modern homework in the United States. However, his ideas were heavily influenced by the founding father of German nationalism Johann Gottlieb Fichte. 

After the defeat of Napoleon and the liberation of Prussia in 1814, citizens went back to their own lives, there was no sense of national pride or German identity. Johann Gottlieb Fichte came up with the idea of Volkschule, a mandatory 9-year educational system provided by the government to combat this. Homework already existed in Germany at this point in time but it became a requirement in Volkschule. Fichte wasn't motivated purely by educational reform, he wanted to demonstrate the positive impact and power of a centralized government, and assigning homework was a way of showing the state's power to influence personal and public life. This effort to make citizens more patriotic worked and the system of education and homework slowly spread through Europe.

Horace Mann saw the system at work during a trip to Prussia in the 1840s and brought many of the concepts to America, including homework.   

Who Invented Homework and Why?

Now that we understand a little bit about the complicated history of homework, it's easy to see that homework meant different things at different points of time in history and had different goals and objectives. The objectives of homework have evolved over the past 200 years but now are basically the following.

  • Studies have shown that repetition is one of the key elements of long-term retention.  One of the goals of homework is to make students repeat information they have learned in class so that it stays in their memory. 
  • Homework also gives students a chance to connect things they have learned in class to an out-of-school setting which also helps improve memory.
  • Homework is an opportunity for students and teachers to recognize individual weaknesses and devote more time to overcome them.
  • Homework allows students to work at their own pace without the constraints of being surrounded by others in a classroom.
  • Homework creates a continual stream of learning so that students don't see each school day as an individual unit but learning as a continuous process.
  • Without memorizing the fundamentals of a subject it is almost impossible to truly understand or master it. Homework allows teachers to best use in-class time by helping students expand their understanding rather than drilling fundamentals.
  • Subjects like mathematics and some sciences require a lot of repetition to internalize processes, homework is essential for these kinds of subjects. 
  • Homework teaches students responsibility. They have to determine their own schedules to ensure that they get their homework done on time.
  • Homework is an opportunity for students to practice their research skills by gathering information from a variety of sources.
  • Homework allows students to be creative because they are not limited by the classroom setting

With all these benefits it seems obvious that homework is important, but the history of homework in the 20th century is complicated. 

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Who Invented Homework: Development in the 1900s

Thanks to Horace Mann, homework had become widespread in the American schooling system by 1900, but it wasn't universally popular amongst either students or parents. 

The early 1900s homework bans

In 1901, California became the first state to ban homework. Since homework had made its way into the American educational system there had always been people who were against it for some surprising reasons. Back then, children were expected to help on farms and family businesses, so homework was unpopular amongst parents who expected their children to help out at home. Many students also dropped out of school early because they found homework tedious and difficult. Publications like Ladies' Home Journal and The New York Times printed statements and articles about the detrimental effects of homework on children's health. 

The 1930 child labor laws

The industrial revolution brought about child labor laws for the first time in American history.  These laws stipulated how many hours a week children were allowed to work. The argument was made that homework counts as child labor and therefore exceeded the number of hours they were allowed to work. Interestingly though, these laws did not include things like helping on the farm or other domestic chores within the legal hours per week.

Progressive reforms of the 1940s and 50s

With more research into education, psychology and memory, the importance of education became clear. Homework was understood as an important part of education and it evolved to become more useful and interesting to students. 

Homework during the Cold War

Competition with the Soviet Union fueled many aspects of American life and politics. In a post-nuclear world, the importance of Science and Technology was evident. The government believed that students had to be well-educated to compete with Soviet education systems. This is the time when homework became formalized, accepted, and a fundamental part of the American educational system. 

1980s Nation at Risk

In 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education published Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, a report about the poor condition of education in America.  Still in the Cold War, this motivated the government in 1986 to talk about the benefits of homework in a pamphlet called “What Works” which highlighted the importance of homework. 

