The prodding of their children to be enrolled was the main reason that Engr. Manolito and Mrs. Jeaneth Ambowang became familiar with the Kumon Method. Their eldest child, Cara, wanted to enroll way back when she was in grade three. But they experienced the method firsthand when their third child, Prince, requested to be enrolled since he was having difficulty in Math. Along with their youngest child, Basil, Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang enrolled three of their children in Kumon. Their second child, Fel, only decided to enroll when he saw the aptitude test results of his two siblings and how this could help him in his studies at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
A reason to start
Both Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang acknowledge that acquiring knowledge and improving academic ability in Math is the first reason why they decided to enroll all their children in Kumon. But the most important reason would be character development.
As parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang wanted their children to learn to manage their time because they both noticed that their children sometimes get stressed with what they have to do, or they just have nothing to do. Since Kumon is done every day – no holidays or weekends, making time to do it helps their children realize that they can do everything they need to do even if it seems like they have no time for it anymore.
“For example, Fel had a very hectic schedule and he always said that he didn’t have enough time to do everything. But when he was in Kumon, he realized the importance of time management and he was even able to finish the program in one year. That is what we want to instill in them – the importance of time management and the reinforcement of values like patience and perseverance,” says Mr. Ambowang.
Realizing the Benefits
One of the most evident benefits that Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang have noticed in their children is their ease in answering math problems. In fact, Cara was recruited to join the Math Olympiad in her college, while Prince has a relaxed approach to math even when in class. Also, it is Fel who always tells them that they should not let Prince quit because he was able to use what he learned in Kumon in the Philippine Military Academy. They also credit to Kumon the success that their children have gained in passing the college entrance tests like UP and DLSU. They did not have a hard time with the tests, especially in the math portion.
In terms of benefits in their daily family life, the Ambowangs can say that Kumon has become a regular thing in the family.
“There is someone doing Kumon worksheets every day. Kumon has become a staple in the whole family’s daily life.”
In fact, Kumon study is considered in planning for the daily activities and for vacation trips. “Every time we go out we consider Kumon – someone has to go to Kumon or the time to pick up the worksheets before leaving, etc,” adds Mr. Ambowang.
Constant and daily reminders are the most basic and effective support that Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang give to their children.
“We remind them every day and we keep on motivating them that this is for their future. We also remind them of what they gain like time management, patience, perseverance and all other positive values.”
So when it comes to following up of doing Kumon worksheets, Mrs. Ambowang gives the credit to Mr. Ambowang because he does it even if he is abroad. “He follows up on me and then I follow up on the children, or he follows up directly on the children. He does follow up through Skype and he calls them and asks them one by one. It is part of his checklist or to do list to remind the kids to do their Kumon,” she shared. Mr. Ambowang, an engineer stationed in West Africa, adds that there is an eight-hour difference. So he communicates with them twice day and he reminds his children to do Kumon before they go to bed and before they go to school.
The Ambowang children attest to their parents’ very supportive nature especially when one of them completes the program. Cara shared how completion becomes a family affair with everyone going to the venue together, especially when she took the test in CDO and when Fel took the test in Makati. For Prince, he appreciates how his parents push and motivate him.
“In February 2016, I was given the chance to choose if I would like to complete in March or April. I chose to complete in April since completing in March meant that I only had one week to review before the completion test. But my dad pushed me to complete it in March and I was able to do it,” he shared.
Mr. Ambowang even added that, “when I sense that any of my children are about to give up, I tell them that they can do it. I also challenge them since I know that they can do it.”
With three children as Math Completers and their youngest as a multi-subject enrollee, what advice can Mr. and Mrs. Ambowang share with other Kumon parents?
“They have to encourage and motivate their child to continue and complete Kumon because it is not only the academic skills that they get. But they will also form habits that will help them in the present and future. They will learn a lot and get values that they can use for life. Most importantly, they get to appreciate the importance of finishing whatever it is that they have started.”