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Who Invented Homework?

The task of homework is an integral part of the daily routine for children and their parents as well as educators. Who came up with the idea of homework? What was the catalyst that made it a requirement in schools? Here’s a quick overview of homework’s background within the United States.

The Homework’s Origins: Myth vs. History

What was the initial to create homework? We won’t determine for certain. Its past was shaped by a range of individuals and circumstances. Let’s look at two of the main influencers.

What is the reason students are given homework?

While we all have our sweet moments of bittersweetness about homework, it is not without its positives:

  • Homework provides parents and students the chance to revisit class assignments.
  • Homework helps students develop the skills of problem-solving and being accountable for their role to their studies.

The Dubious Roberto Nevelis of Venice

Homework is generally credited as a result of Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy who came up with the idea in the year 1095 or 1905, based on the source. On closer inspection it appears that he is more of a internet legend than a true figure.

Horace Mann

Horace Mann, a 19th-century politician and reformer of the educational system was a key person in the creation of the concept of homework. Mann as well as his fellow reformers Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe was enthusiastic about the newly-unified nation-state of Germany’s mandatory school system for the public.

The mandatory tasks were given the Volksschulen (“People’s schools”) pupils to finish at home at their own pace. As liberals such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte were striving to build the support of a united German State, this requirement emphasised the power of the state over individuals. Although homework was in place prior to Fichte’s involvement with the Volksschulen however, his political agenda can be viewed as the catalyst for its acceptance as an academic requirement.

Horace Mann was a driving factor in the creation of a government-run, public education that was funded by taxes in America. On a trip through Germany during 1843, Mann observed the Volkschule system in action and brought back some aspects of its ideals, such as homework.

The American Public School System’s Homework

The concept of homework hasn’t always been widely accepted even though it is a common part of the American education experience. Teachers and parents remain in disagreement about its advantages and drawbacks, just as they have done for over 100 years.

In the 1900s The anti-homework movement and homework restrictions

A prohibition on homework was introduced within California in Pacific State of California in the year 1901, just two decades after the concept of homework had crossed the Atlantic. The ban, which was applicable to all students below 15 years of age and lasted until 1917.

At the same time and time, well-known magazines such as the Ladies Home Journal, and The New York Times published statements from medical professionals and parents who claimed that homework was detrimental for children’s health.1930 The Homework As Child labor

A group known as The American Child Health Association deemed homework as a form work for children in the year 1930. This was a less than favorable perception of homework as a suitable education method, especially since laws prohibiting child labor had just been put into place.

Early-to-Mid 20th Century: Homework and the Progressive Era

Teachers started seeking ways to make their homework more meaningful and personal for students in the second half of 19th and 20th century’s modern changes in education. Perhaps this is the cause of the famous essay question, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation?”

The Cold War: Homework Heats Up

After WWII and the Cold War heightened tensions between the United States and Russia in the 1950s. The launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 increased tensions between the two countries, especially in the case of their young.

The most effective way for ensuring that American students didn’t fall behind their Russian counterparts, particularly in the highly competitive areas of mathematics and science was for educators within the United States to assign demanding homework assignments.

The 1980s: A Nation at Risk’s Homework

What Works, a 1986 publication published by the US Department of Education, included assignments as among the best educational strategies. It came three years after the groundbreaking study

Early 21st Century: Homework Bans Return

Many teachers and other concerned people are questioning the worth of homework yet time and again. Concerning the topic, numerous publications have been released.

This includes:

  • The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett and Nancy Kalish (2006)
  • The War Over Homework: Common Ground for Teachers, Administrators, as well as Parents (Third Third Edition) written by Duke University psychologist Dr. Harris Cooper (2007)
  • “The End of Homework”: Why it disrupts families, burdens children, and hinders learning by professor of education Dr. Etta Kralovec and journalist John Buell (2000)

The subject of homework is still a controversial issue in the present. Schools are now imposing homework restrictions like those that were in place in the beginning in the 20th century. Teachers are divided about the bans, while parents try to deal with the disruption to their everyday routines that these bans bring.

Summarly, Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

Whoever came up with homework probably had good motives. With the passage of time and growing competition, the demands on students has increased quite a bit. In the present, keeping the proper balance between homework, schoolwork and leisure time for students is vital to make sure that students enjoy learning, not to hate it.