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Who Invented Homework: The Modern Homework Debate

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991 homework has been an integral part of education systems in most countries around the world, but the debate that had been raging for a hundred years has not ended. The importance of homework and the effects it has on students is one of the most challenging topics in modern education. Let's have a peek at this debate by looking at the pros and cons of homework.

  • Homework has been shown to improve memory and retention of important information if it is directly connected to in-class learning
  • Homework teaches students time management skills, the importance of self-learning, and other skills that are beneficial in their academic careers and in life
  • Homework allows teachers to evaluate students’ particular strengths and weaknesses and therefore tailor their approach to each student
  • In a positive home environment, homework brings parents and children together
  • Homework allows a student to work at their own pace and find creative ways of finding solutions
  • Homework adds a lot of stress to a student's life, especially when large amounts of homework are assigned, leading to anxiety and other mental hardships
  • Excessive amounts of homework stop children from exploring important leisure activities  like sports, art, and other creative pursuits
  • Homework is not always effective. Studies have shown that the impact of homework on Primary School students is negligible and may in fact be detrimental. The type of homework assigned is also important to enforce learning, with the wrong or excessive homework demotivating students
  • Excessive homework can lead to a variety of ill effects like sleep deprivation, cheating, sedentary lifestyles, headaches, fatigue, and more 

When was homework invented? Homework has been bothering students for thousands of years and has been reinvented several times for a variety of reasons including as a punishment and for political reasons. Who created homework? Several people throughout history can be credited with inventing homework but it is probably most accurate to say that it was Horace Mann who introduced homework to the United States. Homework is evolving because though it has proven benefits it also negatively impacts the mental health of young people. It's possible that in the future if somebody asks the question ‘who invented homework?’ the answer will be somebody from our time because the idea of homework will be reinvented yet again. 

Homework can be a challenging task, much like the history of homework itself. Whether it's due to an excessive amount of assignments or the complexity of certain subjects, everyone can benefit from some assistance from time to time. That's where Studyfy comes in! No matter the level of difficulty or the subject, Studyfy has a team of experts in every educational field who are eager to help you learn.

If you need help with history essay writing, Studyfy has history essay writers who are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter. Similarly, if you're struggling with a philosophy essay, Studyfy provides philosophy essay help to guide you through the process. Additionally, Studyfy offers term paper writing services to help you excel in your coursework.

For nursing students, Studyfy provides nursing essay writers who can assist you with any nursing-related essay assignments. Whether you need help with research or simply require guidance in organizing your thoughts, their experts are available to help you succeed.

At Studyfy, they understand that affordability is a significant concern for students, which is why they offer write my essay for me cheap services without sacrificing quality. You can receive high-quality, plagiarism-free essays at a reasonable cost, allowing you to focus on your studies without worrying about your budget.

In conclusion, if you're struggling with homework, Studyfy is an excellent resource to help you succeed. With experts in every educational field, they can provide the guidance and support you need to excel in your studies. Contact them today to see how they can help you reach your academic goals.

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Wondering Who Invented Homework? Find Out In This Post!

who invented homework

Today, homework is a central component of education at every stage of learning. Starting from the early years, teachers will always give kids something to do after school. This way, it helps to reinforce what students learn in class and make them stay focused on specific subjects. But, have you ever taken a moment to ponder about the inventor of homework. How did the first homework look like?

In this post, we are going to roll back the hands of time to try and answer key questions about the history of homework and who created homework. Who invented homework, and why? How did homework start? How long has homework been around?

Table of Contents

Important facts about the history of homework, when was homework invented, why was homework invented, origin of homework: the main types of homework, why does homework exist.

