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Is Kumon Math right for your child? Kumon Math Explained!

What is Kumon Math teaching method? Is it effective? Is Kumon Math right for your child? What do the studies of Kumon Math show? Did Kumon Math begin in Japan? How to find Kumon Math in Ireland!



Child learning Kumon Math. Is Kumon Math right for your child?

The Kumon Math program has generated a lot of hype since beginning in Japan and expanding worldwide. With the amount of children enrolled, and the reach of the franchise, it would seem safe to assume that it must be effective.


As a teacher, I have seen children who attend Kumon Math excel at math in school. However, parents often leave conflicting reviews, some feel that it caused their children stress and that it's repetitive nature was unhelpful and boring. Others have claimed endless benefits for their children and argue that to ensure a solid foundation in a subject as complex as math, practice and repetition is necessary.


A solid foundation in mathematics is crucial for later learning and Kumon Math's rigorous approach claims to be able to fill the gaps in learning that many children struggle with and provide them with an essential foundation in mathematics. However, as with all teaching methods, many factors influence its effectiveness.


Here, we will delve into what Kumon Math is, the methodology behind it, the teaching methods employed, what children need to do to excel, research into its effectiveness and if it is the right fit for your child. Plus, we'll guide you on how to find Kumon Math for children in Ireland!

What is the Kumon method of math?

Kumon Math is a structured and comprehensive math enrichment program designed to help students develop strong mathematical skills and excel in their schoolwork. It was created by Toru Kumon in Japan in the 1950s and has since expanded globally. The program is based on the idea that with consistent practice and a structured approach, every child can reach their full potential in math.

Methodology and Teaching Methods

The methodology behind Kumon Math is rooted in the following principles:


1. Self-Learning: Kumon encourages students to become independent learners. The program provides carefully structured materials that allow students to progress at their own pace.

2. Small, Incremental Steps: Kumon breaks down mathematical concepts into small, manageable steps, ensuring that students build a strong foundation before moving on to more complex topics.

3. Daily Practice: Consistency is key in the Kumon program. Students are encouraged to practice math problems daily, which reinforces their understanding and retention of mathematical concepts.

4. Mastery Learning: Kumon follows a mastery-based approach. Students must demonstrate proficiency in one concept before advancing to the next, ensuring that they grasp each topic fully.

5. Individualized Learning Plans: Each child's progress is assessed individually, and their learning plan is tailored to their specific needs, ensuring they receive the right level of challenge.


The teaching methods used in Kumon Math include:


· Worksheets: Students receive worksheets that cover various mathematical topics. They begin with straightforward problems and gradually move to more complex ones.

· Guided Practice: Parents or Kumon instructors guide students through the worksheets, providing assistance as needed.

· Graded Material: The program uses a graded system, with students progressing from level to level as they master each concept.

· Daily Practice: Kumon emphasizes the importance of daily practice. Students complete a set number of worksheets each day.


What Children Need to Do and How Often to Practice


Child learning Kumon Math. Is Kumon Math right for your child?

For students to succeed in Kumon Math, they must:


1. Complete Daily Assignments: Students are expected to complete a set number of worksheets each day. The number of worksheets varies depending on their level and progress.

2. Achieve Mastery: Mastery is a fundamental principle of Kumon. Students must achieve a high level of proficiency in one concept before moving on to the next.

3. Attend Regularly: Regular attendance is crucial for success. Consistent practice is key to mastering math skills. As for how often students need to practice, Kumon recommends daily practice, even during school holidays. The daily practice builds consistency and reinforces learning.

Is Kumon effective? What do the studies say?


Learning Kumon Math. Is Kumon Math right for your child?

With so many different reviews and opinions, it can be difficult to judge Kumon Math's effectiveness. Luckily, studies on Kumon math can provide some insights:


"In 2020, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) - an impartial and evidence-based research institute - carried out independent research aiming to investigate the link between studying the Kumon Maths Programme and children’s school performance. The research found that: Kumon students are over a year ahead of the national average, and over six months ahead of their peers in their maths learning at the end of primary school" (Kumon.co.uk) See website for further details.


A study by McKenna, M. A., Hollingsworth, P. L., & Barnes, L. L. B. (2005). which "sought to develop latent abilities in economically disadvantaged students by providing opportunities for mathematics development and acceleration" investigated the effectiveness of Kumon Math. The results suggested that Kumon group students improved their mathematics skill levels more than non‐Kumon group students, and they scored significantly higher than non‐Kumon group students two years after their Kumon instruction ended. However, it must be taken into account that WWC Intervention Report felt that could not include the results as "the study does not meet WWC evidence standards because the measures of effect cannot be attributed solely to the intervention—there was only one unit of analysis in one or both conditions."



The results of another study: The Effect of Application Kumon Learning Method in Learning Mathematics of Ability Troubleshooting Mathematics of Students, which aimed to discover student's problem solving abilities and investigate Kumon's effect on these abilities suggested that "the ability to identify problems, the ability to plan problem solving, the ability to solve problems and the ability to interpret solutions by applying the Kumon learning method has significantly improved."



While some studies suggest that Kumon Math can have a positive impact on students' math skills, it's important to consider your child's individual learning style and preferences. Like any educational program, Kumon may not be suitable for every child. Some students may thrive with the structured approach, while others might find it too rigorous and they may develop a negative opinion of the subject. It's important to consider your child's learning style and preferences when choosing a math program. It is also important to consider your weekly schedule and whether or not it will be possible for your child to dedicate the time needed to make Kumon Math effective.

Finding Kumon Math for Children in Ireland

If you're interested in enrolling your child in Kumon Math in Ireland, here's how you can get started:


1. Visit the Official Website: The official Kumon website provides information on centers in Ireland. You can use their center locator to find the nearest Kumon center to your location.

2. Contact Local Centers: Reach out to the nearest Kumon center to inquire about their programs, schedules, and availability. They can provide you with details specific to your region.

3. Attend an Orientation: Many Kumon centers offer orientation sessions where you can learn more about the program and its approach. This can help you decide if Kumon is the right fit for your child.

4. Assessment: Kumon centers often conduct assessments to determine your child's current math proficiency. This helps them design an appropriate learning plan.

5. Enroll: If you decide to proceed, you can enroll your child in the Kumon program, and they can begin their journey toward math excellence.

Kumon Math is a well-established program that aims to help children develop strong mathematical skills and excel academically. Its methodology focuses on self-learning, small incremental steps, daily practice, and individualized learning plans. While Kumon Math has shown positive outcomes in many studies, it's essential to make an informed decision by assessing your child's unique needs, preferences, and learning style. If the teaching methods of Kumon Math suit your child's learning style, Kumon Math can be a powerful tool for unlocking your child's mathematical potential and boosting their confidence in math. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any educational program depends on the alignment of the program with the individual student's goals and needs.




References and further reading:


Kumon Official Website https://www.edweek.org/education/opinion-a-reformers-retrogression-speaking-out-for-kumon-mathematics/1991/11

McKenna, M. A., Hollingsworth, P. L., & Barnes, L. L. B. (2005). Developing latent mathematics abilities in economically disadvantaged students. Roeper Review, 27(4), 222–227.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1429/1/012005/pdf


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