how did homework become a thing

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

History Cooperative

The Homework Dilemma: Who Invented Homework?

The inventor of homework may be unknown, but its evolution reflects contributions from educators, philosophers, and students. Homework reinforces learning, fosters discipline, and prepares students for the future, spanning from ancient civilizations to modern education. Ongoing debates probe its balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility, prompting innovative alternatives like project-based and personalized learning. As education evolves, the enigma of homework endures.

Table of Contents

Who Invented Homework?

While historical records don’t provide a definitive answer regarding the inventor of homework in the modern sense, two prominent figures, Roberto Nevelis of Venice and Horace Mann, are often linked to the concept’s early development.

Roberto Nevelis of Venice: A Mythical Innovator?

Roberto Nevelis, a Venetian educator from the 16th century, is frequently credited with the invention of homework. The story goes that Nevelis assigned tasks to his students outside regular classroom hours to reinforce their learning—a practice that aligns with the essence of homework. However, the historical evidence supporting Nevelis as the inventor of homework is rather elusive, leaving room for skepticism.

While Nevelis’s role remains somewhat mythical, his association with homework highlights the early recognition of the concept’s educational value.

Horace Mann: Shaping the American Educational Landscape

Horace Mann, often regarded as the “Father of American Education,” made significant contributions to the American public school system in the 19th century. Though he may not have single-handedly invented homework, his educational reforms played a crucial role in its widespread adoption.

Mann’s vision for education emphasized discipline and rigor, which included assigning tasks to be completed outside of the classroom. While he did not create homework in the traditional sense, his influence on the American education system paved the way for its integration.

The invention of homework was driven by several educational objectives. It aimed to reinforce classroom learning, ensuring knowledge retention and skill development. Homework also served as a means to promote self-discipline and responsibility among students, fostering valuable study habits and time management skills.

Why Was Homework Invented?

The invention of homework was not a random educational practice but rather a deliberate strategy with several essential objectives in mind.

Reinforcing Classroom Learning

Foremost among these objectives was the need to reinforce classroom learning. When students leave the classroom, the goal is for them to retain and apply the knowledge they have acquired during their lessons. Homework emerged as a powerful tool for achieving this goal. It provided students with a structured platform to revisit the day’s lessons, practice what they had learned, and solidify their understanding.

Homework assignments often mirrored classroom activities, allowing students to extend their learning beyond the confines of school hours. Through the repetition of exercises and tasks related to the curriculum, students could deepen their comprehension and mastery of various subjects.

Fostering Self-Discipline and Responsibility

Another significant objective behind the creation of homework was the promotion of self-discipline and responsibility among students. Education has always been about more than just the acquisition of knowledge; it also involves the development of life skills and habits that prepare individuals for future challenges.

By assigning tasks to be completed independently at home, educators aimed to instill valuable study habits and time management skills. Students were expected to take ownership of their learning, manage their time effectively, and meet deadlines—a set of skills that have enduring relevance in contemporary education and beyond.

Homework encouraged students to become proactive in their educational journey. It taught them the importance of accountability and the satisfaction of completing tasks on their own. These life skills would prove invaluable in their future endeavors, both academically and in the broader context of their lives.

When Was Homework Invented?

The roots of homework stretch deep into the annals of history, tracing its origins to ancient civilizations and early educational practices. While it has undergone significant evolution over the centuries, the concept of extending learning beyond the classroom has always been an integral part of education.

Earliest Origins of Homework and Early Educational Practices

The idea of homework, in its most rudimentary form, can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations. In ancient Egypt , for instance, students were tasked with hieroglyphic writing exercises. These exercises served as a precursor to modern homework, as they required students to practice and reinforce their understanding of written language—an essential skill for communication and record-keeping in that era.

In ancient Greece , luminaries like Plato and Aristotle advocated for the use of written exercises as a tool for intellectual development. They recognized the value of practice in enhancing one’s knowledge and skills, laying the foundation for a more systematic approach to homework.

The ancient Romans also played a pivotal role in the early development of homework. Young Roman students were expected to complete assignments at home, with a particular focus on subjects like mathematics and literature. These assignments were designed to consolidate their classroom learning, emphasizing the importance of practice in mastering various disciplines.

READ MORE: Who Invented Math? The History of Mathematics

The practice of assigning work to be done outside of regular school hours continued to evolve through various historical periods. As societies advanced, so did the complexity and diversity of homework tasks, reflecting the changing needs and priorities of education.

The Influence of Educational Philosophers

While the roots of homework extend to ancient times, the ideas of renowned educational philosophers in later centuries further contributed to its development. John Locke, an influential thinker of the Enlightenment era, believed in a gradual and cumulative approach to learning. He emphasized the importance of students revisiting topics through repetition and practice, a concept that aligns with the principles of homework.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, another prominent philosopher, stressed the significance of self-directed learning. Rousseau’s ideas encouraged the development of independent study habits and a personalized approach to education—a philosophy that resonates with modern concepts of homework.

Homework in the American Public School System

The American public school system has played a pivotal role in the widespread adoption and popularization of homework. To understand the significance of homework in modern education, it’s essential to delve into its history and evolution within the United States.

History and Evolution of Homework in the United States

The late 19th century marked a significant turning point for homework in the United States. During this period, influenced by educational reforms and the growing need for standardized curricula, homework assignments began to gain prominence in American schools.

Educational reformers and policymakers recognized the value of homework as a tool for reinforcing classroom learning. They believed that assigning tasks for students to complete outside of regular school hours would help ensure that knowledge was retained and skills were honed. This approach aligned with the broader trends in education at the time, which aimed to provide a more structured and systematic approach to learning.

As the American public school system continued to evolve, homework assignments became a common practice in classrooms across the nation. The standardization of curricula and the formalization of education contributed to the integration of homework into the learning process. This marked a significant departure from earlier educational practices, reflecting a shift toward more structured and comprehensive learning experiences.

The incorporation of homework into the American education system not only reinforced classroom learning but also fostered self-discipline and responsibility among students. It encouraged them to take ownership of their educational journey and develop valuable study habits and time management skills—a legacy that continues to influence modern pedagogy.

Controversies Around Homework

Despite its longstanding presence in education, homework has not been immune to controversy and debate. While many view it as a valuable educational tool, others question its effectiveness and impact on students’ well-being.

The Homework Debate

One of the central controversies revolves around the amount of homework assigned to students. Critics argue that excessive homework loads can lead to stress, sleep deprivation, and a lack of free time for students. The debate often centers on striking the right balance between homework and other aspects of a student’s life, including extracurricular activities, family time, and rest.

Homework’s Efficacy

Another contentious issue pertains to the efficacy of homework in enhancing learning outcomes. Some studies suggest that moderate amounts of homework can reinforce classroom learning and improve academic performance. However, others question whether all homework assignments contribute equally to learning or whether some may be more beneficial than others. The effectiveness of homework can vary depending on factors such as the student’s grade level, the subject matter, and the quality of the assignment.

Equity and Accessibility

Homework can also raise concerns related to equity and accessibility. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may have limited access to resources and support at home, potentially putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to completing homework assignments. This disparity has prompted discussions about the role of homework in perpetuating educational inequalities and how schools can address these disparities.

Alternative Approaches to Learning

In response to the controversies surrounding homework, educators and researchers have explored alternative approaches to learning. These approaches aim to strike a balance between reinforcing classroom learning and promoting holistic student well-being. Some alternatives include:

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning emphasizes hands-on, collaborative projects that allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. This approach shifts the focus from traditional homework assignments to engaging, practical learning experiences.

Flipped Classrooms

Flipped classrooms reverse the traditional teaching model. Students learn new material at home through video lectures or readings and then use class time for interactive discussions and activities. This approach reduces the need for traditional homework while promoting active learning.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning tailors instruction to individual students’ needs, allowing them to progress at their own pace. This approach minimizes the need for one-size-fits-all homework assignments and instead focuses on targeted learning experiences.