A deep search of homework history will roll you back to Ancient Rome. Around the 1 st Century AD, a young teacher of oratory, Pliny, invented homework. Pliny asked his students to do at-home activities to hone their speaking skills. The impact was impressive. Despite his early efforts in discovering this great learning tactic, more credit goes to Roberto Nevilis. This is the reason why the answer to the question, ‘who created homework,’ will give you Roberto Nevilis. He invented homework in 1095 as a method of punishing his students. Although homework is considered a universal component in most education systems, it was not always that way. After discovering the origin of homework, keep digging, and you will be surprised to learn that it was indeed banned in some places. In the state of California, it was banned for kids younger than 15 years. Indeed, even top journals and magazines such as the New York Times and Ladies’ Home Journal published sentiments indicating how detrimental homework was. They displayed who invented homework and the use of homework in a bad light. Later in the 19 th century, institutions and trainers followed the person who invented homework but used it in a positive way. It became an independent type of education strategy for learners. This was aimed at assisting learners in studying independently. But what are the key components that homework needs to meet? Have a look.

  • It should be simple and not too much.
  • It should only be given when learners understand how to learn independently.

As training institutions look for better ways to enhance the efficiency of studies, homework has stood out as one of the most effective strategies. To get more, just like the person who invented homework envisaged, you should consider working with professionals.

When did homework start? Owing to Nevilis strict effort to get students to learn, homework is considered to have started in 1095 in Venice, Italy. But education systems have grown in leaps and bounds since then. The person who invented homework saw it as a great way for learners to catch up with others and reinforce what was taught in class. In addition, home learning is crucial because of the following benefits:

  • Home teaching helps students not to forget what was taught in school. This is very important because students can relate what they learned with their environments to build lasting memories.
  • Like the person who invented homework established, students are able to discover their areas of weakness. This would assist them in putting more effort into improving them.
  • Home learning is very important for students to discover their unique talents and abilities easily.
  • Home learning is crucial in helping a student assimilate various concepts. Here, it is not just about mastering key concepts, but conceptualizing them to help a student start curving a niche of interest. Later, he/she can turn it into a career.

The success of using homework as a learning tool is primarily dependent on how well the tutor and student prepare for it. Indeed, organizing homework assignments is a tricky process that requires close attention and commitment. When designing lessons in class, and more importantly giving homework assignment, a teacher should focus on the following process of knowledge assimilation:

  • Perception.
  • Understanding.
  • Reinforcing.
  • Designing the development of skills.
  • New knowledge acquisition.
  • Practicing skills.

Do you still wonder, “why was homework invented” and how the inventor operated? Consider reading more about homework history.

For years, the importance of homework has been debated and re-debated by those who invented school homework, teachers, parents, and experts. Although the nature of homework and length of homework appears contentious according to the latest scientific findings, everyone appears to agree on one thing: homework is critical to helping enhance learners’ knowledge. According to Nevillis, the person who invented homework, it offers the learner the following benefits:

  • It allows students to work without limitations such as those set by class lessons.
  • Learners are able to explore specific subjects or topics deeper to gain more knowledge.
  • Students are able to start discovering themselves based on the tasks they are given. Can I solve this type of problem? If I can, can I solve more complex problems?
  • Instead of simply focusing on the resources that are available to students during class time, learners can explore more materials to discover the connection between various topics and disciplines. For example, some problem-solving strategies used in mathematics are also applied in other areas such as geography and physics.

Based on these opportunities, homework becomes an invaluable resource for learners to grow steadily in their studies. Here are other intentions of using homework:

  • It helps with the development of crucial learning skills, including hypothesis construction, assumptions, and comparisons.
  • It builds inner-drive for the student to become self-driven and independent in scholarly work.
  • It helps the learner amass critical education skills that are taught in varying ways.
  • Building capacity to extract information from various resources such as books and journals.

The best type of homework should help the learner to develop holistically. The teacher should carefully combine various types of homework for the student to develop more skills. It should provide the student with a creative and fun way to learn outdoors.

Notably, there are not very many types of homework today. Because the person who made homework did not follow a scientific approach, this tool was not comprehensively tested. There was no specific formula for at-home study when homework was discovered. Even with this fact, later studies have not done much to provide a clear formula for a successful home study. Here are the main types of homework used by tutors:

  • Oral exercises.
  • Mastering materials in specific resources.
  • Group discussions.
  • Completing written exercises such as geography and history homework
  • Creative writing, such as essay writing.
  • Preparing reports (course work).
  • Observations.
  • Experiments.

