Yesterday I spoke about a Charlote Mason principle which I call “the 20-minute rule.” Charlotte Mason was an English educator in the 1800s. Schools around the world still use her principles, thanks to the influence of the British Commonwealth. Homeschoolers love Charlotte Mason because it teaches gently and efficiently.
I am not 100% Charlotte Mason in my philosophy of education, but I like a lot of her principles. The 20-minute rule should not be taken literally and robotically. Charlotte Mason suggested 20 minutes of active instruction time as a great rule of thumb for teachers. Children can pay attention for 20 minutes. At least, we should strive to help them achieve this level of concentration.
In contrast, Dr. Raymond Moore discovered in his research of the American public school system that a child receives 13 minutes of individualized attention. How do you like them apples? Your child goes to school for seven hours. You feel satisfied that he is learning for seven hours. In reality, he only gets 13 minutes of attention.
So if you have a child younger than 10, for instance, 20 minutes might seem long to teach them one subject. However, you can work up to it over time. Every minute added to your child’s attention span counts.
If your child did not finish his four pages of math in 20 minutes, then by all means, give them more time. It’s not set in concrete. It’s just a good rule of thumb to have in your teacher toolbelt.