Zhu, an outstanding Kumon student, has shared that his perception and mastery of numbers and arithmetic have improved greatly after learning Kumon Mathematics.
“My ability to do oral and mental arithmetic has improved, my accuracy and speed have increased, and I am finding mathematics interesting. My mental maths skills have improved, and I have become more open-minded. For example, when I am working on difficult problems, I will work backwards. Sometimes when I need to do division of fractions, to ensure my correctness, I will multiply them backwards in my head to see if they are correct. In this way, the correctness of the calculation is much higher.”
It can be said that Zhu’s “numerical sense” has been greatly enhanced after learning Kumon Maths. The term “numerical sense” in this context can be simply interpreted as the perception and mastery of numbers, number sequences, arithmetic and so on.
When it comes to “numerical sense”, there are many questions. It seems that numerical sense is innate and cannot be changed later in life, is this really the case? Is it possible for children with average or even poor numerical sense to gradually develop a good sense of numbers through training later in life?
Zhu’s example has given us the answer: “A sense of numbers” can be developed. Toru Kumon, the founder of the Kumon method, believed that “even children with a poor sense of numbers can become outstanding students”. There are many children like Zhu who have improved their numerical sense through learning Kumon Maths. What does Kumon Maths say about children’s “numerical sense”? How does Kumon Maths help children with a poor sense of numbers to make significant progress? Let’s find out more about it today!
A Variety of Ways to Develop a Sense of Number Sequences
Awareness of number sequences is the foundation of learning mathematics. For example, Kumon Maths uses “number sequences” to help children learn to add numbers, that is, when children know that the next number in the sequence of “56” is “57” and the following number in the sequence is “58”, they will be able to add “56+1” and “56+2” quickly. In the lower levels of Kumon Mathematics (e.g. addition), efforts are made to enhance children’s sense and awareness of number sequences in a variety of ways.
For example, questions to fill in missing digits are used; in the Education Centre, children are asked to read out loud the numbers by pointing at them with their fingers; and children are taught to play with Kumon magnetic number board in a fun and educational way to develop a good sense of number sequences. The instructor will also give advice to parents on how to work together at home, so that the efforts of the family and the centre can complement each other and get twice the result with half the effort.
All these methods build the foundation of your child’s mathematical ability and are effective in improving your child’s perception and mastery of number sequences, laying a solid foundation for learning more difficult mathematical knowledge in the future.
Recording Completion Times and Improving Homework Skills
In Kumon, children are required to keep track of when they start and finish worksheets. By keeping track of the time, children develop a sense of time and concentration and are able to concentrate on a certain amount of worksheet in one go, thus improving their “work skills” to complete exercises steadily and consistently and developing the habit and ability to tackle problems within a certain time frame.
Toru Kumon, the founder of the Kumon Method, was inspired by his observation and study of the learning status of a large number of outstanding students, and set a “standard completion time” for each level of the Kumon worksheets, which serves as a reference standard for the overall assessment of children’s homework skills and learning completion. The Kumon instructors will compare the child’s actual completion time with the “standard completion time” to determine the child’s completion status, so as to arrange the most suitable worksheets for the child, enabling the child to move forward smoothly and maintain motivation at the same time.
Through the Kumon instructor’s grasp of the child’s “completion time” and “work skills”, and by setting the right pace for worksheets, the child can complete the worksheets with a high degree of concentration within a certain period of time, and gradually increase the speed and correctness of the calculation, which can effectively improve the child’s “sense” for number sequencing and calculation. In simple terms, this means that through continuous, highly concentrated learning, children develop an extremely fast response time to mathematical problems, which in turn improves their numerical sense.
Cultivate Interest to Sustain Progress
Interest is the best teacher. For example, it is only when are interested in a language, you can develop a sense of it by learning it spontaneously and over time. If you can cultivate an interest in learning mathematics and make it a part of your child’s daily life, you will develop an excellent sense of numbers through continuous exposure and learning.
Kumon Method allows children to start with simple content at the beginning of their studies, so that they can easily achieve 100 marks at first stage, build up their self-confidence in mathematics and gradually develop an interest in learning mathematics. The well-organised Kumon Maths worksheets uses “examples” and “small steps” to allow children to work out answers by themselves and build up a sense of success that “I can do it myself”. Over time, children’s interest in learning mathematics will be significantly enhanced. As Chu says, “I was slowly discovering that maths is fun”.
It is a pity that children who are not considered to have a good sense of mathematics are not able to develop it in the right way or move forward at their own pace to improve it. If the right approach is adopted, the development of a sense of numbers will no longer be difficult and will grow in the child’s head.