The Ongoing Conversation

The controversies surrounding homework highlight the need for an ongoing conversation about its role in education. Striking the right balance between reinforcing learning and addressing students’ well-being remains a complex challenge. As educators, parents, and researchers continue to explore innovative approaches to learning, the role of homework in the modern educational landscape continues to evolve. Ultimately, the goal is to provide students with the most effective and equitable learning experiences possible.

Unpacking the Homework Enigma

Homework, without a single inventor, has evolved through educators, philosophers, and students. It reinforces learning, fosters discipline and prepares students. From ancient times to modern education, it upholds timeless values. Yet, controversies arise—debates on balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility persist. Innovative alternatives like project-based and personalized learning emerge. Homework’s role evolves with education.

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The Surprising History of Homework Reform

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

Boy sitting at desk with book

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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Who Invented Homework? A Big Question Answered with Facts

how did homework become a thing

Crystal Bourque

how did homework become a thing

Delving into the intriguing history of education, one of the most pondered questions arises: Who invented homework?

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?

Who Invented 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

Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock.com

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

who made homework

Credit: laphamsquarterly.org

Mention of homework appears in the writings of Pliny the Younger, meaning we can trace the term ‘homework’ back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger (61—112 CE) was an oratory teacher, and 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

how did homework become a thing

Credit: inlibris.com

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

The roots of homework extend to ancient times, but 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

Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

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

So who created homework in the United States?

The history of education and homework now moves to Horace Mann (1796—1859), an American educational reformer, spent some time in Prussia. There, he learned more about Germany’s Volksshulen, forms of education , 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.

how did homework become a thing

Credit: medium.com

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

Inside Creative House/Shutterstock.com

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. College students, however, could still receive homework tasks as part of their formal schooling.

who invented homework and why

Studio Romantic/Shutterstock.com

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 public 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, American 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)

The focus of American education shifted again when the US Department of Education was founded in 1979, aiming to uplevel education in the country by, among other things, prohibiting discrimination ensuring equal access, and highlighting important educational issues.

In 2022, the controversial nature of homework in public schools and formal education 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 and the educational process that we know today (read more about Who Invented School ).
  • 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 seem 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.
  •   So, while completing assignments outside of school hours may be beneficial, spending, for example, a day on homework is not ideal.

Explore how the Findmykids app can complement your child’s school routine. With features designed to ensure their safety and provide peace of mind, it’s a valuable tool for parents looking to stay connected with their children throughout the day. Download now and stay informed about your child’s whereabouts during their academic journey.

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 student learning experience , 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 helps students learn how to be organized, plan, strategize, and solve problems on their own. Encouraging effective study habits is a key idea behind homework, too.

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 individual 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, school 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. Personal responsibility amongst students is thereby promoted.
  • 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 with 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. Time for students can get almost totally taken up with out-of-school assignments.
  • 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. For underperforming students, especially, this can have a negative impact on their confidence and overall educational experience.
  • 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, and can lead to a decline in physical activities. These studies counter that the potential effectiveness of homework is undermined by its negative impact on students.

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

The question of “Who Invented Homework?” delves into the historical evolution of academic practices, shedding light on its significance in fostering responsibility among students and contributing to academic progress. While supported by education experts, homework’s role as a pivotal aspect of academic life remains a subject of debate, often criticized as a significant source of stress. Nonetheless, when balanced with extracurricular activities and integrated seamlessly into the learning process, homework continues to shape and refine students’ educational journeys.

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 achieve 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!

how did homework become a thing

Elena Kharichkina/Shutterstock.com

Who invented homework and why?

The creation of homework can be traced back to the Ancient Roman Pliny the Younger, a teacher of oratory—he is generally credited as being the father of homework! Pliny the Younger asked his students to practice outside of class to help them build confidence in their speaking skills.

Who invented homework as a punishment?

There’s a myth that the Italian educator Roberto Nevilis first used homework as a means of punishing his students in the early 20th century—although this has now been widely discredited, and the story of the Italian teacher is regarded as a myth.

Why did homework stop being a punishment?

There are several reasons that homework ceased being a form of punishment. For example, the introduction of child labor laws in the early twentieth century meant that the California education department banned giving homework to children under the age of fifteen for a time. Further, throughout the 1940s and 1950s, there was a growing emphasis on enhancing students’ learning, making homework assignments more personal, and nurturing growth, rather than being used as a form of punishment.

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

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Who Invented Homework, and Why Was Homework Invented? Let’s Explore!

Janna Smith

If you are or have ever been a student, you have probably asked this question multiple times, and it hardly was to thank the person who invented homework personally. We all know that feeling all too well—the deadline is looming, you’re staring at a blank page, and there isn’t a single viable idea in your head.

Sounds familiar? Then you’re likely curious to investigate the history of homework and the cruel, cruel people who stand behind this centuries-old tradition. It’s quite fascinating, actually, and you will most certainly be surprised at how long and turbulent the history of giving learners homework is.

When, How, Why, and Who Invented Homework

To answer the question of who the title of the inventor of homework belongs to, we will have to go all the way back to the first century, then jump to eighteenth-century Europe, and finally move domestically to explore the trials and errors of the homework tradition in the U.S.

Some of the names we will address here include:

  • Pliny the Younger —The Roman lawyer and author credited with the “invention” of homework,
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte —The German philosopher who developed the ideological justification of homework,
  • Horace Mann —The first known American educator who made homework the norm in the U.S., and more.

Let’s dive in.

Who Created Homework and Why—How Everything Started

So, who started homework? The simplistic answer would be the Roman lawyer Pliny the Younger, who we’ll discuss in more detail below. However, it’s not that simple. It never is when it comes to homework, a tradition that could have existed long before it was linked to any historical artifacts and, therefore, lost to history.

After all, as much as almost every student despises homework, its number one purpose (or, at least, what we perceive as its number one purpose today) is self-evident. Most teachers genuinely care about their learners’ progress and academic achievements, so it’s no wonder they give home assignments to help students improve their learning.

As a result, it’s no wonder students are looking for an EssayPro review or WritePapers review to find someone reputable who can help them cope with loads of homework.

However, as you will soon find out, making progress in learning is only one of the many homework goals. Historically, it hasn’t even always been the most important one. Societal events, dominant philosophical schools, and individual educational reformers have always affected the mainstream view of homework and its perceived functions.

We invite you to join us on a journey through centuries (and then back again), where we will try to understand the origins, evolution, and current state of the homework tradition. If nothing else, you might have a chance to impress your friends at a trivia night.

Pliny the Younger

Have you already thought of the Roman Empire this week? If not, now’s your chance. The first name historians come across when looking for the origins of homework is Pliny the Younger, a Roman magistrate, lawyer, and brilliant orator in the first century A.D.

Pliny the Younger had students like many other distinguished authors and public speakers in Rome. He taught rhetoric and public speaking and—you guessed it—tasked his students with practicing their speech composing and public speaking skills even outside his classes. Also, Pliny actively encouraged them to put their newly acquired skills to practice in appropriate settings.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

Here comes a huge time jump—to eighteenth-century Germany. Sure, homework probably existed between the Roman times and the eighteenth century. However, nothing groundbreaking happened to it during all those centuries, so there’s no point in retelling every little step.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte was a German philosopher in post-Napoleon Europe who advocated for a uniform national education system, similar to other voices of German idealism. He emphasized that teaching the youth was as much about instilling a sense of national identity in them as teaching them traditional disciplines. For Fichte, homework was one of the strategies for achieving that.

Horace Mann

At this point, you might wonder, “What about the U.S.?” Well, the title of the pioneer of homework in the New World belongs to Horace Mann, otherwise known as “the father of the American public school system.” In the nineteenth century, education for children was still not compulsory, and Mann advocated for changing that.

