The Surprising History of Homework Reform

Really, kids, there was a time when lots of grownups thought homework was bad for you.

Boy sitting at desk with book

Homework causes a lot of fights. Between parents and kids, sure. But also, as education scholar Brian Gill and historian Steven Schlossman write, among U.S. educators. For more than a century, they’ve been debating how, and whether, kids should do schoolwork at home .

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At the dawn of the twentieth century, homework meant memorizing lists of facts which could then be recited to the teacher the next day. The rising progressive education movement despised that approach. These educators advocated classrooms free from recitation. Instead, they wanted students to learn by doing. To most, homework had no place in this sort of system.

Through the middle of the century, Gill and Schlossman write, this seemed like common sense to most progressives. And they got their way in many schools—at least at the elementary level. Many districts abolished homework for K–6 classes, and almost all of them eliminated it for students below fourth grade.

By the 1950s, many educators roundly condemned drills, like practicing spelling words and arithmetic problems. In 1963, Helen Heffernan, chief of California’s Bureau of Elementary Education, definitively stated that “No teacher aware of recent theories could advocate such meaningless homework assignments as pages of repetitive computation in arithmetic. Such an assignment not only kills time but kills the child’s creative urge to intellectual activity.”

But, the authors note, not all reformers wanted to eliminate homework entirely. Some educators reconfigured the concept, suggesting supplemental reading or having students do projects based in their own interests. One teacher proposed “homework” consisting of after-school “field trips to the woods, factories, museums, libraries, art galleries.” In 1937, Carleton Washburne, an influential educator who was the superintendent of the Winnetka, Illinois, schools, proposed a homework regimen of “cooking and sewing…meal planning…budgeting, home repairs, interior decorating, and family relationships.”

Another reformer explained that “at first homework had as its purpose one thing—to prepare the next day’s lessons. Its purpose now is to prepare the children for fuller living through a new type of creative and recreational homework.”

That idea didn’t necessarily appeal to all educators. But moderation in the use of traditional homework became the norm.

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“Virtually all commentators on homework in the postwar years would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in the NEA Journal in 1952 that ‘it would be absurd to demand homework in the first grade or to denounce it as useless in the eighth grade and in high school,’” Gill and Schlossman write.

That remained more or less true until 1983, when publication of the landmark government report A Nation at Risk helped jump-start a conservative “back to basics” agenda, including an emphasis on drill-style homework. In the decades since, continuing “reforms” like high-stakes testing, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Common Core standards have kept pressure on schools. Which is why twenty-first-century first graders get spelling words and pages of arithmetic.

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History Cooperative

The Homework Dilemma: Who Invented Homework?

The inventor of homework may be unknown, but its evolution reflects contributions from educators, philosophers, and students. Homework reinforces learning, fosters discipline, and prepares students for the future, spanning from ancient civilizations to modern education. Ongoing debates probe its balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility, prompting innovative alternatives like project-based and personalized learning. As education evolves, the enigma of homework endures.

Table of Contents

Who Invented Homework?

While historical records don’t provide a definitive answer regarding the inventor of homework in the modern sense, two prominent figures, Roberto Nevelis of Venice and Horace Mann, are often linked to the concept’s early development.

Roberto Nevelis of Venice: A Mythical Innovator?

Roberto Nevelis, a Venetian educator from the 16th century, is frequently credited with the invention of homework. The story goes that Nevelis assigned tasks to his students outside regular classroom hours to reinforce their learning—a practice that aligns with the essence of homework. However, the historical evidence supporting Nevelis as the inventor of homework is rather elusive, leaving room for skepticism.

While Nevelis’s role remains somewhat mythical, his association with homework highlights the early recognition of the concept’s educational value.

Horace Mann: Shaping the American Educational Landscape

Horace Mann, often regarded as the “Father of American Education,” made significant contributions to the American public school system in the 19th century. Though he may not have single-handedly invented homework, his educational reforms played a crucial role in its widespread adoption.

Mann’s vision for education emphasized discipline and rigor, which included assigning tasks to be completed outside of the classroom. While he did not create homework in the traditional sense, his influence on the American education system paved the way for its integration.

The invention of homework was driven by several educational objectives. It aimed to reinforce classroom learning, ensuring knowledge retention and skill development. Homework also served as a means to promote self-discipline and responsibility among students, fostering valuable study habits and time management skills.

Why Was Homework Invented?

The invention of homework was not a random educational practice but rather a deliberate strategy with several essential objectives in mind.

Reinforcing Classroom Learning

Foremost among these objectives was the need to reinforce classroom learning. When students leave the classroom, the goal is for them to retain and apply the knowledge they have acquired during their lessons. Homework emerged as a powerful tool for achieving this goal. It provided students with a structured platform to revisit the day’s lessons, practice what they had learned, and solidify their understanding.

Homework assignments often mirrored classroom activities, allowing students to extend their learning beyond the confines of school hours. Through the repetition of exercises and tasks related to the curriculum, students could deepen their comprehension and mastery of various subjects.

Fostering Self-Discipline and Responsibility

Another significant objective behind the creation of homework was the promotion of self-discipline and responsibility among students. Education has always been about more than just the acquisition of knowledge; it also involves the development of life skills and habits that prepare individuals for future challenges.

By assigning tasks to be completed independently at home, educators aimed to instill valuable study habits and time management skills. Students were expected to take ownership of their learning, manage their time effectively, and meet deadlines—a set of skills that have enduring relevance in contemporary education and beyond.

Homework encouraged students to become proactive in their educational journey. It taught them the importance of accountability and the satisfaction of completing tasks on their own. These life skills would prove invaluable in their future endeavors, both academically and in the broader context of their lives.

When Was Homework Invented?

The roots of homework stretch deep into the annals of history, tracing its origins to ancient civilizations and early educational practices. While it has undergone significant evolution over the centuries, the concept of extending learning beyond the classroom has always been an integral part of education.

Earliest Origins of Homework and Early Educational Practices

The idea of homework, in its most rudimentary form, can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations. In ancient Egypt , for instance, students were tasked with hieroglyphic writing exercises. These exercises served as a precursor to modern homework, as they required students to practice and reinforce their understanding of written language—an essential skill for communication and record-keeping in that era.

In ancient Greece , luminaries like Plato and Aristotle advocated for the use of written exercises as a tool for intellectual development. They recognized the value of practice in enhancing one’s knowledge and skills, laying the foundation for a more systematic approach to homework.

The ancient Romans also played a pivotal role in the early development of homework. Young Roman students were expected to complete assignments at home, with a particular focus on subjects like mathematics and literature. These assignments were designed to consolidate their classroom learning, emphasizing the importance of practice in mastering various disciplines.

READ MORE: Who Invented Math? The History of Mathematics

The practice of assigning work to be done outside of regular school hours continued to evolve through various historical periods. As societies advanced, so did the complexity and diversity of homework tasks, reflecting the changing needs and priorities of education.

The Influence of Educational Philosophers

While the roots of homework extend to ancient times, the ideas of renowned educational philosophers in later centuries further contributed to its development. John Locke, an influential thinker of the Enlightenment era, believed in a gradual and cumulative approach to learning. He emphasized the importance of students revisiting topics through repetition and practice, a concept that aligns with the principles of homework.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, another prominent philosopher, stressed the significance of self-directed learning. Rousseau’s ideas encouraged the development of independent study habits and a personalized approach to education—a philosophy that resonates with modern concepts of homework.

Homework in the American Public School System

The American public school system has played a pivotal role in the widespread adoption and popularization of homework. To understand the significance of homework in modern education, it’s essential to delve into its history and evolution within the United States.

History and Evolution of Homework in the United States

The late 19th century marked a significant turning point for homework in the United States. During this period, influenced by educational reforms and the growing need for standardized curricula, homework assignments began to gain prominence in American schools.

Educational reformers and policymakers recognized the value of homework as a tool for reinforcing classroom learning. They believed that assigning tasks for students to complete outside of regular school hours would help ensure that knowledge was retained and skills were honed. This approach aligned with the broader trends in education at the time, which aimed to provide a more structured and systematic approach to learning.

As the American public school system continued to evolve, homework assignments became a common practice in classrooms across the nation. The standardization of curricula and the formalization of education contributed to the integration of homework into the learning process. This marked a significant departure from earlier educational practices, reflecting a shift toward more structured and comprehensive learning experiences.

The incorporation of homework into the American education system not only reinforced classroom learning but also fostered self-discipline and responsibility among students. It encouraged them to take ownership of their educational journey and develop valuable study habits and time management skills—a legacy that continues to influence modern pedagogy.

Controversies Around Homework

Despite its longstanding presence in education, homework has not been immune to controversy and debate. While many view it as a valuable educational tool, others question its effectiveness and impact on students’ well-being.

The Homework Debate

One of the central controversies revolves around the amount of homework assigned to students. Critics argue that excessive homework loads can lead to stress, sleep deprivation, and a lack of free time for students. The debate often centers on striking the right balance between homework and other aspects of a student’s life, including extracurricular activities, family time, and rest.

Homework’s Efficacy

Another contentious issue pertains to the efficacy of homework in enhancing learning outcomes. Some studies suggest that moderate amounts of homework can reinforce classroom learning and improve academic performance. However, others question whether all homework assignments contribute equally to learning or whether some may be more beneficial than others. The effectiveness of homework can vary depending on factors such as the student’s grade level, the subject matter, and the quality of the assignment.

Equity and Accessibility

Homework can also raise concerns related to equity and accessibility. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may have limited access to resources and support at home, potentially putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to completing homework assignments. This disparity has prompted discussions about the role of homework in perpetuating educational inequalities and how schools can address these disparities.

Alternative Approaches to Learning

In response to the controversies surrounding homework, educators and researchers have explored alternative approaches to learning. These approaches aim to strike a balance between reinforcing classroom learning and promoting holistic student well-being. Some alternatives include:

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning emphasizes hands-on, collaborative projects that allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. This approach shifts the focus from traditional homework assignments to engaging, practical learning experiences.

Flipped Classrooms

Flipped classrooms reverse the traditional teaching model. Students learn new material at home through video lectures or readings and then use class time for interactive discussions and activities. This approach reduces the need for traditional homework while promoting active learning.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning tailors instruction to individual students’ needs, allowing them to progress at their own pace. This approach minimizes the need for one-size-fits-all homework assignments and instead focuses on targeted learning experiences.

The Ongoing Conversation

The controversies surrounding homework highlight the need for an ongoing conversation about its role in education. Striking the right balance between reinforcing learning and addressing students’ well-being remains a complex challenge. As educators, parents, and researchers continue to explore innovative approaches to learning, the role of homework in the modern educational landscape continues to evolve. Ultimately, the goal is to provide students with the most effective and equitable learning experiences possible.

Unpacking the Homework Enigma

Homework, without a single inventor, has evolved through educators, philosophers, and students. It reinforces learning, fosters discipline and prepares students. From ancient times to modern education, it upholds timeless values. Yet, controversies arise—debates on balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility persist. Innovative alternatives like project-based and personalized learning emerge. Homework’s role evolves with education.

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homework history facts

The History of Homework: Why Was it Invented and Who Was Behind It?

  • By Emily Summers
  • February 14, 2020

Homework is long-standing education staple, one that many students hate with a fiery passion. We can’t really blame them, especially if it’s a primary source of stress that can result in headaches, exhaustion, and lack of sleep.

It’s not uncommon for students, parents, and even some teachers to complain about bringing assignments home. Yet, for millions of children around the world, homework is still a huge part of their daily lives as students — even if it continues to be one of their biggest causes of stress and unrest.

It makes one wonder, who in their right mind would invent such a thing as homework?

Who Invented Homework?

Pliny the younger: when in ancient rome, horace mann: the father of modern homework, the history of homework in america, 1900s: anti-homework sentiment & homework bans, 1930: homework as child labor, early-to-mid 20th century: homework and the progressive era, the cold war: homework starts heating up, 1980s: homework in a nation at risk, early 21 st century, state of homework today: why is it being questioned, should students get homework pros of cons of bringing school work home.

Guy stressed with homework

Online, there are many articles that point to Roberto Nevilis as the first educator to give his students homework. He created it as a way to punish his lazy students and ensure that they fully learned their lessons. However, these pieces of information mostly come from obscure educational blogs or forum websites with questionable claims. No credible news source or website has ever mentioned the name Roberto Nevilis as the person who invented homework . In fact, it’s possible that Nevilis never even existed.

As we’re not entirely sure who to credit for creating the bane of students’ existence and the reasons why homework was invented, we can use a few historical trivia to help narrow down our search.

Mentions of the term “homework” date back to as early as ancient Rome. In I century AD, Pliny the Younger , an oratory teacher, supposedly invented homework by asking his followers to practice public speaking at home. It was to help them become more confident and fluent in their speeches. But some would argue that the assignment wasn’t exactly the type of written work that students have to do at home nowadays. Only introverted individuals with a fear of public speaking would find it difficult and stressful.

It’s also safe to argue that since homework is an integral part of education, it’s probable that it has existed since the dawn of learning, like a beacon of light to all those helpless and lost (or to cast darkness on those who despise it). This means that Romans, Enlightenment philosophers, and Middle Age monks all read, memorized, and sang pieces well before homework was given any definition. It’s harder to play the blame game this way unless you want to point your finger at Horace Mann.

In the 19 th century, Horace Mann , a politician and educational reformer had a strong interest in the compulsory public education system of Germany as a newly unified nation-state. Pupils attending the Volksschulen or “People’s Schools” were given mandatory assignments that they needed to complete at home during their own time. This requirement emphasized the state’s power over individuals at a time when nationalists such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte were rallying support for a unified German state. Basically, the state used homework as an element of power play.

Despite its political origins, the system of bringing school assignments home spread across Europe and eventually found their way to Horace Mann, who was in Prussia at that time. He brought the system home with him to America where homework became a daily activity in the lives of students.

Despite homework being a near-universal part of the American educational experience today, it hasn’t always been universally accepted. Take a look at its turbulent history in America.

In 1901, just a few decades after Horace Mann introduced the concept to Americans, homework was banned in the Pacific state of California . The ban affected students younger than 15 years old and stayed in effect until 1917.

Around the same time, prominent publications such as The New York Times and Ladies’ Home Journal published statements from medical professionals and parents who stated that homework was detrimental to children’s health.

In 1930, the American Child Health Association declared homework as a type of child labor . Since laws against child labor had been passed recently during that time, the proclamation painted homework as unacceptable educational practice, making everyone wonder why homework was invented in the first place.

However, it’s keen to note that one of the reasons why homework was so frowned upon was because children were needed to help out with household chores (a.k.a. a less intensive and more socially acceptable form of child labor).

During the progressive education reforms of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, educators started looking for ways to make homework assignments more personal and relevant to the interests of individual students. Maybe this was how immortal essay topics such as “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” and “What I Did During My Summer Vacation” were born.

After World War II, the Cold War heated up rivalries between the U.S. and Russia. Sputnik 1’s launch in 1957 intensified the competition between Americans and Russians – including their youth.

Education authorities in the U.S. decided that implementing rigorous homework to American students of all ages was the best way to ensure that they were always one step ahead of their Russian counterparts, especially in the competitive fields of Math and Science.

In 1986, the U.S. Department of Education’s pamphlet, “What Works,” included homework as one of the effective strategies to boost the quality of education. This came three years after the National Commission on Excellence in Education published “ Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform .” The landmark report lambasted the state of America’s schools, calling for reforms to right the alarming direction that public education was headed.

Today, many educators, students, parents, and other concerned citizens have once again started questioning why homework was invented and if it’s still valuable.

Homework now is facing major backlash around the world. With more than 60% of high school and college students seeking counselling for conditions such as clinical depression and anxiety, all of which are brought about by school, it’s safe to say that American students are more stressed out than they should be.

After sitting through hours at school, they leave only to start on a mountain pile of homework. Not only does it take up a large chunk of time that they can otherwise spend on their hobbies and interests, it also stops them from getting enough sleep. This can lead to students experiencing physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from their peers and society in general.

Is homework important and necessary ? Or is it doing more harm than good? Here some key advantages and disadvantages to consider.

  • It encourages the discipline of practice

Using the same formula or memorizing the same information over and over can be difficult and boring, but it reinforces the practice of discipline. To master a skill, repetition is often needed. By completing homework every night, specifically with difficult subjects, the concepts become easier to understand, helping students polish their skills and achieve their life goals.

  • It teaches students to manage their time

Homework goes beyond just completing tasks. It encourages children to develop their skills in time management as schedules need to be organized to ensure that all tasks can be completed within the day.

  • It provides more time for students to complete their learning process

The time allotted for each subject in school is often limited to 1 hour or less per day. That’s not enough time for students to grasp the material and core concepts of each subject. By creating specific homework assignments, it becomes possible for students to make up for the deficiencies in time.

  • It discourages creative endeavors

If a student spends 3-5 hours a day on homework, those are 3-5 hours that they can’t use to pursue creative passions. Students might like to read leisurely or take up new hobbies but homework takes away their time from painting, learning an instrument, or developing new skills.

  • Homework is typically geared toward benchmarks

Teachers often assign homework to improve students’ test scores. Although this can result in positive outcomes such as better study habits, the fact is that when students feel tired, they won’t likely absorb as much information. Their stress levels will go up and they’ll feel the curriculum burnout.

  • No evidence that homework creates improvements

Research shows that homework doesn’t improve academic performance ; it can even make it worse. Homework creates a negative attitude towards schooling and education, making students dread going to their classes. If they don’t like attending their lessons, they will be unmotivated to listen to the discussions.

With all of the struggles that students face each day due to homework, it’s puzzling to understand why it was even invented. However, whether you think it’s helpful or not, just because the concept has survived for centuries doesn’t mean that it has to stay within the educational system.

Not all students care about the history of homework, but they all do care about the future of their educational pursuits. Maybe one day, homework will be fully removed from the curriculum of schools all over the world but until that day comes, students will have to burn the midnight oil to pass their requirements on time and hopefully achieve their own versions of success.

About the Author

Emily summers.

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homework history facts

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homework history facts

Delving into the intriguing history of education, one of the most pondered questions arises: Who invented homework?

Love it or hate it, homework is part of student life.

But what’s the purpose of completing these tasks and assignments? And who would create an education system that makes students complete work outside the classroom?

This post contains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about homework. So keep reading! You’ll discover the answer to the big question: who invented homework?

Who Invented Homework?

The myth of roberto nevilis: who is he, the origins of homework, a history of homework in the united states, 5 facts about homework, types of homework.

  • What’s the Purpose of Homework? 
  • Homework Pros
  • Homework Cons

When, How, and Why was Homework Invented?

who invented homework

Daniel Jedzura/

To ensure we cover the basics (and more), let’s explore when, how, and why was homework invented.

As a bonus, we’ll also cover who invented homework. So get ready because the answer might surprise you!

It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact person responsible for the invention of homework.

For example, Medieval Monks would work on memorization and practice singing. Ancient philosophers would read and develop their teachings outside the classroom. While this might not sound like homework in the traditional form we know today, one could argue that these methods helped to form the basic structure and format.

So let’s turn to recorded history to try and identify who invented homework and when homework was invented.

Pliny the Younger

who made homework


Mention of homework appears in the writings of Pliny the Younger, meaning we can trace the term ‘homework’ back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger (61—112 CE) was an oratory teacher, and often told his students to practice their public speaking outside class.

Pliny believed that the repetition and practice of speech would help students gain confidence in their speaking abilities.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

homework history facts


Before the idea of homework came to the United States, Germany’s newly formed nation-state had been giving students homework for years.

The roots of homework extend to ancient times, but it wasn’t until German Philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762—1814) helped to develop the Volksschulen (People’s Schools) that homework became mandatory.

Fichte believed that the state needed to hold power over individuals to create a unified Germany. A way to assert control over people meant that students attending the Volksshulen were required to complete assignments at home on their own time.

As a result, some people credit Fichte for being the inventor of homework.

Horace Mann

roberto nevilis


The idea of homework spread across Europe throughout the 19th century.

So who created homework in the United States?

The history of education and homework now moves to Horace Mann (1796—1859), an American educational reformer, spent some time in Prussia. There, he learned more about Germany’s Volksshulen, forms of education , and homework practices.

Mann liked what he saw and brought this system back to America. As a result, homework rapidly became a common factor in students’ lives across the country.

homework history facts


If you’ve ever felt curious about who invented homework, a quick online search might direct you to a man named Roberto Nevilis, a teacher in Venice, Italy.

As the story goes, Nevilis invented homework in 1905 (or 1095) to punish students who didn’t demonstrate a good understanding of the lessons taught during class.

This teaching technique supposedly spread to the rest of Europe before reaching North America.

Unfortunately, there’s little truth to this story. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that these online sources lack credible sources to back up this myth as fact.

In 1905, the Roman Empire turned its attention to the First Crusade. No one had time to spare on formalizing education, and classrooms didn’t even exist. So how could Nevilis spread the idea of homework when education remained so informal?

And when you jump to 1901, you’ll discover that the government of California passed a law banning homework for children under fifteen. Nevilis couldn’t have invented homework in 1905 if this law had already reached the United States in 1901.

what is homework

Inside Creative House/

When it comes to the origins of homework, looking at the past shows us that there isn’t one person who created homework. Instead, examining the facts shows us that several people helped to bring the idea of homework into Europe and then the United States.

In addition, the idea of homework extends beyond what historians have discovered. After all, the concept of learning the necessary skills human beings need to survive has existed since the dawn of man.

More than 100 years have come and gone since Horace Mann introduced homework to the school system in the United States.

Therefore, it’s not strange to think that the concept of homework has changed, along with our people and culture.

In short, homework hasn’t always been considered acceptable. Let’s dive into the history or background of homework to learn why.

Homework is Banned! (The 1900s)

Important publications of the time, including the Ladies’ Home Journal and The New York Times, published articles on the negative impacts homework had on American children’s health and well-being.

As a result, California banned homework for children under fifteen in 1901. This law, however, changed again about a decade later (1917).

Children Needed at Home (The 1930s)

Formed in 1923, The American Child Health Association (ACHA) aimed to decrease the infant mortality rate and better support the health and development of the American child.

By the 1930s, ACHA deemed homework a form of child labor. Since the government recently passed laws against child labor , it became difficult to justify homework assignments. College students, however, could still receive homework tasks as part of their formal schooling.

who invented homework and why

Studio Romantic/

A Shift in Ideas (The 1940s—1950s)

During the early to mid-1900s, the United States entered the Progressive Era. As a result, the country reformed its public education system to help improve students’ learning.

Homework became a part of everyday life again. However, this time, the reformed curriculum required teachers to make the assignments more personal.

As a result, American students would write essays on summer vacations and winter breaks, participate in ‘show and tell,’ and more.

These types of assignments still exist today!

Homework Today (The 2000s)

The focus of American education shifted again when the US Department of Education was founded in 1979, aiming to uplevel education in the country by, among other things, prohibiting discrimination ensuring equal access, and highlighting important educational issues.

In 2022, the controversial nature of homework in public schools and formal education is once again a hot topic of discussion in many classrooms.

According to one study , more than 60% of college and high school students deal with mental health issues like depression and anxiety due to homework. In addition, the large number of assignments given to students takes away the time students spend on other interests and hobbies. Homework also negatively impacts sleep.

As a result, some schools have implemented a ban or limit on the amount of homework assigned to students.

Test your knowledge and check out these other facts about homework:

  • Horace Mann is also known as the ‘father’ of the modern school system and the educational process that we know today (read more about Who Invented School ).
  • With a bit of practice, homework can improve oratory and writing skills. Both are important in a student’s life at all stages.
  • Homework can replace studying. Completing regular assignments reduces the time needed to prepare for tests.
  • Homework is here to stay. It doesn’t look like teachers will stop assigning homework any time soon. However, the type and quantity of homework given seem to be shifting to accommodate the modern student’s needs.
  • The optimal length of time students should spend on homework is one to two hours. Students who spent one to two hours on homework per day scored higher test results.
  •   So, while completing assignments outside of school hours may be beneficial, spending, for example, a day on homework is not ideal.

