By Teacher Audrey Tan, mother of Angela Clare and Instructor of Kumon Tarlac Center
As a parent, I always believed that a good foundation is a key to success. I wanted all my children to have a strong foundation in Math and Reading so that they would not have difficulty in school. This is why all my four older children are now Kumon Completers. With my youngest, Angela, I enrolled her first in the Reading Program at Kumon Tarlac Center when she was three years old. A year later, I enrolled her in the Math Program.
Developing a Study Routine
Being the youngest and the baby of the family, all the older siblings doted on Angela, which fueled her dependence on older people. With Kumon, Angela slowly became an independent learner due to the following practices:
• setting aside 30-45 minutes a day to do her worksheets
• having a conducive study area at home with no distractions
• teaching her how to make a “to-do” list of important things she needs to accomplish during the day before she can play
• setting goals became a habit of hers (she would set goals of what she would finish in the morning when she was at her peak), then she would take a nap after lunch and look forward to playing in the afternoon after she wakes from her nap.
I did not foresee that she would be joining Math and English competitions. With her first Math competition, she wanted to join because her older siblings were also joining. It was the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO) in 2017, and she was only seven years old.
Getting a bronze award in SASMO qualified her to join the Singapore International Math Olympiad Challenge (SIMOC). This was her first international competition, where she received a bronze award. Her delight in hearing her name called and how her eyes glistened with the bronze medal on her neck was an incredible moment for her. This was the first time she represented the Philippines.
In the next four years, Angela traveled to seven countries and has received awards in the following competitions:
- Malaysia International Math Olympiad (MIMO) 2017 in Malaysia
- World Mathematics Invitational (WMI) Finals 2018 in Seoul, South Korea
- 8th Global Finals “SPEAK” English International Competition in Singapore
- Southeast Asian Mathematical Olympiad Extended Round (SEAMO-X) 2019 in Singapore
- Thailand International Mathematical Olympiad (TIMO) Final Round 2018-2019 in Phuket, Thailand
- International Junior Mathematics Olympiad (IJMO) 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Vanda Science Global Finals 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- World Mathematics Invitational (WMI) Finals 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
- 14th World Cup of the World Math-fusion Olympiad in Bangkok, Thailand
- Hong Kong International Math Olympiad (HKIMO) Final Round 2019 in HongKong
- HongKong International Science Olympiad (HKISO) Mini Experiment 2019
- World International Mathematics Olympiad (WIMO) Final Round 2019 in Japan
- HongKong International Computing Olympiad (HKICO)
- HongKong International Science Olympiad (HKISO)
- Southeast Asian Mathematical Olympiad Extended Round (SEAMO-X) 2020 in Australia
The pandemic did not stop her from joining since most competitions have converted to online platforms. Here are the competitions she joined and won despite the pandemic:
- Hippo English International Competition
- Eurasian Spelling Bee
- Philippine International Mathematical Olympiad (PhIMO) 2021
- Philippine International Math and Science Olympics (PIMSO) 2021
- Copernicus International Math Olympiad
- World Mathematics Invitational (WMI) Finals 2021
- FERMAT Mathematical Olympiad (FMO) 2021
- Copernicus International Natural Science Olympiad 2021
- Siam International Math and Science Olympics (SIMSO) 2021
She is also a recipient of the DOST Youth Excellence in Science (YES) Award for five consecutive years, a DepEd Student of Excellence Awardee for the past three years, and recently inducted as a Lifetime Member of the International Juniors Honors Society (based in Singapore).
Her recent win gave her the title of being the FIRST FILIPINO MMCC LEGEND AWARDEE for getting the GOLD Prize three years in a row in the World Mathematics Invitational – Mini Math Creative Competition (WMI MMCC).
Her first winning entry was in 2019, which talked about functions in the real world. In 2020, her second video discussed how statistics could help government leaders make effective decisions. This year, her winning video showed how math could be used to distribute vaccines.
2021: How Math Can Be Used to Distribute Vaccines
2020: Statistics Can Save Lives
2019: Function Machines
No one from any country has ever achieved this feat of winning three consecutive Gold Awards. In her acceptance speech video—which you can watch below—Angela shares that she enjoys making creative videos because she gets to learn and appreciate math even more.
As a working mother of five, I had a hectic schedule. So, my main challenge was how to set aside time for my children. I ensured that however busy I got, I would continue to monitor their Kumon study (especially during their formative years). It was not easy, but I knew I had to be intentional. I knew that time lost would never be regained, so I prioritized my children because as they grew older, I knew I would never be able to regain the lost years. With God’s grace, I was able to nurture five Kumon Completers.
My advice to you, dear parents, is to give your children TIME, even if it is just for 30 to 45 minutes every day, to teach them math or how to read. This will help them develop the needed skills and gain the needed knowledge so that when they enter school, they will not have a hard time. It is up to us parents to have patience with our children. I know it is not easy, but we need to sacrifice. PAGTIYAGAAN TALAGA NATIN mga anak natin, kasi pag hindi tayo ang magtitiyaga sa kanila, sino?
Preparing for the Future
When I enrolled Angela in Kumon, it was simply to develop a solid foundation in Math and Reading. Whatever award or recognition she got from joining competitions was just a bonus for us. Math and English are the two most important subjects in school. Angela excelled in Math because her foundational skills in the four basic operations were strong. Since she knew how to read well by the time she was in grade 1, other subjects like English, Science, and Social Studies became easier.
As she enters high school next school year, she will continue to develop her Math skills by continuing her Kumon study in higher-level math. I believe Kumon will help her do well in College Entrance Exams or SATs in the future since she has already developed her comprehension and concentration skills. She can also work well under time pressure, which is one of the skills she developed from doing Kumon all these years.
I believe this is also why she can do well in several international competitions. Competitions are always timed, and you need a great amount of discipline, focus, and hard work before competing. She has been representing the Philippines in international competitions since she was in Grade 2, and this has also opened her eyes to the world.
Even though she is just a young student from a small city in the province, she has seen how she can also contribute globally. Interacting with her peers from other countries, even with the language barrier, has made her mind more open to different cultures and possibilities.