Who Invented Homework

Who Invented Homework

Homework has been around since before the medieval era. That said, it is often believed that homework was not formally assigned until the late 19th century to early 20th century.

Many believe that the first formal assignment of homework took place in 1905 by a University of Missouri professor named Walter Blivens. His assignment called for his students to calculate the length of time it would take a chicken to walk from New York to Missouri.

In 1907 an Acton Academy teacher named Louis Pope Grignon assigned students to do a similar task that Blivens did. Grignon assigned students to calculate how long it would take a chicken to swim from San Francisco, California to Honolulu, Hawai’i.

In the 1920s many teachers were using notations in their students’ notebooks to assign homework. These notations did not include actual work but only a question mark, had a student reached that day’s lesson objective he would have known what was expected of him without a formal notation.

Teachers did not formally assign homework until the late 19th century. However, students did not learn English or maths formally until around the 12th century. So it is likely that homework was done outside of the home; most people had to work on farms in order to earn enough money for food and shelter.

Today school districts like Acton Academy, which started in 1982, use techniques like self-assessments, mentorships and parental involvement to ensure successful experiences for students.

Homework holds a very important role in a student’s education as it allows them to review information learned at school. Homework also helps teachers assess their student’s progress with the curriculum. It is important to understand that homework goals do not need to extend beyond reviewing information learned at school.

So who invented homework? Like many historical events, it is difficult to say exactly who or what institution is responsible for the formal assignment of homework. It’s likely that homework was initially assigned informally before schools had curriculum and courses designed with assignments in mind.

Homework has been around since at least 1905 and likely much longer than that, but it wasn’t until at least the early 20th century that homework was formally assigned to students. Homework does not need to be excessive or complicated. Homework should be used as a tool for learning and not just busy work.


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