Explore how the Findmykids app can complement your child’s school routine. With features designed to ensure their safety and provide peace of mind, it’s a valuable tool for parents looking to stay connected with their children throughout the day. Download now and stay informed about your child’s whereabouts during their academic journey.

who created homework

Ground Picture/

The U.S. Department of Education provides teachers with plenty of information and resources to help students with homework.

In general, teachers give students homework that requires them to employ four strategies. The four types of homework types include:

  • Practice: To help students master a specific skill, teachers will assign homework that requires them to repeat the particular skill. For example, students must solve a series of math problems.
  • Preparation: This type of homework introduces students to the material they will learn in the future. An example of preparatory homework is assigning students a chapter to read before discussing the contents in class the next day.
  • Extension: When a teacher wants to get students to apply what they’ve learned but create a challenge, this type of homework is assigned. It helps to boost problem-solving skills. For example, using a textbook to find the answer to a question gets students to problem-solve differently.
  • Integration: To solidify the student learning experience , teachers will create a task that requires the use of many different skills. An example of integration is a book report. Completing integration homework assignments helps students learn how to be organized, plan, strategize, and solve problems on their own. Encouraging effective study habits is a key idea behind homework, too.

Ultimately, the type of homework students receive should have a purpose, be focused and clear, and challenge students to problem solve while integrating lessons learned.

What’s the Purpose of Homework?

who invented school homework

LightField Studios/

Homework aims to ensure individual students understand the information they learn in class. It also helps teachers to assess a student’s progress and identify strengths and weaknesses.

For example, school teachers use different types of homework like book reports, essays, math problems, and more to help students demonstrate their understanding of the lessons learned.

Does Homework Improve the Quality of Education?

Homework is a controversial topic today. Educators, parents, and even students often question whether homework is beneficial in improving the quality of education.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of homework to try and determine whether homework improves the quality of education in schools.

Homework Pros:

  • Time Management Skills : Assigning homework with a due date helps students to develop a schedule to ensure they complete tasks on time. Personal responsibility amongst students is thereby promoted.
  • More Time to Learn : Students encounter plenty of distractions at school. It’s also challenging for students to grasp the material in an hour or less. Assigning homework provides the student with the opportunity to understand the material.
  • Improves Research Skills : Some homework assignments require students to seek out information. Through homework, students learn where to seek out good, reliable sources.

Homework Cons:

  • Reduced Physical Activity : Homework requires students to sit at a desk for long periods. Lack of movement decreases the amount of physical activity, often because teachers assign students so much homework that they don’t have time for anything else. Time for students can get almost totally taken up with out-of-school assignments.
  • Stuck on an Assignment: A student often gets stuck on an assignment. Whether they can’t find information or the correct solution, students often don’t have help from parents and require further support from a teacher. For underperforming students, especially, this can have a negative impact on their confidence and overall educational experience.
  • Increases Stress : One of the results of getting stuck on an assignment is that it increases stress and anxiety. Too much homework hurts a child’s mental health, preventing them from learning and understanding the material.

Some research shows that homework doesn’t provide educational benefits or improve performance, and can lead to a decline in physical activities. These studies counter that the potential effectiveness of homework is undermined by its negative impact on students.

However, research also shows that homework benefits students—provided teachers don’t give them too much. Here’s a video from Duke Today that highlights a study on the very topic.

Homework Today

The question of “Who Invented Homework?” delves into the historical evolution of academic practices, shedding light on its significance in fostering responsibility among students and contributing to academic progress. While supported by education experts, homework’s role as a pivotal aspect of academic life remains a subject of debate, often criticized as a significant source of stress. Nonetheless, when balanced with extracurricular activities and integrated seamlessly into the learning process, homework continues to shape and refine students’ educational journeys.

Maybe one day, students won’t need to submit assignments or complete tasks at home. But until then, many students understand the benefits of completing homework as it helps them further their education and achieve future career goals.

Before you go, here’s one more question: how do you feel about homework? Do you think teachers assign too little or too much? Get involved and start a discussion in the comments!

homework history facts

Elena Kharichkina/

Who invented homework and why?

The creation of homework can be traced back to the Ancient Roman Pliny the Younger, a teacher of oratory—he is generally credited as being the father of homework! Pliny the Younger asked his students to practice outside of class to help them build confidence in their speaking skills.

Who invented homework as a punishment?

There’s a myth that the Italian educator Roberto Nevilis first used homework as a means of punishing his students in the early 20th century—although this has now been widely discredited, and the story of the Italian teacher is regarded as a myth.

Why did homework stop being a punishment?

There are several reasons that homework ceased being a form of punishment. For example, the introduction of child labor laws in the early twentieth century meant that the California education department banned giving homework to children under the age of fifteen for a time. Further, throughout the 1940s and 1950s, there was a growing emphasis on enhancing students’ learning, making homework assignments more personal, and nurturing growth, rather than being used as a form of punishment.

The picture on the front page: Evgeny Atamanenko/

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Who Invented Homework? The History of a School Staple

homework history facts

For students, parents, and educators, homework is a part of everyday life. But who invented homework? How did it come to be a norm in education? Here is a brief history of homework in the United States.

Origins of Homework: Myth vs. History

Exactly who invented homework? We may never know for sure. Many people and events have influenced its history. Let's begin by looking at two of its influencers.

The Dubious Roberto Nevelis of Venice

Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is often credited with having invented homework in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources. Upon further inspection, however, he seems to be more of an internet myth than an historical personage.

Horace Mann

The 19th-century politician and educational reformer Horace Mann played a large role in the history of homework. Mann, like his contemporaries Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe, had a strong interest in the compulsory public education system in the newly unified nation-state of Germany .

Pupils attending the Volksschulen (''People's Schools'') were given mandatory assignments to be completed at home on their own time. This requirement emphasized the power of the state over the individual at a time when nationalists like Johann Gottlieb Fichte were trying to rally support for a unified German state. While homework had been invented before Fichte's involvement with the Volksschulen , his political aims can be seen as a catalyst for the institution of homework as an educational essential.

Horace Mann spearheaded the development of government-regulated, tax-funded public education in the United States. He saw the Volkschule system in action during a trip to Germany in 1843 and brought some of its concepts—including homework—back to America.

Homework in the American Public School System

Homework, while a near-universal part of the American educational experience, has not always been universally accepted. To this day, parents and educators debate its pros and cons …just as they have for more than a century.

1900s: Homework Bans & Anti-Homework Sentiment

In 1901—just a few decades after the concept of homework made its way across the Atlantic—it was dispensed with in the Pacific state of California by a homework ban . The ban affected all students younger than 15 and stayed in effect until 1917.

Around the same time, prominent publications like the Ladies' Home Journal and The New York Times used published statements from parents and medical professionals to portray homework as detrimental to children's health.

1930: Homework as Child Labor

In 1930, an organization known as the American Child Health Association declared that homework was a type of child labor . Since laws against child labor had recently been passed, this proclamation reflected a less-than-favorable view of homework as an acceptable educational practice.

Early-to-Mid 20th Century: Homework and the Progressive Era

During the progressive education reforms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, teachers began looking for ways to make homework assignments more personal and relevant to individual students. Could this be how the immortal essay topic, ''What I Did on My Summer Vacation,'' was born?

The Cold War: Homework Heats Up

Following World War II, the Cold War heated up U.S.-Russian rivalties in the 1950s. Sputnik 1 's launch in 1957 spiked competition between Russians and Americans—including their youth.

U.S. education authorities decided that rigorous homework was the best way to ensure that American students didn't fall behind their Russian counterparts, especially in the increasingly competitive fields of science and mathematics .

1980s: Homework in A Nation at Risk

The U.S. Department of Education's 1986 pamphlet, What Works , included homework among effective educational strategies. This came three years after the National Commission on Excellence in Education published its landmark report , A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform .

Early 21st Century: Homework Bans Return

Many educators and other concerned citizens have once again started to question the value of homework. Several books have been published on the subject.

These include:

  • The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett and Nancy Kalish (2006)
  • The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents (Third Edition) by Duke University psychologist Dr. Harris Cooper (2007)
  • The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by education professor Dr. Etta Kralovec and journalist John Buell (2000)

Does your school still assign homework? Get the most out of at-home assignments with robust resources like the homework help courses from

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Who Invented Homework, and Why Was Homework Invented? Let’s Explore!

Janna Smith

If you are or have ever been a student, you have probably asked this question multiple times, and it hardly was to thank the person who invented homework personally. We all know that feeling all too well—the deadline is looming, you’re staring at a blank page, and there isn’t a single viable idea in your head.

Sounds familiar? Then you’re likely curious to investigate the history of homework and the cruel, cruel people who stand behind this centuries-old tradition. It’s quite fascinating, actually, and you will most certainly be surprised at how long and turbulent the history of giving learners homework is.

When, How, Why, and Who Invented Homework

To answer the question of who the title of the inventor of homework belongs to, we will have to go all the way back to the first century, then jump to eighteenth-century Europe, and finally move domestically to explore the trials and errors of the homework tradition in the U.S.

Some of the names we will address here include:

  • Pliny the Younger —The Roman lawyer and author credited with the “invention” of homework,
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte —The German philosopher who developed the ideological justification of homework,
  • Horace Mann —The first known American educator who made homework the norm in the U.S., and more.

Let’s dive in.

Who Created Homework and Why—How Everything Started

So, who started homework? The simplistic answer would be the Roman lawyer Pliny the Younger, who we’ll discuss in more detail below. However, it’s not that simple. It never is when it comes to homework, a tradition that could have existed long before it was linked to any historical artifacts and, therefore, lost to history.

After all, as much as almost every student despises homework, its number one purpose (or, at least, what we perceive as its number one purpose today) is self-evident. Most teachers genuinely care about their learners’ progress and academic achievements, so it’s no wonder they give home assignments to help students improve their learning.

However, as you will soon find out, this is only one of the many homework goals. Historically, it hasn’t even always been the most important one. Societal events, dominant philosophical schools, and individual educational reformers have always affected the mainstream view of homework and its perceived functions.

We invite you to join us on a journey through centuries (and then back again), where we will try to understand the origins, evolution, and current state of the homework tradition. If nothing else, you might have a chance to impress your friends at a trivia night.

Pliny the Younger

Have you already thought of the Roman Empire this week? If not, now’s your chance. The first name historians come across when looking for the origins of homework is Pliny the Younger, a Roman magistrate, lawyer, and brilliant orator in the first century A.D.

Pliny the Younger had students like many other distinguished authors and public speakers in Rome. He taught rhetoric and public speaking and—you guessed it—tasked his students with practicing their speech composing and public speaking skills even outside his classes. Also, Pliny actively encouraged them to put their newly acquired skills to practice in appropriate settings.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

Here comes a huge time jump—to eighteenth-century Germany. Sure, homework probably existed between the Roman times and the eighteenth century. However, nothing groundbreaking happened to it during all those centuries, so there’s no point in retelling every little step.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte was a German philosopher in post-Napoleon Europe who advocated for a uniform national education system, similar to other voices of German idealism. He emphasized that teaching the youth was as much about instilling a sense of national identity in them as teaching them traditional disciplines. For Fichte, homework was one of the strategies for achieving that.

Horace Mann

At this point, you might wonder, “What about the U.S.?” Well, the title of the pioneer of homework in the New World belongs to Horace Mann, otherwise known as “the father of the American public school system.” In the nineteenth century, education for children was still not compulsory, and Mann advocated for changing that.

Mann was the first educator to emphasize the role of parents in every child’s learning journey. He believed homework could reinforce the lessons taught in school, teach the youth self-discipline and improve their relationships with parents. He added a new layer to why homework was invented and made mainstream.

Roberto Nevilis: What Was His Role in the Origins of Homework?

The first thing you need to know about Roberto Nevilis is that he didn’t exist. A popular myth suggests that Nevilis invented homework at the beginning of the twentieth century as a form of punishment for students who didn’t work hard enough in class. That’s completely untrue.

Here are a few facts about Roberto Nevilis. According to the legend, Roberto Nevilis was an Italian teacher who lived at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century in Venice, Italy. He was supposedly the first educator to give homework to his students, which allegedly happened in 1905. If you look up his (more or less fictional) “story” online, you will find that he initially only gave home assignments to students who failed to understand the material in class or weren’t diligent enough.

Why did Roberto Nevilis create homework? As you can probably guess by now, the more accurate question would be, “Why would someone bother to invent the person named Roberto Nevilis and credit this semi-fictional character with inventing homework?” Sadly, though, there’s no clear answer. Whoever did this wanted students or the general public to believe that the number one purpose of homework was punishment for poor performance. That’s not the case.

Was the History of Homework in the United States Any Different?

Now, let’s move beyond Horace Mann’s name and explore homework history in the Americas or, more specifically, the U.S. One of the first questions people curious about the topic ask is, “What year was homework invented in the United States?” There’s no straightforward answer to this, either. All we know is that homework started becoming a standard practice somewhere on the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—largely thanks to Mann’s effort.

The U.S. wasn’t any different from other countries in that the mainstream views on homework evolved with societal norms (which, in turn, shaped educational priorities). For example, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the idea became more or less universal: homework promoted students’ growth beyond learning the material taught in class. Educators believed it was also helpful for building character and applying the knowledge gained in practical contexts.

However, the beginning of the twentieth century was also when the progressive education movement grew increasingly popular. Among other things, its proponents advocated against homework because they believed that it contracted the fundamentals of child-centered learning. The opposing views on giving home assignments coexisted side by side; to an extent, they still do.

The Ban on Homework in the 1900s

The 1900s was the first time in American history since homework origin when it became very popular to reject the need for homework. The progressive movement grew more influential by the day, eventually culminating in the homework ban.

From being the underdogs of sorts, homework’s progressive critics turned into the loudest voice in the education system, and their demands were eventually met, albeit not everywhere.

Their arguments were straightforward and understandable, at least to an extent. They claimed that homework got in the way of students’ socializing after school hours, interfered with the family dynamics, and strained students’ physical and mental health.

The Need for Children’s Domestic Labor in the 1930s

The 1930s wasn’t a good time for the first homework advocates. This was when the Great Depression hit the U.S. severely and put the economic crisis at the forefront of basically everything happening in the country, including education.

More and more parents came forward demanding the end of homework because they needed their children to help at home—be it with domestic labor, farming, or anything else.

Parents’ demands were fruitful. The educational practices of the 1930s stemmed from the idea that outside of school hours, students should be able to focus on their lives at home without the additional burden of homework.

The Post-World War II Shift in the Views on Homework

The situation changed drastically after World War II. If you’re wondering how old is homework the way we know it today, that’s when it started.

First, the nation was thriving economically, which made it possible to focus on the importance of education. Also, as the Cold War started, the value of education became more apparent than ever. The U.S. needed well-educated citizens who could contribute to technological advancements and effectively protect the nation’s security.

For example, when the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, one of the main debates in the American media was about young people’s readiness to remain competitive on a global scale.

How Homework Looks for Americal Children in the 21st Century

homework history facts

Today, we can still see some of the dilemmas surrounding the topic over a century ago. For example, there are two clear camps: educators who believe homework is necessary for academic achievement and their colleagues who don’t think that to become a well-rounded and successful individual, a child must spend hours daily completing home assignments.

Still, the most popular view is quite well-balanced. The main idea behind that is maximizing the educational benefits of homework while minimizing its potential drawbacks. This implies setting reasonable limits on the amount of homework, designing meaningful assignments, and prioritizing students’ holistic development.

What’s the Purpose of Homework?

Even a child knows the number one reason they must do their homework (even if they don’t necessarily agree). Obviously, the main purpose of homework is to help students better digest the material they learn in class.

But that’s not the only one. Other goals of homework include:

  • To teach students how to work independently and think critically;
  • To motivate students to prepare for upcoming lessons (thus making the teacher’s job a little easier);
  • To encourage responsibility and organization;
  • To cultivate collaboration skills (via group assignments);
  • To strengthen the child-parent bond, and more.

What’s the Impact of Homework on the Quality of Education

So, how does homework improve the quality of education?

  • Promotes understanding and reflection.
  • Improves study habits and time management.
  • Makes it possible for teachers to give anonymous and personalized feedback to each student.
  • Prepares students for standardized assessments (such as SATs).
  • Supports diverse learning needs.

The Pros of Homework

The complete list of the advantages of homework would be too long to include here, but here are some of the undeniable benefits of giving the students at least some work to do at home:

✅ Reinforces learning

✅ Promotes independent learning

✅ Develops positive study habits

✅ Increases retention

✅ Facilitates parental involvement

✅ Enables customized learning, and so on.

homework history facts

The Cons of Homework

At the same time, even the most adamant proponents of homework recognize that the tradition does have its flaws. The drawbacks of homework include the following:

❌ Causes extra stress and anxiety

❌ Gets in the way of students’ relationships with family members and social lives

❌ Might get in the way of healthy extracurricular activities, such as sports

❌ Creates additional pressure on teachers.

Who made homework a thing?

Why was homework invented have the reasons changed since then, is homework really necessary for effective learning, when was homework first invented did it look the same, how does homework look today who writes the rules.

As you can see, homework history—both in the U.S. and worldwide—has been quite turbulent. Much to today’s students’ envy, there were times when it was illegal, at least in some places.

However, now is not one of those periods. While some non-mainstream educational systems and paradigms deny the need for homework, most educators believe that the benefits of homework outweigh its flaws. The key is to design genuinely stimulating and engaging assignments and avoid overdoing things. Students should be able to relax after school hours without the risk of falling behind.

If you ask an average teacher these days, they will probably tell you that the optimal amount of homework per week is roughly 7-10 hours. That’s enough to practice what was learned in class and engage with the material critically. At the same time, it’s not too much, so the risks of causing students extra stress and harming their social lives are very unlikely.

What matters the most is not how much homework a teacher gives but how creative and stimulating the assignments are. Ideally, students should be excited to complete them.

homework history facts

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homework history facts

The Cult of Homework

America’s devotion to the practice stems in part from the fact that it’s what today’s parents and teachers grew up with themselves.

homework history facts

America has long had a fickle relationship with homework. A century or so ago, progressive reformers argued that it made kids unduly stressed , which later led in some cases to district-level bans on it for all grades under seventh. This anti-homework sentiment faded, though, amid mid-century fears that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union (which led to more homework), only to resurface in the 1960s and ’70s, when a more open culture came to see homework as stifling play and creativity (which led to less). But this didn’t last either: In the ’80s, government researchers blamed America’s schools for its economic troubles and recommended ramping homework up once more.

The 21st century has so far been a homework-heavy era, with American teenagers now averaging about twice as much time spent on homework each day as their predecessors did in the 1990s . Even little kids are asked to bring school home with them. A 2015 study , for instance, found that kindergarteners, who researchers tend to agree shouldn’t have any take-home work, were spending about 25 minutes a night on it.

But not without pushback. As many children, not to mention their parents and teachers, are drained by their daily workload, some schools and districts are rethinking how homework should work—and some teachers are doing away with it entirely. They’re reviewing the research on homework (which, it should be noted, is contested) and concluding that it’s time to revisit the subject.

Read: My daughter’s homework is killing me

Hillsborough, California, an affluent suburb of San Francisco, is one district that has changed its ways. The district, which includes three elementary schools and a middle school, worked with teachers and convened panels of parents in order to come up with a homework policy that would allow students more unscheduled time to spend with their families or to play. In August 2017, it rolled out an updated policy, which emphasized that homework should be “meaningful” and banned due dates that fell on the day after a weekend or a break.

“The first year was a bit bumpy,” says Louann Carlomagno, the district’s superintendent. She says the adjustment was at times hard for the teachers, some of whom had been doing their job in a similar fashion for a quarter of a century. Parents’ expectations were also an issue. Carlomagno says they took some time to “realize that it was okay not to have an hour of homework for a second grader—that was new.”

Most of the way through year two, though, the policy appears to be working more smoothly. “The students do seem to be less stressed based on conversations I’ve had with parents,” Carlomagno says. It also helps that the students performed just as well on the state standardized test last year as they have in the past.

Earlier this year, the district of Somerville, Massachusetts, also rewrote its homework policy, reducing the amount of homework its elementary and middle schoolers may receive. In grades six through eight, for example, homework is capped at an hour a night and can only be assigned two to three nights a week.

Jack Schneider, an education professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell whose daughter attends school in Somerville, is generally pleased with the new policy. But, he says, it’s part of a bigger, worrisome pattern. “The origin for this was general parental dissatisfaction, which not surprisingly was coming from a particular demographic,” Schneider says. “Middle-class white parents tend to be more vocal about concerns about homework … They feel entitled enough to voice their opinions.”

Schneider is all for revisiting taken-for-granted practices like homework, but thinks districts need to take care to be inclusive in that process. “I hear approximately zero middle-class white parents talking about how homework done best in grades K through two actually strengthens the connection between home and school for young people and their families,” he says. Because many of these parents already feel connected to their school community, this benefit of homework can seem redundant. “They don’t need it,” Schneider says, “so they’re not advocating for it.”

That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that homework is more vital in low-income districts. In fact, there are different, but just as compelling, reasons it can be burdensome in these communities as well. Allison Wienhold, who teaches high-school Spanish in the small town of Dunkerton, Iowa, has phased out homework assignments over the past three years. Her thinking: Some of her students, she says, have little time for homework because they’re working 30 hours a week or responsible for looking after younger siblings.

As educators reduce or eliminate the homework they assign, it’s worth asking what amount and what kind of homework is best for students. It turns out that there’s some disagreement about this among researchers, who tend to fall in one of two camps.

In the first camp is Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Cooper conducted a review of the existing research on homework in the mid-2000s , and found that, up to a point, the amount of homework students reported doing correlates with their performance on in-class tests. This correlation, the review found, was stronger for older students than for younger ones.

This conclusion is generally accepted among educators, in part because it’s compatible with “the 10-minute rule,” a rule of thumb popular among teachers suggesting that the proper amount of homework is approximately 10 minutes per night, per grade level—that is, 10 minutes a night for first graders, 20 minutes a night for second graders, and so on, up to two hours a night for high schoolers.

In Cooper’s eyes, homework isn’t overly burdensome for the typical American kid. He points to a 2014 Brookings Institution report that found “little evidence that the homework load has increased for the average student”; onerous amounts of homework, it determined, are indeed out there, but relatively rare. Moreover, the report noted that most parents think their children get the right amount of homework, and that parents who are worried about under-assigning outnumber those who are worried about over-assigning. Cooper says that those latter worries tend to come from a small number of communities with “concerns about being competitive for the most selective colleges and universities.”

According to Alfie Kohn, squarely in camp two, most of the conclusions listed in the previous three paragraphs are questionable. Kohn, the author of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , considers homework to be a “reliable extinguisher of curiosity,” and has several complaints with the evidence that Cooper and others cite in favor of it. Kohn notes, among other things, that Cooper’s 2006 meta-analysis doesn’t establish causation, and that its central correlation is based on children’s (potentially unreliable) self-reporting of how much time they spend doing homework. (Kohn’s prolific writing on the subject alleges numerous other methodological faults.)

In fact, other correlations make a compelling case that homework doesn’t help. Some countries whose students regularly outperform American kids on standardized tests, such as Japan and Denmark, send their kids home with less schoolwork , while students from some countries with higher homework loads than the U.S., such as Thailand and Greece, fare worse on tests. (Of course, international comparisons can be fraught because so many factors, in education systems and in societies at large, might shape students’ success.)

Kohn also takes issue with the way achievement is commonly assessed. “If all you want is to cram kids’ heads with facts for tomorrow’s tests that they’re going to forget by next week, yeah, if you give them more time and make them do the cramming at night, that could raise the scores,” he says. “But if you’re interested in kids who know how to think or enjoy learning, then homework isn’t merely ineffective, but counterproductive.”

His concern is, in a way, a philosophical one. “The practice of homework assumes that only academic growth matters, to the point that having kids work on that most of the school day isn’t enough,” Kohn says. What about homework’s effect on quality time spent with family? On long-term information retention? On critical-thinking skills? On social development? On success later in life? On happiness? The research is quiet on these questions.

