The Kumon Math Program and Beyond

If you ask any person what subject he finds most difficult in school, math would be the famous answer. Now if you go on to ask what topic in math he finds most challenging, advanced math topics like calculus, geometry, and trigonometry would get the most votes. Yes, high level math is a proclaimed weakness and difficulty of a number of students then and now. This is what students want to avoid, and what parents want their children to conquer. This is what the Kumon Math Program addresses.

The goal of the Math Program is to enable children to self-study senior high school mathematics with ease. How does Kumon do this?

Students develop mental calculation skills and comprehension skills by studying topics that are essential in reaching the goal. Unlike the school curriculum that covers all the math topics, the Kumon Math Program tackles chosen topics that are needed in order to gain a better understanding of advanced math. To help do this, students begin at an easy starting point, based on the suggestion of the Diagnostic Test they take before enrolling. This starting point is usually a level lower than their current school grade level and where they can attain a perfect score by studying on their own. Answering topics that students are familiar with helps build a good foundation of the basic skills and knowledge and further strengthen confidence and concentration because they know they can do it.

Students also develop a value for mastery and self-learning through the presentation of the topics in the Kumon worksheets.  These are designed in minute steps which allow students to master a topic first before moving on to the next topic. Also, examples and hints are given for new topics which allow them to figure out how to solve problems on their own. Students learn the art of ‘Learning how to learn’ and develop independence and perseverance. They also build their confidence, ability to think beyond, ability to retain knowledge for a longer period of time, and ability to gauge their own strengths and weaknesses.

To be able to cater to each student’s individuality, students’ daily workload is tailored to their ability, and they work at their own pace. Each student’s individual ability and needs and the idea that children do not learn at the same pace are acknowledged. This allows motivation to be sustained towards Kumon study, since they know that they are not being rushed to learn one topic and are given time to fully understand and master it. This allows students to learn at their ‘just-right’ level, a level where they tackle materials that are challenging yet still attainable with some effort.

All in all, the Kumon Math Program not only helps students gain better knowledge of math and a better set of math skills; it also helps them develop skills needed to face challenges in other subjects and in life.

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