Mann was the first educator to emphasize the role of parents in every child’s learning journey. He believed homework could reinforce the lessons taught in school, teach the youth self-discipline and improve their relationships with parents. He added a new layer to why homework was invented and made mainstream.

Roberto Nevilis: What Was His Role in the Origins of Homework?

The first thing you need to know about Roberto Nevilis is that he didn’t exist. A popular myth suggests that Nevilis invented homework at the beginning of the twentieth century as a form of punishment for students who didn’t work hard enough in class. That’s completely untrue.

Here are a few facts about Roberto Nevilis. According to the legend, Roberto Nevilis was an Italian teacher who lived at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century in Venice, Italy. He was supposedly the first educator to give homework to his students, which allegedly happened in 1905. If you look up his (more or less fictional) “story” online, you will find that he initially only gave home assignments to students who failed to understand the material in class or weren’t diligent enough.

Why did Roberto Nevilis create homework? As you can probably guess by now, the more accurate question would be, “Why would someone bother to invent the person named Roberto Nevilis and credit this semi-fictional character with inventing homework?” Sadly, though, there’s no clear answer. Whoever did this wanted students or the general public to believe that the number one purpose of homework was punishment for poor performance. That’s not the case.

Was the History of Homework in the United States Any Different?

Now, let’s move beyond Horace Mann’s name and explore homework history in the Americas or, more specifically, the U.S. One of the first questions people curious about the topic ask is, “What year was homework invented in the United States?” There’s no straightforward answer to this, either. All we know is that homework started becoming a standard practice somewhere on the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—largely thanks to Mann’s effort.

The U.S. wasn’t any different from other countries in that the mainstream views on homework evolved with societal norms (which, in turn, shaped educational priorities). For example, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the idea became more or less universal: homework promoted students’ growth beyond learning the material taught in class. Educators believed it was also helpful for building character and applying the knowledge gained in practical contexts.

However, the beginning of the twentieth century was also when the progressive education movement grew increasingly popular. Among other things, its proponents advocated against homework because they believed that it contracted the fundamentals of child-centered learning. The opposing views on giving home assignments coexisted side by side; to an extent, they still do.

The Ban on Homework in the 1900s

The 1900s was the first time in American history since homework origin when it became very popular to reject the need for homework. The progressive movement grew more influential by the day, eventually culminating in the homework ban.

From being the underdogs of sorts, homework’s progressive critics turned into the loudest voice in the education system, and their demands were eventually met, albeit not everywhere.

Their arguments were straightforward and understandable, at least to an extent. They claimed that homework got in the way of students’ socializing after school hours, interfered with the family dynamics, and strained students’ physical and mental health.

The Need for Children’s Domestic Labor in the 1930s

The 1930s wasn’t a good time for the first homework advocates. This was when the Great Depression hit the U.S. severely and put the economic crisis at the forefront of basically everything happening in the country, including education.

More and more parents came forward demanding the end of homework because they needed their children to help at home—be it with domestic labor, farming, or anything else.

Parents’ demands were fruitful. The educational practices of the 1930s stemmed from the idea that outside of school hours, students should be able to focus on their lives at home without the additional burden of homework.

The Post-World War II Shift in the Views on Homework

The situation changed drastically after World War II. If you’re wondering how old is homework the way we know it today, that’s when it started.

First, the nation was thriving economically, which made it possible to focus on the importance of education. Also, as the Cold War started, the value of education became more apparent than ever. The U.S. needed well-educated citizens who could contribute to technological advancements and effectively protect the nation’s security.

For example, when the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, one of the main debates in the American media was about young people’s readiness to remain competitive on a global scale.

How Homework Looks for American Children in the 21st Century

how did homework become a thing

Today, we can still see some of the dilemmas surrounding the topic over a century ago. For example, there are two clear camps: educators who believe homework is necessary for academic achievement and their colleagues who don’t think that to become a well-rounded and successful individual, a child must spend hours daily completing home assignments.

Still, the most popular view is quite well-balanced. The main idea behind that is maximizing the educational benefits of homework while minimizing its potential drawbacks. This implies setting reasonable limits on the amount of homework, designing meaningful assignments, and prioritizing students’ holistic development.

Otherwise, being overloaded with homework often leads students to search for an EssayPro promo code to hire expert academic helpers without breaking the bank. Many view it as the only way to have proper rest.

What’s the Purpose of Homework?

Even a child knows the number one reason they must do their homework (even if they don’t necessarily agree). Obviously, the main purpose of homework is to help students better digest the material they learn in class.

But that’s not the only one. Other goals of homework include:

  • To teach students how to work independently and think critically;
  • To motivate students to prepare for upcoming lessons (thus making the teacher’s job a little easier);
  • To encourage responsibility and organization;
  • To cultivate collaboration skills (via group assignments);
  • To strengthen the child-parent bond, and more.

What’s the Impact of Homework on the Quality of Education

So, how does homework improve the quality of education?

  • Promotes understanding and reflection.
  • Improves study habits and time management.
  • Makes it possible for teachers to give anonymous and personalized feedback to each student.
  • Prepares students for standardized assessments (such as SATs).
  • Supports diverse learning needs.

The Pros of Homework

The complete list of the advantages of homework would be too long to include here, but here are some of the undeniable benefits of giving the students at least some work to do at home:

✅ Reinforces learning

✅ Promotes independent learning

✅ Develops positive study habits

✅ Increases retention

✅ Facilitates parental involvement

✅ Enables customized learning, and so on.

how did homework become a thing

The Cons of Homework

At the same time, even the most adamant proponents of homework recognize that the tradition does have its flaws. The drawbacks of homework include the following:

❌ Causes extra stress and anxiety

❌ Gets in the way of students’ relationships with family members and social lives

❌ Might get in the way of healthy extracurricular activities, such as sports

❌ Creates additional pressure on teachers.

Who made homework a thing?

Why was homework invented have the reasons changed since then, is homework really necessary for effective learning, when was homework first invented did it look the same, how does homework look today who writes the rules.

As you can see, homework history—both in the U.S. and worldwide—has been quite turbulent. Much to today’s students’ envy, there were times when it was illegal, at least in some places.

However, now is not one of those periods. While some non-mainstream educational systems and paradigms deny the need for homework, most educators believe that the benefits of homework outweigh its flaws. The key is to design genuinely stimulating and engaging assignments and avoid overdoing things. Students should be able to relax after school hours without the risk of falling behind.

If you ask an average teacher these days, they will probably tell you that the optimal amount of homework per week is roughly 7-10 hours. That’s enough to practice what was learned in class and engage with the material critically. At the same time, it’s not too much, so the risks of causing students extra stress and harming their social lives are very unlikely.

What matters the most is not how much homework a teacher gives but how creative and stimulating the assignments are. Ideally, students should be excited to complete them.

how did homework become a thing

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Who Invented Homework? The Origins and Development

October 18th, 2023 — 5 min read

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The origins of Homework dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. It is said that Roberto Nevelis, an Italian teacher, invented homework in 1905, but so far there is no credible historical evidence to support this, which makes it become an Internet myth. Pliny the Younger, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Hausmann are the most likely true inventors of homework.

I. Introduction

When it comes to homework, what is on your mind? Excited or struggling?Some people enjoy doing homework and challenging themselves with hard questions; Others dislike homework and struggle with it, considering that homework deprives them of their spare time. Whether you like it or not, homework is an essential part of our learning and growth.

For teachers, homework is a way to help students to consolidate knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and improve problem-solving ability etc. As students, we might not view homework like our teachers, and maybe just complete homework to avoid punishment.

So we've all been doing homework since we were kids. Have you ever wondered who invented homework? This blog will elaborate on the origins and development of homework. Let's take a look at who started the journey of homework, and who made homework became a daily task for students.