When a teacher combines these homework types, students will find learning and retaining content in their minds easy and fun. If you want to write an A-grade homework assignment, make sure to use our guide and work with our writing experts.

When the person who invented homework ushered in an important tool to the education system, he probably never knew how magnificent it was. Every professional or top-performing student today will tell you one thing: homework is very useful in developing skills.

One method applied by trainers to make learning successful is using more effective content when giving homework to students. The different homework types discussed above are geared towards assisting the learner to systematically build their knowledge. For example, as the teacher continues exploring newer areas of a specific subject, good homework can help students to flashback on the previous sections to avoid forgetting. Experts in pedagogy have established that knowledge acquisition and the method used in training are very important. The training efforts during class time should be supported by additional applications both in and away from school. This means that a lot of effort should also be directed at helping learners to work independently.

Was homework a punishment when it was invented? The answer is ‘yes.’ But things have changed so much over time. Today, homework should not be perceived as a way to fully control a student. While there is no doubt that the quantity of homework that students get should not take all the time they need to do other tasks, it is a perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the subject of interest. This way, a student can easily sharpen his/her skills to outdo others, perform better in exams, and develop a career.

If a student fails to complete homework assignment, he wastes a golden opportunity to learn more and become a better person. He is likely to forget what was taught in class and delay in discovering areas of interest. Therefore, do not fall into this group. It is time to turn homework into a springboard for success!

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homework about history

History of Homework

The institution of homework is deeply embedded in the American culture. How many times as a child have you heard your parents say that you can’t go outside, play games, or get dessert until you have finished your homework? Or how many times have you uttered that phrase to your own children? Although the concept of a homework assignment has been questioned throughout history, and probably will be, time and time again, it is still viewed as something normal, and as a part of every student’s life. Even outside the school, phrases like “you haven’t done your homework on that pitch/project” are used to suggest that a person hasn’t done all they could have done to prepare for a certain challenge.

Now, over time, the public’s attitude toward homework has changed numerous times, keeping in line with then active social trends and philosophies, and that battle is still raging on today. But before we take a look at what the future holds for the concept of homework, let’s take a trip down memory lane first. You will find that the arguments in favor or against homework were almost exactly the same as they are today.

Homework through History

Seeing as primary education at the end of 19th century was not mandatory, student attendance couldn’t be described as regular. The classrooms were a lot different, as well, with students of different ages sitting together in the same class. Moreover, a very small percentage of children would choose to pursue education past the 4th grade. Once they have learned to read, write, and do some basic arithmetic, they would leave school in order to find work or to help around the house. Homework was rare occurrence, because setting aside a few hours for learning each night interfered with their chores and daily obligations.

As education became more available and more progressive at the turn of the 20th century, there was a strong rebellion against homework taking place in academic circles. Even pediatricians got in on the debate, stating that children should not be made to do homework, as it robs them of all the benefits provided by physical activities and time spent outside the house. Seeing as conditions such as the attention deficit disorder were not diagnosed back then, homework was to blame.

This anti-homework movement reached its peak in the 1930s, with a Society for the Abolition of Homework being formed in order to prevent schools from giving students homework, with numerous school districts following their lead. Even in those schools where homework was not abolished, very few homework assignments were given. This continued all the way until the end of the 1950s, which marked a sharp turn in country’s attitude towards homework.

The reason for this was the launch of the Sputnik I satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957. Seeing as the entire Cold War era was marked by the constant competition between USA and the Soviet Union, U.S. educators, teachers, and even parents were afraid that their children, and the entire nation, would be left behind by their Soviet counterparts, who would lead the way into the future, which meant that homework was once again back on the map, and more important than ever.

Things changed again in the late 60s and early 70s. Vietnam War was still raging on, giving birth to civil rights movement and counterculture, which were looking to shake up all of the previously established norms. Homework was yet again under the microscope. It was argued that homework got in the way of kids socializing, and even their sleep, which meant that homework had yet again fallen from grace, just like it had at the beginning of the century.

