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Is Homework Helpful or Harmful in the Modern Age?

Written by Admin

Nov. 10, 2022 • 7 min read

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Table of Contents

1. The History of Homework

  • Roberto Nevilis
  • Pliny the Younger
  • Horace Mann

2. Is Homework Helpful or Harmful?

  •  Why is Homework Helpful?
  •  Why is Homework Harmful?

3. How to do your Homework without Stress?

The History of Homework

Homework is a word possessing the power to give any student a shiver down their spine and loads of anxiety. Besides the already extensive syllabus, students are burdened with heaps of homework, projects, and assignments. But the question remains:

Who invented homework?

Something that began as a punishment for students has somehow become a tradition in our educational system and is deeply rooted in the modern educational system. It is still unknown who came up with the seemingly harmless notion of instilling extreme anxiety in students (I will be fired for writing this), but there are a few names in history that may be linked to the origin of homework. The names are as listed below:

1. Roberto Nevilis

2. Pliny the Younger

3. Horace Mann

Now, I’m sure you’ll start judging these men and want to know more about them, but let me tell you something before we move on to the next part. The people mentioned above played an important role in the freedom of education for ordinary people like you and me, and they never intended to make a student’s life stressful and difficult to manage.

As the educational system developed, teachers started giving homework to students as extra work after class hours; by this time, homework  was still a good way to encourage students to give more attention to their studies and was given just enough to ensure that the student had grasped the concept, not to mention that teachers dedicated enough time on the explanation of the concepts so that students could apply them in real-life situations. Unfortunately, this is not the case today; homework has become a means of completing the syllabus as soon as possible and to some point, has become a way for the teachers to delegate or procrastinate their work (there will be a bounty on my head for saying this).

Now let’s rewind a bit and find out who the persons described above were:

1. Roberto Nevilis (https://www.througheducation.com/debunking-the-myth-of-robertonevilis-who-really-invented-homework/)

Roberto Nevilis, an Italian teacher, is one of the few credited with the invention of homework. According to researchers, Nevilis invented the notion of homework around the year 1905 as a way to discipline students who do not pay attention in class. But here’s a plot twist: many researchers also believe that a man named Roberto Nevilis never existed and it is just a myth or an urban legend floating on the internet. You can read the myth buster article related to him by clicking on his name above.

2. Pliny the Younger (Wikipedia)

Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, also known as Pliny the Younger, was an ancient Roman lawyer, author, and magistrate. He began to assign homework to his disciples to encourage them to practice public speaking skills at home. He believed that by practicing, they would become fluent in their speeches.

3. Horace Mann (Wikipedia)

The man who fought against the prejudices of education and believed there should be no discrimination regarding education was Horace Mann. Also dubbed the “Father of American Education,” he was a great advocate of public education and is believed to be the inventor of homework. However, it is quite unlikely to credit him with the invention of homework.

As you can see, homework was never intended to be a compulsion in schools; rather, it was utilized to improve the learning approach.

Is Homework Helpful or Harmful?

As we all know, every coin has two sides, and the same law applies to homework as well. In this section, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of homework. But before we move on to the comparison part let’s see what experts are saying.

According to an article (https://melindawmoyer.substack.com/p/is-homework-helpful-or-harmful) in the newsletter “Is My Kid The Asshole?”) written by science journalist and NYU faculty Melinda Wenner Moyer (Wikipedia), she states “In 1984, just over 40 percent of American 9-year-olds were doing up to an hour of homework a night. In 2012, that percentage had risen to 57 percent. (These may well be underestimates, too: The numbers are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which ask students how much homework they had the night before, but teachers often ease up on homework the night before standardized tests.) A 2015 survey of nearly 1,200 parents in Rhode Island revealed that even kindergartners were spending an average of 25 minutes each night on schoolwork.

In the same article, a quotation from Emily W. King, a child psychologist, goes, “Young children need time outside to move their bodies, free time to recover from the structure and demands placed on them, and quiet time to be alone with their thoughts.”

Now, to the comparison part:

Firstly, let’s discuss the advantages of homework and see why some people are in favor of the idea of homework.

Why is Homework Helpful?

  • It helps students in sharpening their problem-solving abilities.
  • Students improve their speed in solving numerical questions such as algebra, economics, and so on with the help of homework.
  • It encourages students to think creatively and generates fresh ideas.
  • Homework helps students in keeping concepts fresh in their minds.
  • Homework assists students in memorizing crucial ideas in a topic.

Now, let’s move forward with the other side of the coin.

Why is Homework Harmful?

  • One of the many wonders, homework does for students is give them a ton of stress. When assigned multiple homework, assignments, or projects  It is of course overwhelming to do multiple homework  within a short deadline.
  •  Teachers often assign students with largely theoretical homework that neither adds anything to the students’ mind nor   can be applied in real-life situations (I’m talking about you, Calculus).
  •  Chaos is another gift by homework, the distance between personal, social, and educational life just keeps getting bigger. Thus, leading to depression and other psychological problems.
  • “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton” – Arthur Wellesley, homework separates students from physical activities, which leads to various health problems making students physically weaker.

Now that I have released all my pent-up anger from my school days against my teachers and homework, I will tell you how you can do your homework  without getting too stressed (which I hoped I knew at that time).

How to do your Homework without Stress?

I consulted some experts in the education field and asked them what tips can students use to avoid stress while handling multiple homework at once, below is the list of the tips I received:

1. Time Management: The wheel of time is a phenomenon every human wants to control, but fortunately or unfortunately, it’s impossible; time cannot be manipulated. But there’s one thing you can do to achieve everything you want: time management. Students are advised to manage their time efficiently by dividing their time for everything, this way; they can manage both their homework and playtime or other activity time.

2. Mark your Questions: One significant reason homework is stressful for students is unresolved doubts and queries. As a result, it is an excellent solution to mark all your questions and get them clarified by your professors or seniors.

3. Make Notes: Make notes while attending a lecture as they are quite useful when you sit down to do your homework. 

4. Sleep Properly: Sleeping solves more than half of students’ problems; getting a good sleep freshens your mind and improves your mental aptitude; thus, you stay far away from stress.

Time for an honorable mention

TutorGenix is an online homework help website that provides various academic services to students struggling with homework or assignments. TutorGenix works with trained and talented subject-expert tutors and homework helpers to give the best service possible at a very affordable charge. So, the next time you need homework help, contact TutorGenix and get the best quality guidance from experts; you can also ask for assignment assistance, project report help, lab report help, PowerPoint Presentation Making or even live session tutoring.

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