II. Historical Background

Before tracing the origins of homework, let us ponder a question: was homework born at the same time as education? The answer is no. Education has a long history that can be traced back to ancient times. In the early stages, homework is not a part of educational system. Before writing was invented, people mainly passed on the values, traditions and life skills to the next generation through oral teaching. However, the advent of writing further developed the spread of civilization and diversified the ways of education.

how did homework become a thing

There is no homework in early education, so how do students consolidate their learning? In the ancient Greek city-states, private education was prevalent. Students in Athens discussed, debated, and thought in study groups organized by philosophers or scholars to further reinforce knowledge. Students would participate in various public presentations to access their learning outcomes and broaden their horizons and thinking. In addition, by participating in all kinds of practical activities, such as museum visits, art exhibitions, and sports activities, students can apply what they have learned to real-life situations. Therefore, although there was no homework at that time, students could enhance their understanding and application of learning in a variety of ways.

With the continuous development of society, education gradually developed from social and family education to formal schooling, with professional people specialized in teaching subject knowledge and skills. So who invented homework? When did homework appear?

III. Inventors and Key Figures of Homework

1.roberto nevelis.

how did homework become a thing

2.Pliny The Younger

how did homework become a thing

3.Johann Gottlieb Fichte

So who invented homework? Johann Gottlieb Fichte,the German philosopher, was probably the true inventor of homework. He was not only the father of German nationalism, but also contributed and influenced the education of Germany. He helped develop people's schools, making mass schools and compulsory education an innovation at that period. The state provided education for students and also infiltrated patriotism into students' lives and encouraged them to contribute to the country.

Fichte's educational ideas had a profound influence on German education at that time. His ideas were widely adopted and implemented in the German education system, so that homework became an important part of students' learning.

how did homework become a thing

4.Horace Mann

Horace Mann, a 19th-century American educator and politician, was often credited as a key figure in the development of homework. After graduating from Brown University, he actively supported education reform while serving as the state education secretary. He was regarded by many historians as the "father of American public education" and devoted himself to the educational system.

Mann not only engaged with teachers, but also participated in many public education presentations and visited other schools in and out of the state. While visiting schools in Europe, he was inspired by the Prussian education system and decided to reform education in Massachusetts, one of which was homework. He believes that homework can help students consolidate what they learn in class and develop the ability to learn independently and solve problems.

how did homework become a thing

So, what about the future of homework in the United States?

IV.Brief History of Homework in the US

Early 20th century: the rise of the homework ban.

In the 19th century, while economic development was limited, most children in the United States dropped out of elementary school to ease the burden on their families. With the increasing development of society, more and more children can receive basic secondary education, but some problems about homework appear at the same time. Many parents are tired of helping their children with homework and even think that school work has no meaning.

how did homework become a thing

1920s and 1930s: The Ban was Intensified

Under the influence of the homework ban, primary and secondary schools in big cities in the United States have made a series of reform measures to protect the physical and mental health of preschool children. Public schools in New York are prohibited from assigning homework to students in grades one through three. San Diego, California, bans homework for elementary and middle school students in grades 1 through 8. Chicago bans all public elementary and secondary schools from assigning homework to students at any grade level.

1950s: In response to the Cold War, Homework Returned

In 1957, the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik satellite brought a huge shock to the United States, and also changed the American concept of education. For 50 years, the United States had little homework, putting it at a competitive disadvantage against the Soviet Union. However, the incident galvanized the urgent need for educational reform in the U.S. government and educational institutions, including a reevaluation and reform of homework. Teachers began to provide students with targeted assignments to meet each student's learning needs. Assignments have also become more challenging and practical to help students consolidate what they have learned and expand their thinking and application skills.

Early 2000s: Homework Attracted Great Attention

In the early 1980s, the United States government organized a special committee to investigate the learning level of American students, and the survey results were very painful for Americans. That is, the basic education in the United States is poor, 23 million adults do not have enough literacy. The results of the survey triggered wide attention and discussion, and the US government and educational institutions took a series of measures to improve basic education, including improving the salary and training level of teachers, requiring teachers to assign more personalized tasks, and ensuring the improvement of teaching quality and student learning outcomes.

Looking at the history of homework in the United States, we can see from the introduction of homework to the promulgation of homework bans, to the re-strengthening of homework. The homework not only had a positive impact, but also triggered negative voices. Around the world, homework has been a controversial topic. Does it do more good than harm? Or does it do more harm than good? Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of homework.

V. Homework: Pros and Cons

When we talk about the pros and cons of homework, we should focus on the amount of homework assigned.

Proper Amount of Homework

1.Improve the quality of school education By assigning homework, students can consolidate the knowledge learned in class, deepen the understanding and application of knowledge, enhance the learning effect, and the quality of school education will also be improved.

2.Expand students' knowledge and improve students' learning skills Through homework, students can further expand their learning, accumulate more knowledge, and improve learning skills such as reading, writing, problem solving etc. 3.Promote students' independence and sense of responsibility By completing homework independently, students can improve their self-management skills and independent thinking. At the same time, the completion of homework also requires students to have a sense of responsibility and complete the task on time, which is very important for the growth and development of students.

how did homework become a thing

Excessive Homework

1.Lead to lack of sleep and affect students' health Long hours of assignment writing will leave students without enough time for rest, which is bad for students' physical and mental health.

2.Putting too much pressure on students Students need to bare academic pressure under heavy homework tasks, which may lead to anxiety and boredom of students.

3.Deprive students of their spare time Students need enough time for rest, recreation and other interests, which are very important for their well-rounded development. Too much homework may leave students no time to participate in other activities and limit their room for development.

4.Lead to cheating Too much homework may lead to cheating. When students are faced with too much homework pressure, they may look for other ways to complete the homework, such as copying or having someone write it for them. Such behavior not only violates academic ethics, but also weakens students' learning effect and ability

VI.Conclusion

You may not have thought and explored who invented homework, but I believe you have been crazy about homework. From birth to development, homework has experienced the baptism of the long river of history, and also continues to develop from time to time. Although homework once aroused the resistance of parents and students, it has to be admitted that homework plays a key role in consolidating knowledge and improving ability in our learning process. What do you think of homework? Do you think homework should be born?

With the rapid progress and development of science and technology, many countries continue to combine science and technology with education, and launch a variety of educational products to meet the learning needs of students in the new era. When it comes to homework, the use of technology has also opened up many new possibilities. While you may still be used to writing your homework with a pen and paper, or typing your answers on a computer, now is the time to try StudyX , a tool dedicated to providing a whole new way of doing homework. What is the innovation in it? Try it and you'll see!

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Teaching Students About Tim Minchin: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Teaching students about the antoinette perry award for excellence, teaching students about the jean seberg’s legacy, teaching students about the volkswagen thing: an unconventional approach, teaching students about the american renaissance, teaching students about the first flight to the moon, teaching students about if christians are catholic, teaching students about jean arthur: an enlightening journey through the life of a hollywood icon, teaching students about reefer madness: understanding the history and dispelling the myths, who invented homework.

how did homework become a thing

Homework is a part of life for children, parents, and educators. But who came up with the concept of homework? What happened to make it a standard in education? Here’s a quick rundown of homework’s history in the United States .

Homework’s Origins: Myth vs. History

Who was the first person to invent homework? We may never know for sure. Its history has been shaped by a variety of persons and events. Let’s start with two of its key influencers.

The Dubious Roberto Nevelis of Venice

Homework is typically credited to Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, who invented it in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources. However, upon closer examination, he appears to be more of an internet legend than a genuine figure.

Horace Mann

Horace Mann, a 19th-century politician and educational reformer, was a pivotal figure in the development of homework. Mann, like his contemporaries Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe, was passionate about the newly unified nation-state of Germany’s obligatory public education system.

Mandatory tasks were assigned to Volksschulen (“People’s Schools”) students to complete at home on their own time. When liberals like Johann Gottlieb Fichte were striving to organize support for a unified German state, this demand highlighted the state’s authority over the individual. While homework had been established before Fichte’s participation with the Volksschulen, his political goals can be considered a catalyst for its adoption as an educational requirement.

