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Writing and Speaking

Do You Know the History of Homework?

In this blog, we can use a few historical pieces of information to help narrow down the History of homework. This is because we’re not sure who to credit for inventing the scourge of students’ lives and the reasons why homework was invented.

When in Ancient Rome, Pliny the Younger

The term “homework” belongs to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger, an oratory teacher in the first century AD, developed homework by requiring his students to practice public speaking at home. It basically helps them in becoming more self-assured in their public speaking. However, others can argue that the project isn’t exactly the type of written work that kids expect to complete at home these days. Only introverts who are afraid of public speaking would do so.

It’s also safe to suggest that the history of homework research is such an important aspect of education. It’s likely that it’s been around since the start of time, serving as a beacon of hope to all those who were powerless and lost (or to cast darkness on those who despise it). This means that long before homework was defined, Romans, Enlightenment intellectuals, and Middle Ages monks all read, memorized, and sung works. If you don’t want to point the finger at Horace Mann, it’s more difficult to play the blame game this way.

Horace Mann is regarded as the “Father of Modern Homework”

Horace Mann was a politician and educational reformer in the nineteenth century. He was particularly interested in Germany’s newly unified nation-obligatory state’s public education system.

Students at Volksschulen, or “People’s Schools,” were given forced homework to do at home on their own time. During a period when nationalists like Johann Gottlieb Fichte were gathering support for a unified German state. This requirement emphasized the state’s power over the people. Homework was essentially utilized by the state as a power play.

Despite its political origins, the practice of carrying school assignments home spread across Europe, eventually reaching Horace Mann in Prussia. He carried the system back to America, where pupils’ homework became a routine. This is under the history of homework debate.

Homework Bans and Anti-Homework Attitudes in the 1900s

Homework was forbidden in the Pacific state of California in 1901. It was barely a few decades after Horace Mann introduced the concept to Americans. The restriction, which applied to students under the age of 15, was in place until 1917. Around the same time, major journals like The New York Times and Ladies’ Home Journal published remarks from medical professionals and parents claiming that schoolwork was bad for kids’ health.

Homework as Child Labor in 1930

The American Child Health Association classified the history of homework research as a form of child labor in 1930. The announcement presented homework as an inappropriate educational technique, making everyone wonder why homework was developed in the first place. Especially because laws prohibiting child labor had recently been passed during that period.

Homework and the Progressive Era in the Early to Mid-Twentieth Century

Educators began looking for ways to make homework assignments more personal and relevant to individual students’ interests throughout the late 19th and early 20th-century progressive education reforms. 

Homework in A Nation at Risk in the 1980s

The pamphlet “What Works,” published by the United States Department of Education in 1986, listed the History of homework. It is listed as one of the most successful measures for improving educational quality. This came three years after the publication of “Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform” by the National Commission on Excellence in Education.” The groundbreaking report bemoaned the status of America’s schools, urging reforms to reverse the worrying trend in public education.


Early in the twenty-first century, many educators, students, parents, and other concerned citizens are once again debating why homework was created. And if it is still useful. But we can say in many aspects, homework has come out beneficial for younger selves.!

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