Who invented the concept of homework? Homework is important for testing and improving one’s ability, especially as a student. However, a pile of homework especially from different subjects can be exhausting and even annoying. This can result in you spending long hours on research, stress, frustration, sleepless nights, among others. Also, there are consequences for not turning in your homework in time. Thus, you find yourself asking questions like, “What is the point of this?” “Why should students have to write homework?” “Who came up with the idea of homework?”
In this article, you will be learning everything about who invented homework and why. Also, this article will talk about the myths and facts surrounding the origin of homework. So, keep reading!
Who Invented School Homework?
People and most sources often credit Roberto Nevillis as the one who invented homework in 1095. Roberto Nevillis was an Italian teacher who was known for his strictness in teaching. Sources often claim that the reason Roberto invented homework was that he wanted to punish his students. Some of his students were lazy towards learning and this annoyed Roberto. It was frustrating spending hours teaching students only for them not to remember the basic things the next day. Thus, Roberto termed his students as lazy. So, he invented what he believed would cure that laziness — homework.
Roberto believed that homework would help students to work quickly, work on their own without help and also get better at research. He also believed that homework would help a student plan their school works effectively. Furthermore, he believed that homework would help students’ ability to be independent in creativity.
Now, you would have noticed that this article mentioned what Roberto Nevillis did according to “sources”. While a Google search would reveal Roberto as the inventor of homework, real history says otherwise. As a matter of fact, there is even doubt as to whether Roberto even existed. This is because there is no recorded proof of his birth or death. Also, there is no information by authoritative sources regarding what school he taught in Italy. All you will find on the internet about this man are from blogs and sites that you cannot trust.
Thus, it is safe to say that the idea that Roberto Nevillis was the person who invented homework is a myth.
So, if Roberto did not, who invented homework?
What is the Origin of Homework?
Now, history shows that one can trace how invented homework began in ancient Rome. Furthermore, one name that stands out as the person who invented homework was Pliny the Younger, an Italian who lived in ancient Rome.
According to historical information, the Romans knew Pliny for his great speaking. He also taught oratory. Now, Pliny did not want his students to stop learning public speaking when they gathered. He wanted them to perfect it by learning how to speak confidently in a way that was not forced. So, he encouraged them to practice their lessons at home. Thus, some academic sources credit him as the one who invented homework.
Now, unlike Roberto Nevillis, one cannot contest whether Pliny the Younger existed or not. In fact, there is information about his life. Pliny was born 61/62 CE in Comum, Italy, and died in c. 113, Bithynia. This makes it easier to say that he created homework.
However, many scholars still disagree that Pliny invented homework. Their reason is that the after-class work that Pliny gave his students is not the same as the written assignments teachers give to students today. Still, one can argue with these scholars. Like everything else, homework had evolved to its written form. Also, homework can be in written, oral, and practical forms.
So, as a student, it is safe for you to credit Pliny the Younger as the inventor of homework. The only thing you have to do is make further research on him to back up your claim.
The Other Inventor — Horace Mann
Horace Mann is another person whom many scholars have credited with the invention of modern homework. What does this mean? Well, according to history, Horace Mann was an American educator who was interested in the German system of education. In Germany, their public education system was important for a unified state. For this reason, schools gave students compulsory assignments to do when they were at home. The state believed this would create loyalty in young Germans to their country. This also showed that the state had the power to decide the educational activities of the school.
The German educational system impressed Horace Mann who then took it to America. As a result of this, American students began to do homework.
Now, while this seemed like a great way to help American students improve, not everyone was happy with the introduction of homework. In the next section, you will learn about the band of homework and the anti-homework movement.
The American Bans on Homework
Horace Mann introduced homework in America but after some decades, the Pacific state of California banned them. This was because the Ladies’ Home Journal led a movement that sought the bans of homework. This organization stated that homework damaged children’s mental and physical health. To help them achieve this aim, the organization had parents and doctors join their cause. These parents and doctors stated that homework indeed caused damage to their children’s health. Thus, the California state passed the ban into law. This happened in 1901.
Now, in 1930, nearly thirty years after, the American Child Health Association (ACHA) released a statement that asking children to do homework was child labor. Calling homework child labor gave people the imagery that homework puts children under a lot of stress. Many began to see it as a practice that was not necessary for the education system. Some even expressed aloud why students had to do homework in the first place — just like you might have done.
Now, in those days, parents expected their children to help out with house chores after school. So, when schools gave homework, this prevented the children from working at home. Thus, parents got upset and looked for ways to get a ban on homework.
Homework in Today’s Society
While homework is socially acceptable today, there are many people who still think there is no need for them. Homework does have its benefits to the student. First of all, they help the student to master what they have learned. Secondly, they help the student develop individual creativity. Thirdly, they help students get better at research and many more.
Similarly, they have their disadvantages. First of all, they cause stress in students. Secondly, the deadlines attached to them can cause a student to be anxious. Thirdly, they take up the time you need to rest and engage in other activities. This can lead to sleep problems, depression, and even mental imbalance.
Thus, homework has its advantages and drawbacks to the student. Schools can help by giving longer deadlines, providing counseling for those who need it for their homework, among others.
Now you have learned the origin and who invented school homework. This way, you can now understand better why schools give homework today.