In the 1980s, the climate changed again, spurred on by the study called A Nation at Risk which blamed the shaky U.S. economy on schools which weren’t challenging their students enough. As a result, the entire school system was labeled as mediocre in an age where the entire country was striving toward excellence, as saw the bright young minds of tomorrow as its way out. There was more of everything: classes, grades, tests, and more homework. This trend spilled over into the 90s, as well.

At the end of the 90s, homework was yet again under the attack. It was cited that children are overworked and stressed out. The increasing demand for tutors was the key argument. If students needed homework assignment help, there was too much of it. But, besides homework help, homework was also viewed as an obstacle for families with two working parents. The only time parents would get to spend time with their children was being usurped, as kids were forced to work on their homework for hours.

Present Day

While few will argue the role homework plays in reinforcing the information taught in class, there is still talk about how much homework is too much. According to certain studies, the effectiveness of homework starts to decline if the students are given more than 90 minutes of homework every day, which is evident by their test results. Current trends are not concerned with whether or not homework has its merits. It does, there is no question about it, but the main goal right now find the right balance between quantity and quality.

Also, homework in a traditional sense might be susceptible to change, because of the increasingly important role modern technology plays in our lives, and it affects the students, as well. We don’t know what the future holds, but one thing is for sure: we should always do our homework and be prepared.

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Who invented homework and why? Everything you need to know about homework invention and history

If you've stayed up late finishing homework, you might be curious about its origins. The education staple has been around for a while, intending to improve student learning and performance. However, its genesis still needs to be determined, with many sources presenting conflicting details regarding its inception. So, when did students start receiving home assignments? And who invented homework?

Who invented homework

Everybody has been through late-night study sessions battling endless assignments. Though not a student favourite, homework is alleged to improve academic performance. But how effective is it, and where did the practice come from?

Who invented homework and why?

Who created homework? An Italian teacher from Venice, known as Roberto Novelis, is reported to have allegedly invented homework in 1095 or 1905. He reportedly started homework as a means of punishing non-performing students.

However, the credibility of this claim is questionable because of various historical facts. In the first claim, Roberto Novelis reportedly invented homework in 1095, years before formal education entered Europe.

homework about history

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According to the World History Encyclopedia , 1095 was the beginning of the First Crusade envisaged by Pope Urban II. Therefore, based on this historical fact, Roberto couldn't have invented homework when education was informal.

For example, organised national formal education started in the 19th century in regions like the United Kingdom.

The other claim of having invented it in 1905 is incorrect, as four years earlier, in 1901, California had passed an act banning homework for students younger than 15. Therefore, Robert couldn't have invented homework in 1905 if it had already existed in the USA in 1901.

Who created homework? History vs myth

Who invented homework

The claim pinning Roberto Novelis with inventing homework is false since there is no evidence of his existence. At best, the Italian teacher is an internet myth.

According to history, education existed in the earliest civilisations, like the Sumerians, who were the first to develop the school system. Schools, called edubba or tablet houses, were used to teach, and students wrote on dried clay tablets.

homework about history

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However, there is no evidence of the Sumerians handing out homework, as most of their education system differed from today's.

The Holy Roman Empire created church schools in the Middle Ages to educate future clergy members, as the 1215 Fourth Council of the Lateran specified. The Protestant Reformation's Sunday schools later adopted the concept.

First, secular schools emerged during the Pietism movement in the late 17th century and were further encouraged by Enlightenment proponents.

Frederick William I

King Frederick William I of Prussia established mandatory education , the Volksschule , for children aged five to twelve in 1717. They were required to read, write, and memorise the Protestant catechism.

King Frederick the Great

King Frederick the Great established the first Prussian general school statute , drafted by theologian Johann Julius Hecker, in 1763. Students enrolled in Volksschule or people's schools were assigned mandatory homework for home study at home on their own time. This requirement emphasised the state's control over the individual.

homework about history

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Other names associated with the invention of homework include Pluby the Younger and Johann Gottlieb Fichte.

