kitchen table math, the sequel: All Children Are Capable of Greatness

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All Children Are Capable of Greatness

From the Kumon website:

At the heart of the Kumon Method is the belief that all children are capable of greatness. With the help of their parents, family and friends, children can develop in ways that will humble and amaze you.

Kumon’s founder, Toru Kumon, believed every child has the potential to learn far beyond his or her parents’ expectation. “It’s our job as educators,” Kumon said, “Not to stuff knowledge into children as if they were merely empty boxes, but to encourage each child to want to learn, to enjoy learning and be capable of studying whatever he or she may need to or wish to in the future.” Children who learn through the Kumon Method not only acquire more knowledge, but also the ability to learn on their own.

Last week Catherine and I visited the Kumon headquarters.

I bring back some Kumon lore:

  • Kumon started in 1954, when 2nd grader Takeshi Kumon came home from school with a crumpled up math test stuffed in his backpack. I find it hilarious, by the way, that the "crumpled math test" is this universal experience that transcends continents and generations.
  • Today, there are 4.2 million children studying Kumon in 46 countries.

Turns out, there's also an adult Kumon workbook, Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain, and it has sold millions of copies. From the introduction:

Through my research, I found that simple calculations could activate the brain more effectively than any other activity. I also discovered that the best way to activate the largest regions of the brain was to solve these calculations quickly.

Cross-posted on Perfect Score Project


Crimson Wife said...

I think Kumon is fine for elementary-school aged kids, but I am very disturbed by the popularity in my social circle of enrolling kids in Jr. Kumon before they are even out of Pull-Ups. I'm not against the early introduction of academics, but it needs to be done in a developmentally appropriate "hands-on" manner (think Montessori).

Catherine Johnson said...

I think the people giving us the tour said 4 is about the earliest a child should be enrolled. (Debbie - if you're around - she said 4, right?)

They'll take kids younger, but 4 seems to be the earliest age you would start.

Catherine Johnson said...

Having taken the tour, I am **very** sorry I didn't stick with Kumon.

Now that I understand what they're doing, that is my major regret where C's math education (& my own) are concerned.

fyi: we didn't drop out "on purpose" -- I no longer remember why we stopped going. I'm sure I just got too distracted and overrun by all the "teaching to crammery" I was doing trying to get C. through his classes & Kumon fell by the wayside. said...

Good sharing, Kumon’s learning method takes students through a structured programme involving specially developed worksheets. Kumon constantly evaluates and revises the worksheets of all its programmes to ensure there is nothing hindering smooth progress, read more at: