Who Invented Homework? Exploring the Fascinating Origins and Impact
Your planner is cracking with assignments. You need to cram again, write, decide, learn, and invent. Homework puts pressure on your mind. You only want to find the guy who came up with the homework and ask: “Friend, why did you do this?”. Such a thought visits the head of every student. We have put together an article called to help debunk myths related to homework. Let’s look at who created the homework and who should be blamed for it.
Homework’s Origin: An Investigation into When, How, and Why it Was Invented
The roots of homework lie in a time when there were no laptops, and ancient manuscripts were the only resource for gaining knowledge. Just imagine: the assignment as a form of extracurricular education appeared more than 2 thousand years ago. Memories of homework for students have roots in the BC period. Ancient Egyptian students did their homework on papyrus, where they recorded mathematical calculations, translations of ancient texts, astronomical data, and poems.
Homework’s origin takes us to Ancient Greece. Students went to the teacher to get new knowledge. Philosophers sought to invent a form of homework aimed to help understand the world and the nature of things, so the tasks were exclusively theoretical.
It is difficult to imagine a student suffering from the study of calligraphy, oratory, or other homework assignments. Education was available only to upper people classes, so homework was not perceived as torture. It was possible then to hear the words: “I hate rhetoric assignments”, and “I don’t want to do homework”. Students could spend hours discussing the work of Greek scientists, and sculptors because homework was a privilege.
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. The teacher gave homework to consolidate knowledge, and general mental development, instilling a love for poetry and music.
The Persons Behind Homework: Discovering the Inventor’s Identity
For more than 500 years, no one has been able to answer “Who created the homework?”. It is impossible to single out one teacher who was the first to give assignments to students. After digging through Google, scientific sources, and schoolwork help blogs, we have identified key people who can be called the “parents” of homework. They were enthusiasts living in different times but united by the desire to make learning more effective for students. Homework was supposed to be the foundation for this process.
Let’s get to know the persons behind homework assignments. History will help us.
Pliny the Younger
All roads lead to Rome. The emergence of the concept of “homework” is no exception. The first assignments outside the classroom were given by Pliny the Younger, the “guru” of oratory and the teacher who first assigned homework. Students had to prepare a speech on a certain topic in advance to pronounce it in front of their peers. After receiving homework, the student went to the forest or the riverbank and practiced for hours to convincingly express his thoughts.
The most difficult homework was to learn the “Iliad and the Odyssey”. It was impossible to invent something better that could show the conversational skill of students. This homework took hours to learn 700 pages of text, so not everyone could cope with such an assignment. Students who could recite fragments of Homer’s poem had special respect in society.
It cannot be argued that Pliny the Younger created the homework. He was the teacher who laid the foundation for self-study students.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte
Homework as we know it has been around for more than 200 years. This is due to the activities of Johann Gottlieb Fichte. The German philosopher was a fan of the idea of state control over the minds of students. The teacher proposed the creation of public schools, which were supposed to help in the teaching of patriots via homework. This was the starting point when homework passed from the hands of the church into the sphere of state interests.
Homework and the political teaching of students – it seems that these concepts cannot be on the same plane. But history tells a different story. Johann Gottlieb Fichte believed that every child should attend school and do their homework. He wanted to do more. He set the task for the educators – to invent assignments aimed at strengthening the idea of German superiority in the international arena. Students had to devote their free time to homework, thereby demonstrating their commitment to the building of a strong state.
The practice of homework entered American life through Horace Mann (1796-1859). The reformer traveled for more than 5 months to the countries of Europe. He was inspired by the “folk schools” and brought the concept of homework to the US. The European homework model did not fully meet the needs of the local population, so it was adapted to the national mentality.
Horace Mann faced criticism from local teachers. The concept of homework, the German type of school for all students, was perceived as a “slap in the face” of educational practices that existed in the US. To invent something worthwhile in the system, one had to go against established principles. The reformer successfully coped with this challenge thanks to the help of the state. Homework became an obligatory part of the student’s life.
Roberto Nevilis: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Myth
Roberto Nevilis is the most controversial person. For more than 50 years, it was believed that he is the creator of “homework” as a specific set of tasks assigned to be done outside the classes. Many blogs have picked up on this claim, and it has gone viral. There is a story floating around in the search engine: allegedly, a teacher from Venice came up with homework to punish students who did poorly in class. “Here it is the root of evil” – you thought. But no. The facts indicate that Nevilis did not exist, so he can’t create homework.
Sources help us to understand this issue. We present to you the investigation of Roberto Nevilis or “Top 3 arguments why a teacher from Venice is not a homework inventor”.
- confusion over time. Some sources indicate that Nevilis first put homework into practice in 1905, others say that homework was invented in 1095. One could turn a blind eye to a difference of several days, but when the “homework birthday” spans more than 8 centuries, this raises suspicions.
