Math genius, young mathematician, gifted child ─ these are just some of the monikers that are often associated to Io Aristotle Nikolai Calica. His parents, Mr. Ianne Calica and Mrs. Melissa Prudencio Calica, share that he was already a force to be reckoned with when he was just five years old.
“Io was part of the top 10 and even became a chess champion in school. He beat the grade five and six students for a chess competition in school. He then started to become serious about math and chess – waking up as early as 6 am to play chess or read books about chess notation. This prompted us to visit a psychologist, thus we found out that he is gifted.”
Io’s fascination with numbers can be traced back to when he was as young as two years old. Being a math teach at the University of the Philippines, Mr. Calica introduced Io to math and eventually became his first math teacher. But as time passed the practice of downloading worksheets online became difficult for Mr. Calica. The idea of enrolling Io in Kumon came up. This is something Io himself affirms when asked why he enrolled in Kumon. “I enrolled so I could learn more complex things in math. If I didn’t enroll earlier, I would have a lack of math.”
Aside from knowing people enrolled in the program, Mr. Calica acknowledges that Kumon is something structured – a method with a curriculum and worksheets that are all well thought of and prepared, and a method that allows a child to progress with his ability in mind and with him exploring and enjoying the process.
According to Mr. and Mrs. Calica, Kumon has helped further Io’s advancement in math and other subjects. When he was in grade one, he started to attend upper-level classes. He was already doing grade six math when he was in grade one. Now that he is in grade three, he sits in the science class for grade four and five.
Just recently, we enrolled him in a music class at the University of Philippines – Diliman and let him sit-in for calculus and algebra-trigonometry classes. It has been successful as the teacher loves him and he has even gained friends. Since he is also the school representative for school competitions like MTAP, MTG, Math Quiz and Sudoku, Kumon has really helped Io develop mental calculation skills.
Mr. and Mrs. Calica have noticed three notable changes in Io ever since he started Kumon. First, Io learned patience. He used to hate waiting for a long time; but through Kumon, he learned to exert effort and time to understand a problem before answering or to understand a topic before progressing to the next level.
He has also experienced repeating worksheets and failing, which has made him realize that not all things can be achieved speedily in one try. He has to work hard to reach his achievements.
Second, Io developed discipline and perseverance after learning the value of trying again and again.
As parents, we believe that learning involves repetition and failure. Io needs to do things again and again to better understand. And if he fails, he will be able to learn a lot about himself from failure.
Third and last, Io has become very goal-oriented.
He sees his progress and achievement when he goes to the Center. But he also makes it a point to write down his progress and his next goal in his notebook.
As parents of a Kumon student, Mr. and Mrs. Calica constantly take note of four things when guiding Io. First, do not force the child to do something.
If he needs rest, let him rest. Make a way for the child to want to do it – not for the sake. Find a way to make the experience more fun and creative for the child.
Second, Kumon cannot develop the child alone – parental involvement is necessary.
It is always a 50-50 effort between the Center and the parents. Always check on how the child is doing in the program. Make time for the child and be present to guide the child especially in the initial stages.
Third, learn to listen to the child.
Do not simply impose what you want the child to do, or what you want to happen. Know what the child can do and cannot do by simply listening.
Fourth and last, always persevere.
If parents think of something as a burden, then it becomes a burden. The time will come when the child can do things on his own and achieve so much – parents must simply be there to support and guide the child toward academic and character development.