The History of Homework: Basics of Your School Life

The idea of indispensable homework exists more than hundred years and is firmly established in the mind of the general public. Its history started with the first steps of educational system which then was based mainly on “three R” principle: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Learning by rote was the main strategy that required simple memorization and practical exercises. And that was exactly the kind of task easy to do at home. Until now such a system was generally perceived as positive and gained approval from parents and teachers as well. With the course of time, however, school education evolved thus leaving the concept of homework nothing but the need to change.

It’s become an extremely difficult task to make children be enthusiastic about their homework or at least make them not to ignore it completely. Nowadays the Internet and bookstores are overcrowded with books with recommendations on the ways of getting children to do homework. It is not a rare case when such recommendations all boil down to precious, though often useless, advice like “to remain positive”.

The question everyone has to ask themselves is whether it is still actual to talk about traditional forms of homework that earlier constituted the true basics of school life. Common beliefs about the good effects of such assignments are so strong for many people, that they resemble the cult. This attitude was for a long time beyond discussion, but probably it is high time to re-assess the value or fill old ideas with new sense. There are three main myths about the effectiveness of old-school home assignments that should be shattered for the sake of future progress:

  • School has to extend learning beyond the classroom.
  • Many teachers reckon that homework is better for a child than watching TV or playing video games. It is rather doubtful whether it is the teacher who should decide what children should do in their free-time. Force won’t help to encourage children in learning.

  • Intellectual activities are the most important.
  • Such view underestimates the significance of social, emotional, or physical development and questions parents’ ability to structure their children’s leisure time successfully.

  • Homework develops responsibility.
  • In this case responsibility is often mistaken for obedience, while neglecting homework is taken as a sign of disrespect. Involving pupils into different sorts of activities and management of the learning process would interest them more and serve this aim more effectively.

    Homework is indeed the basics of school life, but not its ultimate goal or all-mighty idol. Individual approach should be employed to achieve better performance and the level of motivation for learning.