Another problem is that research tends to focus on homework’s quantity rather than its quality, because the former is much easier to measure than the latter. While experts generally agree that the substance of an assignment matters greatly (and that a lot of homework is uninspiring busywork), there isn’t a catchall rule for what’s best—the answer is often specific to a certain curriculum or even an individual student.

Given that homework’s benefits are so narrowly defined (and even then, contested), it’s a bit surprising that assigning so much of it is often a classroom default, and that more isn’t done to make the homework that is assigned more enriching. A number of things are preserving this state of affairs—things that have little to do with whether homework helps students learn.

Jack Schneider, the Massachusetts parent and professor, thinks it’s important to consider the generational inertia of the practice. “The vast majority of parents of public-school students themselves are graduates of the public education system,” he says. “Therefore, their views of what is legitimate have been shaped already by the system that they would ostensibly be critiquing.” In other words, many parents’ own history with homework might lead them to expect the same for their children, and anything less is often taken as an indicator that a school or a teacher isn’t rigorous enough. (This dovetails with—and complicates—the finding that most parents think their children have the right amount of homework.)

Barbara Stengel, an education professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, brought up two developments in the educational system that might be keeping homework rote and unexciting. The first is the importance placed in the past few decades on standardized testing, which looms over many public-school classroom decisions and frequently discourages teachers from trying out more creative homework assignments. “They could do it, but they’re afraid to do it, because they’re getting pressure every day about test scores,” Stengel says.

Second, she notes that the profession of teaching, with its relatively low wages and lack of autonomy, struggles to attract and support some of the people who might reimagine homework, as well as other aspects of education. “Part of why we get less interesting homework is because some of the people who would really have pushed the limits of that are no longer in teaching,” she says.

“In general, we have no imagination when it comes to homework,” Stengel says. She wishes teachers had the time and resources to remake homework into something that actually engages students. “If we had kids reading—anything, the sports page, anything that they’re able to read—that’s the best single thing. If we had kids going to the zoo, if we had kids going to parks after school, if we had them doing all of those things, their test scores would improve. But they’re not. They’re going home and doing homework that is not expanding what they think about.”

“Exploratory” is one word Mike Simpson used when describing the types of homework he’d like his students to undertake. Simpson is the head of the Stone Independent School, a tiny private high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that opened in 2017. “We were lucky to start a school a year and a half ago,” Simpson says, “so it’s been easy to say we aren’t going to assign worksheets, we aren’t going assign regurgitative problem sets.” For instance, a half-dozen students recently built a 25-foot trebuchet on campus.

Simpson says he thinks it’s a shame that the things students have to do at home are often the least fulfilling parts of schooling: “When our students can’t make the connection between the work they’re doing at 11 o’clock at night on a Tuesday to the way they want their lives to be, I think we begin to lose the plot.”

When I talked with other teachers who did homework makeovers in their classrooms, I heard few regrets. Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Joshua, Texas, stopped assigning take-home packets of worksheets three years ago, and instead started asking her students to do 20 minutes of pleasure reading a night. She says she’s pleased with the results, but she’s noticed something funny. “Some kids,” she says, “really do like homework.” She’s started putting out a bucket of it for students to draw from voluntarily—whether because they want an additional challenge or something to pass the time at home.

Chris Bronke, a high-school English teacher in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, told me something similar. This school year, he eliminated homework for his class of freshmen, and now mostly lets students study on their own or in small groups during class time. It’s usually up to them what they work on each day, and Bronke has been impressed by how they’ve managed their time.

In fact, some of them willingly spend time on assignments at home, whether because they’re particularly engaged, because they prefer to do some deeper thinking outside school, or because they needed to spend time in class that day preparing for, say, a biology test the following period. “They’re making meaningful decisions about their time that I don’t think education really ever gives students the experience, nor the practice, of doing,” Bronke said.

The typical prescription offered by those overwhelmed with homework is to assign less of it—to subtract. But perhaps a more useful approach, for many classrooms, would be to create homework only when teachers and students believe it’s actually needed to further the learning that takes place in class—to start with nothing, and add as necessary.

Homework in America

  • 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

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Tom loveless tom loveless former brookings expert @tomloveless99.

March 18, 2014

  • 18 min read

Part II of the 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education

part two cover

Homework!  The topic, no, just the word itself, sparks controversy.  It has for a long time. In 1900, Edward Bok, editor of the Ladies Home Journal , published an impassioned article, “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents,” accusing homework of destroying American youth.  Drawing on the theories of his fellow educational progressive, psychologist G. Stanley Hall (who has since been largely discredited), Bok argued that study at home interfered with children’s natural inclination towards play and free movement, threatened children’s physical and mental health, and usurped the right of parents to decide activities in the home.

The Journal was an influential magazine, especially with parents.  An anti-homework campaign burst forth that grew into a national crusade. [i]   School districts across the land passed restrictions on homework, culminating in a 1901 statewide prohibition of homework in California for any student under the age of 15.  The crusade would remain powerful through 1913, before a world war and other concerns bumped it from the spotlight.  Nevertheless, anti-homework sentiment would remain a touchstone of progressive education throughout the twentieth century.  As a political force, it would lie dormant for years before bubbling up to mobilize proponents of free play and “the whole child.” Advocates would, if educators did not comply, seek to impose homework restrictions through policy making.

Our own century dawned during a surge of anti-homework sentiment. From 1998 to 2003, Newsweek , TIME , and People , all major national publications at the time, ran cover stories on the evils of homework.  TIME ’s 1999 story had the most provocative title, “The Homework Ate My Family: Kids Are Dazed, Parents Are Stressed, Why Piling On Is Hurting Students.” People ’s 2003 article offered a call to arms: “Overbooked: Four Hours of Homework for a Third Grader? Exhausted Kids (and Parents) Fight Back.” Feature stories about students laboring under an onerous homework burden ran in newspapers from coast to coast. Photos of angst ridden children became a journalistic staple.

The 2003 Brown Center Report on American Education included a study investigating the homework controversy.  Examining the most reliable empirical evidence at the time, the study concluded that the dramatic claims about homework were unfounded.  An overwhelming majority of students, at least two-thirds, depending on age, had an hour or less of homework each night.  Surprisingly, even the homework burden of college-bound high school seniors was discovered to be rather light, less than an hour per night or six hours per week. Public opinion polls also contradicted the prevailing story.  Parents were not up in arms about homework.  Most said their children’s homework load was about right.  Parents wanting more homework out-numbered those who wanted less.

Now homework is in the news again.  Several popular anti-homework books fill store shelves (whether virtual or brick and mortar). [ii]   The documentary Race to Nowhere depicts homework as one aspect of an overwrought, pressure-cooker school system that constantly pushes students to perform and destroys their love of learning.  The film’s website claims over 6,000 screenings in more than 30 countries.  In 2011, the New York Times ran a front page article about the homework restrictions adopted by schools in Galloway, NJ, describing “a wave of districts across the nation trying to remake homework amid concerns that high stakes testing and competition for college have fueled a nightly grind that is stressing out children and depriving them of play and rest, yet doing little to raise achievement, especially in elementary grades.”   In the article, Vicki Abeles, the director of Race to Nowhere , invokes the indictment of homework lodged a century ago, declaring, “The presence of homework is negatively affecting the health of our young people and the quality of family time.” [iii] 

A petition for the National PTA to adopt “healthy homework guidelines” on currently has 19,000 signatures.  In September 2013, Atlantic featured an article, “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me,” by a Manhattan writer who joined his middle school daughter in doing her homework for a week.  Most nights the homework took more than three hours to complete.

The Current Study

A decade has passed since the last Brown Center Report study of homework, and it’s time for an update.  How much homework do American students have today?  Has the homework burden increased, gone down, or remained about the same?  What do parents think about the homework load?

A word on why such a study is important.  It’s not because the popular press is creating a fiction.  The press accounts are built on the testimony of real students and real parents, people who are very unhappy with the amount of homework coming home from school.  These unhappy people are real—but they also may be atypical.  Their experiences, as dramatic as they are, may not represent the common experience of American households with school-age children.  In the analysis below, data are analyzed from surveys that are methodologically designed to produce reliable information about the experiences of all Americans.  Some of the surveys have existed long enough to illustrate meaningful trends.  The question is whether strong empirical evidence confirms the anecdotes about overworked kids and outraged parents.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provide a good look at trends in homework for nearly the past three decades.  Table 2-1 displays NAEP data from 1984-2012.  The data are from the long-term trend NAEP assessment’s student questionnaire, a survey of homework practices featuring both consistently-worded questions and stable response categories.  The question asks: “How much time did you spend on homework yesterday?”  Responses are shown for NAEP’s three age groups: 9, 13, and 17. [iv]

Table 21

Today’s youngest students seem to have more homework than in the past.  The first three rows of data for age 9 reveal a shift away from students having no homework, declining from 35% in 1984 to 22% in 2012.  A slight uptick occurred from the low of 18% in 2008, however, so the trend may be abating.  The decline of the “no homework” group is matched by growth in the percentage of students with less than an hour’s worth, from 41% in 1984 to 57% in 2012. The share of students with one to two hours of homework changed very little over the entire 28 years, comprising 12% of students in 2012.  The group with the heaviest load, more than two hours of homework, registered at 5% in 2012.  It was 6% in 1984.

The amount of homework for 13-year-olds appears to have lightened slightly. Students with one to two hours of homework declined from 29% to 23%.  The next category down (in terms of homework load), students with less than an hour, increased from 36% to 44%.  One can see, by combining the bottom two rows, that students with an hour or more of homework declined steadily from 1984 to 2008 (falling from 38% to 27%) and then ticked up to 30% in 2012.  The proportion of students with the heaviest load, more than two hours, slipped from 9% in 1984 to 7% in 2012 and ranged between 7-10% for the entire period.

For 17-year-olds, the homework burden has not varied much.  The percentage of students with no homework has increased from 22% to 27%.  Most of that gain occurred in the 1990s. Also note that the percentage of 17-year-olds who had homework but did not do it was 11% in 2012, the highest for the three NAEP age groups.  Adding that number in with the students who didn’t have homework in the first place means that more than one-third of seventeen year olds (38%) did no homework on the night in question in 2012.  That compares with 33% in 1984.  The segment of the 17-year-old population with more than two hours of homework, from which legitimate complaints of being overworked might arise, has been stuck in the 10%-13% range.

The NAEP data point to four main conclusions:

  • With one exception, the homework load has remained remarkably stable since 1984.
  • The exception is nine-year-olds.  They have experienced an increase in homework, primarily because many students who once did not have any now have some.  The percentage of nine-year-olds with no homework fell by 13 percentage points, and the percentage with less than an hour grew by 16 percentage points.
  • Of the three age groups, 17-year-olds have the most bifurcated distribution of the homework burden.   They have the largest percentage of kids with no homework (especially when the homework shirkers are added in) and the largest percentage with more than two hours.
  • NAEP data do not support the idea that a large and growing number of students have an onerous amount of homework.  For all three age groups, only a small percentage of students report more than two hours of homework.  For 1984-2012, the size of the two hours or more groups ranged from 5-6% for age 9, 6-10% for age 13, and 10-13% for age 17.

Note that the item asks students how much time they spent on homework “yesterday.”  That phrasing has the benefit of immediacy, asking for an estimate of precise, recent behavior rather than an estimate of general behavior for an extended, unspecified period.  But misleading responses could be generated if teachers lighten the homework of NAEP participants on the night before the NAEP test is given.  That’s possible. [v] Such skewing would not affect trends if it stayed about the same over time and in the same direction (teachers assigning less homework than usual on the day before NAEP).  Put another way, it would affect estimates of the amount of homework at any single point in time but not changes in the amount of homework between two points in time.

A check for possible skewing is to compare the responses above with those to another homework question on the NAEP questionnaire from 1986-2004 but no longer in use. [vi]   It asked students, “How much time do you usually spend on homework each day?” Most of the response categories have different boundaries from the “last night” question, making the data incomparable.  But the categories asking about no homework are comparable.  Responses indicating no homework on the “usual” question in 2004 were: 2% for age 9-year-olds, 5% for 13 year olds, and 12% for 17-year-olds.  These figures are much less than the ones reported in Table 2-1 above.  The “yesterday” data appear to overstate the proportion of students typically receiving no homework.

The story is different for the “heavy homework load” response categories.  The “usual” question reported similar percentages as the “yesterday” question.  The categories representing the most amount of homework were “more than one hour” for age 9 and “more than two hours” for ages 13 and 17.   In 2004, 12% of 9-year-olds said they had more than one hour of daily homework, while 8% of 13-year-olds and 12% of 17-year-olds said they had more than two hours.  For all three age groups, those figures declined from1986 to 2004. The decline for age 17 was quite large, falling from 17% in 1986 to 12% in 2004.  

The bottom line: regardless of how the question is posed, NAEP data do not support the view that the homework burden is growing, nor do they support the belief that the proportion of students with a lot of homework has increased in recent years.  The proportion of students with no homework is probably under-reported on the long-term trend NAEP.  But the upper bound of students with more than two hours of daily homework appears to be about 15%–and that is for students in their final years of high school.

College Freshmen Look Back  

There is another good source of information on high school students’ homework over several decades.  The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA conducts an annual survey of college freshmen that began in 1966.  In 1986, the survey started asking a series of questions regarding how students spent time in the final year of high school.  Figure 2-1 shows the 2012 percentages for the dominant activities.  More than half of college freshmen say they spent at least six hours per week socializing with friends (66.2%) and exercising/sports (53.0%).  About 40% devoted that much weekly time to paid employment.

Figure 21

Homework comes in fourth pace. Only 38.4% of students said they spent at least six hours per week studying or doing homework. When these students were high school seniors, it was not an activity central to their out of school lives.  That is quite surprising.  Think about it.  The survey is confined to the nation’s best students, those attending college.  Gone are high school dropouts.  Also not included are students who go into the military or attain full time employment immediately after high school.  And yet only a little more than one-third of the sampled students, devoted more than six hours per week to homework and studying when they were on the verge of attending college.

Another notable finding from the UCLA survey is how the statistic is trending (see Figure 2-2).  In 1986, 49.5% reported spending six or more hours per week studying and doing homework.  By 2002, the proportion had dropped to 33.4%.  In 2012, as noted in Figure 2-1, the statistic had bounced off the historical lows to reach 38.4%.  It is slowly rising but still sits sharply below where it was in 1987.

Figure 22

What Do Parents Think?

Met Life has published an annual survey of teachers since 1984.  In 1987 and 2007, the survey included questions focusing on homework and expanded to sample both parents and students on the topic. Data are broken out for secondary and elementary parents and for students in grades 3-6 and grades 7-12 (the latter not being an exact match with secondary parents because of K-8 schools).

Table 2-2 shows estimates of homework from the 2007 survey.  Respondents were asked to estimate the amount of homework on a typical school day (Monday-Friday).  The median estimate of each group of respondents is shaded.  As displayed in the first column, the median estimate for parents of an elementary student is that their child devotes about 30 minutes to homework on the typical weekday.  Slightly more than half (52%) estimate 30 minutes or less; 48% estimate 45 minutes or more.  Students in grades 3-6 (third column) give a median estimate that is a bit higher than their parents’ (45 minutes), with almost two-thirds (63%) saying 45 minutes or less is the typical weekday homework load.

Table 22

One hour of homework is the median estimate for both secondary parents and students in grade 7-12, with 55% of parents reporting an hour or less and about two-thirds (67%) of students reporting the same.  As for the prevalence of the heaviest homework loads, 11% of secondary parents say their children spend more than two hours on weekday homework, and 12% is the corresponding figure for students in grades 7-12.

The Met Life surveys in 1987 and 2007 asked parents to evaluate the amount and quality of homework.  Table 2-3 displays the results.  There was little change over the two decades separating the two surveys.  More than 60% of parents rate the amount of homework as good or excellent, and about two-thirds give such high ratings to the quality of the homework their children are receiving.  The proportion giving poor ratings to either the quantity or quality of homework did not exceed 10% on either survey.


Parental dissatisfaction with homework comes in two forms: those who feel schools give too much homework and those who feel schools do not give enough.  The current wave of journalism about unhappy parents is dominated by those who feel schools give too much homework.  How big is this group?  Not very big (see Figure 2-3). On the Met Life survey, 60% of parents felt schools were giving the right amount of homework, 25% wanted more homework, and only 15% wanted less.

Figure 23

National surveys on homework are infrequent, but the 2006-2007 period had more than one.  A poll conducted by Public Agenda in 2006 reported similar numbers as the Met Life survey: 68% of parents describing the homework load as “about right,” 20% saying there is “too little homework,” and 11% saying there is “too much homework.”  A 2006 AP-AOL poll found the highest percentage of parents reporting too much homework, 19%.  But even in that poll, they were outnumbered by parents believing there is too little homework (23%), and a clear majority (57%) described the load as “about right.”  A 2010 local survey of Chicago parents conducted by the Chicago Tribune reported figures similar to those reported above: approximately two-thirds of parents saying their children’s homework load is “about right,” 21% saying it’s not enough, and 12% responding that the homework load is too much.

Summary and Discussion

In recent years, the press has been filled with reports of kids over-burdened with homework and parents rebelling against their children’s oppressive workload. The data assembled above call into question whether that portrait is accurate for the typical American family.  Homework typically takes an hour per night.  The homework burden of students rarely exceeds two hours a night.  The upper limit of students with two or more hours per night is about 15% nationally—and that is for juniors or seniors in high school.  For younger children, the upper boundary is about 10% who have such a heavy load.  Polls show that parents who want less homework range from 10%-20%, and that they are outnumbered—in every national poll on the homework question—by parents who want more homework, not less.  The majority of parents describe their children’s homework burden as about right.

So what’s going on?  Where are the homework horror stories coming from?

The Met Life survey of parents is able to give a few hints, mainly because of several questions that extend beyond homework to other aspects of schooling.  The belief that homework is burdensome is more likely held by parents with a larger set of complaints and concerns.  They are alienated from their child’s school.  About two in five parents (19%) don’t believe homework is important.  Compared to other parents, these parents are more likely to say too much homework is assigned (39% vs. 9%), that what is assigned is just busywork (57% vs. 36%), and that homework gets in the way of their family spending time together (51% vs. 15%).  They are less likely to rate the quality of homework as excellent (3% vs. 23%) or to rate the availability and responsiveness of teachers as excellent (18% vs. 38%). [vii]

They can also convince themselves that their numbers are larger than they really are.  Karl Taro Greenfeld, the author of the Atlantic article mentioned above, seems to fit that description.  “Every parent I know in New York City comments on how much homework their children have,” Mr. Greenfeld writes.  As for those parents who do not share this view? “There is always a clique of parents who are happy with the amount of homework. In fact, they would prefer more .  I tend not to get along with that type of parent.” [viii] 

Mr. Greenfeld’s daughter attends a selective exam school in Manhattan, known for its rigorous expectations and, yes, heavy homework load.  He had also complained about homework in his daughter’s previous school in Brentwood, CA.  That school was a charter school.  After Mr. Greenfeld emailed several parents expressing his complaints about homework in that school, the school’s vice-principal accused Mr. Greenfeld of cyberbullying.  The lesson here is that even schools of choice are not immune from complaints about homework.

The homework horror stories need to be read in a proper perspective.  They seem to originate from the very personal discontents of a small group of parents.  They do not reflect the experience of the average family with a school-age child.  That does not diminish these stories’ power to command the attention of school officials or even the public at large. But it also suggests a limited role for policy making in settling such disputes.  Policy is a blunt instrument.  Educators, parents, and kids are in the best position to resolve complaints about homework on a case by case basis.  Complaints about homework have existed for more than a century, and they show no signs of going away.

Part II Notes:

[i]Brian Gill and Steven Schlossman, “A Sin Against Childhood: Progressive Education and the Crusade to Abolish Homework, 1897-1941,” American Journal of Education , vol. 105, no. 1 (Nov., 1996), 27-66.  Also see Brian P. Gill and Steven L. Schlossman, “Villain or Savior? The American Discourse on Homework, 1850-2003,” Theory into Practice , 43, 3 (Summer 2004), pp. 174-181.

[ii] Bennett, Sara, and Nancy Kalish.  The Case Against Homework:  How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It   (New York:  Crown, 2006).  Buell, John.  Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time . (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004). Kohn, Alfie.    The Homework Myth:  Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing  (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006).  Kralovec, Etta, and John Buell.  The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning  (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).

[iii] Hu, Winnie, “ New Recruit in Homework Revolt: The Principal ,” New York Times , June 15, 2011, page a1.

[iv] Data for other years are available on the NAEP Data Explorer.  For Table 1, the starting point of 1984 was chosen because it is the first year all three ages were asked the homework question.  The two most recent dates (2012 and 2008) were chosen to show recent changes, and the two years in the 1990s to show developments during that decade.

[v] NAEP’s sampling design lessens the probability of skewing the homework figure.  Students are randomly drawn from a school population, meaning that an entire class is not tested.  Teachers would have to either single out NAEP students for special homework treatment or change their established homework routine for the whole class just to shelter NAEP participants from homework.  Sampling designs that draw entact classrooms for testing (such as TIMSS) would be more vulnerable to this effect.  Moreover, students in middle and high school usually have several different teachers during the day, meaning that prior knowledge of a particular student’s participation in NAEP would probably be limited to one or two teachers.

[vi] NAEP Question B003801 for 9 year olds and B003901 for 13- and 17-year olds.

[vii] Met Life, Met Life Survey of the American Teacher: The Homework Experience , November 13, 2007, pp. 21-22.

[viii] Greenfeld, Karl Taro, “ My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me ,” The Atlantic , September 18, 2013.

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homework history facts

Who Invented Homework and Why

homework history facts

Who Invented Homework

Italian pedagog, Roberto Nevilis, was believed to have invented homework back in 1905 to help his students foster productive studying habits outside of school. However, we'll sound find out that the concept of homework has been around for much longer.                                                                                                                                                              

Homework, which most likely didn't have a specific term back then, already existed even in ancient civilizations. Think Greece, Rome, and even ancient Egypt. Over time, homework became standardized in our educational systems. This happened naturally over time, as the development of the formal education system continued.                                                        

In this article, we're going to attempt to find out who invented homework, and when was homework invented, and we're going to uncover if the creator of homework is a single person or a group of them. Read this article through to the end to find out.

Who Created Homework and When?

The concept of homework predates modern educational systems, with roots in ancient Rome. However, Roberto Nevilis is often, yet inaccurately, credited with inventing homework in 1905.Depending on various sources, this invention is dated either in the year 1095 or 1905.

The invention of homework is commonly attributed to Roberto Nevilis, an Italian pedagog who is said to have introduced it as a form of punishment for his students in 1905. However, the concept of homework predates Nevilis and has roots that go back much further in history.

The practice of assigning students work to be done outside of class time can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as Rome, where Pliny the Younger (AD 61–113) encouraged his students to practice public speaking at home to improve their oratory skills.

It's important to note that the idea of formalized homework has evolved significantly over centuries, influenced by educational theories and pedagogical developments. The purpose and nature of homework have been subjects of debate among educators, with opinions varying on its effectiveness and impact on student learning and well-being.

It might be impossible to answer when was homework invented. A simpler question to ask is ‘what exactly is homework?’.

If you define it as work assigned to do outside of a formal educational setup, then homework might be as old as humanity itself. When most of what people studied were crafts and skills, practicing them outside of dedicated learning times may as well have been considered homework.

Let’s look at a few people who have been credited with formalizing homework over the past few thousand years. 

Roberto Nevilis

Stories and speculations on the internet claim Roberto Nevilis is the one who invented school homework, or at least was the first person to assign homework back in 1905.

Who was he? He was an Italian educator who lived in Venice. He wanted to discipline and motivate his class of lackluster students. Unfortunately, claims online lack factual basis and strong proof that Roberto did invent homework.                                                                                                        

Homework, as a concept, predates Roberto, and can't truly be assigned to a sole inventor. Moreover, it's hard to quantify where an idea truly emerges, because many ideas emerge from different parts of the world simultaneously or at similar times, therefore it's hard to truly pinpoint who invented this idea.