Horace Mann was a driving force behind creating government-run, tax-funded public education in America. During a journey to Germany in 1843, he witnessed the Volkschule system at work and brought back several of its ideals, including homework.

The American Public School System’s Homework

Homework has not always been generally embraced, despite being a near-universal element of the American educational experience. Parents and educators continue to dispute its benefits and drawbacks, as they have for more than a century.

The 1900s: Anti-homework sentiment and homework bans

A homework prohibition was enacted in the Pacific state of California in 1901, barely a few decades after the idea of homework crossed the Atlantic. The restriction, which applied to all students under the age of 15, lasted until 1917.

Around the same period, renowned magazines such as the Ladies’ Home Journal and The New York Times published remarks from parents and medical professionals portraying homework as harmful to children’s health.1930: Homework as Child Labor

A group called the American Child Health Association deemed homework a form of child labor in 1930. This statement represented a less-than-favorable view of homework as an appropriate educational method, given that laws barring child labor had recently been implemented.

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

Teachers began looking for ways to make homework more personal and meaningful to individual students throughout the second half of the 19th and 20th-century modern educational changes. Could this be the origin of the enduring essay topic, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation?”

The Cold War: Homework Heats Up

Following WWII, the Cold War heightened tensions between the United States and Russia in the 1950s. The flight of Sputnik 1 in 1957 increased Russian-American enmity, particularly among their youngsters.

The best way to ensure that American students did not fall behind their Russian counterparts, especially in the extremely competitive fields of science and mathematics, was for education officials in the United States to assign demanding homework.

The 1980s: A Nation at Risk’s Homework

What Works, a 1986 publication from the US Department of Education, listed homework as one of the most effective instructional tactics. This followed three years after the groundbreaking study 

Early 21st Century: Homework Bans Return

Many educators and other concerned individuals are questioning the value of homework once again. On the subject, several publications have been published.

These include:

  • 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 Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents  (Third Edition) by Duke University psychologist Dr. Harris Cooper (2007)
  • The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning  by education professor Dr. Etta Kralovec and journalist John Buell (2000)

Homework is still a contentious topic nowadays. Some schools are enacting homework bans similar to those enacted at the start of the century. Teachers have varying opinions on the bans, while parents attempt to cope with the disruption to their daily routine that such bans cause.

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Homework: Facts and Fiction

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how did homework become a thing

  • Rubén Fernández-Alonso 4 , 5 &
  • José Muñiz 6  

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Homework is a universal student practice. Despite this universality, the role that homework plays in student academic performance is complex and open to various interpretations. This chapter reviews the current available evidence about the relationships between homework and achievement. We begin by examining the differences between countries and follow that by reviewing the influence of variables related to student homework behavior, teaching practices around assigning homework, and the role of the family in helping with homework. The results indicate that the relationship between time spent on homework and school results is curvilinear, and the best results are seen to be associated with moderate amounts of daily homework. With regard to student homework behavior, there is abundant evidence indicating that the “how” is much more important than the “how much.” Commitment and effort, the emotions prompted by the task, and autonomous working are three key aspects in predicting academic achievement. Effective teaching practice around homework is determined by setting it daily and systematic review. Although family involvement in the educational process is desirable, in the case of homework, direct help has doubtful effects on student achievement.

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Extending a model of homework: a multilevel analysis with Chinese middle school students

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Understanding the Quality of Effective Homework

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Fernández-Alonso, R., Muñiz, J. (2021). Homework: Facts and Fiction. In: Nilsen, T., Stancel-Piątak, A., Gustafsson, JE. (eds) International Handbook of Comparative Large-Scale Studies in Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38298-8_40-1

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How Homework Became A Thing In The US

Homework

For many U.S. students, homework is an unfortunate certainty — the childhood equivalent of death and taxes. But the truth is that it has been controversial since it was introduced. A major player in the initial spread of homework in the U.S. was 19th-century education reformer Horace Mann, Study  explained. Mann was inspired by the developing public education system in Germany, which had recently become unified as a single nation-state. The Volksschulen , or "People's Schools," assigned students work to be completed at home. Mann, who helped develop a state-funded public school system in the U.S., adopted the homework concept from the German system. 

As school attendance became mandatory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, homework became a reality for more U.S. families, Slate explained. This led to a rising backlash against it. In 1900, Edward Bok wrote in the Ladies' Home Journal that forcing children to complete homework rather than play was a "rank injustice." His editorial received support from parents and teachers and, by 1901, 2/3 of U.S. city school districts had limited homework. California went so far as to ban homework for any child under 15. In the 1930s, the American Child Health Association listed homework with child labor as a cause of tuberculosis and heart disease in children, according to The Washington Post .

The rise of homework

Attitudes toward homework shifted in a big way during the Cold War , according to History . The Russian launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to concerns that U.S. students were falling behind their Russian counterparts, and homework became an important part of revamping the high school curriculum. In 1948, only 8% of U.S. students studied for two or more hours a night. By 1962, 23% of high-school juniors studied that long.

Since then, feelings about homework have gone in roughly 15-year cycles, Slate explained. There was another backlash during the counter-cultural 1960s and 1970s, followed by another pro-homework push in the 1980s. The 1983 government report "A Nation at Risk" argued that high schoolers should be doing more homework to compete with students in South Korea, Japan, and Germany. The 1990s saw another period of anti-homework sentiment, with articles like "The Homework Ate My Family" appearing in Time . Today, homework is being assigned to children as young as kindergarten. Yet other schools are experimenting with homework bans, according to The Washington Post . The future of homework in the U.S. is as controversial as its past.

how did homework become a thing

Who Invented Homework and Why

how did homework become a thing

Who Invented Homework

Italian pedagog, Roberto Nevilis, was believed to have invented homework back in 1905 to help his students foster productive studying habits outside of school. However, we'll sound find out that the concept of homework has been around for much longer.                                                                                                                                                              

Homework, which most likely didn't have a specific term back then, already existed even in ancient civilizations. Think Greece, Rome, and even ancient Egypt. Over time, homework became standardized in our educational systems. This happened naturally over time, as the development of the formal education system continued.                                                        

In this article, we're going to attempt to find out who invented homework, and when was homework invented, and we're going to uncover if the creator of homework is a single person or a group of them. Read this article through to the end to find out.

Who Created Homework and When?

The concept of homework predates modern educational systems, with roots in ancient Rome. However, Roberto Nevilis is often, yet inaccurately, credited with inventing homework in 1905.Depending on various sources, this invention is dated either in the year 1095 or 1905.

The invention of homework is commonly attributed to Roberto Nevilis, an Italian pedagog who is said to have introduced it as a form of punishment for his students in 1905. However, the concept of homework predates Nevilis and has roots that go back much further in history.

The practice of assigning students work to be done outside of class time can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as Rome, where Pliny the Younger (AD 61–113) encouraged his students to practice public speaking at home to improve their oratory skills.

It's important to note that the idea of formalized homework has evolved significantly over centuries, influenced by educational theories and pedagogical developments. The purpose and nature of homework have been subjects of debate among educators, with opinions varying on its effectiveness and impact on student learning and well-being.

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

Stories and speculations on the internet claim Roberto Nevilis is the one who invented school homework, or at least was the first person to assign homework back in 1905.

Who was he? He was an Italian educator who lived in Venice. He wanted to discipline and motivate his class of lackluster students. Unfortunately, claims online lack factual basis and strong proof that Roberto did invent homework.                                                                                                        

Homework, as a concept, predates Roberto, and can't truly be assigned to a sole inventor. Moreover, it's hard to quantify where an idea truly emerges, because many ideas emerge from different parts of the world simultaneously or at similar times, therefore it's hard to truly pinpoint who invented this idea.

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?

