Is Homework Illegal in the United States

For time immemorial, homework has been an integral part of schooling and learning, even more, prominent in modern times. However, this phenomenon has been a dread to many students around the world.

In fact, it has been statistically proven that students are happier on days with no homework, however, if these students are better off without it is a totally different issue on its own.

This, however, has in recent times, raised the questions.

Inasmuch as it can be said to be beneficial, homework in most schools is considered illegal and parents can conveniently opt out of it for their children.

This has been seen in many countries, but then, is homework illegal in the United States? This and more we will provide answers to in this article.

History of Homework

The modern history of homework could be said to have political bearings as its roots can be traced to a German politician and educational reformer, Horace Mann.

Where pupils attending the thenVolksschulen 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 whole idea of homework was very much political, as the state used homework as an element of power play.

Despite all of its political meaning, the phenomenon spread all across the world and became a daily activity in the lives of students.

Homework in the United State

Before now, homework in the United State has faced many setbacks:

1900s: Anti-Homework Sentiment & Homework Bans: Briefly after the concept was introduced to Americans by Horace Mann, homework was banned in California.

Students affected by this ban were those younger than 15 years old. The ban 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.

1930: Homework as Child Labor: In 1930, the American Child Health Association declared that homework was a type of child labor.

And since just recently, laws against child labor had been passed, the proclamation tagged homework as an illegal and unacceptable educational practice.

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 less intensive and more socially acceptable form of child labor).

Early-to-Mid 20th Century: Homework and the Progressive Era: During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in a bit to bring back the concept and make it generally acceptable by the American masses, educators started looking for ways to make homework assignments more personal and relevant to the interests of individual students.

The Cold War: Homework Starts Heating Up: After World War II, the Cold War heated up rivalries between the U.S. and Russia.

Education authorities in the U.S. decided that implementing rigorous homework for 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.

1980s: Homework Thrive

Early 21st Century: Homework Ban Returned

Why is Homework Been Questioned?

Currently, homework is facing a major backlash around the world.

With more than 60% of high school and college students counseling seeking counseling 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 spending many hours in school, they set out to start a lot of homework.

Not only does it take a lot of time to spend on hobbies and interests, it also prevents them from getting enough sleep.

This can lead to students experiencing physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and isolation from peers and society as a whole.

What is The Importance of Homework?

Educationists will want to bring the argument that homework plays a key role in generally improving the learning process.

According to psychologists, students need to assimilate the knowledge that is passed in the classroom.

Class activities alone are insufficient to internalize information taught in the classroom.

Homework supports the teacher’s efforts to teach students and allows the students to independently internalize knowledge.

What Are The Advantages of Homework?

  • It teaches students to manage their time: Homework is more than just completing tasks.

    It encourages children to improve their time management skills as schedules need to be set to ensure that all activities can be completed during the day.
  • It provides more time for learning: The time allotted for each lesson in school is usually limited.

    That is not enough time for students to grasp the material and the context in which each subject is presented.

    By doing some homework, it is possible for students to make up for the time lost.
  • Homework prepares a child for the next level of education.
  • Homework helps students gain insight into a teacher’s thought patterns. 
  • Homework helps a child build higher self-esteem. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Homework?

  • Homework is typically geared toward benchmarks: Teachers often assign homework to improve students’ assessment scores.

    While this may produce good results as a result of better study habits, the fact is that when students feel tired, they are less likely to absorb more information.

    Their stress levels will increase and they will feel the fatigue of the curriculum.
  • Homework 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 deprives them of their time from painting, learning an instrument, or developing new skills.
  • Parents hire tutors to solve homework. 
  • Homework blurs the line between home and school. 
  • Teachers don’t grade homework quickly (if at all).
  • It can affect a child’s self-confidence.
  • It puts students under pressure. 

Is Homework Illegal in the United States

Currently, homework is illegal in all states in the United States, however, schools are at liberty to formulate their own rules around effective learning.

Here are some U.S states that have outrightly banned or placed some kind of restriction and homework:

  • Utah
  • Connecticut
  • Louisiana
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Nebraska

How To Legally Request a Reduction in Homework Time for Your Child

If homework, as frequently observed, affects your child’s family relationships or causes them to be paralyzed by anxiety, you should consider applying for a reduction.

The first step is to talk to the teacher or the school’s administrator.

During the meetings, you should emphasize how much work has had a negative effect on your child.

It is likely that some parents will file similar complaints If the work is too much.

Since many parents like you are committing a reduction, the supervisors and teachers involved may listen and look for the best way to help the child.

When this avenue has been exhausted to no effect, you can seek to exercise your legal homework rights.


Just like everything, homework, inasmuch as educators canvas support for it, it (homework) still has its shortcomings.

What do you think? Leave us your thoughts via the comment box below.

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