Horace Mann

Who invented homework

Horace Mann was a politician, professor of education, and educational reformer. He was fascinated by Germany's compulsory schooling system. Mann travelled to Germany in 1843 to explore the educational process.

After returning to the United States, he used his experiences to advocate for the joint school movement in Massachusetts. Therefore, in adopting the German system, Horace brought homework to the United States .

  • Who created homework? The name associated with making the education staple is Robert Novelis. However, the credibility of the information surrounding Robert Novelis' alleged invention is sketchy.
  • What is the concept of homework? It is a set of assignments assigned to students by their teachers for completion outside of the classroom setting.
  • How did the person who invented homework die? Per the myth surrounding the alleged inventor, he reportedly died in an accident or was murdered.
  • Was homework invented as a punishment? The myth of Robert Novelis claims it was punishment for non-performing students. However, its German origins show it was a form of governance.
  • Is homework becoming illegal? No, it isn't. The practice is legal in the USA, with schools in different states allowed to set rules.
  • Why did homework get banned? It was forbidden in California in 1901 to students under 15 over concerns that it endangered children's mental and physical health.
  • How long did the California homework ban last? It began in 1901 and lasted until 1917.

homework about history

20 influential people who changed the world as we know it

Who invented homework? There is no established name associated with the development of the educational practice. However, Roberto Novelis is repeatedly mentioned online as the inventor. But despite his alleged involvement, no verification of his existence exists in respected historical texts.

Yen.com.gh published an exciting piece about when running was invented . Though it might seem funny to think that somebody invented running, you will be surprised by the genuine queries surrounding it.

Humans and most animals are born with the ability to run. In addition, humans have honed their capacity and turned it into a sport. But have you ever wondered if there was a time when animals and people did not run?

Source: YEN.com.gh

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History of the Invention of Homework

Homework and the arguments about it are practically similar in age as learning and teaching. Considering homework isn’t very popular among students, they must be curious to know who invented the task that deprives them of free time to mingle and enjoy themselves. Such desperation results in google searches for people who invented homework. So who created homework?

History about Home Invention

Many people believe that Google stipulates Robert Nevilis as having created homework as a penalty form for his lazy learners in 1905. His real motivation was to spoil his student’s relaxation time because of their misbehavior. However, this isn’t true as google only recognizes the lad as having introduced it in school but nothing about the person. Further, it is impossible to imagine that throughout the history of science and education, nobody got their students to carry out some assignments at home. So it’s likely that the invention of homework happened before 1905.

It is essential to state that homework existed in a way as far back as education.  Playing instruments of music, singing, thinkers, reciting poems, and bible verses need thorough memory and practice beyond the classroom. So the middle era monks, noble Romans, philosophers, and nineteenth-century industrial tycoons had their fair share of homework history, including handwriting, reading, memorizing, and practice. Memorization was a key component as they had a mantra of learning by heart for better knowledge. 

Pliny gets credited with encouraging his learners to rehearse public speaking away after school for greater confidence and fluency. Further, more ancient teachers advised kids to practice skills learned through memorizing. 

Homework is also linked to the original school system, especially when they became open to the general public and not just a preserve for the rich. So when schools got opened for everyone and free, then homework also emerged.

When Homework Was Invented

It is not easy to precisely pinpoint when homework emerged, but it is safe to mention when it got outlawed in California in 1901. It mainly arose as a result of students not completing home chores because of homework assignments from school. Learning in school was a privilege at the time, as their central role was to work the fields to sustain their livelihoods.

However, with changing times and a new constitutional dispensation that granted kids the right to education regardless of their financial position, homework was reinvented. It was not as a form of punishment but a critical development and learning tool to benefit the students.   Memorization lost its meaning because of the fresh, innovative, and student-friendly teaching methods. More diverse and creative assignments emerged to match the intellectual capabilities and age of students.