- lack of classrooms. Homework is part of compulsory education. In the 11th century, no one thought about extra assignments. Students completed assignments under the supervision of private teachers or church superiors.
- pedagogical incompetence. Inventing homework for the sake of petty revenge sounds dubious to students.
Who he was – a teacher, homework inventor, or a fictional character – is impossible to say for sure. There are no reliable sources that can help shed light on this issue.
Homework: Its Roots and Progression over Time
Education has been around for a long time, but homework in the sense that students know is a fairly new phenomenon in history. Homework was not mandatory. The teacher could not expel a student from an educational institution for not reading the works of Aristotle on time. For not doing homework, a student could be publicly ridiculed or punished corporeally.
There were no case studies, essays, or dissertations in the Middle Ages. Homework for the students consisted of reading world works and then discussing them in class. Students had no idea about procrastination while doing homework. Finding an opportunity to do their homework was a major challenge for them. Universities could have 5 copies of one book if they were lucky. Therefore, many students united for the joint preparation of homework.
The problem of homework’s progression over time is still controversial. There is no starting point that can be considered the beginning of the popularization of homework for students. It was a revolutionary process. Progress regarding homework occurred at the turn of the 20th century. Initially, there was no idea to invent homework as a punishment for students. Teachers from different countries have come to the conclusion that assignments are a form of improving students’ skills.
Homework in America: An Evolutionary Retrospective
Homework has come to a thorny path: from comprehensive support to complete abolition. America is a freedom-loving country, so it is not surprising that it was here that homework was considered in the context of human rights. It was not uncommon to witness someone holding a poster “Homework infringes on the rights of students”, “Down with homework”, or “Students against homework”.
An evolutionary retrospective of homework in America is a unique phenomenon in the world. For more than a century, opposing narratives have been heard in society from “Students should do homework in their free time” to “Homework should be done in the classroom with teacher help.” This is a hot topic of discussion. Now, there are two warring camps “for” and “against homework is necessary for students”, each of which brings hundreds of arguments to support their point of view.
Not only students oppose homework. Parents don’t see the point in providing help with assignments. They are forced to sit at homework with students until late at night, wanting to help cope with the study load. Homework is about a lot of stress imposed on the whole family.
When Homework was Outlawed: Analyzing the Ban of the 1900s
The dream of all students is the abolition of homework. Children in the early 20th century were lucky: homework was recognized as harmful to physical and mental health. Because of the homework, the students were little in the fresh air and practically did not communicate with each other. Doctors noted their weakness and increased nervousness, associated with a large amount of homework. If you think that a lot of assignments are a modern problem, you are mistaken. More than a century ago, young minds did their homework at night.
The magazines were full of headlines like “Homework is evil”, or “Homework kills student health”. Help came from the state – Parliament passed a law on the abolition of homework. This benefit was not for everyone. Teachers did not give homework to students under the age of 15. This law also affected higher education institutions. The amount of homework for university given by teachers to students has been reduced.
When homework was outlawed is a top search query. Many students appeal to this period, arguing that nothing has changed: homework causes overwhelm and depression.
The Homecoming of Children: Examining the 1930s Movement Against Homework
A new wave of homework hate swept across America in the 1930s. The initiators of the ban homework movement were parents. They complained about the constant fatigue of the children. Public organizations have gone further. They argued that a large number of assignments provoke an increase in heart disease among students. As a result, homework has been recognized as a form of child labor that is banned in the country. To assign homework, the teacher had to ask permission. Such help played a cruel joke. The quality of student knowledge has plummeted.
This issue has pitfalls. Students living in the countryside were forced to help with the housework. Homework was a stumbling block for parents, not students. Teachers opposed the refusal of homework, but they could not circumvent the adopted law. It was not possible to invent a homework that everyone would like.
Why did America go back to homework? The Cold War forced the adoption of measures aimed at improving the education system. Could hw help change the course of the war? To some extent, yes. It was believed that without a love for mathematics, it was impossible to invent innovative solutions to win the space race. Homework was seen as a tool to achieve this goal and improve the US position. It was a time when students spent sleepless nights doing a ton of assignments and homework trying to meet high teachers standards.
Homework has turned into a punching bag, which is periodically beaten by parents, students, and teachers. Outbreaks of the homework ban movement occur regularly in various states. Today, the volume of homework lends itself to sharp criticism. Plenty of parents are asking for help and leaning towards canceling homework. In various forums, statements are being actively discussed that students should not spend more than 1-1.5 hours a week on homework.
Let’s face it: for another decade, homework will be hotly debated. High fatigue, and depression among students indicate the need to update the homework system. It takes time to invent something new in this field. It doesn’t matter who came up with the homework, as long as there is someone who can help you with it. Rely on help from 5Homework and forget about those stressful days.