Homework's history and objectives have evolved significantly over time, reflecting changing educational goals. Now, that we've gone through its history a bit, let's try to understand the "why". The people or people who made homework understood the advantages of it. Let's consider the following:                                                  

  • Repetition, a key factor in long-term memory retention, is a primary goal of homework. It helps students solidify class-learned information. This is especially true in complex subjects like physics, where physics homework help can prove invaluable to learning effectively.
  • Homework bridges classroom learning with real-world applications, enhancing memory and understanding.
  • It identifies individual student weaknesses, allowing focused efforts to address them.
  • Working independently at their own pace, students can overcome the distractions and constraints of a classroom setting through homework.
  • By creating a continuous learning flow, homework shifts the perspective from viewing each school day as isolated to seeing education as an ongoing process.
  • Homework is crucial for subjects like mathematics and sciences, where repetition is necessary to internalize complex processes.
  • It's a tool for teachers to maximize classroom time, focusing on expanding understanding rather than just drilling fundamentals.
  • Responsibility is a key lesson from homework. Students learn to manage time and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Research skills get honed through homework as students gather information from various sources.
  • Students' creative potential is unleashed in homework, free from classroom constraints.

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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

Homework became more common in the U.S. around the early 1900s. As to who made homework mandatory, the question remains open, but its emergence in the mainstream sure proved beneficial. Why is this?

Well, in 1930, child labor laws were created. It aimed to protect children from being exploited for labor and it made sure to enable children to have access to education and schooling. The timing was just right.

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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

Like it or not, homework has stuck through the times, remaining a central aspect in education since the end of the Cold War in 1991. So, who invented homework 😡 and when was homework invented?

We’ve tried to pinpoint different sources, and we’ve understood that many historical figures have contributed to its conception.

Horace Mann, in particular, was the man who apparently introduced homework in the U.S. But let’s reframe our perspective a bit. Instead of focusing on who invented homework, let’s ask ourselves why homework is beneficial in the first place. Let’s consider the pros and cons:

  • Homework potentially enhances memory.
  • Homework helps cultivate time management, self-learning, discipline, and cognitive skills.
  • An excessive amount of work can cause mental health issues and burnout.
  • Rigid homework tasks can take away time for productive and leisurely activities like arts and sports.

Meaningful homework tasks can challenge us and enrich our knowledge on certain topics, but too much homework can actually be detrimental. This is where Studyfy can be invaluable. Studyfy offers homework help.

All you need to do is click the “ do my assignment ” button and send us a request. Need instant professional help? You know where to go now.

Frequently asked questions

Who made homework.

As stated throughout the article, there was no sole "inventor of homework." We've established that homework has already existed in ancient civilizations, where people were assigned educational tasks to be done at home. 

Let's look at ancient Greece; for example, students at the Academy of Athens were expected to recite and remember epic poems outside of their institutions. Similar practices were going on in ancient Egypt, China and Rome. 

This is why we can't ascertain the sole inventor of homework. While history can give us hints that homework was practiced in different civilizations, it's not far-fetched to believe that there have been many undocumented events all across the globe that happened simultaneously where homework emerged. 

Why was homework invented? 

We've answered the question of "who invented homework 😡" and we've recognized that we cannot pinpoint it to one sole inventor. So, let's get back to the question of why homework was invented. 

Homework arose from educational institutions, remained, and probably was invented because teachers and educators wanted to help students reinforce what they learned during class. They also believed that homework could improve memory and cognitive skills over time, as well as instill a sense of discipline. 

In other words, homework's origins can be linked to academic performance and regular students practice. Academic life has replaced the anti-homework sentiment as homework bans proved to cause partial learning and a struggle to achieve conceptual clarity.

Speaking of, don't forget that Studyfy can help you with your homework, whether it's Python homework help or another topic. Don't wait too long to take advantage of expert help when you can do it now. 

Is homework important for my learning journey?

Now that we've answered questions on who created homework and why it was invented, we can ask ourselves if homework is crucial in our learning journey. 

At the end of the day, homework can be a crucial step to becoming more knowledgeable and disciplined over time. 

Exercising our memory skills, learning independently without a teacher obliging us, and processing new information are all beneficial to our growth and evolution. However, whether a homework task is enriching or simply a filler depends on the quality of education you're getting. 

Origin and Death of Homework Inventor: Roberto Nevilis

Roberto Nevilis

Roberto Nevilis is known for creating homework to help students learn on their own. He was a teacher who introduced the idea of giving assignments to be done outside of class. Even though there’s some debate about his exact role, Nevilis has left a lasting impact on education, shaping the way students around the world approach their studies.

The inventor of homework is widely considered to be Roberto Nevilis, an Italian educator who lived in the early 20th century.

Roberto Nevilis: The Man Behind Homework Roberto Nevilis was born in Venice, Italy, in 1879. He was the son of a wealthy merchant and received a private education.

Table of Contents

How Homework Was Born

The Birth of Homework According to historical records, Nevilis was frustrated with the lack of discipline in his classroom. He found that students were often too focused on playing and not enough on learning.

How did homework become popular?

Today, homework is a standard part of the education system in almost every country, and millions of students worldwide spend countless hours each week working on homework assignments.

How did Roberto Nevilis Die?

Despite the mystery surrounding his death, Nevilis’ legacy lives on through his impact on education.

Should Schools Give Homework?

Facts about Roberto Nevilis

The legacy of homework.

In the contemporary educational context, the legacy of homework is a complex interplay of tradition, pedagogy, and evolving perspectives on the balance between academic demands and student well-being.

The Complex History of Homework

How do I make myself do my homework?

The purposes and perceptions of homework have undergone substantial transformations over time. In the 19th century, homework was often viewed as a means of reinforcing discipline and moral values, with assignments focused on character development.

how did homework become a thing

Conclusion – Who invented homework, and how did he die

Roberto Nevilis was a visionary educator who profoundly impacted the education system. His invention of homework has changed how students learn and has helped countless students worldwide improve their education.

What is Roberto Nevilis’ legacy?

Despite the mystery surrounding his death, Nevilis’ legacy as the inventor of homework will never be forgotten.

What was Roberto Nevilis’ background?

What was roberto nevilis’ impact on education.

Roberto Nevilis’ invention of homework has had a profound impact on education. By assigning homework, he helped students reinforce the lessons they learned in class and encouraged them to take their education more seriously.

Is there any evidence to support the theories about Roberto Nevilis’ death?

What was roberto nevilis age.

It is believed that he died of old age. Not much information is available on his exact age at the time of death. Born: 1879 Died: 1954 (aged 75 years)

Where is Roberto Nevilis’s grave

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how did homework become a thing

Who invented school homework?

Homework is a term that can stir up a spectrum of emotions among students worldwide. Some view it as an opportunity to reinforce classroom learning, while others perceive it as a chore. Regardless of these differing perspectives, the significance of homework in our education system is undeniable. But where did it originate? Let's delve into the intriguing history of school homework.

.css-26rqae{font-weight:500;} The ancient roots of homework

Our journey begins not in the 20th century, but much earlier, in ancient Rome. Pliny the Elder, a philosopher and naval commander, advocated for self-study among his pupils, fostering an early form of homework. He held a belief that independent exploration allowed students to delve deeper into their interests and broaden their knowledge beyond the confines of the classroom.

Debunking the myth: Roberto Nevilis

There's a common myth that an Italian educator named Roberto Nevilis invented homework in Venice around 1905. However, this claim lacks solid historical evidence and is widely debunked by historians and educators. The concept of homework, as we understand it, evolved gradually over centuries, shaped by educational philosophies and societal needs.

Horace Mann and the American education system

In the United States, Horace Mann, often hailed as the "Father of American Public Education," played a crucial role in shaping the nation's education landscape. While he didn't invent homework, Mann's emphasis on a structured and systematic approach to education likely influenced the incorporation and acceptance of homework in American schools.

The evolution and global perspective of homework

Homework has evolved significantly over the centuries, adapting to societal changes and advancements in technology. It's also interesting to note the variations in homework culture across different countries, reflecting diverse educational philosophies and practices. For example, in Finland, a country renowned for its high-performing education system, students have comparatively less homework and shorter school hours. In contrast, South Korea's rigorous education system is known for its heavy emphasis on homework.