Why Homework Was Invented

  • To help students to remember concepts learned in class as one can forget ideas fast.
  • Better assimilation and understanding of concepts through repetition
  • To develop the student’s imagination and creativity.
  • For a student to learn at their rhythm and pace away from hustles of the classroom
  • For a student to feel comfortable in repeating their efforts in solving issues without judgement
  • For students to plan their own study schedules after school
  • To enable students to research and look up relevant data that can help them write other things like essays.

Understanding the history of homework and why it got invented is critical in appreciating the role and benefits it provides to students. The insights provided will accomplish just that and make you understand the homework. You can also get help from Assignmentgeek.com if you still don't understand how to manage your assignments on your own.

homework about history

I hope this blog will help you deal with homework much faster

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    Enjoy a year of unlimited access to The Atlantic—including every story on our site and app, subscriber newsletters, and more. The 21st century has so far been a homework-heavy era, with American ...

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    Was the initiation of the slave trade inevitable following Portuguese navigation down Africa's west coast? How complicit were West Africans? History Questions and Answers - Discover the eNotes.com ...

  13. Homework

    A person doing geometry homework Children preparing homework on the street, Tel Aviv, 1954. Homework is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed at home.Common homework assignments may include required reading, a writing or typing project, mathematical exercises to be completed, information to be reviewed before a test, or other skills to be practiced.

  14. The History Of Homework: How It All Started And When?

    History Of Homework: The Origins History of Homework: The Origin. Homework is an age-old concept, and there are many speculations about its origination. As per the researches, various events and personalities are often believed to influence the origins of homework. Here, let us introduce you to two of the most popular, and accredited ...

  15. Homework in America

    Responses indicating no homework on the "usual" question in 2004 were: 2% for age 9-year-olds, 5% for 13 year olds, and 12% for 17-year-olds. These figures are much less than the ones reported ...

  16. Who Invented Homework ️ Why & When Was it Invented? History and Facts

    We can trace the term 'homework' back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger (61—112 CE), an oratory teacher, often told his students to practice their public speaking outside class. Pliny believed that the repetition and practice of speech would help students gain confidence in their speaking abilities. Johann Gottlieb Fichte Credit: inlibris.com

  17. Tackling Homework on World History: All You Need to Know

    Your homework is meant to make you learn. While doing your homework, learn. The essence of having a subject on world history is to learn about the history of different continents and people. The purpose of the lesson will be defeated if you do not learn. Learning will help you better present your paper authoritatively.

  18. Who Invented Homework and Why

    Homework is an opportunity for students to practice their research skills by gathering information from a variety of sources. Homework allows students to be creative because they are not limited by the classroom setting; With all these benefits it seems obvious that homework is important, but the history of homework in the 20th century is ...

  19. Who Invented Homework

    Important Facts About The History Of Homework. A deep search of homework history will roll you back to Ancient Rome. Around the 1 st Century AD, a young teacher of oratory, Pliny, invented homework. Pliny asked his students to do at-home activities to hone their speaking skills. The impact was impressive.

  20. History of Homework

    Homework through History. Seeing as primary education at the end of 19th century was not mandatory, student attendance couldn't be described as regular. The classrooms were a lot different, as well, with students of different ages sitting together in the same class. Moreover, a very small percentage of children would choose to pursue ...

  21. Who Invented Homework?

    Education has been around for a long time, but homework in the sense that students know is a fairly new phenomenon in history. Homework was not mandatory. The teacher could not expel a student from an educational institution for not reading the works of Aristotle on time. For not doing homework, a student could be publicly ridiculed or punished ...

  22. Who invented homework and why? Everything you need to know about

    An Italian teacher from Venice, known as Roberto Novelis, is reported to have allegedly invented homework in 1095 or 1905. He reportedly started homework as a means of punishing non-performing students. However, the credibility of this claim is questionable because of various historical facts.

  23. History of the Invention of Homework

    Why Homework Was Invented. To help students to remember concepts learned in class as one can forget ideas fast. Better assimilation and understanding of concepts through repetition. To develop the student's imagination and creativity. For a student to learn at their rhythm and pace away from hustles of the classroom.