Did Victorian Schools Have Homework A Look at the Education System in the 19th Century
Victorian schools are known for their harsh discipline and strict curriculum. But did they also assign homework to their students And what was the purpose of education in the 19th century In this article, we will explore these questions and more, using information from various sources[^1^] [^2^] [^3^].
The Victorian Era and Education
The Victorian era was a period of great social and economic change in Britain, lasting from 1837 to 1901. It was named after Queen Victoria, who ruled for most of this time. During her reign, Britain became a powerful empire, with colonies all over the world. It also experienced the Industrial Revolution, which transformed the way people worked and lived.
One of the effects of these changes was the need for a more educated workforce. At the start of the Victorian era, most children did not go to school. They either worked long hours in factories, mines, or farms, or they roamed the streets begging or stealing. School was not free and only richer families could afford to send their children to school. Some rich children were taught at home by a governess, while others went to private schools called public schools.
However, some people began to realize that education was important for both moral and economic reasons. They believed that educating the poor would reduce crime, poverty, and ignorance. They also argued that education would prepare children for the new jobs and challenges of the modern world. Therefore, they set up various types of schools for the poor, such as ragged schools, British schools, and monitorial schools. These schools offered free or cheap lessons in basic subjects like reading, writing, and arithmetic.
In 1870, the government passed the Education Act, which made it compulsory for all children aged 5 to 10 to attend school. This was later extended to 11 in 1893 and 12 in 1899. The government also provided grants to build more schools and train more teachers. By the end of the Victorian era, most children had access to some form of education.
The Victorian School Day
A typical Victorian school day started at 9 am and ended at 5 pm, with a break for lunch and recess. Children had to walk to school, sometimes for miles, in all kinds of weather. They had to wear uniforms and bring their own slate and chalk to write on. They also had to pay a small fee called a 'penny a week' to help with the school expenses.
The school building was usually large and imposing, with high windows and bare walls. The classroom was called a 'schoolroom' and had rows of desks bolted to the floor facing the front. The teacher sat at a desk on a raised platform and used a blackboard to write on. There was no electric lighting or heating, so the room was often dark and cold.
The teacher was usually a woman called a 'mistress' or a man called a 'dominie'. They were often very strict and scary. They used a wooden cane or a ruler to hit children who misbehaved or made mistakes. They also made them wear a dunce cap or stand in the corner as punishment.
The lessons were mainly focused on the 'three Rs': reading, writing, and arithmetic. Children had to learn by rote memorization and repetition. They had to recite poems, spellings, tables, dates, facts, and rules. They had to copy sentences from the blackboard or from textbooks. They had little opportunity for creativity or discussion.
Other subjects included history, geography, religion, morals, hygiene, and physical education (called 'drill'). Boys and girls were often taught separately or differently. Boys learned more about science, technology, and business skills. Girls learned more about domestic skills like cooking, sewing, and cleaning.
The Victorian Homework
So did Victorian schools have homework The answer is yes and no. Homework was not as common or as standardized as it is today. It depended on the type of school, the teacher's preference, and the child's ability.
Some schools did not give any homework at all ec8f644aee