Pliny the Younger

Another culprit according to the internet lived a thousand years before Roberto Nevilis. Pliny the Younger was an oratory teacher in the first century AD in the Roman Empire.

He apparently asked his students to practice their oratory skills at home, which some people consider one of the first official versions of homework.

It is difficult to say with any certainty if this is the first time homework was assigned though because the idea of asking students to practice something outside classes probably existed in every human civilization for millennia. 

Horace Mann

To answer the question of who invented homework and why, at least in the modern sense, we have to talk about Horace Mann. Horace Mann was an American educator and politician in the 19th century who was heavily influenced by movements in the newly-formed German state.

He is credited for bringing massive educational reform to America, and can definitely be considered the father of modern homework in the United States. However, his ideas were heavily influenced by the founding father of German nationalism Johann Gottlieb Fichte. 

After the defeat of Napoleon and the liberation of Prussia in 1814, citizens went back to their own lives, there was no sense of national pride or German identity. Johann Gottlieb Fichte came up with the idea of Volkschule, a mandatory 9-year educational system provided by the government to combat this.

Homework already existed in Germany at this point in time but it became a requirement in Volkschule. Fichte wasn't motivated purely by educational reform, he wanted to demonstrate the positive impact and power of a centralized government, and assigning homework was a way of showing the state's power to influence personal and public life.

This effort to make citizens more patriotic worked and the system of education and homework slowly spread through Europe.

Horace Mann saw the system at work during a trip to Prussia in the 1840s and brought many of the concepts to America, including homework.   

Who Invented Homework and Why?

Homework's history and objectives have evolved significantly over time, reflecting changing educational goals. Now, that we've gone through its history a bit, let's try to understand the "why". The people or people who made homework understood the advantages of it. Let's consider the following:                                                  

  • Repetition, a key factor in long-term memory retention, is a primary goal of homework. It helps students solidify class-learned information. This is especially true in complex subjects like physics, where physics homework help can prove invaluable to learning effectively.
  • Homework bridges classroom learning with real-world applications, enhancing memory and understanding.
  • It identifies individual student weaknesses, allowing focused efforts to address them.
  • Working independently at their own pace, students can overcome the distractions and constraints of a classroom setting through homework.
  • By creating a continuous learning flow, homework shifts the perspective from viewing each school day as isolated to seeing education as an ongoing process.
  • Homework is crucial for subjects like mathematics and sciences, where repetition is necessary to internalize complex processes.
  • It's a tool for teachers to maximize classroom time, focusing on expanding understanding rather than just drilling fundamentals.
  • Responsibility is a key lesson from homework. Students learn to manage time and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Research skills get honed through homework as students gather information from various sources.
  • Students' creative potential is unleashed in homework, free from classroom constraints.

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Who Invented Homework: Development in the 1900s

Thanks to Horace Mann, homework had become widespread in the American schooling system by 1900, but it wasn't universally popular amongst either students or parents. 

The early 1900s homework bans

In 1901, California became the first state to ban homework. Since homework had made its way into the American educational system there had always been people who were against it for some surprising reasons.

Back then, children were expected to help on farms and family businesses, so homework was unpopular amongst parents who expected their children to help out at home. Many students also dropped out of school early because they found homework tedious and difficult.

Publications like Ladies' Home Journal and The New York Times printed statements and articles about the detrimental effects of homework on children's health. 

The 1930 child labor laws

Homework became more common in the U.S. around the early 1900s. As to who made homework mandatory, the question remains open, but its emergence in the mainstream sure proved beneficial. Why is this?

Well, in 1930, child labor laws were created. It aimed to protect children from being exploited for labor and it made sure to enable children to have access to education and schooling. The timing was just right.

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Progressive reforms of the 1940s and 50s

With more research into education, psychology and memory, the importance of education became clear. Homework was understood as an important part of education and it evolved to become more useful and interesting to students. 

Homework during the Cold War

Competition with the Soviet Union fueled many aspects of American life and politics. In a post-nuclear world, the importance of Science and Technology was evident.

The government believed that students had to be well-educated to compete with Soviet education systems. This is the time when homework became formalized, accepted, and a fundamental part of the American educational system. 

1980s Nation at Risk

In 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education published Nation at Risk:

The Imperative for Educational Reform, a report about the poor condition of education in America.  Still in the Cold War, this motivated the government in 1986 to talk about the benefits of homework in a pamphlet called “What Works” which highlighted the importance of homework. 

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Who Invented Homework: The Modern Homework Debate

Like it or not, homework has stuck through the times, remaining a central aspect in education since the end of the Cold War in 1991. So, who invented homework 😡 and when was homework invented?

We’ve tried to pinpoint different sources, and we’ve understood that many historical figures have contributed to its conception.

Horace Mann, in particular, was the man who apparently introduced homework in the U.S. But let’s reframe our perspective a bit. Instead of focusing on who invented homework, let’s ask ourselves why homework is beneficial in the first place. Let’s consider the pros and cons:

  • Homework potentially enhances memory.
  • Homework helps cultivate time management, self-learning, discipline, and cognitive skills.
  • An excessive amount of work can cause mental health issues and burnout.
  • Rigid homework tasks can take away time for productive and leisurely activities like arts and sports.

Meaningful homework tasks can challenge us and enrich our knowledge on certain topics, but too much homework can actually be detrimental. This is where Studyfy can be invaluable. Studyfy offers homework help.

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Frequently asked questions

Who made homework.

As stated throughout the article, there was no sole "inventor of homework." We've established that homework has already existed in ancient civilizations, where people were assigned educational tasks to be done at home. 

Let's look at ancient Greece; for example, students at the Academy of Athens were expected to recite and remember epic poems outside of their institutions. Similar practices were going on in ancient Egypt, China and Rome. 

This is why we can't ascertain the sole inventor of homework. While history can give us hints that homework was practiced in different civilizations, it's not far-fetched to believe that there have been many undocumented events all across the globe that happened simultaneously where homework emerged. 

Why was homework invented? 

We've answered the question of "who invented homework 😡" and we've recognized that we cannot pinpoint it to one sole inventor. So, let's get back to the question of why homework was invented. 

Homework arose from educational institutions, remained, and probably was invented because teachers and educators wanted to help students reinforce what they learned during class. They also believed that homework could improve memory and cognitive skills over time, as well as instill a sense of discipline. 

In other words, homework's origins can be linked to academic performance and regular students practice. Academic life has replaced the anti-homework sentiment as homework bans proved to cause partial learning and a struggle to achieve conceptual clarity.

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Is homework important for my learning journey?

Now that we've answered questions on who created homework and why it was invented, we can ask ourselves if homework is crucial in our learning journey. 

At the end of the day, homework can be a crucial step to becoming more knowledgeable and disciplined over time. 

Exercising our memory skills, learning independently without a teacher obliging us, and processing new information are all beneficial to our growth and evolution. However, whether a homework task is enriching or simply a filler depends on the quality of education you're getting. 

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Wonder of the Day #1385

Why Do We Have Homework?


SCIENCE — Health and Fitness

Have You Ever Wondered...

  • Why do we have homework?
  • What are the benefits of homework?
  • Is there such a thing as too much homework?
  • classroom ,
  • education ,
  • knowledge ,
  • mathematics ,
  • prioritization ,
  • repetition ,
  • responsibility ,
  • time management ,
  • Classroom ,
  • Education ,
  • Knowledge ,
  • Mathematics ,
  • Prioritization ,
  • Repetition ,
  • Responsibility ,
  • Time Management

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Nicolas from fort lauderdale, FL. Nicolas Wonders , “ Who invented homework? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Nicolas!

What has eight letters and strikes fear into the hearts of students around the world? No, it's not broccoli, but that was a good guess! Give up? HOMEWORK !

Did you just gasp in fear and anguish ? We're sorry, but homework is a fact of life and it's time we took a closer look at it. Even though it might get in the way of playing outside or watching your favorite television show, it's necessary and, believe it or not, good for you!

Homework creates a bridge between school and home. Parents rarely get to spend much time with you while you're at school. Homework allows them to keep up with what you're doing in your classes on a daily basis. But you don't have homework purely for your parents' benefit . It's good for you, too!

Homework can help you become a better student in several different ways. First of all, homework given in advance of a particular subject can help you make the most of your classroom discussion time. For example, before beginning a discussion of a complex period in history , it can be very helpful to read background information as homework the night before.

Homework also gives you valuable practice with what you've learned in the classroom. Often, the brief period of time you have during class to learn something new is simply not enough. Repeating classroom concepts at home helps to cement in your mind the things you learned.

For example, you've probably experienced the value of homework when it comes to mathematics . A new concept explained in class might seem foreign at first. With repetition via homework, however, you reinforce what you learned in class and it sticks with you. Without homework, a lot of classroom time would be wasted with repetition that could more easily be done outside the classroom.

In these ways, homework expands upon what is done during the day in the classroom. Your overall educational experience is better, because homework helps you to gain and retain more knowledge than would be possible with only classroom work. As you learn more, you know more and you achieve more…and you have homework to thank!

Homework teaches lessons beyond just what's taught in the classroom, too. Bringing homework home, completing it correctly, and turning it in promptly teaches a host of other important life skills, from time management and responsibility to organization and prioritization .

Despite these benefits found by researchers, the topics of who should receive homework and how much homework are hotly debated among educators and researchers. In one study , researchers found that academic gains from homework increased as grade level increased, suggesting homework is more beneficial for older students. Some researchers have found that too much homework can lower or cancel its benefits and become counterproductive , because students become burned out.

How much is too much? That depends upon many complex factors, including the individual abilities of the child, other demands upon time, such as sports, part-time jobs, family responsibilities, and types of classes. If you feel overburdened by homework, the best thing you can do is to open a dialog with your teacher. Be open and honest about your feelings regarding homework and work with your teacher to strike a reasonable balance that helps you achieve your educational goals.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day feels just like home!

We hope today's Wonder of the Day didn't feel like homework! Be sure to check out the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • While some kids don't like any homework, almost every student has homework that he doesn't mind doing on a regular basis. For some, reading a novel for homework is pure joy, because they love to read. For others, doing group projects as homework is great fun, because they get to have fun with their friends in the process. Make a list of the types of homework that you enjoy the most. Once you have your list, think about ways in which you can encourage your teachers to assign more of your favorite types of homework and less of the types you don't enjoy as much. Opening a dialog with your teacher about homework can be a mutually-beneficial conversation that can increase learning both in and out of the classroom!
  • You know what goes great with homework? Food! It's true. A healthy snack can give you the energy you need to concentrate and tackle your homework as soon as you get home from school. If you need some ideas, jump online and check out After School Snacks To Power Homework . Share what you learn with your friends and family members. What's your favorite after-school snack? Why?
  • Do you have a lot of homework on a regular basis? It can be easy to get overwhelmed. To make sure you make the most of your homework time, it helps to be organized. Setting priorities and sticking to them will help you complete your assignments on time with minimal stress. For help learning how to do this, read through How to Prioritize Homework Assignments: 5 Steps from School Habits. Using what you learn, put a plan into place that will help you make sure you become a homework hero!

Wonder Sources


Did you get it?

Wonder contributors.

We’d like to thank:

quenton , Jaiden , Leo , Grace and Lenysia for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

Keep WONDERing with us!

Wonder Words

  • responsibility
  • organization
  • prioritization
  • counterproductive
  • overburdened
  • educational


Hopefully this article helped you realize why homework is helpful, nyiahna. Keep WONDERing with us!


Don't get homework at this school. :)

Hopefully this article helped you realize why homework is helpful! 


yeah me too a lot


Wow, that's great for those schools! Thanks for stopping by, Mister C.


You're welcome, Person!


Thanks for sharing, Joe!


That's a great way to look at it, Adriana! 

That's a great way to look at it, Adriana! Thanks for sharing! 


I need to vent

Homework could benefit you. It gives your brain an easier time when you get a surprise quiz.

That's a difficult one, Wonder Friend! 

It certainly is hard to do homework while at play practice! There are so many cool things going on! 

Trying to complete your math homework right after you get home and have had dinner might be the best bet. Good luck! 


Ellen The Happy Girl!

We're so glad you liked it, Ellen The Happy Girl!


We like your enthusiasm, tyonna! 


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Student! That's an interesting concept. 



There's nothing wrong with being a big ol' nerd. 

And, there's nothing wrong with Invater Zim fanfic, either. 

so is checking these comments like a full time job or

Here at Wonderopolis, we do have specific people that check comments, but we do much more than that! 


There's a specific amount of time during a school day--and that doesn't make a lot of time for 'independent practice' of skills learned during the school day. 

Also, it's a GREAT idea to share your homework with your parents! 


Thanks for sharing your opinon, Joe! 


That's a great question, Brady. You should post it in the Wonder Bank . 


You're welcome, Chase!


That's great, loren! Care to share your fun homework hack?



Hey, Wonder Friend. We're sorry you think homework is a waste of time. Practice is really important when learning new things. 


Hi sofia! 

What's your secret for making homework fun? I'm sure a lot of our Wonder Friends would like to try it out! 


That seems to be a common theme, ashley. 


We're sorry to hear that, harrison. 


wonder i already know...

Yikes! Well, it's important to have good time management skills so you can get everything turned in! 


Thanks for sharing your opinion, Harold! 


Thanks for sharing your thought process, Tyrannie! 


That's great, Xavier-B-! Make homework interesting! 


Hey, Adriana! We have a wonderful Wonder team that works together to accomplish all the Wonderopolis tasks. There is a core group of three currently, but we have people that pop in occasionally to help with things. 


my next wonder is how do you know if a boy likes you because i just got a boyfriend and hes really shy.

Make sure you submit it to the Wonder Bank !

That's legit. We totally understand your position!



Thanks bunches, CaptainObvious! 


Lil’ Mousey

Hey, Lil' Mousey--

We have some Wonders about cheese already. Check them out !


I know right! ☺️



Thanks, E&E!


Thanks for sharing your opinion, kev.


Thanks for sharing your opinion, Giani.


Jeez bro. It’s boring. All you do is sit there and fill out worksheets and assignments. We already do work at school. Why do we need work at home? It’s boring,bro,it’s boring. That’s why nobody likes it.

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Elvisssss. 

None taken. ? And, we're glad you respect homework because it's a great way to practice skills. 


It's Crule??

...but necessary!


Video gamessssss??????????????

Great reward for finishing homework! 


Video games DUH! I have one! Would you rather eat only fried chicken for the rest of your life or suffer from homework every single day for the rest of your life. Plz reply ??



I would pick fried chicken because I’m a HUGE chicken fan. Not a homework fan. One time my teacher gave the class a big report that day and said it was due the next day. It wasn’t fair because I had to miss football practice because I had to work on it.

We're sorry that happened, ChickenFries.

Homework. Definitely. 


Wonder Friend

I love homework it the best i love not being able to play with my friends and doing my homework call me i will do your homework. [redacted]


It may, Catlyn, but practice makes perfect! 




Catlyn smith

Homework is a way for students to practice skills. It takes, on average, doing something right 18 times before it becomes a habit. So, writing a sentence with subject/verb agreement 18 times(ish), means you have mastered that skill. 

Until you get to more complicated stuff.


The sources are listed in the left column of the WONDER, ZERVA. 

Homework is the independent practice of a skill teachers need to make sure students can perform on their own. 

We're sorry homework stresses some people out. That's a great subject to bring up with parents and teachers, though! 


We're sorry to hear that, Carter. 




I'm sure a lot of our Wonder Friends share your opinion! ?

Oh,ha ha ha.???I am not a so called Wonder Friend. Are you a robot?!

? Everyone who comes to Wonderopolis are our Wonder Friends! 

We're not robots. We actually respond to most of the comments made. 

your not one person, your multiple people who are in the "Wonderopolis" company

Oh...sorry about that...I didn’t mean to say that. I’m sorry x100 ☹️????

It's ?


We think you're not alone in that emotion!


Jack McCrea

OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT. But to be honest I just hate it


Mason Smolen

That's WONDERful, Mason!



We're glad we could be of assistance, Wonder Friend!


Maybe this WONDER about expectations will help. 


Hi, Lulia! It's important to finish your homework so that you can continue to learn about topics discussed in school! What is your favorite subject in school? 


Hi, caileigh! Yeah, though homework isn't the most fun activity after school, it will help you learn more about what you learned in school!


steve savie


Hi, Sara! We're sorry to hear that you're having homework problems ?.


All homework does is make students stressed out and make less time for them to be with their family and relax


no homework is based on the work we do in school and you will get better at your work.

We're so sorry to hear that you're having a tough time with homework, Wonder Friend ?.  Homework is important, and time with family and relaxing is important, too!



u think all of our parents help with our homework? some of them dont, they see this as a "student's responsibility" and let them be and btw, if you delete this comment, it is easy to see that you don't want any negative comments about this and want to eliminate the people who think homework is bad

Hi, AngryPerson.  We're so sorry that you're angry.  We do want to hear our Wonder Friends' thoughts here at Wonderopolis.  If you're having trouble with your homework, we hope that you ask your teacher for help.  We appreciate your feedback!


This is so true! In my house, homework never connected me to my parents, because like work at school, I saw it as a test of what I could do individually. Thus, as all my time was taken up by homework, I almost never spent time with my parents. Now I feel isolated from them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kay.  We definitely recommend spending quality time with family, and we hope that learning together is a way to connect with your family!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mii.  And we absolutely agree that spending quality time with your family is very important!!  Perhaps you could tell your family fun facts that you learned at school?  Learning new information is also very important, and it is awesome to share the information you learn with your family so that you can learn together! ?


Homework is both emotionally and mentally hurtful...Physically too-

We're sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your homework, Wonder Friend!  We hope that you ask your teacher if you have any specific questions about your homework.


Hi, Llamaz! We hope that you are getting plenty of sleep, too! Check out  Wonder 1775: Do Kids Need More Sleep Than Adults?   Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts!


Thanks for asking, rather! We ask that Wonderopolis be listed as the author.  Also, since we do not list the publish date for our Wonders of the Day, you may put the date you accessed this page for information.  The following is how you would cite this page:

"Why Do We Have Homework?"  Wonderopolis. .  Accessed 25 Apr. 2018.


Hang in there, Louie! It sounds like you're working really hard on your homework and essays, which is awesome!!

Louie ramirez

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us, Louie.   We know that homework takes a lot of work, but it's also helping you learn and Wonder!

Hi, Louie! What are you writing about in your essay?


Hi, Clara! We have MANY Wonders on these topics!! Our  Explore Wonders tab contains over 2,100 Wonders, and if you scroll down on this page, you can search for Wonders by topics that you're interested in! Have fun WONDERing, Clara!


We're sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with your homework, Ben, but we think that you are doing a great job and working hard! Keep up the great work!!


Playing games is fun, but make sure you make time for your homework, too, Mitchell! Once you finish your the homework, you should check out   Wonder 1732: How Are Video Games Made?  ?


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Benicio.  Though the pros of homework are the focus of this Wonder, the second to last paragraph does list some potential cons:

"Despite these benefits found by researchers, the topics of who should receive homework and how much homework are hotly debated among educators and researchers. In  one study , researchers found that academic gains from homework increased as grade level increased, suggesting homework is more beneficial for older students. Some researchers have found that too much homework can lower or cancel its benefits and become  counterproductive , because students become burned out."


Hi, kody! We're glad that you're WONDERing with us!


We love hearing that, Jordan!! Thanks for letting us know, and thanks for WONDERing with us!


Thanks for WONDERing with us, Miles!


Hi, Ameir! It looks like you've really done some research on the subject! 

Hi, ameir!! If you're having trouble with your homework, you may want to discuss specific questions you're having with your teacher.  What is your favorite subject in school?

math and science are my favorite

Those subjects are very interesting!! Have you seen our  Math and  Science Wonders?


We're sorry to hear that, UJEY, but we're glad you're WONDERing with us! 


It is important to take some time to rest, but homework is also important! We hope this Wonder helps explain why!


We're sorry to hear that, Gia, but we hope that this Wonder helps explain the many benefits of homework, too!


homework gets in the way of thing i want to do. I think teachers give homework just because they have nothing else to do. like isn't going to school enough work and it takes time away from my family especially my mom who cancer and i would want to spend more time with my mom. :(

We're so sorry to hear that, digeo! ?


dogs go moo

school is kid preson!

We're sorry you feel that way! We think school is an excellent place to Wonder!!!


why do dogs go moo

Thanks for WONDERing with us!


mkewigyjdfo8ueabsn ry7gtcbsh j

We're glad you liked this Wonder!! ?


Hi, Luke! Have you seen Wonder 1529:  Why Do Cats Purr?


Hi, mew mew! Have you seen our  Wonders about cats ?

jacob baldwin

Sorry, didn't catch that, jacob! Glad you're WONDERing with us though!!

Hello, Bob! We're always looking to hear more from our Wonder Friends!!  ?

Thanks for stopping by to Wonder with us!

dogs say moooooooooooooooooooo

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!


Thanks for sharing! Sometimes it is difficult to balance homework and other activities.  What are some of your favorite things to do when you're not doing homework?


We're sorry you feel that way, CN Olson!! We're glad you're WONDERing with us, though!


Thanks for joining the conversation, davaeh!


im sorry for anyone that feels that way but homework is good for you

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


Great points, john! We hope you will have some more free time soon!!  Thanks for WONDERing with us!!


We appreciate your feedback, jorge! 


Agreed aswell

Does your school give homework, bob? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!



Sometimes, unfortunately, it does ?. Homework also has benefits too, though! Thanks, gavin!


That certainly does add up the majority of the day!  The lessons we learn in school help us to grow up to be thoughtful and intelligent adults.  We do agree that everyone needs a break sometimes, though!  Hope you and our other friends get a few minutes to kick back and relax today!?


We should discontinue homework because some kids don’t do it or understand it, therefore kids start stressing and saying to there self I’m gonna get in trouble , I’m gonna get a bad grade and it basically leads in to this whole conflict .

Thanks for sharing, Liv!


Sorry you feel that way, Justin, but we're glad that you're WONDERing with us!!


Thank you bob, we should change our studies to something actually helpful.

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Bob.  Thanks for WONDERing with us!


Homework hater

Homework is a disease I think we need a intercontinental cure research lab for it

But, unfortunately, creating this research lab may require some homework! ? 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hi!  It's good to keep the conversation going about the amount of homework that students typically get.


Thanks for sharing that, Caden!  Have you been back to Mars since being born there?


Yes, I went there with him I will send you a postcard next time we go. I think Mars is wrecking his brain.

Kai's evil twin

My friend trolled me

? Be safe out there, Caden!


Must be a fun class! ?

Thanks for the feedback, Gyanve!  Great to hear from you! ?

Perhaps they also suggested some coping strategies, too?  


Not a roast

Hi again, Kai!  Actually, if you look toward the bottom of the Wonder, under "Sources" you'll see where we got our information.  We appreciate you checking up on us with a critical eye!  It's always good to be a little skeptical and ask for more research and data. You're a smart Wonder Friend!  We Wonder if you could do some research to find support for why schools SHOULDN'T have homework. We're curious to hear what you find! says that there is no evidence to say that homework benefits kids at all, and Washington Post says that homework on a national level is not related to academic success. Washington post also says that some lower income countries cultures normalize long periods of studying but it is uneffective, nd says that the link between assigned homework and academic achievement is drastically over inflated, What do you have to say about that?(sorry If I was a little harsh in my last two comments I was unhappy at the time) //

WOW!! You've really done some EXCELLENT research from some reputable sources, Kai!  Our Wonder Salute to you!  One thing to note: in the Washington Post article, they do make a distinction that heavy homework loads in elementary can be negative.  In higher grades, this might not be the case "Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.".  It certainly raises a very good question which is we shouldn't assume homework is helping and adding more homework all the time seems to definitely not be helping.  It's a great question that deserves a lot more thought and research.  Thank you for WONDERing and researching, Kai! 

This might get moderated, but I am curious to see how how many people "talked" with me./?

