Confidence, mastery of the basics and a strong study habit are foundations for advanced study. These foundations are what Kumon aims to develop by the end of a student’s first year.
What can you and your child expect to see and experience during your first year of Kumon?
Easy Starting Point
As a Kumon student, your child will begin with worksheets that are very easy for them. So easy, your child will complete many worksheets, with a near perfect score, in a short amount of time.
As your child completes more and more worksheets, their concentration expands, confidence grows and a daily study habit forms.
This process is known as the easy starting point. It takes up the first few months of a student’s Kumon programme. Toru Kumon, the late founder of the Kumon Method, designed the easy-starting point to be a motivational tool.
“Most children have no interest in their studies if [it] is too difficult”, Toru Kumon wrote.
“Therefore, by having students begin at a level that is below their academic ability when starting Kumon, [they] achieve many perfect scores and increase their interest and motivation.”
Karna, a parent from Melbourne, says Kumon had this effect on his children.
“Kumon is helping my children to overcome those fears and feelings of, ‘I can’t do it’”, explains Karna.
“Now my kids, even if it’s difficult they will say, ‘I’ll give it a try’. That’s what they say. That’s what we want.”
Practice, challenges and a strong foundation
After the easy starting point, your child will encounter work that is more challenging.
When needed, they will practise worksheets, to decrease the number of errors, reduce a completion time, review an earlier topic or consolidate their knowledge of a new topic before they move on.
The right amount of practice, with a daily study habit, will lay the foundation for smooth progress.
“I think this builds children’s confidence and gives them a good foundation for higher levels [of learning]”, says Monica, a Kumon parent from Brisbane.
Toru Kumon explained that practice consolidates students’ knowledge and increases their confidence. This process leads to many small improvements, such as sitting still and concentrating on worksheets for longer periods of time; working quickly and constantly moving their pencil; not moving their eyes from the worksheet, neatly writing answers, and moving to the next worksheet page after completing their current one.
You may start to notice these changes in your own child.
Progress and motivation
As your child begins to encounter more difficult work, motivation levels may fluctuate.
Toru Kumon maintained it was essential that Kumon Instructors and parents keenly observe students’ progress, and praise the child for their effort.
“A long time ago, a student of mine received a score of zero on three consecutive tests”, Toru Kumon explained.
“You might think there is no way to praise a score of zero, but when I reread the answer sheets more closely, I found … what was written on each test was different. On the first test almost nothing was written, but on the second one, some things were written and some problems were attempted – definite signs of progress.”
“It is very important to have powers of observation to discover your child’s strong points. Watch for specific signs of progress and praise and encourage your children”, he concluded.
Self-learning and confidence
Your child will begin to take charge of their learning and become a self-learner. They will also reach Kumon International Standard, the benchmark for study just above school grade level.
Around this stage, it is likely your child will develop the confidence to know they can answer questions and solve problems if they try.
“Kumon has helped [my daughter] Tia to develop the habit of studying on a daily basis. She has become more confident”, says Abhinav, from Auckland and the father of an advanced student.
“Kumon helps kids with their learning. It helps in overall child development.”
Tia is seven years old, an aspiring doctor and advanced Kumon student. She says Kumon helped her greatly.
“I am more confident and am able to help other kids in my class with their learning”, Tia says. “I find it easy to do my work in school. I am able to learn things quickly.”
Toru Kumon always argued that advanced students are confident in their abilities and have the skills to learn new concepts independently.
We encourage you to discuss your child’s progress with your Instructor should you have any questions regarding your child’s first year at Kumon.