Inside: Who invented homework, and what was the reasoning behind it?
Ah, the age-old fight: Should we be giving homework to our children, or is it causing more bad than good? Excellent question.
I feel like for most of our lives, we go through the regularly scheduled programming and never question why it is we do things the way we do. So today, we are going to talk about it!
I think we all know what the students have to say about it, because who would fight for more work when you have the option of relaxation? It’s mainly the adults and teachers who have to show insight into why they fight so hard for this unwanted menace.
Okay, okay, menace might be a bit much, but if you have ever been overwhelmed with your teenage life and then had HOMEWORK on top of it to make it worse… you would get it.
We must go back in time to understand if homework is worth it. Who invented homework? Why was it invented? What are the benefits?
I am going to discuss all of this and more. Just keep reading!
What does homework stand for?
I figured we could start out with the obvious questions. Homework is the shorthand term for a set amount of work, be it a project, math work, reading, or anything of that sort, that is done at home on the student’s time. I
It is essentially a form of work that children and students are REQUIRED to do at home. Because most classes will have a portion of their grading system dedicated to homework, it is nearly impossible to get a passing grade without completing it.
Who Invented Homework?
Robert Nevilis invented homework in 1095. Nevills was a very strict Italian teacher who never felt that his teachings impacted his student’s work. They would sit in his class and listen to him lecture for the designated amount of time. They would ask the right questions and take the right notes, and yet something was missing.
They still were not improving despite his best efforts in teaching, and to a teacher, this lets them know that the job they are doing is not succeeding. And so, he aspired to teach them even outside of the classroom hours, but not with the goal of improving their work in mind.
Rather he was actually assigning them homework as a form of punishment. Since hurting them physically was off the table, he had to find a way to give them consequences for their actions. Thus he sent them home with work.
After he started doing this, he saw improvement.
Why Was Homework Invented?
Homework was invented as a punishment for children who were not performing well. As I wrote above, Robert Nevilis was angry about the way that his students were performing, and he wanted to find a way to make them suffer for it.
He could not physically punish them, so he sent them home with the only form of labor he could enforce on them outside his classroom hours; work from his own class.
So, in reality, the objective was never to improve their learning but to give students an extra burden for not performing well. It makes you wonder if homework is really all that it is cracked up to be. We will visit this idea next.
The Benefits of Homework: Pro vs. Con
1. Pro – Sending a child home with homework is a great way to encourage parents to actively participate in their learning processes. Otherwise, they would never really see their child learning and miss that bonding experience.
2. Con – It is one of the least interactive forms of learning. It has been proven that learning in an interactive environment is one of the best ways to help information stay in the heads of a student. Otherwise, it goes in one ear and out the other. Or worse, they struggle with understanding it at all.
3. Pro – It reduces time spent on screens. Many parents today struggle with the amount of screen time their child has. It’s known to wreak havoc on their attention spans, and they don’t learn very much when on their phone or watching TV.
4. Con – It adds stress. Children actually get a lot of benefits from being able to have downtime and to play freely. With homework, you have to sit still and not move for long periods of time. This can feel like a punishment.
5. Pro – It helps kids to absorb the things they are learning in school. When they are only learning a subject for one hour in school, it can be helpful to revisit it later in the evening to help them better absorb and retain the information.
6. Con – There is no room to be creative. Most homework sticks to the curriculum and does not leave any space for the child to be creative. They will have to do it the right way, or it is wrong. That kind of pressure and lack of freedom can be detrimental.
7. Pro – It helps them to learn to manage their time management skills. This is a helpful thing to know how to do as they get older and go through life. They will use it in basically every area, and establishing it young is a great idea.
8. Con – School is already something that takes 8 hours out of their day. It is basically a full-time job. So adding more to their workload seems almost insensitive. At least as adults, we get paid to work.
9. Pro – It can be seen as an extracurricular. Everyone knows how beneficial extracurriculars are. They keep your child busy in fun ways rather than letting them sit at home and do nothing for hours on end, bored out of their minds. So you can use homework as a way to fill the gaps and give your child something to do that is enriching. Just try to make it fun and interactive.
10. Con – Giving a child homework is an added form of pressure. If they are already struggling in school areas, adding more homework will only stress them out. We discussed earlier how it isn’t a good form of learning, especially for the kids who need some hands-on help. It may be more hurtful than helpful, and that is something you never want to be for your child.
So, in conclusion: Homework was invented by an Italian man named Robert Nevilis way back in the day. He didn’t invent it with his students well being in mind, but rather he used it as a form of punishment for the underperforming students in his class. After this, it became the formal way of doing things.
This gives you a lot to think about in terms of if homework is actually something that we should continue on giving our kids.
There are many benefits to it, but there are also some serious cons as well. I think the most important thing you can do for your child is to start checking in with them and see if there is any way that you can make their homework more fun and less stressful.
They already have a full work week; why do they need to take work home too?