How many people have responded to my comments

You would just have to look on this comment page and see who "replies" to your comment.  Does that help, Kai?

What do you mean, exactly?  We don't follow.

? Wow, tough review!  Well, research does support that extra practice helps.  We DO discuss the debate over how much homework and what kind.  Truthfully, homework is probably not going anywhere anytime soon, so we wanted to help show our Wonder Friends how it can be beneficial and how one can get the most out of it.  We appreciate hearing from you, Kai!


I'd agree with the fact that practice does help learning on a basic level of memory but, in experience as a student, I cannot say that homework could be considered "practice." I've had many-a-teacher that has given homework out and I've had to google search how to do most of it because I was never taught it in class. Homework is more of busy work in the way of doing hobbies, eating, sleeping, and a happy and healthy life style that could possibly be important in "the real world", as if this torture is as easy as petting a bunny. Homework CAN provide help in small, sparatic, doses. If you are bombarded with homework everyday, it really becomes more harmful than helpful.

Great thoughts, Jillian!  Really well said and we appreciate you taking the time to share that with us!  We wish more teachers made time to wonder with their class (and we are thankful for the great ones who do!).


jaime lannister

you couldn't be more right school is about seven hours every 5 days a week for about a year and we still get work to take home like school is for learning there needs to be time to separate school life from your life like you can't just do work all day and you also get homework when it's holiday and there are enough going on in childrens lives than homework so this page is bad no one needs homework i learn more from youtube videos than school and children get anxiety enough from life like puberty, family, growing older school is just boring and you need time to settle your mind because in british schools they work you forever and the teachers are tough.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jaime!  Hang in there!


I hate homework we do work every day at school teachers know what is is like because they been through homework.Let me put it to you guys i know some people hate homework and some do not.Most teachers just overdo homework.

Good thoughts, Edrick.  Thanks for sharing and glad to have you WONDERing with us!

Do they write those essays in class or at home, Brielle? ?

they write the essays at home


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Yuguj!  Glad to have you WONDERing with us on this important topic!


I agree so much I am so scared of not doing my homework or my grade might go down and that really isn't fair for me and my peers so great point!!!

That's a great point, Anonymous!  In a perfect world, people would just do the work assigned and see the value in it.  Sadly, it's hard to do away with the consequences and still have full participation.  It's a challenging problem to try and solve, but we are glad you are WONDERing with us!


I think homework is a waste of time. it takes away from family time and exercise time.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alisa! We think family time and exercise are important, too. The article did mention some reasons why homework has value, even if it doesn't always seem that way. Hang in there! It will all be worth it someday!

I am a very smart student with a brain to fit an adult, but even i get tired of homework. I have spent all day at school so I want a break. We don' need homework.


Yes, I agree and I too get tired of it. In my school they said that HW, was just the same lesson at home than at school. It is just a review. I am smart and don't study (LOL) and yet I have always gotten an A or a B in my tests (BTW, studying is considered homework for some reasons)

The struggle is real, Alisa. We do hope you get some time to give that super-smart brain a break! Thanks for using some of that brain power here with us at Wonderopolis!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kid77! Sometimes in life, the important things are not always the most fun. Some homework assignments might feel unnecessary but (as the article mentioned) there can be many functions of homework. At least in your case, if you learned the material well in class, it shouldn't take up as much time to complete at home. Sometimes, though, that extra practice can make the difference between knowing the information and truly mastering it. Hang in there, Kid77!


ethan (murphy)

If you are bullied, tell a teacher, if the teacher is the bully.... I honestly can’t help you there.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, ethan. We're sorry it feels like you are being bullied by your teachers. Have you spoken with your school counselor or your parents? Perhaps they can help you resolve the issues you are facing.


Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, Alexia. We hope you'll keep exploring Wonders to find one you like!


Thank you for commenting, Boi. We hope you'll visit Wonderopolis again soon.


Thanks for joining the conversation, pretty456 and twanasia! We're glad you stopped by Wonderopolis!

you don't like homework?

Thanks for telling us how you feel, Isaac. We appreciate your feedback.


We're glad we could help with your homework, Pusheen! Since we do not list the publish date, standard MLA formatting says that it's OK to list the date you accessed the page for information. Check out the Purdue OWL website for more guidance.

Thank you for WONDERing with us, Isaac! We hope you'll take a look at Wonder #1534. We think it's right up your alley! ?


Certainly, Liesel! Thank you for asking. We ask that Wonderopolis be listed as the author of this Wonder of the Day. Since we do not list the publish date, you may use the date you accessed this webpage for information (such as November 27). Cheers, Wonder Friend!


We're glad you found this Wonder helpful, sonice! There are both advantages and disadvantages to homework and sometimes those points are contrary to each other. This happens when there are different studies performed by different researchers. Sometimes the results contradict other studies.

I used this source for a case study that I am conducting on homework. I was wondering if I could know who wrote the source and when it was published. If I am allowed to have this information, please respond. Thank you.

Thank you for using Wonderopolis for your homework, Liesel! Please see our response above. ?


I know the heather

Thanks for joining the discussion, D. We're glad you visited Wonderopolis.

We're glad this Wonder helped, suicune300, even if it didn't make you like homework any more! It's great that you're WONDERing! We hope you'll stop by again! :)


Hi, bill! We're not sure we understand your comment. Do you have homework about autism? If so, head over to Wonder #1346 to explore information about autism.


We're glad you joined the conversation, avery! We hope you liked reading this Wonder -- perhaps it helped you understand some of the advantages to homework. :)


We're glad you joined the discussion, Bob. Perhaps this Wonder helped to explain why homework is assigned to students. :)

Hi, amez! Sometimes it is helpful to take a break before starting your homework. Thinking can be tiring sometimes, but it's so important! :)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Thank you for sharing, Wonder Friend! :)


lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies

We're sorry you feel this way, bob. Thanks for sharing your opinion. We always value hearing from our Wonder Friends! :)

Hi, Christian. We're sorry you don't agree with this Wonder. We encourage you to also explore the Wonder Sources listed. Thanks for stopping by! :)


i hate homework

Thank you for sharing your opinion, yazzie! We hope this Wonder helped you to understand some of the advantages to homework, along with some of the disadvantages. :)


i really like this article, got an A+ on my report. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great job, Wonder Friend! Keep up the GREAT work and always keep WONDERing! :)

Hi, Wonder Friend! We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)


We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework, nathan! Try to think about all the extra practice! :)


hey homework is good for your brain and help you to get smarter

Thanks for sharing your opinion, elroi! 


Great question, tyler! If we know who submitted the question the author is listed up by the "Listen" button. This Wonder does not have an author listed. Sometimes people submit anonymous questions! Thanks for stopping by! :)


Riley & Anna

Thanks for the KIND words, Riley & Anna! We think our Wonder Friends are pretty AWESOME, too! We encourage you to submit your question to the Wonder Bank! :)


We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about homework, bob! We're glad you think it is helpful! :)


I hate homework

Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your opinion, Brendon! We're glad you're WONDERing! :)

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Wonder Friend! Spending time with your parents is important, too! We encourage you to share this Wonder with them! :)


Antonio yet King

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this Wonder topic, too! Thanks for joining the conversation, Antonio! :)


Thanks for joining the conversation, Caroline! We appreciate you sharing your thoughts! :)

Hi, Makayla! We appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this important topic! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)


Welcome, Dionna! Thanks for sharing your opinion about homework! We're glad you're WONDERing! :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bob! We understand that sometimes it is difficult, but try to also think about the positive aspects mentioned in the Wonder! :)

I notice that none of the evidence presented in the article is backed by any tests or studies to show that the claims presented in the wonder is true.

Oh wow.  You got us, Unknown.  Not a fan of homework, we are guessing?  Did you try clicking any of our sources links?  We appreciate you keeping us on our toes!

Hi, d! We understand it's important for you to have free time, too! We hope you still have time for that! :)

I think you are wrong I have to stay up all night to do my homework then at school I always fall asleep :(

We're sorry to hear that, Jack. Thanks for sharing your connection. Maybe you can talk to your teacher about that. :)


Thanks for sharing your opinion about homework, avry! We appreciate you joining the discussion! Hopefully you learned some of the positive aspects of homework! :)


Thanks for sharing your opinion, Bumble Bee! We understand that there are many different opinions out there about homework. We tried to address both sides, while also stating the positive aspects of homework. We hope you understand and Wonder with us again soon! :)


wonderopolis is a lier

no your article is mostly one sided. the side being that homework is good

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Wonder Friend. You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of homework by reviewing the Wonder Sources we provided above.


Hi, Kayla! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We're sorry to hear homework is so stressful. We hope things get better! Stay positive! :)


That's GREAT, Emma! We love your enthusiasm for learning! Keep up the GREAT work! :)


Trinity Goebel

Hi, Trinity! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about homework. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you have a lot, but try to stay positive! Keep up the GREAT work! :)


homework is stupid why why do we have it mmmmmmm i hate it..

Hi, tyson! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We're sure there is some good in homework -- just take a look at the Wonder text above to see! :)

A lot of students don't like homework, ..., and it can be challenging to keep up with homework with everything else going on in your life. The important thing is to do your best, because there are lots of benefits to homework even if it doesn't always seem like it. If homework is a regular problem, talk to your teacher or fellow classmates for help. We're glad you took the time to share your thoughts about homework.


To answer your question, Im pretty sure homework is NOT a law, but pretty much every teacher gives you homework. Depending on what grade you are in, usually grades 1-3 get 0-30 minutes of homework each night. grades 4-6 get 0-2 hour of homework each night, and Grades 7 and 8 get 30-3 hours of homework each night..... all of this depends on the student and how he or she learns. but this is what the average student gives to do homework in Elementary school

Thanks for the GREAT explanation, emma! You're right in that there are recommended amounts, but no particular law. We appreciate your comment! :)

Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis for your homework, Maya! Homework is not a law. It depends how much homework you have as to how long it takes. Also, some assignments, like projects, take longer than smaller assignments. We hope this Wonder was helpful in answering your questions! :)

Hi, Maya! No, homework is not a law. It is up to your teacher or school. We hope this Wonder helped explain how homework is helpful for practicing what you learned. We understand it is a pain sometimes, but we hope you understand! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)


TENNIS is awesome

Hello, TENNIS is awesome! The WONDER mentions some reasons why homework is important, sch as extra practice. We appreciate your comment and you sharing your opinion with us! :)


One opinion



We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, One opinion! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)


Hello, hahahah! Homework can be time consuming sometimes, but keep thinking positively about all you're learning! :)

We appreciate you sharing your opinion, Goopdi! Sometimes it may seem like a chore, but it is always a good idea to practice what you learned at school. WONDERing is a WONDERful way to learn and have fun at the same time! :)


I believe homework is a waste of time!!


Shae Skipper

Hello, Shae Skipper! You make some great points to support your opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with your WONDER friends! :)


Why do we wonder?

That's a GREAT question, Alistair! WONDERing is a GREAT way to learn new things, have fun, and explore the world around us! :)


connor essary

Hello WONDER Friend, connor essary! We are glad you enjoyed this WONDER. Here is another WONDER about homework. Wonder #491: Do Dogs Really Eat Homework? Enjoy! :)


JoHaunn Mainwood

Hi JoHaunn Mainwood! Thanks for commenting on this WONDER! We appreciate our WONDER friends sharing their thoughts! :)


Welcome, Bob! Thanks for WONDERing with us and commenting on the WONDER! :)



Hi McDonald's! Thanks for commenting on this WONDER. We hate to hear you hate homework. Homework is another way to learn and show others what you know. Check back for more WONDERS! :)


Hi Jaheim! We hate to hear you don't enjoy your homework. Homework is a great way to show your family and friends what you are doing in school. Keep working hard and WONDERing!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sara! You do learn more from doing your homework! Keep up the great work! :)


Hi David! We hate to hear you don't like homework because it helps us practice what we learned in school. Homework is different everywhere you go. Keep working hard! :)


Hello, Nicole! We hate to hear you hate homework. Homework can be great practice for what you are learning in school. We know you are working hard and doing a great job. Keep it up! :)


keandre campbell

Welcome to WONDERopolis, keandre campbell! There are over 1,000 WONDERS for you to explore. Thanks for WONDERing with us. Check back every day for more WONDERful WONDERS! :)


That's great, Crazy! Keep up the great WONDERing! :)


Wonder frog


It is not school is amazing!!!

Welcome, Wonder frog! We hate to hear you don't enjoy school. School is a great opportunity to WONDER and learn new things. Then you can share your new knowledge with your friends. Try checking out Wonder #1268: Why Was School Created? Always keep WONDERing! :)


I agree totally!

We appreciate you sharing your opinion about homework, too, Kaytlyn! Thanks for stopping by! :)

We appreciate you joining the discussion, Trinity! We hope this Wonder showed a few reasons why homework can be beneficial! :)

Hello, Jordan! Homework can be great practice. It helps you continue learning! :)


Lukas Wozencraft

That's funny, Lukas Wozencraft! What do you think it will be about? Be sure to check back tomorrow! :)


Jahkeya from DE

Hello WONDER friend, Jahkeya from DE! What would our world be like if dinosaurs weren't extint? Hmmm...? Something to WONDER about! :)


We are glad you enjoyed the video, Jasahn! Homework is very helpful most of the time! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)


We are glad you liked the video, Makayla! It made us laugh, too! Check out Wonder #1285: What Was Before Dinosaurs? Happy WONDERing! :)


Juilo from DE

Hello, Juilo from DE! Cheer up! Homework helps you practice what you are learning. After all, they say practice makes perfect! If you enjoy video games, check out Wonder #1344: Who Invented the First Video Game? Have fun WONDERing! :)


Autumn from Delaware

Welcome, Autumn from Delaware! The video was silly! Here is another WONDER about dinosaurs! Wonder #275: How Do Dinosaurs Get Their Names? Enjoy! :)

Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sara! Check back everyday for more WONDERful WONDERS!:)


Hello, Gabriel! It sounds like many of our WONDER friends agree with you about the video. We all thought it was funny too! Thanks for commenting! :)


Julian from Delaware

Welcome, Julian from Delaware! You stay busy! That shows true commitment and hard work! :)


Hi Geyonni! We are glad you liked the video. Can you imagine seeing a dinosaur at school? Check out Wonder #491: Do Dogs Really Eat Homework? Happy WONDERing! :)


christina from De


I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for commenting, christina from De! You're right, that kids also need time to spend with their family. As the WONDER tells us, it is important to not have too much homework. That leaves time for both! :)


Khyan from DE

Thanks for sharing, Khyan from DE! Homework is helpful practice and playing with your friends is important, too. Hopefully you can find a happy medium between the two! :)


Kainat from Delware

Not really... :(

im just here because of espark, of all you people you domt kn9w what espark is, well its not homework its just were on oir school ipads amd we do this app that novody wants to do and we have (quests) and are a bunch of activities put togethor.

That could be a very fun way to learn and WONDER, Mitchell! 


William Weispfenning

Homework is so fun (not) homework = ?

lol really william

Thanks for joining the discussion, William. There are pros and cons to homework and we hope this Wonder helped you learn about them. ?

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Trinity! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)

That's right, Kainat from Delware! Homework is great practice! Keep up the great WONDERing! :)

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Question 1 of 3

Homework plays an important role for parents by creating a bridge between home and what?

  • a school Correct!
  • b parents Not Quite!
  • c coaches Not Quite!
  • d students Not Quite!

Question 2 of 3

Which of the following is NOT an important life skill that can be enhanced via homework?

  • a time management Not Quite!
  • b prioritization Not Quite!
  • c organization Not Quite!
  • d photosynthesis Correct!

Question 3 of 3

How much is too much homework per night?

  • a 30 minutes Not Quite!
  • b 1 hour Not Quite!
  • c 2 hours Not Quite!
  • d It depends upon a variety of complex factors. Correct!

Quiz Results

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11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data

homework pros and cons

The age-old question of whether homework is good or bad for students is unanswerable because there are so many “ it depends ” factors.

For example, it depends on the age of the child, the type of homework being assigned, and even the child’s needs.

There are also many conflicting reports on whether homework is good or bad. This is a topic that largely relies on data interpretation for the researcher to come to their conclusions.

To cut through some of the fog, below I’ve outlined some great homework statistics that can help us understand the effects of homework on children.

Homework Statistics List

1. 45% of parents think homework is too easy for their children.

A study by the Center for American Progress found that parents are almost twice as likely to believe their children’s homework is too easy than to disagree with that statement.

Here are the figures for math homework:

  • 46% of parents think their child’s math homework is too easy.
  • 25% of parents think their child’s math homework is not too easy.
  • 29% of parents offered no opinion.

Here are the figures for language arts homework:

  • 44% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is too easy.
  • 28% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is not too easy.
  • 28% of parents offered no opinion.

These findings are based on online surveys of 372 parents of school-aged children conducted in 2018.

2. 93% of Fourth Grade Children Worldwide are Assigned Homework

The prestigious worldwide math assessment Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) took a survey of worldwide homework trends in 2007. Their study concluded that 93% of fourth-grade children are regularly assigned homework, while just 7% never or rarely have homework assigned.

3. 17% of Teens Regularly Miss Homework due to Lack of High-Speed Internet Access

A 2018 Pew Research poll of 743 US teens found that 17%, or almost 2 in every 5 students, regularly struggled to complete homework because they didn’t have reliable access to the internet.

This figure rose to 25% of Black American teens and 24% of teens whose families have an income of less than $30,000 per year.

4. Parents Spend 6.7 Hours Per Week on their Children’s Homework

A 2018 study of 27,500 parents around the world found that the average amount of time parents spend on homework with their child is 6.7 hours per week. Furthermore, 25% of parents spend more than 7 hours per week on their child’s homework.

American parents spend slightly below average at 6.2 hours per week, while Indian parents spend 12 hours per week and Japanese parents spend 2.6 hours per week.

5. Students in High-Performing High Schools Spend on Average 3.1 Hours per night Doing Homework

A study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) conducted a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California. 

Across these high-performing schools, students self-reported that they did 3.1 hours per night of homework.

Graduates from those schools also ended up going on to college 93% of the time.

6. One to Two Hours is the Optimal Duration for Homework

A 2012 peer-reviewed study in the High School Journal found that students who conducted between one and two hours achieved higher results in tests than any other group.

However, the authors were quick to highlight that this “t is an oversimplification of a much more complex problem.” I’m inclined to agree. The greater variable is likely the quality of the homework than time spent on it.

Nevertheless, one result was unequivocal: that some homework is better than none at all : “students who complete any amount of homework earn higher test scores than their peers who do not complete homework.”

7. 74% of Teens cite Homework as a Source of Stress

A study by the Better Sleep Council found that homework is a source of stress for 74% of students. Only school grades, at 75%, rated higher in the study.

That figure rises for girls, with 80% of girls citing homework as a source of stress.

Similarly, the study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) found that 56% of students cite homework as a “primary stressor” in their lives.

8. US Teens Spend more than 15 Hours per Week on Homework

The same study by the Better Sleep Council also found that US teens spend over 2 hours per school night on homework, and overall this added up to over 15 hours per week.

Surprisingly, 4% of US teens say they do more than 6 hours of homework per night. That’s almost as much homework as there are hours in the school day.

The only activity that teens self-reported as doing more than homework was engaging in electronics, which included using phones, playing video games, and watching TV.

9. The 10-Minute Rule

The National Education Association (USA) endorses the concept of doing 10 minutes of homework per night per grade.

For example, if you are in 3rd grade, you should do 30 minutes of homework per night. If you are in 4th grade, you should do 40 minutes of homework per night.

However, this ‘rule’ appears not to be based in sound research. Nevertheless, it is true that homework benefits (no matter the quality of the homework) will likely wane after 2 hours (120 minutes) per night, which would be the NEA guidelines’ peak in grade 12.

10. 21.9% of Parents are Too Busy for their Children’s Homework

An online poll of nearly 300 parents found that 21.9% are too busy to review their children’s homework. On top of this, 31.6% of parents do not look at their children’s homework because their children do not want their help. For these parents, their children’s unwillingness to accept their support is a key source of frustration.

11. 46.5% of Parents find Homework too Hard

The same online poll of parents of children from grades 1 to 12 also found that many parents struggle to help their children with homework because parents find it confusing themselves. Unfortunately, the study did not ask the age of the students so more data is required here to get a full picture of the issue.

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Interpreting the Data

Unfortunately, homework is one of those topics that can be interpreted by different people pursuing differing agendas. All studies of homework have a wide range of variables, such as:

  • What age were the children in the study?
  • What was the homework they were assigned?
  • What tools were available to them?
  • What were the cultural attitudes to homework and how did they impact the study?
  • Is the study replicable?

The more questions we ask about the data, the more we realize that it’s hard to come to firm conclusions about the pros and cons of homework .

Furthermore, questions about the opportunity cost of homework remain. Even if homework is good for children’s test scores, is it worthwhile if the children consequently do less exercise or experience more stress?

Thus, this ends up becoming a largely qualitative exercise. If parents and teachers zoom in on an individual child’s needs, they’ll be able to more effectively understand how much homework a child needs as well as the type of homework they should be assigned.

Related: Funny Homework Excuses

The debate over whether homework should be banned will not be resolved with these homework statistics. But, these facts and figures can help you to pursue a position in a school debate on the topic – and with that, I hope your debate goes well and you develop some great debating skills!


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) 15 Self-Actualization Examples (Maslow's Hierarchy)
  • Chris Drew (PhD) Forest Schools Philosophy & Curriculum, Explained!
  • Chris Drew (PhD) Montessori's 4 Planes of Development, Explained!
  • Chris Drew (PhD) Montessori vs Reggio Emilia vs Steiner-Waldorf vs Froebel

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Does homework really work?

by: Leslie Crawford | Updated: December 12, 2023

Print article

Does homework help

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain? Is this just too much homework?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in their 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework , The Homework Myth , and The Case Against Homework the film Race to Nowhere , and the anguished parent essay “ My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me ” make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what’s the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

How much is too much?

To answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting and examining hundreds of studies. Chris Drew Ph.D., founder and editor at The Helpful Professor recently compiled multiple statistics revealing the folly of today’s after-school busy work. Does any of the data he listed below ring true for you?

• 45 percent of parents think homework is too easy for their child, primarily because it is geared to the lowest standard under the Common Core State Standards .

• 74 percent of students say homework is a source of stress , defined as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.

• Students in high-performing high schools spend an average of 3.1 hours a night on homework , even though 1 to 2 hours is the optimal duration, according to a peer-reviewed study .

Not included in the list above is the fact many kids have to abandon activities they love — like sports and clubs — because homework deprives them of the needed time to enjoy themselves with other pursuits.

Conversely, The Helpful Professor does list a few pros of homework, noting it teaches discipline and time management, and helps parents know what’s being taught in the class.

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is listed on the National Education Association’s website and the National Parent Teacher Association’s website , but few schools follow this rule.

Do you think your child is doing excessive homework? Harris Cooper Ph.D., author of a meta-study on homework , recommends talking with the teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing the assignments. It may seem like they’re taking two hours, but maybe your child is wandering off frequently to get a snack or getting distracted.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing their work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure your child gets enough sleep. A 2012 study of 535 high school students found that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

For elementary school-age children, Cooper’s research at Duke University shows there is no measurable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, Cooper found there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, Cooper’s research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in a class with no homework.

Many schools are starting to act on this research. A Florida superintendent abolished homework in her 42,000 student district, replacing it with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She attributed her decision to “ solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students .”

More family time

A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don’t have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth . “It’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

By far, the best replacement for homework — for both parents and children — is bonding, relaxing time together.

