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? 

Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why
Who invented Homework? When, Where and Why

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. 

However, let’s have a look at the data collected from the search on Google about who invented homework:

  • 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, the 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.

If not Roberto Nevelis, then who?

  • 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.

But, let us dig a little deeper:

  • 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?

Even though we all have our own fair share of bittersweet feelings about it, homework comes it with its own pros:

  • 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

Whoever invented homework, must have had some right reasons. With passing time and increasing competition, the pressure on students has risen quite high. In this era, maintaining the right balance between school work, homework and free time for students is very necessary to help students love the process of learning and not loath it. 

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