Who Invented Homework and Why

May 10, 2023 Martha Simons
Who Invented Homework and Why

Table of Contents

Reasons Behind Assigning Homework To Students

One thing is clear from our discourse of the historical roots of homework and assigning tasks to students – the intention was different from different periods. From being a punishment in the times of Roberto Nevilis to a tool of injecting patriotism in Germany, homework has its fair share of shaky past. However, this allows us to further explore the possible reasons behind its inception and then getting accepted as a standard mode of imparting education.

  • Repetition of tasks leads to better retention of knowledge and skills
  • Using analytical skills to connect the dots from both the classroom work and the homework
  • Homework allows teachers to identify and resolve weaknesses and issues with individual work
  • It creates a perpetual stream of learning and studying leads to long-term acceptance of hard work
  • Many disciplines require a lot of repetition before the concepts become second nature to the practitioner
  • Perhaps the most important aspect of this work is the freedom to be creative and think outside the box as students are constrained by the classroom setting

Even though there are clear benefits that we can draw from the above three examples, the history of homework in the US is still rife with conflicts and issues. Need a reliable partner to put the question “Can you do my homework?”, we are the right partners for you. With over a decade in business, you and your homework will be in safe hands!

Who Invented Homework? An Overview of the 1900s in The US

There is no denying that Horace Mann played a key role in making homework a staple in the American education system during the 19th century. But the idea faced a lot of heat at the turn of the century. It seemed like students and parents are not very fond of taking the school to the home and vice versa.

Ban on Homework (1901)

The first blood was drawn in 1901 when the state of California banned school homework. The rationale behind this ban came from the role of students and young children after school. Being an agrarian land, children were supposed to help their parents with farms and other work. Also, many students dropped out of the institutions because they found the homework too difficult and repetitive. Even leading papers and journals voiced concerns about the harmful effects of homework.

Child Labor Laws (1930)

During the Depression times, America faced a wide scale of poverty and hunger. However, authorities tighten the rope around the neck of educational institutions with Child Labor Laws. These laws set the time for students to work outside theIt is no secret that the life of school and college students is often plagued with extra work. First, attending lectures and seminars at the campus and then taking home assignments of lengthy essays and papers. Even weekends where they are supposed to take some time off are sacrificed to types reports.

This is when many students get to think about homework and how it came to become an integral part of teaching and learning. The question about the effectiveness of homework and whether it improves the learning process for the students or not is worth asking and then looking into to get answers.

In this blog, we will trace the history of homework, and the people and institutions involved in its worldwide acceptance as a normal mode of teaching students. If you are looking for qualified writers to “do my essay in the US”, you have come to the right place. Just place your order now and we will cover the rest for you!

Timeline of People Alleged To Invent Homework

Timeline of People Alleged To Invent Homework

Although it is such a random query, even in terms of Google Search, we believe that we can get back to the time when it was first introduced in the world. There are many contenders from ancient history to the 19th century. This section is dedicated to exploring the role of three of the most important mentors or masters in this regard. 

Pliny The Younger (01 AD)

Pliny The Younger was a great orator and used to teach the kids of the noble how to become one. He had his own Academy where students came from all the wealthy and noble families. According to internet lore, Pliny The Younger was the first person in history to formally assign tasks and practices to his students that they had to carry out after school. Although it is plausible, the idea of practicing something outside the formal time and space is as old as human civilization.

Roberto Nevilis (1095 AD)

Almost 1000 years later, Roberto Nevilis came onto the scene. Again, the internet believes that he was the first person to assign formal homework to students in Venice. The legend would have it that Roberto Nevelis thought of it as a punishment for the students who were not doing great in school. Again, education at that time was limited to noble and wealthy classes and it seems impossible to impose such harsh measures on sons of affluent families. That’s why no reliable source comes up with the data to back up his story.

Horace Mann (1800s)

Horace Mann is another contender in the answer to the question of who invented homework. He was an American statesman and educator in the 19th century who was inspired by the German education system and its ultimate efficiency in the industry. Based on the German model, he introduced several reforms in the American education system and is rightfully credited to be the true inventor of homework in the US. Although the German system had its rationale and theory behind assigning lengthy tasks to students outside the school, the system got traction in America without much opposition.

 school per week. Ironically, school homework was counted in the labor hours whereas the chores around the farms and businesses were immune to the regulations. Again, this resulted in the large-scale banning of homework in different states. 

Progressive Reforms (1940 – 1950)

After the raging 20s, the depression of the 30s, and the wars of the 40s, America found that there is no alternative to education and the only thing more expensive than knowledge was ignorance. Committees were established on both federal and state levels to conduct research and they all came out with unanimous findings – homework is an important part of the whole learning and getting educated process. 

This epiphany led to homework being cemented in the system with newfound vigor and it was accepted as a standard part of the learning process.

Homework Through Cold War (1945 – 1991)

The Cold War era had the most astounding effect on the overall American society, politics, economics, and even academics. The fault lines were drawn between the US and the USSR and a race was commenced where both blocks started dueling on space exploration, scientific advancement, and of course, propaganda. On the face of it, Americans were encouraged to take part in all the things that could not only pit them against their Soviet counterparts but to excel them publicly. 

That’s why school homework became canonized in this era as there was always a national challenge to conquer against the mighty Soviets.

Nation At Risk (1983)

During the 80s, the US knew that the USSR is hardly a challenge anymore or a mirror to look at itself and get better. Instead, the national looked inward for the first time in 50 years and saw something horrible. The system was in shambles and there was no respite in sight. The National Commission on Excellence in Education published a report called “Nation At Risk”. It highlighted all the things that were wrong with the system and how students were losing more every day by going to school and learning new things. 

Even though the race with the Soviets was almost over, it was still the Cold War and the government took the caution seriously. It published a pamphlet on the importance of homework by the name “What Works”. 

Pros & Cons of School Homework

Pros & Cons of School Homework

Although school homework has found a permanent place in the education systems of nations around the world, the fundamental debate about its effectiveness is still far from ending. The biggest challenge in coming to a conclusive result is the scarcity of data and the diversity of systems across the world. 

In this case, we can lend our two cents on the debate after going through the pros and cons that the idea of formal homework proposes to the masses.


  • When connected with classroom learning and training, homework has shown direct relations with long-term retention and understanding of complex ideas and concepts
  • It teaches students a lot of things that are hard to learn in class when they have someone to help them. This includes time management, self-learning, and other attributes that will help them in other areas of life
  • Home assignments allow students to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the students on an individual level and calibrate their teaching accordingly
  • With some positivity to go with it, it allows students to have a productive time with their parents leading to a better overall environment
  • Students can work at their own pace and method leading to research and finding new ways to discover and solve new problems


  • Homework leads to stress and anxiety in students’ life, especially when assigned in bulk with shorter deadlines
  • It stops students from pursuing other healthy activities such as sports, games, outdoors, and so on
  • There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to homework and its benefits. Studies have shown that primary school students may lose more than gain from home assignments
  • Excess of it leads to other issues such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, and a lifestyle of chair riding all the time

Summing Up The Discussion

The history of the invention and acceptance of homework as a normal mode of learning has been anything but linear and smooth. There have been issues at both national and global levels that are yet to be determined and resolved. In this blog, we have traced the origins of homework, how it progressed through the centuries, and now has been imprinted in the minds of people throughout the world. We hope that readers will find the study helpful in understanding the purpose, pros, and cons behind assigning tasks to students outside the school.

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