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When Homework Was Banned

Published: November 3, 2023

In the early 1900s, Ladies' Home Journal took up a crusade against homework, enlisting doctors and parents who say it damages children's health. In 1901 California passed a law abolishing homework!

homework history facts

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Homework – Top 3 Pros and Cons

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Pro/Con Arguments | Discussion Questions | Take Action | Sources | More Debates

homework history facts

From dioramas to book reports, from algebraic word problems to research projects, whether students should be given homework, as well as the type and amount of homework, has been debated for over a century. [ 1 ]

While we are unsure who invented homework, we do know that the word “homework” dates back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger asked his followers to practice their speeches at home. Memorization exercises as homework continued through the Middle Ages and Enlightenment by monks and other scholars. [ 45 ]

In the 19th century, German students of the Volksschulen or “People’s Schools” were given assignments to complete outside of the school day. This concept of homework quickly spread across Europe and was brought to the United States by Horace Mann , who encountered the idea in Prussia. [ 45 ]

In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal , decried homework’s negative impact on children’s physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but the prevailing argument was that kids needed time to do household chores. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 45 ] [ 46 ]

Public opinion swayed again in favor of homework in the 1950s due to concerns about keeping up with the Soviet Union’s technological advances during the Cold War . And, in 1986, the US government included homework as an educational quality boosting tool. [ 3 ] [ 45 ]

A 2014 study found kindergarteners to fifth graders averaged 2.9 hours of homework per week, sixth to eighth graders 3.2 hours per teacher, and ninth to twelfth graders 3.5 hours per teacher. A 2014-2019 study found that teens spent about an hour a day on homework. [ 4 ] [ 44 ]

Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the very idea of homework as students were schooling remotely and many were doing all school work from home. Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss asked, “Does homework work when kids are learning all day at home?” While students were mostly back in school buildings in fall 2021, the question remains of how effective homework is as an educational tool. [ 47 ]

Is Homework Beneficial?

Pro 1 Homework improves student achievement. Studies have shown that homework improved student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college. Research published in the High School Journal indicated that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework “scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average.” [ 6 ] Students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework on both standardized tests and grades. A majority of studies on homework’s impact – 64% in one meta-study and 72% in another – showed that take-home assignments were effective at improving academic achievement. [ 7 ] [ 8 ] Research by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) concluded that increased homework led to better GPAs and higher probability of college attendance for high school boys. In fact, boys who attended college did more than three hours of additional homework per week in high school. [ 10 ] Read More
Pro 2 Homework helps to reinforce classroom learning, while developing good study habits and life skills. Students typically retain only 50% of the information teachers provide in class, and they need to apply that information in order to truly learn it. Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer, co-founders of Teachers Who Tutor NYC, explained, “at-home assignments help students learn the material taught in class. Students require independent practice to internalize new concepts… [And] these assignments can provide valuable data for teachers about how well students understand the curriculum.” [ 11 ] [ 49 ] Elementary school students who were taught “strategies to organize and complete homework,” such as prioritizing homework activities, collecting study materials, note-taking, and following directions, showed increased grades and more positive comments on report cards. [ 17 ] Research by the City University of New York noted that “students who engage in self-regulatory processes while completing homework,” such as goal-setting, time management, and remaining focused, “are generally more motivated and are higher achievers than those who do not use these processes.” [ 18 ] Homework also helps students develop key skills that they’ll use throughout their lives: accountability, autonomy, discipline, time management, self-direction, critical thinking, and independent problem-solving. Freireich and Platzer noted that “homework helps students acquire the skills needed to plan, organize, and complete their work.” [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 49 ] Read More
Pro 3 Homework allows parents to be involved with children’s learning. Thanks to take-home assignments, parents are able to track what their children are learning at school as well as their academic strengths and weaknesses. [ 12 ] Data from a nationwide sample of elementary school students show that parental involvement in homework can improve class performance, especially among economically disadvantaged African-American and Hispanic students. [ 20 ] Research from Johns Hopkins University found that an interactive homework process known as TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork) improves student achievement: “Students in the TIPS group earned significantly higher report card grades after 18 weeks (1 TIPS assignment per week) than did non-TIPS students.” [ 21 ] Homework can also help clue parents in to the existence of any learning disabilities their children may have, allowing them to get help and adjust learning strategies as needed. Duke University Professor Harris Cooper noted, “Two parents once told me they refused to believe their child had a learning disability until homework revealed it to them.” [ 12 ] Read More
Con 1 Too much homework can be harmful. A poll of California high school students found that 59% thought they had too much homework. 82% of respondents said that they were “often or always stressed by schoolwork.” High-achieving high school students said too much homework leads to sleep deprivation and other health problems such as headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and stomach problems. [ 24 ] [ 28 ] [ 29 ] Alfie Kohn, an education and parenting expert, said, “Kids should have a chance to just be kids… it’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.” [ 27 ] Emmy Kang, a mental health counselor, explained, “More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies.” [ 48 ] Excessive homework can also lead to cheating: 90% of middle school students and 67% of high school students admit to copying someone else’s homework, and 43% of college students engaged in “unauthorized collaboration” on out-of-class assignments. Even parents take shortcuts on homework: 43% of those surveyed admitted to having completed a child’s assignment for them. [ 30 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ] Read More
Con 2 Homework exacerbates the digital divide or homework gap. Kiara Taylor, financial expert, defined the digital divide as “the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that don’t. Though the term now encompasses the technical and financial ability to utilize available technology—along with access (or a lack of access) to the Internet—the gap it refers to is constantly shifting with the development of technology.” For students, this is often called the homework gap. [ 50 ] [ 51 ] 30% (about 15 to 16 million) public school students either did not have an adequate internet connection or an appropriate device, or both, for distance learning. Completing homework for these students is more complicated (having to find a safe place with an internet connection, or borrowing a laptop, for example) or impossible. [ 51 ] A Hispanic Heritage Foundation study found that 96.5% of students across the country needed to use the internet for homework, and nearly half reported they were sometimes unable to complete their homework due to lack of access to the internet or a computer, which often resulted in lower grades. [ 37 ] [ 38 ] One study concluded that homework increases social inequality because it “potentially serves as a mechanism to further advantage those students who already experience some privilege in the school system while further disadvantaging those who may already be in a marginalized position.” [ 39 ] Read More
Con 3 Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We’ve known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that “homework had no association with achievement gains” when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7 ] Fourth grade students who did no homework got roughly the same score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math exam as those who did 30 minutes of homework a night. Students who did 45 minutes or more of homework a night actually did worse. [ 41 ] Temple University professor Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek said that homework is not the most effective tool for young learners to apply new information: “They’re learning way more important skills when they’re not doing their homework.” [ 42 ] In fact, homework may not be helpful at the high school level either. Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, stated, “I interviewed high school teachers who completely stopped giving homework and there was no downside, it was all upside.” He explains, “just because the same kids who get more homework do a little better on tests, doesn’t mean the homework made that happen.” [ 52 ] Read More

Discussion Questions

1. Is homework beneficial? Consider the study data, your personal experience, and other types of information. Explain your answer(s).

2. If homework were banned, what other educational strategies would help students learn classroom material? Explain your answer(s).

3. How has homework been helpful to you personally? How has homework been unhelpful to you personally? Make carefully considered lists for both sides.

Take Action

1. Examine an argument in favor of quality homework assignments from Janine Bempechat.

2. Explore Oxford Learning’s infographic on the effects of homework on students.

3. Consider Joseph Lathan’s argument that homework promotes inequality .

4. Consider how you felt about the issue before reading this article. After reading the pros and cons on this topic, has your thinking changed? If so, how? List two to three ways. If your thoughts have not changed, list two to three ways your better understanding of the “other side of the issue” now helps you better argue your position.

5. Push for the position and policies you support by writing US national senators and representatives .

1.Tom Loveless, “Homework in America: Part II of the 2014 Brown Center Report of American Education,”, Mar. 18, 2014
2.Edward Bok, “A National Crime at the Feet of American Parents,”  , Jan. 1900
3.Tim Walker, “The Great Homework Debate: What’s Getting Lost in the Hype,”, Sep. 23, 2015
4.University of Phoenix College of Education, “Homework Anxiety: Survey Reveals How Much Homework K-12 Students Are Assigned and Why Teachers Deem It Beneficial,”, Feb. 24, 2014
5.Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “PISA in Focus No. 46: Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education?,”, Dec. 2014
6.Adam V. Maltese, Robert H. Tai, and Xitao Fan, “When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math,”  , 2012
7.Harris Cooper, Jorgianne Civey Robinson, and Erika A. Patall, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003,”  , 2006
8.Gökhan Bas, Cihad Sentürk, and Fatih Mehmet Cigerci, “Homework and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research,”  , 2017
9.Huiyong Fan, Jianzhong Xu, Zhihui Cai, Jinbo He, and Xitao Fan, “Homework and Students’ Achievement in Math and Science: A 30-Year Meta-Analysis, 1986-2015,”  , 2017
10.Charlene Marie Kalenkoski and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, “Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement?,” iza.og, Apr. 2014
11.Ron Kurtus, “Purpose of Homework,”, July 8, 2012
12.Harris Cooper, “Yes, Teachers Should Give Homework – The Benefits Are Many,”, Sep. 2, 2016
13.Tammi A. Minke, “Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement,”, 2017, “How Does Homework Help Students: Suggestions From Experts,” (accessed Aug. 29, 2018)
15.University of Montreal, “Do Kids Benefit from Homework?,” (accessed Aug. 30, 2018)
16.Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson, “Why Homework Is Actually Good for Kids,”, Feb. 1, 2012
17.Joan M. Shepard, “Developing Responsibility for Completing and Handing in Daily Homework Assignments for Students in Grades Three, Four, and Five,”, 1999
18.Darshanand Ramdass and Barry J. Zimmerman, “Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework,”  , 2011
19.US Department of Education, “Let’s Do Homework!,” (accessed Aug. 29, 2018)
20.Loretta Waldman, “Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework,”, Apr. 12, 2014
21.Frances L. Van Voorhis, “Reflecting on the Homework Ritual: Assignments and Designs,”  , June 2010
22.Roel J. F. J. Aries and Sofie J. Cabus, “Parental Homework Involvement Improves Test Scores? A Review of the Literature,”  , June 2015
23.Jamie Ballard, “40% of People Say Elementary School Students Have Too Much Homework,”, July 31, 2018
24.Stanford University, “Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences Report: Mira Costa High School, Winter 2017,”, 2017
25.Cathy Vatterott, “Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs,”, 2009
26.End the Race, “Homework: You Can Make a Difference,” (accessed Aug. 24, 2018)
27.Elissa Strauss, “Opinion: Your Kid Is Right, Homework Is Pointless. Here’s What You Should Do Instead.,”, Jan. 28, 2020
28.Jeanne Fratello, “Survey: Homework Is Biggest Source of Stress for Mira Costa Students,”, Dec. 15, 2017
29.Clifton B. Parker, “Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework,”, Mar. 10, 2014
30.AdCouncil, “Cheating Is a Personal Foul: Academic Cheating Background,” (accessed Aug. 16, 2018)
31.Jeffrey R. Young, “High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame,”, Mar. 28, 2010
32.Robin McClure, “Do You Do Your Child’s Homework?,”, Mar. 14, 2018
33.Robert M. Pressman, David B. Sugarman, Melissa L. Nemon, Jennifer, Desjarlais, Judith A. Owens, and Allison Schettini-Evans, “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background,”  , 2015
34.Heather Koball and Yang Jiang, “Basic Facts about Low-Income Children,”, Jan. 2018
35.Meagan McGovern, “Homework Is for Rich Kids,”, Sep. 2, 2016
36.H. Richard Milner IV, “Not All Students Have Access to Homework Help,”, Nov. 13, 2014
37.Claire McLaughlin, “The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’,”, Apr. 20, 2016
38.Doug Levin, “This Evening’s Homework Requires the Use of the Internet,”, May 1, 2015
39.Amy Lutz and Lakshmi Jayaram, “Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework,”  , June 2015
40.Sandra L. Hofferth and John F. Sandberg, “How American Children Spend Their Time,”, Apr. 17, 2000
41.Alfie Kohn, “Does Homework Improve Learning?,”, 2006
42.Patrick A. Coleman, “Elementary School Homework Probably Isn’t Good for Kids,”, Feb. 8, 2018
43.Valerie Strauss, “Why This Superintendent Is Banning Homework – and Asking Kids to Read Instead,”, July 17, 2017
44.Pew Research Center, “The Way U.S. Teens Spend Their Time Is Changing, but Differences between Boys and Girls Persist,”, Feb. 20, 2019
45.ThroughEducation, “The History of Homework: Why Was It Invented and Who Was behind It?,” , Feb. 14, 2020
46.History, “Why Homework Was Banned,” (accessed Feb. 24, 2022)
47.Valerie Strauss, “Does Homework Work When Kids Are Learning All Day at Home?,” , Sep. 2, 2020
48.Sara M Moniuszko, “Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In,” , Aug. 17, 2021
49.Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer, “The Worsening Homework Problem,” , Apr. 13, 2021
50.Kiara Taylor, “Digital Divide,” , Feb. 12, 2022
51.Marguerite Reardon, “The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind,” , May 5, 2021
52.Rachel Paula Abrahamson, “Why More and More Teachers Are Joining the Anti-Homework Movement,” , Sep. 10, 2021

More School Debate Topics

Should K-12 Students Dissect Animals in Science Classrooms? – Proponents say dissecting real animals is a better learning experience. Opponents say the practice is bad for the environment.

Should Students Have to Wear School Uniforms? – Proponents say uniforms may increase student safety. Opponents say uniforms restrict expression.

Should Corporal Punishment Be Used in K-12 Schools? – Proponents say corporal punishment is an appropriate discipline. Opponents say it inflicts long-lasting physical and mental harm on students.

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United States history


The land that became the United States has been inhabited for some 60,000 years. The first people to live on the land were hunters who most likely migrated to North America from Asia. Eventually these people and their descendants—the Native Americans —spread across North and South America.

Europeans Arrive in the Americas

The history of the Americas forever changed when the explorer Christopher Columbus arrived from Spain in 1492. This voyage and three later ones revealed vast new lands to the Europeans. The continents of North and South America and the nearby islands became known as the New World. Columbus’ discovery began an era of European exploration and colonization that had a devastating effect on the Native Americans. Many died of diseases carried by the Europeans. Others were killed in warfare or forced into slavery.

When the king and queen of Spain learned of what Columbus had found, they laid claim to much of the new lands. The Spanish established colonies in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

The first Spanish explorer to reach the shores of what is now the United States was Juan Ponce de León. He landed in what is now Florida in 1513 and claimed it for his country. Through later explorations, Spain also established control over what is now the southwestern United States.

By 1750, five European powers had taken control of large areas of the Americas.

The Colonial Period

The 13 colonies are established.

The first colonists built Jamestown on a marshy piece of land on the James River in what is now the…

The second English colony to be established in America was Plymouth . It was founded by the Pilgrims in 1620. The Pilgrims were a group of Protestants who left England because they objected to some of the beliefs and practices of the Church of England. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a ship called the Mayflower . After landing in what became the state of Massachusetts , they established their colony. Near Plymouth, another group of English Protestants called the Puritans founded the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. The Puritans also had left England because of disagreements with the Church of England. Plymouth Colony was made part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

English colonies spread along the coast near Massachusetts and Virginia in the 1620s and 1630s. Permanent settlements were made in what is now New Hampshire in 1623. People from the Massachusetts Bay Colony established the colonies of Connecticut in 1635 and Rhode Island in 1636. Maryland , just north of Virginia, was settled in 1634.

Meanwhile, in 1624, Dutch settlers had founded a colony called New Netherland in the area of the Hudson River. The English colonists in New England and Virginia viewed the Dutch as intruders. In 1664 an English fleet seized the Dutch colony. The English changed its name from New Netherland to New York . The English also seized nearby New Jersey and Delaware from the Dutch in 1664. Pennsylvania was founded in 1681 by an English Quaker named William Penn .

South of Virginia, the land known as Carolina was settled by the English during the second half of the 1700s. In 1729 the territory was divided into the colonies of North and South Carolina . Georgia , the last of the original 13 colonies , was settled in 1733.

Early Relations with the Native Americans

Life in the colonies was influenced by the Native American tribes that had lived on the land since long before the Europeans arrived. The early colonists adopted Native American foods and herbs, methods of raising crops, war techniques, and words. Some of the colonists established friendly relations with the Native Americans living near them. Over the years, however, the interaction between the colonists and the Native Americans turned more often to conflict.

Colonial Government and Economy

Most of the colonies established assemblies similar to the English Parliament to govern themselves. Only citizens who owned property or paid taxes, however, were allowed to vote or to become a member of the assembly. In New England, where most of the people lived in villages and towns, local government was conducted in town meetings. In the South, where most people lived on large farms and plantations, the county was the basis for local government.

Most of the early colonists were farmers because they had to grow their own food. In time, however, the living patterns of the colonists changed. In New England people turned their land over to livestock raising and began lumbering, shipbuilding, and fishing industries. In the South colonists grew tobacco, rice, and indigo, which they traded with other colonies and with England. The large plantations in the South were worked by enslaved peoples brought from Africa. The colonists of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania grew grains for their own use and for export.

Expansion of the Colonies

Along with economic development, the colonies steadily made gains in such areas as religious freedom, education, travel, communication, and self-government. These advancements led to rapid population growth. In 1700 about 250,000 people lived in the 13 colonies. By 1760 this number had reached nearly 1.7 million. Many of the newcomers had come from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and France. Part of the population growth, however, was due to huge increases in the number of African slaves brought to the colonies. By 1765, for example, Blacks outnumbered whites in South Carolina by about 2 to 1.

As the population of the colonies grew, people began to expand their settlements westward. This brought them into conflict with the Native Americans already living in the territory. The colonists and the Native Americans often fought for control of the land. In nearly every struggle the outcome was the same: the Europeans pushed the Native Americans farther and farther from their homelands.

The expansion of the colonies also heightened tensions between the English and the French. French people had settled in the Saint Lawrence Valley, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. The English and French soon came into conflict over fishing rights, the fur trade, and Native American alliances. There was also bitter hostility between France and England in Europe. Between 1689 and 1748 the two countries fought three separate wars, both in Europe and in America. In 1754 French and British forces began another conflict, which came to be called the French and Indian War . The war ended in 1763 with the defeat of France and its Native American allies. The victory gave Great Britain control over all French lands in Canada and between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Britain had become the supreme power in North America.

The American Revolution

After the French and Indian War, relations between the British government and the American colonies began to break down. For more than 150 years the colonies had been developing their own society, economy, and some self-government. The British had governed them only lightly. But in 1763 this began to change. The British decided that the colonies should help pay for the cost of the war just ended and for their future defense.

Events Leading to the Revolution

The British Parliament passed a series of acts (laws) calling for taxes on colonial trade. The colonists argued that because the colonies did not have representatives in the English Parliament, it was wrong for the British to tax them. Many colonists refused to pay the taxes and organized protests. Sometimes they clashed with British forces. In 1770 British soldiers fired into an angry mob in Boston. Five Americans were killed in the incident, which became known as the Boston Massacre . In 1773, in response to a tax on tea, colonists disguised as Native Americans dumped tea from British ships into Boston Harbor. This event was later called the Boston Tea Party .

First and Second Continental Congresses Meet

George Washington stands at a session of the Continental Congress, in an illustration from about…

The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in May 1775. The representatives chose George Washington to command the colonial troops. In 1776 Thomas Jefferson and other representatives drafted a statement calling for separation from Britain. This document, called the Declaration of Independence , was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.


The war for independence did not go well for the colonists at first. General Washington barely managed to keep his small army together because of defeats and lack of supplies. Finally the tide turned in the colonists’ favor in 1777, when the British were defeated at the Battles of Saratoga in New York. After that victory, France joined the colonies in their war against Britain. The fighting ended in 1781 with the surrender of the British at Yorktown, Virginia. By the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Britain recognized the independence of the American colonies. The new nation extended from Canada on the north to Florida on the south and westward to the Mississippi River. ( See also Revolution, American .)

The New Nation

The constitution.

Before the war ended, the Second Continental Congress drafted a plan of government called the Articles of Confederation . The Articles, adopted in 1781, provided for a loose union of states and kept most of the powers of government for the individual states. It soon became clear that the Articles were not adequate for governing the growing nation.

In 1787 a convention was held in Philadelphia to amend the Articles of Confederation. Soon the representatives decided to draft an entirely new constitution. The new document was approved by the states in 1788 and took effect in 1789. The Constitution provided for a federal type of government: a union of states under a strong central government. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights —were adopted in 1791. ( See also United States Constitution .)

The first elections under the new Constitution were held in 1789. George Washington became the first president. Alexander Hamilton , the secretary of the treasury, and others who believed in a strong central government came to be called Federalists. Thomas Jefferson and his followers, who feared that the national government might exercise too much power, were called Anti-Federalists, or Republicans. These groups marked the beginning of political parties in the United States.

Westward Expansion

After the United States became independent, people began to move into the region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. The first states created west of the Appalachians were Kentucky in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796. Most of the people who lived in the West were farmers. They shipped their farm products down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans for shipping outside the country.

The Louisiana Purchase greatly increased the territory of the United States.

The New Country’s Foreign Policies

Foreign affairs caused the United States much concern during the early 1800s. Wars between Britain and France interfered with U.S. trade. To make matters worse, the British began stopping U.S. ships to search for British seamen who had deserted. Sometimes they forced U.S. sailors to serve on British ships. In 1812 the United States declared war on Britain. The two countries fought for more than two years. Neither side was able to win a clear victory before a peace treaty was signed in 1814. ( See also War of 1812 .)

During the early 1800s Spain’s colonies in Central and South America declared themselves independent. Later Spain tried to regain control over these colonies, and it appeared that some European powers might help. President James Monroe responded by issuing the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. It stated that North and South America were no longer open to colonization. It also declared that the United States would not allow European countries to interfere with independent governments in the Western Hemisphere. From then on the Monroe Doctrine was a key part of U.S. foreign policy.

Developments in Industry and Transportation

The 1800s was a period of great industrial growth in the United States. An important development was Eli Whitney ’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793. This machine speeded up the process of separating seeds from cotton fibers. It led to a major expansion of the textile industry. It also caused the growing of cotton to spread throughout the Southern states. Farmers in the North were helped by other inventions, such as Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper for harvesting grain. Ironworks were set up to manufacture these farm tools, along with household utensils, factory machines, and other items.

A key part of the economic growth of the United States in the 1800s was the development of better means of transportation. Goods had to be shipped from factories to farms and from farms to towns and cities. To meet this need, new roads and canals were built. The Erie Canal , opened in 1825, connected Lake Erie with the Hudson River. It provided a major boost to shipping between New York City and the Great Lakes region. The invention and improvement of the steam engine led to even more important developments in transportation and trade. The first successful steamboat was built by Robert Fulton . It made its first voyage on the Hudson in 1807. In the early 1830s the first American railroads were built. Thousands of miles of track were laid in the following decades.

Manifest Destiny

Improvements in transportation encouraged further expansion to the west. The growth of the United States was also encouraged by an idea called manifest destiny. In the mid-1800s many Americans came to believe that the United States was destined to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean, and even beyond. But the push toward the Pacific coast led to conflict with foreign powers. Mexico owned Texas , California , and much of the Southwest. The British had a strong claim to Oregon . In each case Americans first penetrated and then won complete control of the area.

The conquest of the Mexican territories began in Texas. In 1836 Americans who had settled in Texas revolted against Mexican rule and declared their independence. Nine years later Texas became part of the United States. The addition of Texas to the United States led to a conflict known as the Mexican War , which lasted from 1846 to 1848. After Mexico was defeated, the United States took possession of Texas, California, and almost the entire Southwest. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 attracted tens of thousands of newcomers to the Pacific coast.

The Oregon Trail began in the U.S. state of Missouri and ended in what is now Oregon.

The Country Divides and Reunites

Dissension in the union.

The westward expansion of the United States heightened tensions over the issue of slavery . The growth of cotton and tobacco plantations in the South had made the Southern economy increasingly dependent on slave labor. Meanwhile, many Americans, especially in the northern states, began to oppose slavery. They wanted to abolish (end) the practice because they thought it was wrong. By 1804 all of the states north of Maryland had abolished slavery. ( See also abolitionist movement .)

