KUMON: A Refreshing Learning Program
In an age of technology and fast-paced change, Kumon is a refreshingly straightforward after school reading and math program for preschool through high school students. Students complete strategically designed daily worksheets at home and in their Kumon center.
Kumon started in 1954 when a Japanese high school math teacher created supplemental worksheets for his young second grade son. His son was not doing well in math at the time, and the father wanted to strengthen the boy’s mathematical foundation. The result: a series of well-thought out worksheets for students that set students up for success.
Kumon is a pencil and worksheet-based program. Worksheets gradually increase in difficulty, with students studying daily, either at home or their Kumon center for 15–30 minutes.
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LOOK MOM, NO CALCULATOR!
There’s something to be said for activating your brain and exercising it regularly. Kumon believes that your mind can be trained to focus and work out problems on your own. If you stick with their methods, your child will learn how to quickly do math calculations WITHOUT a calculator (even into the highest levels of math!), but with just a pencil and paper.
My three kids started Kumon in June. My youngest did the reading program and the older two enrolled in math. After they got over the initial shock of mom signing them up for “summer school” they settled into doing their daily work – sort of.
Honestly, it was a real wake up call for me to see the kids struggle to focus on their Kumon. Give them an iPad and you can’t tear them away. Put a math worksheet in front of them, and their minds wander.
At first, I wanted to give in to their whines and give up. Kumon is too hard, Kumon takes too long, why do we have to do Kumon, the older kids protested. (I should note that the youngest – going into First Grade – really enjoys her Kumon and looks forward to it each day. It’s the 5th and 7th grader with the issues, with the oldest putting up the biggest front.)
TEACHING FOCUS IN AN AGE OF DISTRACTION
Finally, I realized the real challenge wasn’t the difficulty of the work. Rather, it was the CONCENTRATION and mental STAMINA required for Kumon to be completed in a reasonable amount of time that was throwing the kids for a loop.
Indeed, Kumon tests (for free!) all students and places them at levels that are an easy starting point because they want to grow study habits, focus, and a strong understanding of basic topics from the start.
I dug in my heels. Kumon was here to stay for our family. No summer brain drain here!
I powered through. (I can’t say it was pretty all of the time, but I am proud of what we have accomplished.) Summer schedules are crazy with travel and summer camps, but Kumon is a very portable program and Kumon of Cascade was very accommodating of our travels.
My middle child went from day-dreaming to being able to sit down and see through the task at hand in a short amount of time. Focus is not something innate in every learner, and it’s not something I realized could be learned. Turns out that the Kumon method not only teaches kids academics, it also teaches them how to tune out distraction and tap into their own brain power.
One of my kids had a traumatic start to 3rd grade. So much so that we switched schools mid-year. Self-confidence plummeted and math was especially hard. All of a sudden, my used-to be-great-at school kid was crying for hours over homework and was “no good at math.” Fast-forward a year, and I can now say that my child is a math rock-star again, thanks to a fourth grade teacher who not only taught academics, but also grit and personal responsibility.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about school for this child next year, though. The type of teacher this kid gets has such an impact on the success of the school year. That’s one reason I signed us up for Kumon- over the summer I wanted to build on the positivity and confidence needed for the next school year.
Kumon helps kids build confidence by setting them up for success. All learners are given a chance to succeed and try until a concept is mastered. Rewards are handed out at different check points. Kids learn that they are in control of their learning – an empowering concept that naturally creates CONFIDENT LEARNERS.
My youngest, who had a speech delay when she was a toddler, has been a late bloomer when it comes to reading. With practicing her Kumon reading every day over the summer, she’s gone from a reluctant reader to a confident one and has enjoyed every step of the way.
KUMON IS FOR ALL LEARNERS
Many people think of Kumon as a place only for students struggling academically. While kids in this category will be helped by Kumon, other students should consider Kumon, too. Many of the students in the Kumon program are there to get ahead in their studies.
Want your kid to be ready for the SAT or ACT? Start Kumon young. Getting kids into a rhythm with reading and math early on will translate into being ahead of grade-level… and instant confidence booster in the classroom and a boon on standardized tests. Also, because Kumon kids learn how to tune out distractions, they have a distinct advantage on standardized tests.
IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Just like being successful in sports, being successful in Kumon requires a supportive family environment. Students will do best when their families make Kumon a priority and emphasize the importance of routine and regular attendance at the Kumon Center. Instructors at the center work with your child when they encounter new material or have questions; parents partner with their kids on daily work and center attendance.
GIVE KUMON A TRY
If you’d like to try Kumon for your learners, head to Kumon in Cascade or a Kumon center near you [find your nearest Kumon at kumon.com] for a free, no-obligation, placement test and to learn more about how Kumon would work for your family. Or, give Anne a call with your questions.