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.
- Mrs. Kumon told her husband Toru, a high school math teacher, that he needed to help their son with math, and voilá, the Kumon worksheet was born.
- 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