This difference of opinion regarding slavery led to conflict when the new Western territories began to apply for admission to the Union (the United States). When Missouri asked to be admitted as a “slave” state—one that allowed slavery—the northern states objected. In 1820 Congress reached an agreement known as the Missouri Compromise . Missouri entered the Union as a slave state and Maine entered as a “free” state—one that prohibited slavery. In addition, slavery was prohibited north of the southern border of Missouri. Another compromise over slavery came in 1850. California had asked to join the Union as a free state. California was admitted as a free state, and slavery was prohibited in the District of Columbia. But the people who lived in the rest of the territory that had been won in the Mexican War were to decide for themselves whether they would have slavery.

Many people thought that these compromises had solved the matter of slavery for good. In 1854, however, Congress passed the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act . This law permitted the Kansas and Nebraska territories—both north of the Missouri Compromise line—to decide whether they should have slavery. People from both the North and South rushed into Kansas to help decide the matter, and fighting broke out. Eventually, in 1861, Kansas was admitted as a free state.

The Civil War

Slavery was the main campaign issue in the presidential election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln of the antislavery Republican Party became the new president. Shortly after Lincoln’s election, the Southern states began to secede (withdraw) from the Union. They formed the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as president.

A modern photograph shows Fort Sumter from above. The first shots of the American Civil War were…


Only a few days after the close of the war, Lincoln was assassinated, and Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. At the close of the war the South lay in ruins, for most of the fighting had occurred there. Nevertheless, the Republicans who controlled Congress after the war still wanted to punish the Southern states for leaving the Union. The South was placed under military rule, and new state governments were formed. The new governments were made to accept the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which provided citizenship to all of the former enslaved people. The Southern states were readmitted to the Union between 1866 and 1870.

In the decade after the war, plantation farming by enslaved people was replaced by the sharecropping system. Sharecroppers farmed a piece of land owned by someone else in return for a share of the crops that they produced. The very low incomes provided by this system forced on Blacks a miserable existence that was little better than slavery. This difficult period of political, social, and economic changes in the South after the Civil War is known as Reconstruction .

Growth of the Nation

The population of the United States in 1880 was slightly more than 50 million. In 1900 it was almost 76 million, a gain of more than 50 percent. Much of the population increase was due to millions of immigrants who entered the country during this period. They sought new jobs and new homes in a prosperous land. Many came from northern or western Europe, as they had since the earliest days of the republic. Beginning in the 1890s, however, the majority of the immigrants arrived from southern or eastern Europe—largely Italy, Poland, Greece, and Russia. Most of them settled in big cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Many other Americans moved from farms to cities during this period as well.

Movement to the West

As the cities grew, other Americans continued moving westward across the vast, mostly unpopulated plains in the country’s heartland. Some sought mineral wealth. In the 30 years after the discovery of gold in California, prospectors found gold or silver in every state and territory of the Far West. Others began to raise cattle on the open ranges of such states as Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. The expansion of the railroads provided a way for the cattle ranchers to ship their goods to the East and West. The first railroad to cross the entire country was completed in Utah in 1869.

Treatment of Native Americans

The government had set aside large tracts of land in the West for the use of Native American tribes. But these lands were invaded during the westward movement of the prospectors, cattlemen, farmers, and railroads. By 1870 these invasions had resulted in the outbreak of a series of savage wars between the Native Americans and the white settlers. By the late 1880s most Native Americans had been forced off their lands and onto reservations. The final defeat of the Native Americans came in the battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1890.

Industrial Development

The movement of people from farms to cities was a sign of the tremendous industrial growth in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. People went to the cities to work in the rapidly expanding factories. In the 1880s and 1890s industrial production and the number of workers employed in industry more than doubled.

Many factors combined to produce this burst of industrial activity. The construction of railroads led to increased demand for steel rails and the growth of the steel industry. A new method of steelmaking—called the Bessemer process—resulted in improved products. The coming of the gasoline engine led to the development of the automobile and of the airplane . By 1893 the Duryea brothers had made the first successful gasoline-driven automobile in the United States. Within a decade several people, including Henry Ford , had built factories to manufacture cars. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight in an airplane. The production of aircraft had just started when World War I began in 1914.

Advancements in manufacturing procedures during this period made factories much more productive. In 1913, for example, Henry Ford introduced the assembly-line method of making cars. In this method each worker performed only one step in the manufacturing process. Splitting up the work in this way is known as the division of labor. By the beginning of the 1900s factories were producing all sorts of goods, from locomotives and farm machinery to household utensils. Through developments in transportation and sales techniques, all kinds of goods and services became available to almost everyone.

This industrial activity was led by a group of powerful businessmen. The best known were Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. They were among the first people in the United States to organize business on a large scale. Carnegie made a fortune as the leader of the enormous expansion of the steel industry. Rockefeller grew wealthy after founding the Standard Oil Company, which dominated oil production in the United States.

Reform Movements

As industry developed, competing firms began joining together to form large organizations capable of dominating an entire industry. These organizations were called trusts. Because they had no competition, trusts could control production within an industry and set high prices for their goods. Many people, including small business owners and workers, protested against the trusts. In 1890 Congress passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which outlawed practices that allowed trusts to gain a monopoly (complete control) of an industry. In 1914 Congress created an agency called the Federal Trade Commission to prevent unfair methods of business competition.

Even with the restrictions placed on industry, individual workers found it difficult to protect their rights as businesses expanded. To deal with this problem, workers joined together in labor unions . The first important national labor organization in the United States was the Knights of Labor (KOL), founded in 1869. In the late 1800s the American Federation of Labor (AFL) replaced the KOL as the country’s most powerful union. The AFL brought together craft and trade unions (such as the carpenters’ union) into a loose federation. It worked for reforms such as the establishment of a shorter workday and workweek. In the 1900s the AFL merged with another labor federation, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), to form the AFL-CIO.

The labor movements also helped improve working conditions for women and children. Another victory for women in this period was the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment, adopted in 1919, gave women the right to vote.

New Territories

In the second half of the 1800s the United States took over lands that lay far beyond its borders. In 1867 Russia sold Alaska to the United States for 7.2 million dollars. In 1898 the United States claimed possession of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Alaska and Hawaii would be made states in 1959.

In 1898 the United States and Spain went to war because of U.S. support for the independence movement in Cuba , which was then ruled by Spain. At the close of the war the United States gained control over Puerto Rico and the island of Guam . The United States also took possession of the Philippines after paying Spain 20 million dollars. Cuba was granted independence. This conflict, known as the Spanish-American War, began the rise of the United States as a world power.

Around this time the United States became interested in building a canal across the Central American country of Panama . The waterway would provide a valuable short cut for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. At the time Colombia ruled Panama. When Colombia objected to U.S. plans for the project, Panama declared its independence. The United States immediately recognized Panama as an independent country. Two weeks later the two countries signed a treaty that allowed the United States to build the canal. Construction began in 1904, and the Panama Canal opened in 1914.

World War I

The United States paid a price for its growing status in world politics. In 1914 war broke out in Europe. On one side were the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria. On the other side were the Allies—more than 20 nations led by Britain and France. The United States tried to remain neutral. The American people reelected President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 partly because he had kept the country out of the war. By 1917, however, the United States found it impossible to remain outside the struggle. Soon after German submarines began sinking U.S. ships, the United States declared war on the Central Powers. Two million U.S. soldiers helped the Allies to victory on the battlefields of Europe. The fighting ended in November 1918. ( See also World War I .)

The peace treaty that officially ended the war was signed in Versailles, France, in 1919. President Wilson insisted that the treaty provide for the creation of the League of Nations . This organization was designed to maintain peace among the countries of the world. The United States Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles, however. As a result, the United States never joined the League of Nations.

From Prosperity to Depression

After the difficult war years, the United States hoped for a return to what was called “normalcy.” Americans wanted to put reminders of the war behind them. And for most of the 1920s they enjoyed peace and prosperity. Business boomed, providing many jobs at good wages. Banks loaned money freely to farmers and businessmen to buy land and machinery. Consumers demanded and received an endless variety of goods—from refrigerators and radios to new homes and cars. Millions of people began buying stocks and bonds in the hope of making quick profits.

Many Americans began to think that prosperity had come to stay. In October 1929, however, a financial panic occurred. Prices on the stock market tumbled as thousands of stockholders tried to sell their stocks. The stock market crash was the beginning of a severe worldwide financial downturn known as the Great Depression .

Herbert Hoover , who had been elected president in 1928, and Congress took steps to try to improve the economy. But when the presidential election of 1932 arrived, millions of U.S. workers were still without jobs. Years of poor land use combined with drought to turn large rural areas in the West into a so-called “dust bowl.” Farmers lost their farms when they could not repay loans to banks. Banks closed because they were unable to collect the loans they had made. State and local governments were no longer able to provide relief payments to the unemployed. Amid these difficult conditions, voters elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to replace Hoover. The new president promised a “New Deal” in the United States.

The New Deal

Roosevelt began work on the New Deal as soon as he took office in 1933. He encouraged Congress to pass laws to help banks that were in trouble and to reopen closed banks. Other new laws provided relief for the unemployed and encouraged industry and agriculture. New public-works projects provided work for millions of people. Perhaps the most far-reaching New Deal measure was the Social Security Act, passed in 1935. It provided financial assistance to people of retirement age, to the blind, and to mothers and dependent children. It also set up a system of unemployment insurance. The Social Security system was later expanded to provide benefits for more workers.

By the end of the 1930s the United States had made some progress toward recovering from the depression. Factory production had increased and more people were back at work. Farmers were enjoying better incomes. But what ultimately pulled the country out of the depression was the production of supplies for World War II.

World War II

War broke out in Europe in 1939 when Germany attacked Poland. Germany was led at the time by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler . In response to the invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Soon Germany was joined by Italy and Japan. These countries formed the Axis powers. The countries opposed to the Axis powers were called the Allies.

In the early part of the war the United States supported the Allies by supplying military aid. At the same time it began to strengthen its own armed forces. The question of how much and what type of additional aid should be given to the Allies was a major issue of the presidential election of 1940. Roosevelt was elected to a third term. He was the first U.S. president to serve more than two terms.

United States Enters the War

Soon U.S. involvement in the war changed drastically. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise attack crippled the U.S. fleet. The United States declared war on Japan the next day. Three days later Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

War at Home and Abroad

Millions of American men and women joined the military. Industry was expanded to produce ships, tanks, planes, and other war supplies. By 1944 U.S. factories were producing twice as much as all the factories of Germany, Italy, and Japan combined. In the months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, the United States was not prepared to begin fighting in the Pacific. The Japanese were able to capture the Philippines and other Pacific islands. But in June 1942 Allied forces defeated the Japanese on Midway Island. This battle was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces fought with other Allied troops in Europe and North Africa. Italy surrendered in September 1943, leaving Germany to fight alone in Europe. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded France. This attack is known as the D-Day invasion. For months thereafter Germany fought a losing battle against advancing Soviet armies in the east and Allied armies in the west. Germany surrendered in May 1945, ending the war in Europe.

End of the War and Plans for Peace

The war in the Pacific ended a few months later. In August 1945 the United States dropped atom bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These new, very powerful weapons devastated the cities and killed tens of thousands of people. Japan surrendered within days of the second bombing. ( See also World War II .)

Even before the end of the war, Allied leaders had taken steps aimed at ensuring the future peace of the world. In April 1945 representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco to plan the organization of the United Nations (UN). The purpose of the UN was to promote peace and to advance the social, economic, and political progress of all peoples of the world.

The Cold War Begins

During World War II the United States and the Soviet Union worked together against a common enemy. When peace came, however, a rivalry developed between the two great powers. The United States became the leader of the Western nations, which mostly had democratic governments. The Soviet Union, with a Communist government, achieved dominance over eastern Europe. The Soviets also encouraged the rise of Communism in other parts of the world. The United States was determined to stop Communism from spreading. The tense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union became known as the Cold War .

New foreign policies announced by the United States in the late 1940s were aimed at combating Communism. One major new policy was the Truman Doctrine, named after Harry S. Truman , who had become president upon the death of Roosevelt in 1945. It provided money and military aid to countries that were threatened by the spread of Communism. Another new policy was the Marshall Plan, named after secretary of state George C. Marshall. It offered money to the countries of Europe so that they could recover from the war. The United States believed that creating stable economies in European countries would help them stay free of Communist influence. In 1949 the United States joined Canada and 10 European countries in forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a defense against possible Soviet attacks.

In 1950 war broke out in Asia. Troops sent by the Soviet-supported, Communist government of North Korea invaded South Korea . They wanted to unite the country under Communist rule. The UN Security Council voted to help to South Korea, and the United States and other UN countries sent troops. Chinese Communist troops went to the aid of North Korea. This conflict became known as the Korean War. The war ended in 1953 with the establishment of a neutral zone between North and South Korea. ( See also Korean War .)

The Space Race

The Cold War expanded into the realm of space exploration in 1957. In October of that year the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. The achievement stunned the United States. In response, the government of President Dwight D. Eisenhower encouraged space research in the United States. The first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, was launched in January 1958. In 1969 the United States landed the first man on the moon.

One of the most serious issues to develop after World War II was that of the spread of nuclear weapons. Both the United States and the Soviet Union built up large arsenals of such weapons. Tensions between the two powers often led to fears of nuclear warfare. These fears reached new levels in 1962, when the U.S. government learned that the Soviet Union had set up nuclear missiles in Cuba. Communists had taken control of Cuba in 1959. U.S. President John F. Kennedy demanded that the missiles be removed. Many people feared war. After two tense weeks, however, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles. This confrontation is known as the Cuban missile crisis.

Civil Rights

Martin Luther King, Jr., waves to the crowd during the March on Washington. The march was one of the …

The civil rights movement had a great impact on the United States and its leaders. President Kennedy stressed civil rights legislation and submitted a major civil rights bill to Congress in June 1963. On November 22, 1963, however, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately took over as president. He successfully urged Congress to pass the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johnson also supported a number of other social reforms, including increased funds for education and antipoverty measures. Despite these efforts, however, many Blacks were dissatisfied with the slow progress they were making. In the mid-1960s race riots broke out in most of the nation’s large cities. Rioting began again after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968.

Vietnam War and Watergate

The biggest problem faced by President Johnson was war in Vietnam . Since the late 1950s rebels supported by the Communist government of North Vietnam had been trying to overthrow the anti-Communist government of South Vietnam. Kennedy had sent military advisers and supplies to the South Vietnamese. Under Johnson, U.S. participation in the war greatly expanded. The United States sent soldiers and began bombing the North. By the end of 1967 about 500,000 United States troops were in South Vietnam. The huge cost of the war and the growing casualties upset many Americans, especially young people. Protests against the war took place throughout the country. Johnson became unpopular and chose not to run for reelection in 1968.

Richard M. Nixon followed Johnson as president. At first he continued to support the war. Soon, however, Nixon began pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam. A peace treaty was signed in 1973, but fighting continued after the U.S. departure( see Vietnam War ). Nixon’s historic visit to Communist China in 1972 led to the establishment of official relations between the United States and that country. Later that year Nixon was reelected. But after the election an investigation showed that Nixon had been involved in illegal activities that helped him win. As a result of this scandal—known as Watergate—Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became president.

The economy was a problem during the terms of both Ford and the next president, Jimmy Carter . Energy shortages during the late 1970s led to attempts to get the United States to rely less on imported oil. In 1977 the United States and Panama signed treaties in which the United States agreed to turn over control of the Panama Canal in 1999. In November 1979 a group of Iranians seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran. They held the Americans inside the embassy as hostages until January 1981.

Reagan and Bush Administrations

President Ronald Reagan meets with former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon in …

In 1989 Reagan was succeeded by his vice president, George Bush . Initially Bush worked with Congress to resolve the federal government’s economic problems. Overall, however, he was more active in foreign affairs. He signed two nuclear arms treaties, one with Soviet leader Gorbachev and the second with Russian President Boris Yeltsin after the Soviet Union had dissolved.

In December 1989 Bush ordered an invasion of Panama to capture that country’s leader, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega was then put on trial in the United States for his role in international sales of illegal drugs. After Iraq invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait in 1990, the United States led a group of countries in a war against Iraq. This short conflict was known as the Persian Gulf War . It began in January 1991 and ended six weeks later with the defeat of Iraq.

After the Cold War

The clinton administration.

Janet Reno was the first woman to be attorney general of the United States. She served from 1993 to…

Despite these economic successes, however, Clinton’s presidency was troubled by several scandals. The biggest of these scandals centered on an affair between Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In 1998–99 Clinton was accused of lying about this affair and impeached (put on trial) by Congress, which had the power to remove him from office. Clinton was not found guilty of the charges against him and remained in office. He was only the second president in United States history to be impeached.

The Bush Administration

The 2000 presidential election was one of the closest in U.S. history. The candidates were Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, and former president Bush’s son, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. The outcome of the election remained undecided for several weeks because of a controversy regarding the counting of votes in Florida. Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Bush.

During his first year in office Bush faced a major crisis—the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history. In September 2001 terrorists hijacked four airplanes. They crashed two of the planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, destroying both buildings. The third plane was flown into the Pentagon, the center of U.S. military operations, near Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania. The United States blamed Osama bin Laden for the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. The United States also accused the Taliban, the government of Afghanistan , of sheltering bin Laden and his terrorist group. Within a month the United States launched attacks against Afghanistan. By the end of the year the Taliban government had collapsed, but the fight against terrorism continued.

In 2002 President Bush turned the world’s attention to Iraq. He accused the government of Iraq of having ties to terrorists. He also accused the government of ignoring a weapons ban that had been imposed on Iraq at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. In the years since the end of the war inspectors from the UN had been sent to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had destroyed its weapons. President Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate with the inspectors, and the situation turned into an ongoing dispute.

The United States brought the matter before the UN in November 2002, and the inspectors were eventually allowed to return to Iraq. Bush soon declared that Iraq was not cooperating with the inspectors. While several member countries of the UN Security Council called for further talks between the two sides, the United States and Great Britain threatened to take military action against Iraq. In March 2003 the talks came to an end, and U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq. They soon overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein, and in December they captured the former leader. Advisers from the United States and other countries then attempted to help establish a new government in Iraq. But fighting in the country continued.

A powerful hurricane struck the southeastern United States in late August 2005. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath claimed more than 1,800 lives. It ranked as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

U.S. President George W. Bush (middle) meets with former presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton,…

The Obama Administration

During his first year in office, President Obama worked to improve the economy and to reform the health care system. In 2010 he signed a new health care law. Republicans and a new conservative movement called the Tea Party were very critical of the law. They thought that the government should be less involved in health care. They also thought that the government needed to cut its spending. At times, debate between Democrats and Republicans became very tense.

In April 2010 an explosion on an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico caused a massive oil spill. The oil slick spread over thousands of square miles and killed many fish, birds, and other animals. The leaking oil well finally was stopped that July.

The last U.S. combat troops left Iraq in 2010, but the war in Afghanistan continued. In 2011 the United States joined in military actions against the government of Libya . Later that year U.S. forces killed bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda , in Pakistan .

In April 2011 several hundred tornadoes ripped across the southeastern United States. Hundreds of people were killed, mainly in Alabama , and many buildings were destroyed. The “Super Outbreak” of 2011 was the largest outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded.

In 2012 Obama ran for a second term as president. His opponent was Mitt Romney, a wealthy businessman who had been the governor of Massachusetts. The election was close, but Obama was reelected in November.

In 2014 an extremist Islamic group, often known as ISIL , emerged in Iraq and took over important cities in Iraq and Syria. The United States began air strikes against ISIL in August 2014. In December 2014 Obama announced that the United States would open up relations with Cuba for the first time in 50 years.

The candidates for the 2016 presidential election were former first lady and senator Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump . After a close election, Trump emerged the winner.

(See articles on individual presidents, states, cities, and geographic features.) ( See also United States Constitution ; United States government .)

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Homework: Facts and Fiction

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online: 09 November 2021
  • Cite this living reference work entry

homework history facts

  • Rubén Fernández-Alonso 4 , 5 &
  • José Muñiz 6  

Part of the book series: Springer International Handbooks of Education ((SIHE))

304 Accesses

4 Citations

Homework is a universal student practice. Despite this universality, the role that homework plays in student academic performance is complex and open to various interpretations. This chapter reviews the current available evidence about the relationships between homework and achievement. We begin by examining the differences between countries and follow that by reviewing the influence of variables related to student homework behavior, teaching practices around assigning homework, and the role of the family in helping with homework. The results indicate that the relationship between time spent on homework and school results is curvilinear, and the best results are seen to be associated with moderate amounts of daily homework. With regard to student homework behavior, there is abundant evidence indicating that the “how” is much more important than the “how much.” Commitment and effort, the emotions prompted by the task, and autonomous working are three key aspects in predicting academic achievement. Effective teaching practice around homework is determined by setting it daily and systematic review. Although family involvement in the educational process is desirable, in the case of homework, direct help has doubtful effects on student achievement.

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Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2007). Students’ self-reported effort and time on homework in six school subjects: Between-student differences and within-student variation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99 , 432–444.

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Rubén Fernández-Alonso

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Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain

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Fernández-Alonso, R., Muñiz, J. (2021). Homework: Facts and Fiction. In: Nilsen, T., Stancel-Piątak, A., Gustafsson, JE. (eds) International Handbook of Comparative Large-Scale Studies in Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham.

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Stunning But Weird Facts about Homework

facts about homework

  • Post author By admin
  • October 15, 2022

Many students are confused by homework. On the one hand, students think that homework is bad. On the other hand, their teachers convince them that homework is good for them.

One thing that a teacher can’t do is force students to do homework. Homework has been a crucial part of the educational system. The main aim of the homework is to encourage students to repeat the same tasks they have done in school to retain the knowledge for a long time. 

But there are some stunning facts about homework that not all teachers and students understand well. 

This blog will list 8 stunning but weird facts about homework that everyone should know. 

Let’s first know the history of homework before we deep dive into some facts about homework.

Table of Contents

History of Homework (Myth vs Truth)

No one knows who invented homework, but for sure many events and people have influenced its history. Let’s look at two of its influencers. sure,

Myth About Homework 

Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is credited with having invented homework in 1095. However, upon further inspection, this seems to be more of an internet myth than an historical tycoon.

Truth About Homework 

The 19th-century educational reformer and politician Horace Mann played a large role in homework history. Like his contemporaries Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe, Horace Mann had a strong interest in the compulsory public education system in the newly unified nation-state of Germany.

Horace Mann led the development of government-regulated and tax-funded public education in the United States of America. He saw the Volksschule system in action in Germany in the year of 1843 and brought some of the crucial concepts—including homework—back to America.

After this, teachers worldwide adopted the method of homework, and they made it an important part of education. Homework proved to be a crucial type of training, and many learning processes could not be executed without home lessons and tasks.

Homework became one of the earliest forms of learning. The criteria that are considered for homework include:

  • Ease-of-execution
  • Feasibility
  • It should reflect what the students have been taught in the class.

Four Stunning Facts About Homework that Students Should Know

Essays are not that hard to write.

When students get an essay assignment or homework, they feel trapped. Most of them think that they are not good at writing, as a result, they don’t bother getting better. It’s all about mentality. The truth is that they can get better if they practice well. 

In order to achieve something, you have to make the first attempt. 

It depends on you. “ Day one or One day ” you decide.

You will definitely write a decent paper with solid research and a well-designed outline. 

Time Management Is Essential for Homework Writing

I’m being honest with you; more than 80% of the students hate homework, even if it’s not too much. Students think that if they get even one assignment to do, then it will take him/her a whole day to complete, which is totally wrong because students lack proper time management skills. 

In this digital era, there are various time management apps that a student can use to help them get into a productive routine. With enough commitment, they will definitely change their bad habits. As a result, they will stop seeing homework as something that might ruin their free time. 

Homework Won’t Go Away.

No matter how much students hate homework, teachers don’t plan to stop assigning it. Teachers think that it is a necessary part of education. However, if students answer all the problems, they may start assigning less of it. But that doesn’t stop teachers from giving homework, so it won’t go away no matter what you do. 

Homework Can Replace Part of the Studying

When you do your assignment regularly, it helps you at that time and reduces the time needed for test preparation. 