Benefits of homework: A balanced perspective

While the debate over the effectiveness and necessity of homework continues, there are some benefits to consider. Homework can reinforce learning

The ongoing debate: The pros and cons of homework

The effectiveness and impact of homework is a subject of ongoing debate. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of homework.

Pros of homework:

Reinforces learning: Homework provides an opportunity to practice and consolidate classroom learning, leading to better retention of knowledge.

Develops time-management skills: Completing assignments within a designated timeframe can instill valuable time-management skills in students.

Encourages independent thinking: Homework allows students to think critically and independently, fostering creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Cons of homework:

Increased stress and burnout: Heavy homework loads can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout among students.

Inequity in access: Homework may create an uneven playing field for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack resources or parental support.

Limitations on free time: Excessive homework can limit a student's free time for extracurricular activities, family time, and leisure.

From the early advocacy of self-study by Pliny the Elder to the structured educational approach of Horace Mann, the journey of homework has been long and complex. Its evolution and global perspective continue to shape the education systems worldwide. While opinions on homework may differ, its undeniable impact on students' academic performance and development cannot be ignored.

So boo for homework, but yay for its potential benefits! It all depends on the individual learner.

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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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Homework: The True Reality Behind It

Sophia Wecker , Editor | March 16, 2021

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Photo provided by Sigmund

Homework. Something almost everyone in school—  no matter what age, grade or where they live—  all dread. But, why do we have homework?

In 1905, an Italian teacher named Roberto Nevilis invented the concept of “homework.” Originally, its purpose was to be used as a punishment for students who were lazy in class or for those who were disobedient or rude to their teacher. This practice became popular and became more frequently used around the world. A few years after it was invented, it became a standard thing that almost all teachers worldwide began regularly giving out to students after school every day or most days. 

Students are usually mentally and physically drained when they come home from school, sports, or after they go somewhere after school and having homework assigned to them puts more even stress onto their plates. Whereas other students might like homework or enjoy doing it because it can benefit them academically or might help with avoiding boredom. Either way, there are both positive and negative sides to homework. 

Nowadays, teachers assign homework for either what was left over from class or for extra work to help expand upon the topics taught while in school. But, is that really a smart and good reason to assign homework? Like what was mentioned earlier, students like to come home after a long day of school and relax and have some downtime or possibly hang out with their friends and/or family. But if they have assignments that could take them multiple hours to do that are all due by midnight, this erases this precious free time for students. 

Though we may hate to admit it, there are some upsides to homework. Students who need extra help or practice on a topic or subject may benefit from additional work through their homework. Others might like some extra practice to better their understanding or to possibly get ahead in a subject to get higher test and quiz scores. 

Despite the extra help homework gives, it’s not always necessary. Like mentioned earlier, some students may have a hard time completing homework because of time, their own individual lives and it just might not be needed for some students so it shouldn’t be necessary for them. 

Although homework is annoying and isn’t always necessary, we need to continue to do our best and complete this task because it will benefit us later in life. But I do ask teachers to give students a break or to give them time to rest up after long and hard days. On a personal note, homework has always been a struggle for me to get done because of my busy schedule, but as mentioned before, I do ask teachers to give less or no homework, out of the courtesy of students’ time. Although we might need homework for extra help, those who do excel and are carrying good grades in a class do not need extra work. Teachers, please take from this article and help the students in your classrooms to do their best, not by giving them homework, but by understanding their circumstances and their own individual lives. 

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Logan • Oct 20, 2022 at 11:28 am

if you are doing an essay on homework here are some more websites for 6-8th grade: Johnson, Geoff. “Piling Homework on Kids Is a Mistake That Undermines Work/Life Balance.” Times-Colonist, 09/05 2021. ProQuest; SIRS Issues Researcher, https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2578243016?accountid=65482 .

Moniuszko, S. M. (2021, 08/23). Heavy Homework Load May Be Detrimental to Health. USA TODAY https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2564234859?accountid=65482

Patterson, K. (2021, 11/09). Homework Isn’’t Helpful in First Grade Or in College. University Wire https://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2617064023?accountid=65482

Logan • Oct 20, 2022 at 11:31 am

also the cites are in APA 7

ethan • Oct 17, 2022 at 7:07 am

you helped my essay

FreezingZozi • Oct 4, 2022 at 8:59 am

why don’t they give homework to students that want or need homework not everyone in a class

Ece • Oct 1, 2022 at 1:43 pm

tysm good story

Ali Syed Karim • Sep 25, 2022 at 6:43 pm

The fact that homework is for all students is annoying, and its original use was just for students who were lazy or who were being disrespectful and disobedient in class. I hate homework.

James • Jun 7, 2022 at 6:02 am

this is relay helpful

Matthew • Apr 7, 2022 at 12:27 pm

James • Jun 7, 2022 at 6:17 am

Karen • Aug 3, 2022 at 6:42 pm

Great story

Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

Who invented homework in this article we will find out what is homework when, where and why was homework invented .

Pragya Sagar

Yes, everything seems better and more interesting than doing homework! I mean, we have all spent hours staring at the wall instead of doing homework, right? But I won’t lie, my first thought while doing my homework in school days was always “WHO INVENTED HOMEWORK & WHY?” Let’s find out!

What is homework?

According to collinsdictionary, homework, an uncountable noun, is school work that teachers give to pupils to do at home in the evening or at the weekend.  

Although homework is generally associated with school students, college students also get homework. Thus, it can be said that homework is any task or activity that teachers/professors assign to the students to be done outside the school hours, from their home. 

Who invented homework?

Even Google missed their homework on the topic “homework” (pun intended), not joking though. 

Yes! Google does not have a cent-percent answer on who actually came up with the concept of homework. The results from Google about the inventor of homework are ambiguous. 

  • Roberto Nevelis of Venice

Did Roberto Nevelis create homework?

Mr. Nevelis is probably one of the most hated people amongst the student communities because he is one of the first persons who has been associated with the credits for the infamous process of homework. 

According to the tales on the internet, t he person who invented Homework was an Italian teacher named Roberto Nevilis. He invented Homework in 1905 as a punishment for his students.

If you think you will have to go find out more about this person, don’t worry, we have got you covered:

Upon doing a little more search on Roberto Nevelis of Venice, infamous for his dubious relationship with homework, we found out that not only is Mr Nevelis’ title as the inventor of homework unreliable, his very existence is doubtful too! Yes, that means there might not have been a Roberto Nevelis of Venice at all. He might just be a fictional character created by someone, probably whilst skipping their homework.

  • Horace Mann

Did Horace Mann create homework?

Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

Horace Mann, the father of American education might just be the father of homework as well! 

Horace Mann is considered one of the very first American advocates of public education. As state secretary of education, Mann, who believed in free education, supported reforms to make education universal, nonsectarian, and reliant on well-trained, professional teachers. 

Thus, homework could be one of the reforms of refined public education that he supported.

  • Pliny the Younger

Upon trying to get some more information, it came to light that the first mention of homework appears in the writings of Pliny the Younger, dating back to 1AD.

Pliny the Younger source wikipedia

In ancient Rome, Pliny the Younger was a teacher of oratory, and is thought to have asked his students to practise their public speaking at home, to help them build confidence.

With time, homework became more and more common as schooling became compulsory for many people across the world, towards the end of the 19th century.

Now, if we go to a student’s best friend - Wikipedia - a completely different picture has been painted. Ofcourse, you don’t have to go read that long entry there as we have summarised the whole thing here, for you:

The American Story of Homework

So, according to Wikipedia, homework has been a part of American education but already few pupils managed to pursue education and the baggage of homework discouraged even those few. In fact, it was frowned upon by the parents and even some schools. Journalist Edward Bok protested against schools giving homework to pupils until they were 15 years old, in 1900. He was supported by 1000s of parents. While soon there were laws for children not getting any homework at all, teenagers could have had homeworks assigned but not anything that required more than two hours of time. Then In 1901, an act passed by the California legislature abolished homework for anyone under the age of 15.

