Interesting Facts & The History Of Homework


Homework has existed since formal schooling because it aims to reinforce what students have learned in their classes. In the nineteenth century, most children left school after the sixth grade. Still, the privileged few who continued in their education faced demanding uncontroversial homework because it was accepted as necessary. People believed that children in school should be working hard, as their less privileged counterparts would have been doing in work. 

There is a long and interesting history of homework. It was first used as a punishment by an Italian oratory teacher named Roberto Nevilis. He asked his followers to practice public speaking at home, teaching them how to speak in front of crowds.

This practice quickly spread across Europe, and many other teachers followed suit. The modern definition of homework is based on its origins in the 19th century. Its popularity in the past century is largely due to its negative impact on student performance.

Facts & The History Of Homework | Know Things You Never Knew!

History Of Public Schools

Interesting Facts & The History Of Homework

In the early 20th century, public schools were becoming more and more common, so homework was becoming more frequent and widespread. According to thу research by specialists from EssayWritingHelp.Pro, homework was controversial, and there were even campaigns and laws passed against homework. For example, from the turn of the century, the Ladies’ Home Journal campaigned against homework and found doctors and parents to support their notion that homework was damaging children’s health. This view was shared by some school districts that decided to ban homework altogether, while California abolished homework for younger students and limited it in high school.

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However, many educators still favored homework because the emphasis was on learning by rote, and the best way to memorize facts is to keep repeating them. According to specialists’ research, the mind was viewed as a muscle that could be trained and strengthened. It was thought that homework would instill important facts into students and increase the overall strength of their brains and increase their mental capacity.

In the beginning, homework was only given to students after learning the material. Then, the teacher gave the assignments to students. In the end, homework was a way to teach students to learn independently. It was also used as a punishment by mythological characters. It was used to control the time of the common man. In the middle of the 19th century, the concept of homework was a means for educators to ensure that they were providing proper education to their students.

Skills And Problem Solving

Interesting Facts & The History Of Homework

However, this all changed in the 1940s when emphasis shifted from memorization to skills and problem-solving. As homework was associated with the repetition of material, it fell out of favor. However, the debate during this period was more about reforming homework than abolishing it. People generally believed that it could be valuable for children’s education, but only if it was more creative and individualized.

However, the view of homework was so ever-changing that it transformed completely over the next decade before changing back again over the following. In the 1950s American public soon began to fear that homework was lacking in intellectual rigor, a fear that can be traced to the Soviet Union’s launch of the satellite Sputnik[ii]. The overriding concern was that an education system that did not challenge children enough could mean that children were unprepared for dealing with complex technologies, so more traditional learning and homework fell back into favor with it. That was, until the late 1960s saw a complete reversal again, with homework being seen as unnecessary pressure on students.

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Homework Works

Interesting Facts & The History Of Homework

This view prevailed for over a decade, but a report titled “A Nation At Risk” brought homework into favor again in 1983. The report argued that mediocrity was a growing problem in schools that had to be dealt with immediately before the next generation and the country became mediocre. Three years later, the Department of Education issued a pamphlet called “What Works,” concluding that homework does.

A push for greater amounts of homework of greater intensity soon set in and lasted throughout the 80s and 90s. Many school districts introduced new policies about how much homework should be set as a minimum, and parents and teachers alike generally agreed that homework was positive for students.

School league tables and pressures to achieve minimum standards gave homework and a more important place in a student’s life. Not only did teachers need students to achieve certain grades to reflect well on their teaching, but parents were also pushing their children more than ever, as an obsession with national averages came into play. No parent wanted their child to be below average, and they wanted them to get into the best colleges in the country.

Final Words

It was around the turn of the century that things changed again, however, and the situation settled into what it is today. Parents became concerned again about there being too much pressure on their children, so homework leveled out. Today, most parents are happy with the amount of homework their children are given, while 23% think it is too little and 19% believe it is too much[iii]. However, even throughout history, it was recognized overall that homework is a necessary evil, which is why it still has an important place today.


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    • Dear Reader,
      Thanks for reading our article and making such keen observations!
      Till then keep reading and stay updated!


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