No Homework Articles

The history of homework and surrounding attitudes is relevant because the roots of homework dogma developed and became entrenched over the last 100 years.Attitudes toward homework have historically reflected societal trends and the prevailing educational philosophy of the time, and each swing of the pendulum is colored by unique historical events and sentiments that drove the movement for or against homework.The benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise for children were widely accepted, and homework had the potential to interfere.

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At the end of the 19th century, attendance in grades 1 through 4 was irregular for many students, and most classrooms were multi-age.

Teachers rarely gave homework to primary students (Gill & Schlossman, 2004).

In 1900, the editor of the Ladies' Home Journal, Edward Bok, began a series of anti-homework articles.

He recommended the elimination of homework for all students under the age of 15 and a limit of one hour nightly for older students.

Early in the 20th century, an anti-homework movement became the centerpiece of a nationwide trend toward progressive education.

Progressive educators questioned many aspects of schooling: "Once the value of drill, memorization, and recitation was opened to debate, the attendant need for homework came under harsh scrutiny as well" (Kralovec & Buell, 2000, p. As the field of pediatrics grew, more doctors began to speak out about the effect of homework on the health and well-being of children.

Learning consisted of drill, memorization, and recitation, which required preparation at home: At a time when students were required to say their lessons in class in order to demonstrate their academic prowess, they had little alternative but to say those lessons over and over at home the night before.

Before a child could continue his or her schooling through grammar school, a family had to decide that chores and other family obligations would not interfere unduly with the predictable nightly homework hours that would go into preparing the next day's lessons. 174) The critical role that children played as workers in the household meant that many families could not afford to have their children continue schooling, given the requisite two to three hours of homework each night (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).

Many school districts across the United States voted to abolish homework, especially in the lower grades: In the 1930s and 1940s, although few districts abolished homework outright, many abolished it in grades K–6.

In grades K–3, condemnation of homework was nearly universal in school district policies as well as professional opinion.

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