However, with the cold war between the US and Soviet Union, the rise of competition led to the re-emergence of the homework culture. And as mentioned earlier, homework became more and more common towards the end of the 19th century. 

Why do students get homework?

  • Homework gives both students and parents an opportunity to re-view class works.  
  • Homework teaches students the skill of problem solving and taking responsibility for their part in their education.  

why and why not homework picture by unsplash

Why should students NOT get homework?

With students spending almost one-fourth of their day in school, having daily homework for all the various subjects being taught leaves the student with little to no time for themselves. This, consequently, promotes the culture of “All work, no play”. 

CONCLUSION: Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

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When did homework start?

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The first homework was assigned in the year 7,623 BC by Thraugh the Neanderthal, when his son Naughahyde refused to help hunt mammoths. Nobody knows when the first homework was given, but you can bet it was on the day when the first class was taught!

Home Schooling starts whenever the person you live with finds a curriculum and you get your things from school. The thing is that it has to be during school season and while school is going on.

Homework has been a part of student's lives since the beginning of formal schooling in the United States. However, the practice has been alternately accepted and rejected by educators and parents. When the twentieth century began, the mind was viewed as a muscle that could be strengthened through mental exercise. Since this exercise could be done at home, homework was viewed favorably. During the 1940s, the emphasis in education shifted from drill to problem solving. Homework fell out of favor because it was closely associated with the repetition of material. The launch of the satellite Sputnik by the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s reversed this thinking. The American public worried that education lacked rigor and left children unprepared for complex technologies. Homework, it was believed, could accelerate knowledge acquisition. The late 1960s witnessed yet another reversal. Educators and parents became concerned that homework was crowding out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities. In the 1980s, homework once again leapt back into favor when A Nation at Risk (1983), the report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, cited homework as a defense against the rising tide of mediocrity in American education. The push for more homework continued into the 1990s, fueled by increasingly rigorous state-mandated academic standards. As the century ended, a backlash against homework set in, led by parents concerned about too much stress on their children.

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  1. Who Invented Homework? The History of a School Staple

    how did homework become a thing

  2. Who Invented Homework?

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  3. Who Invented Homework And Why? History & Importance

    how did homework become a thing

  4. Who Invented Homework and Why was it Created?

    how did homework become a thing

  5. How Homework Became A Thing In The US

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  6. Who Invented Homework and Why? Interesting Facts You Should Know

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  1. Homework Is Important Thing

COMMENTS

  1. Who Invented Homework and Why Was It Invented?

    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.

  2. The Homework Dilemma: Who Invented Homework?

    The inventor of homework may be unknown, but its evolution reflects contributions from educators, philosophers, and students. Homework reinforces learning, fosters discipline, and prepares students for the future, spanning from ancient civilizations to modern education. Ongoing debates probe its balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility, prompting innovative alternatives like project-based ...

  3. The Surprising History of Homework Reform

    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 ...

  4. Homework

    Homework is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed at home. Common homework assignments may include required reading, ... Cultivating self-regulation skills is vital for individuals to become lifelong learners and sustain their growth over time. While developing these skills may require dedication and patience ...

  5. Who Invented Homework? The History of a School Staple

    The 19th-century politician and educational reformer Horace Mann played a large role in the history of homework. Mann, like his contemporaries Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe, had a strong ...

  6. Who Invented Homework? A Big Question Answered with Facts

    The roots of homework extend to ancient times, but 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.

  7. Who Invented Homework? How, When, and Why Was It Invented?

    Homework was first "invented" in the Roman Empire. However, it didn't become a standard practice until the second half of the nineteenth century. In the U.S., Horace Mann was the first known educator to advocate for homework relentlessly. The homework he wanted teachers to assign to their students wasn't that much different from today's.

  8. Homework

    homework. home·work / ˈhōmˌwərk / • n. schoolwork that a student is required to do at home. ∎ work or study done in preparation for a certain event or situation: he had evidently done his homework and read his predecessor's reports. ∎ paid work carried out in one's own home, esp. low-paid piecework.

  9. Who Invented Homework? The Origins and Development

    The origins of Homework dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. It is said that Roberto Nevelis, an Italian teacher, invented homework in 1905, but so far there is no credible historical evidence to support this, which makes it become an Internet myth. Pliny the Younger, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Hausmann are the most likely true inventors of homework.

  10. Who Invented Homework?

    Homework is typically credited to Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, who invented it in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources. However, upon closer examination, he appears to be more of an internet legend than a genuine figure. Horace Mann. Horace Mann, a 19th-century politician and educational reformer, was a pivotal figure in the ...

  11. Homework: Facts and Fiction

    Homework is a universal student practice. Despite this universality, the role that homework plays in student academic performance is complex and open to various interpretations. This chapter reviews the current available evidence about the relationships between homework and achievement. We begin by examining the differences between countries ...

  12. How Homework Became A Thing In The US

    In 1948, only 8% of U.S. students studied for two or more hours a night. By 1962, 23% of high-school juniors studied that long. Since then, feelings about homework have gone in roughly 15-year cycles, Slate explained. There was another backlash during the counter-cultural 1960s and 1970s, followed by another pro-homework push in the 1980s.

  13. The Surprising History of Homework: Who Invented It

    By doing homework, you become better at problem-solving and critical thinking. Conclusion In conclusion, homework has been a longstanding practice in education, dating back to ancient civilizations.

  14. Who Invented Homework and Why

    Homework, which most likely didn't have a specific term back then, already existed even in ancient civilizations. Think Greece, Rome, and even ancient Egypt. Over time, homework became standardized in our educational systems. This happened naturally over time, as the development of the formal education system continued. ‍

  15. Origin and Death of Homework Inventor: Roberto Nevilis

    The inventor of homework is widely considered to be Roberto Nevilis, an Italian educator who lived in the early 20th century. We will briefly explore Nevilis' life, how he came up with the concept of homework, and the circumstances surrounding his death. Roberto Nevilis: The Man Behind Homework Roberto Nevilis was born in Venice, Italy, in 1879.

  16. Who Invented Homework?

    What did the assignment look like? Homework was for the student to repeat the material many times, rewrite manuscripts, memorize Homer's poems, and practice reading. Homework wasn't invented to make college life freaking hard. It acted as an element of work on students' "mind and body". Homework has become part of student life.

  17. History of Homework

    HISTORY OF HOMEWORK. Dec 19, 1999. Mid-19th century: Most students leave school after sixth grade. High school homework is demanding but uncontroversial. 1900-1913: Ladies' Home Journal takes up a ...

  18. Who invented school homework?

    He held a belief that independent exploration allowed students to delve deeper into their interests and broaden their knowledge beyond the confines of the classroom. Debunking the myth: Roberto Nevilis. There's a common myth that an Italian educator named Roberto Nevilis invented homework in Venice around 1905.

  19. History of Homework

    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 ...

  20. The History of Traditional Education and Why It Doesn't Work ...

    When Did Homework Become a "Thing"? The roots of homework extend to ancient Greece, where Isocrates, a prominent teacher, assigned written exercises to his students outside of regular class hours.

  21. Homework: The True Reality Behind It

    In 1905, an Italian teacher named Roberto Nevilis invented the concept of "homework.". Originally, its purpose was to be used as a punishment for students who were lazy in class or for those who were disobedient or rude to their teacher. This practice became popular and became more frequently used around the world.

  22. Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

    With time, homework became more and more common as schooling became compulsory for many people across the world, towards the end of the 19th century. Now, if we go to a student's best friend ...

  23. When did homework become a thing?

    Best Answer. Homework has been a part of student's lives since the beginning of formal schooling in the United States. However, the practice has been alternately accepted and rejected by educators ...