If you do your homework with attention, then this will benefit you, and you should not neglect those benefits. This is the end of four facts about homework that students should know. 

Four Stunning Facts About Homework that Teachers Should Know

There’s not enough research on why homework is benefited.

We all know that homework practice has been embedded in the educational system for years. Teachers say that homework is the most crucial part of a student’s life. 

The truth is that there is not enough research to show that homework helps students obtain good academic grades. 

One study shows that homework is good and has many positive effects on students’ lives. On the other hand, some studies show that homework is bad and has negative and unmotivated students. 

Many of the students get more assignments and homework than they usually get. As a result, this makes students angry, leading to more stress than we further discuss in this blog.

Homework Causes Stress

According to Stanford University, more than 56% of students see homework as a primary source of stress.

On the other hand, many students develop symptoms like minor depression and headaches when they get excessive homework. They feel pressured by their parents and teachers to do the homework within the given deadline. 

Many students also feel that they have been constantly compared to other students. As a result, this creates substantial levels of stress in their lives. 

Homework Is Dangerous to a Student’s Social Life

When students get too much homework and assignments, they don’t have time to engage with their family and hobbies or socialise throughout the week. With that being said, they feel so isolated while doing homework when other students use their free time to refresh and prepare for tomorrow.

Homework Is a Cause of Burn-Out

Imagine spending a whole day at school and then doing four hours of homework at home. What would you feel after this? Well, the obvious answer is exhausted. On the other hand, many teachers and professors think that it’s okay for students to take some work home.

When students get too much homework, it easily burns them out. When students get to that point, they feel completely uninspired and incapable of doing the assignments. This is the end of four facts about homework that teachers should know. 

Types of Homework

Since the invention of homework, it has had many different forms and types. Different types of home assignments that teachers give to students include:

  • Mastering and learning the study material.
  • Written exercises.
  • Creative work, such as essay writing.
  • Observing and experimenting with recording results.
  • Oral exercises.
  • Report writing on studied material.

There are a total of six types of homework.

What are the benefits of homework: Everything You Need To Know

Here are some benefits of homework that should not be neglected, which shows that homework is good . 

  • Helps you prepare for exams
  • Helps you remember what you learn in class
  • Improves your memory
  • Enhances your understanding
  • You engage with the studies
  • Helps teachers keep track of progress
  • Helps you get ready for a new topic in the class.
  • Teach you time management
  • Learn some study tips
  • Challenges you to become a better student

Does Homework Improve the Overall Quality of the Education

Homework allows students to develop and sharpen their skills in education. Yes, it does when applied in the right way. Homework can improve your studying process and increase your knowledge. In most cases, homework improves the quality of education, but if students get too much work, this will backfire and deteriorate the quality of the education. 

Conclusion (Facts about Homework)

As the years go by, homework continues to evolve but is never-ending. Over the past few years, homework has evolved in many different ways. While some teachers say, it’s a good thing and should not be banned. On the other hand, some teachers say that it’s a waste of time which is notable and shocking. This blog provides some of the important and stunning facts about homework that students and teachers should know. 

But in the end, homework can’t be replaced by anything. No matter what you do, teachers will not stop assigning homework to students. 

Below are some FAQs. I hope you like it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. scientifically proven facts about homework.

Ans. According to a study by Stanford University, those students who spend more time doing homework will experience more stress, anxiety, some physical problems, and a lack of family love. More than two hours of homework a night may kill your productivity. 

Q2. 5 benefits of homework?

Ans. Five Benefits of Homework It teaches about Time Management. It helps students to improve their learning power. It teaches students how to set priorities. Homework teaches students to work independently. You get a second chance to see what is learned in the class.

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50 Eye-Opening Women’s History Month Facts

The Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant U.S. women the right to vote.

homework history facts

Did you know that Women’s History Month first started as a daylong and weeklong event rather than a month? We didn’t either! Learn even more Women’s History Month facts with this list that is perfect to share with your students.

Women’s History Month Facts

The first women’s history day took place in 1909..

The first Women's History Day was held in 1909.

The first National Woman’s History Day took place on February 28, 1909, in New York City. It commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 15,000 women who marched in the garment workers’ strikes.

International Women’s Day became a holiday in 1911.

International Women’s Day was established as a holiday in 1911.

We celebrate International Women’s Day annually on March 8.

Women’s History Day became Women’s History Week in 1978.

Women’s History Day became Women's History Week in 1978 - Women's History Month Facts.

The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned and launched a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. Learn more Women’s History Month facts in this video from PBS Kids .

Women’s History Month began in 1987.

Women's History Month began in 1987.

After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 in 1987, which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month.

Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant women the right to vote.

Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant women the right to vote.

The Wyoming legislature gave every woman the right to vote in 1869 .

The first female state governor was Nellie Tayloe Ross.

The first female state governor was Nellie Tayloe Ross - Women's History Month Facts.

She was elected governor in Wyoming in 1924.

The 19th Amendment didn’t give all women the right to vote.

The 19th amendment didn't give all women the right to vote.

The 19th Amendment was signed into law on August 26, 1920. Unfortunately, at the time, other laws prohibited Native American, Black, Asian American, and Latina women from voting. Learn more about Women’s Suffrage in this video by Highlights Kids .

Geraldyn “Jerrie” Cobb was the first woman to pass astronaut testing in 1961.


Unfortunately, Cobb wasn’t allowed to travel to space due to her gender.

In the 1700s, Caroline Herschel earned the first salary that a woman had ever received for scientific work.

In the 1700s, Caroline Herschel earned the first salary that a woman had ever received for scientific work.

Throughout her long career, Herschel discovered eight comets , received the Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, and helped discover the planet Uranus.

Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.

Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.

In 1849, Blackwell was instrumental in opening up the field of medicine for women, mentoring many women who went on to careers in the field. Dr. Blackwell also focused on providing better healthcare for women and children. Learn more in this video from Scholastic .

Title IX was passed on March 1, 1972.

Title IX was passed on March 1, 1972.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Learn more in this video from TED-Ed .

Women couldn’t get credit cards until 1974.

Women couldn't get credit cards until 1974 - Women's History Month Facts.

Congress passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, which allowed women to get credit cards in their own names .

Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.

Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.

October 24, 1901, was Taylor’s 63rd birthday , and the school teacher celebrated by heading over the falls and surviving!

Women outlive men in almost every society.

Women outlive men in almost every society.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure why but think it might have to do with estrogen’s ability to improve immune function and protect heart health.

Women make up 17.5% of active-duty military members.

Women make up 17.5% of active-duty military members.

An upward trend is being observed, however, so the number may actually be higher now!

Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.

Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.

Her first award was for physics for her work on spontaneous radiation with her husband, with her second was in chemistry for her studies of radioactivity. Learn more in this video from TED-Ed .

Madam C. J. Walker was the first Black female millionaire in the U.S.

Madam C. J. Walker was the first Black female millionaire in the U.S.  - Women's History Month Facts.

When a medical condition caused her to lose much of her hair, Madam Walker invented a treatment system that completely revolutionized Black hair care. Learn more in this video for kids by The Wise Channel .

Charlotte E. Ray was the first Black American female lawyer in the U.S.

Charlotte E. Ray was the first Black American female lawyer in the U.S.

She graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1872. Learn more in this Little Leaders Read Aloud .

At the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, women could only compete in figure skating.

At the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, women could only compete in figure skating.- women's history month facts

In the 2022 Winter Olympics , women could participate in 46 events! But figure skating was the only Winter Olympic sport with women competitors until 1936.

Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.- women's history month facts

Referred to as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin has placed ninth in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” twice. Learn more in this Little People, Big Dreams read-aloud .

Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme Court.

Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme Court.

She served as a justice from 1981 to 2006 . Learn more about Sandra Day O’Connor in this video from WonderGrove Kids .

In 1739 Elizabeth Timothy became the first female in the American colonies to assume the role of publisher and editor of a newspaper.

In 1739 Elizabeth Timothy became the first female in the American colonies to assume the role of publisher and editor of a newspaper.

This was for the South Carolina Gazette .

Kamala Harris is the first woman vice president.

Kamala Harris was the first woman vice president.- women's history month facts

She assumed office as vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021.

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Elected in 1916 , Rankin spent her career campaigning for world peace.

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress.

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress.- women's history month facts

Chisholm put her hat in the ring for president in 1972, after becoming the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968.

Frida Kahlo was one of the best-known artists of the 20th century.

Frida Kahlo was one of the best-known artists of the 20th century.

She is celebrated internationally as an icon of Mexican national and Indigenous traditions and by feminists for her uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus before Rosa Parks.

Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus before Rosa Parks.

At the time of her protest, Colvin was just 15 years old.

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.- women's history month facts

Ride was also the first gay astronaut, but that fact wasn’t known until it was revealed in her obituary .

There’s a record number of women in Congress.

There's a record number of women in Congress.- women's history month facts

Women make up more than a quarter (28%) of all members of the 118th Congress—the highest percentage in U.S. history and a considerable increase from where things stood even a decade ago.

More women earn college degrees than men.

More women earn college degrees than men.

Women now constitute the majority of the college-educated labor force in the United States, surpassing men with a share of 50.7%.

Even today, mothers have a harder time getting hired.

Even today, mothers have a harder time getting hired.- women's history month facts

On top of that, when mothers are hired, they encounter the “ motherhood penalty ,” a phenomenon where they earn lower wages after becoming mothers.

Women earn less than men for doing the same jobs.

Women earn less than men for doing the same jobs.

Despite being more educated, a 2020 analysis by the Pew Research Center revealed that women earned 84% of what men did.

Eleanor Roosevelt held the first press conference exclusively for women.

Eleanor Roosevelt held the first press conference exclusively for women.

On March 6, 1933, the first lady hosted the inaugural press conference exclusively for women reporters. Over the following 12 years, she conducted 348 press conferences aimed at women journalists.

Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1921, Wharton received the prestigious award for her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence , which inspired many adaptations, including the well-known Gossip Girl book and television series.

Katharine Graham was the first woman to become a Fortune 500 CEO.

Katharine Graham was the first woman to become a Fortune 500 CEO.- women's history month facts

Under her leadership at The Washington Company, The Washington Post exposed one of the biggest scandals in history, Watergate, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

“The pill” was first approved by the FDA in 1960, marking a milestone in women’s rights.

“The pill” was first approved by the FDA in 1960, marking a milestone in women's rights.

The birth control pill has changed the lives of many women ever since.

Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award.

Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award.

On March 7, 2010, Bigelow was recognized for her 2008 film, The Hurt Locker , which won six awards that evening including Best Picture.

In Hawaii, women-owned businesses make up 24.7% of all businesses—the most of any state.

In Hawaii, women-owned businesses make up 24.7% of all businesses—the most of any state.- women's history month facts

California boasted the highest number of women-owned businesses, with 149,927, yet due to the state’s overall large number of firms, it does not rank among the top 10 states in terms of the percentage of businesses owned by women.

California is the best state for women-owned businesses.

California is the best state for women-owned businesses.

Overall, the five best states for women-owned businesses also include Colorado, New York, Florida, and Vermont. This is “based on metrics like percentage of female-owned small businesses, women-to-men pay ratios, female unemployment rates, number of female-owned companies per 10,000 residents in each state and how many women-owned businesses in each state pull in $1 million or more in annual revenue.”

Women have voted at a higher rate than men in presidential elections since the 1980s.

Women have voted at a higher rate than men in presidential elections since the 1980s.

In the 2020 presidential election, 63% of women cast their votes , compared to 59.5% of men.

Vermont was the last state to send a woman to the U.S. Congress.

Vermont was the last state to send a woman to the U.S. Congress.- women's history month facts

Becca Balint was elected to her House of Representatives seat in 2022.

In 2022, 56.8% of women were part of the labor force.

In 2022, 56.8% of women were part of the labor force.

Throughout the 20th century, women’s participation in the labor force steadily increased , reaching its peak at 60% in 1999.

The number of STEM degrees awarded to women has increased by 93% since 2008.

The number of STEM degrees awarded to women has increased by 93% since 2008.

In the 2020–2021 academic year , women received 276,429 degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, an increase from 143,018 degrees awarded in the 2008–2009 period.

In 2021, life expectancy for women in the United States dropped to 79.3 years.

In 2021, life expectancy for women in the United States dropped to 79.3 years.- women's history month facts

Life expectancy declined for two consecutive years, down from 79.9 the previous year. This decrease is primarily attributed to the number of deaths resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1946, the U.S. population has been comprised of more females than males.

Since 1946, the U.S. population has been comprised of more females than males.

Women made up 50.5% of the total population in 2021.

Alice Paul proposed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.

Alice Paul proposed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.

The Equal Rights Amendment wasn’t approved, however, until 1972 .

In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.- women's history month facts

Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Albright, who was born in Prague, served as Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the first professional baseball league for female players.

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the first professional baseball league for female players.

The story of this league of women ballplayers was dramatized in the 1992 film A League of Their Own .

Women made up the majority of home-based workers during the COVID pandemic.

Women made up the majority of home-based workers during the COVID pandemic.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , “In four out of five occupation groups, women made up a larger share of home-based workers than of all workers.”

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.- women's history month facts

That first trip across the ocean in 1928 took more than 20 hours! This is one of the popular women’s history month facts that is also inspirational.

Hillary Clinton was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.

Hillary Clinton was the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.

Also in 2016, Clinton was the first woman to win the popular vote in a U.S. presidential election. However, she lost the election to Donald Trump based on electoral votes. She was also the first woman to win the Iowa Presidential Caucus and the first senator from the state of New York.

Do you have any Women’s History Month facts to share? Come join the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook!

Plus, if you liked these women’s history month facts, check out these women’s history month activities and ideas ..

These Women's History Month fun facts showcase women in history and are great way to learn and celebrate all month long!

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Remembering D-Day: Key facts about the invasion that altered WWII

homework history facts

OMAHA BEACH, France — The June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France was unprecedented in scale and audacity, using the largest-ever armada of ships, troops, planes and vehicles to punch a hole in Adolf Hitler’s defenses in western Europe and change the course of World War II.

With veterans and world dignitaries gathering in Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the landings, here’s a look at some details about how the operation unfolded.

Who took part

Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Of those, 73,000 were from the United States and 83,000 from Britain and Canada. Forces from several other countries were also involved, including French troops fighting with Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

The Allies faced around 50,000 German forces.

More than 2 million Allied soldiers, sailors, pilots, medics and other people from a dozen countries were involved in the overall Operation Overlord, the battle to wrest western France from Nazi control that started on D-Day.

Where and when

The sea landings started at 6:30 a.m., just after dawn, targeting five code-named beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The operation also included actions inland, including overnight parachute landings on strategic German sites and U.S. Army Rangers scaling cliffs to take out German gun positions.

Around 11,000 Allied aircraft, 7,000 ships and boats and thousands of other vehicles were involved.

Many deaths on all sides

A total of 4,414 Allied troops were killed on D-Day itself, including 2,501 Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded.

In the ensuing Battle of Normandy, 73,000 Allied forces were killed and 153,000 wounded. The battle — and especially Allied bombings of French villages and cities — killed around 20,000 French civilians.

The exact German casualties aren’t known, but historians estimate between 4,000 and 9,000 men were killed, wounded or missing during the D-Day invasion alone. About 22,000 German soldiers are among the many buried around Normandy.

Inevitably, the number of survivors attending major anniversary commemorations in France continues to dwindle. The youngest survivors are now in their late 90s. It’s unclear how many D-Day veterans are still alive. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it doesn’t track their numbers.

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  • Theater & Arts
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homework history facts

Who is Matt Rife? Facts to know about the comedian and TikTok star from Columbus area

Comedian and TikTok star Matt Rife is coming to a city near you.

After releasing his second self-produced comedy special earlier this year, Rife will embark on a world standup comedy tour this summer, making stops in North America, Australia and Europe

Rife has been appearing in TV shows and movies for almost a decade, but his viral comedy clips on TikTok have helped him reach internet fame.

Here's what to know about the rising star.

Who is Matt Rife?

Matt Rife is a standup comedian and actor with over 14 million TikTok followers . He's known for his comedy specials "Only Fans" and "Matthew Steven Rife," and appeared in NBC's "Bring the Funny" comedy competition series in 2019.

Where is Matt Rife from?

Matt Rife is from North Lewisburg, Ohio, about an hour northwest of Columbus. He has also lived in New Albany and Mount Vernon. 

Matt Rife was on 'Wild 'N Out'

One of Matt Rife's first TV appearances was on "Wild 'N Out," MTV's improv comedy series hosted by Nick Cannon. According to his IMDb page , Rife was a recurring cast member on the show in seasons 7 through 9.

Matt Rife movies and TV shows

Besides "Wild 'N Out," Matt Rife has appeared in TV series such as "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Fresh Off the Boat" and "Burb Patrol." He's also acted in movies like "Wolf Mountain," "North of the 10" and "Just Swipe."

Who is Matt Rife dating?

Matt Rife recently told Elite Daily he is single and too busy with his career for a relationship.

“I just don’t have time," he said. "I’m on the brink of being sick almost every day. Not in a cold kind of way, but just being run-down. I don’t sleep. I sleep probably three hours a night, maybe. And then I’ve got basically at least two shows every night, I’d say six days a week at least."

Some outlets previously suggested Rife was in a relationship with actor Kate Beckinsale. The pair was photographed kissing in 2017.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matt Rife (@mattrife)

Matt Rife: Taylor Swift, now Matt Rife? Ohio native's fans latest caught in Ticketmaster's chaotic presale system

When is Matt Rife coming to Columbus?

Fe will bring the ProbleMATTic World Tour to the Palace Theatre on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. He will also perform that night at 10 p.m., as well as Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.


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  1. The Surprising History of Homework Reform

    For more than a century, they've been debating how, and whether, kids should do schoolwork at home. At the dawn of the twentieth century, homework meant memorizing lists of facts which could then be recited to the teacher the next day. The rising progressive education movement despised that approach. These educators advocated classrooms free ...

  2. The Homework Dilemma: Who Invented Homework?

    The inventor of homework may be unknown, but its evolution reflects contributions from educators, philosophers, and students. Homework reinforces learning, fosters discipline, and prepares students for the future, spanning from ancient civilizations to modern education. Ongoing debates probe its balance, efficacy, equity, and accessibility, prompting innovative alternatives like project-based ...

  3. Who Invented Homework and Why Was It Invented?

    Mentions of the term "homework" date back to as early as ancient Rome. In I century AD, Pliny the Younger, an oratory teacher, supposedly invented homework by asking his followers to practice public speaking at home. It was to help them become more confident and fluent in their speeches.

  4. Homework

    Homework is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed at home. ... Given the extensive scope of the history and practices of homework in various countries, including a comprehensive analysis within this article is not feasible. Therefore, it tried to providing insights into the context of homework in the United ...

  5. Who Invented Homework ️ Why & When Was it Invented? History and Facts

    5 Facts About Homework. Test your knowledge and check out these other facts about homework: Horace Mann is also known as the 'father' of the modern school system and the educational process that we know today (read more about Who Invented School). With a bit of practice, homework can improve oratory and writing skills.

  6. Homework

    The history of homework in the United States is a varied one, both in substance and in perceived value. Over the years, its presentation has changed markedly, and its popularity has waxed and waned. In the early 1800s, in an agrarian society, the school year was short and homework was of little significance. There was little time for it ...

  7. Who Invented Homework? The History of a School Staple

    The 19th-century politician and educational reformer Horace Mann played a large role in the history of homework. Mann, like his contemporaries Henry Barnard and Calvin Ellis Stowe, had a strong ...

  8. Who Invented Homework? How, When, and Why Was It Invented?

    That's completely untrue. Here are a few facts about Roberto Nevilis. According to the legend, Roberto Nevilis was an Italian teacher who lived at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century in Venice, Italy. He was supposedly the first educator to give homework to his students, which allegedly happened in 1905.

  9. Homework: Facts and Fiction

    Homework is a universal student practice. Despite this universality, the role that homework plays in student academic performance is complex and open to various interpretations. This chapter reviews the current available evidence about the relationships between homework and achievement. We begin by examining the differences between countries ...

  10. Does Homework Work?

    This anti-homework sentiment faded, though, amid mid-century fears that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union (which led to more homework), only to resurface in the 1960s and '70s, when a ...

  11. Homework in America

    Responses indicating no homework on the "usual" question in 2004 were: 2% for age 9-year-olds, 5% for 13 year olds, and 12% for 17-year-olds. These figures are much less than the ones reported ...

  12. Who Invented Homework and Why

    However, the concept of homework predates Nevilis and has roots that go back much further in history. The practice of assigning students work to be done outside of class time can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as Rome, where Pliny the Younger (AD 61-113) encouraged his students to practice public speaking at home to improve ...

  13. Why Do We Have Homework?

    Homework can help you become a better student in several different ways. First of all, homework given in advance of a particular subject can help you make the most of your classroom discussion time. ... For example, before beginning a discussion of a complex period in history, it can be very helpful to read background information as homework ...

  14. Who Invented Homework?

    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 ...

  15. 11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data (2024)

    A 2018 Pew Research poll of 743 US teens found that 17%, or almost 2 in every 5 students, regularly struggled to complete homework because they didn't have reliable access to the internet. This figure rose to 25% of Black American teens and 24% of teens whose families have an income of less than $30,000 per year. 4.

  16. Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

    Too much homework may diminish its effectiveness. While research on the optimum amount of time students should spend on homework is limited, there are indications that for high school students, 1½ to 2½ hours per night is optimum. Middle school students appear to benefit from smaller amounts (less than 1 hour per night).

  17. Does homework really work?

    After two hours, however, achievement doesn't improve. For high schoolers, Cooper's research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in ...

  18. When Homework Was Banned

    Why Homework Was Banned. In the early 1900s, Ladies' Home Journal took up a crusade against homework, enlisting doctors and parents who say it damages children's health. In 1901 California passed ...

  19. Homework Pros and Cons

    Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We've known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that "homework had no association with achievement gains" when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7]

  20. United States history

    The United States suffered some setbacks—the loss of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and Detroit, the defeat at Bladensburg, Maryland, and the burning of Washington, D.C. Its chief successes were naval battles—Captain Oliver H. Perry 's victory on Lake Erie and Captain Thomas Macdonough 's triumph on Lake Champlain.

  21. United States history

    The land that became the United States has been inhabited for some 60,000 years. The first people to live on the land were hunters who most likely migrated to North America from Asia. Eventually these people and their descendants—the Native Americans —spread across North and South America.

  22. PDF Homework: Facts and Fiction

    In fact, half of the countries experienced a drop. in total weekly homework time of between 25% and 40%. A third piece of evidence indicates that homework has a certain cultural compo-nent. There are countries in which assigning homework is more habitual than in others, and this pattern has continued over time.

  23. 8 Stunning but Weird Facts about Homework

    Four Stunning Facts About Homework that Teachers Should Know. There's not enough research on why Homework is Benefited. Homework Causes Stress. Homework Is Dangerous to a Student's Social Life. Homework Is a Cause of Burn-Out. Types of Homework. What are the benefits of homework: Everything You Need To Know.

  24. History Facts for Kids That Will Shock and Amaze Students

    13. Two U.S. presidents died within hours of each other. Here's one of the most intriguing and shocking history facts for kids. On the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, two of its central figures, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (who were close friends), died only hours apart. 14.

  25. 50 Eye-Opening Women's History Month Facts

    Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S. In 1849, Blackwell was instrumental in opening up the field of medicine for women, mentoring many women who went on to careers in the field. Dr. Blackwell also focused on providing better healthcare for women and children. Learn more in this video from Scholastic.

  26. Remembering D-Day: Key facts about the invasion that altered WWII

    American soldiers and supplies arrive on the shore of the French coast of Nazi-occupied Normandy during the Allied D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. (AP) OMAHA BEACH, France — The June 6, 1944, D ...

  27. Who is Matt Rife? Facts about the comedian, TikTok star

    Comedian and TikTok star Matt Rife is coming to a city near you.. After releasing his second self-produced comedy special earlier this year, Rife will embark on a world standup comedy tour this ...