Despite being only in Year 4 at school, nine-year-old Matthew has already covered university-level calculus in his Kumon Mathematics worksheets.
Matthew has recently completed Kumon Mathematics, with the programme’s final levels comprising the advanced mathematical concepts of differentiation, integration and differential equations. By covering all these concepts before he begins high school, Matthew is feeling confident in the classroom.
“When the teacher asks me how to do solve a maths problem, often other students won’t know. So, the teacher will ask me to help other students with their maths”, Matthew says.
When he grows up, Matthew wants to become an engineer and design a metro system.
“When I build a metro system, people will not have to drive and they can use public transport. Then there will be less pollution and there won’t be traffic jams”, he says.
In his spare time, Matthew often plays a train simulator game with his friends. He is also part of his school dance troupe and is due to perform later in the year.
Matthew’s father, Steven, says that in addition to developing highly advanced mathematical skills, the self-learning inherent in Kumon – where students learn from example in the worksheet and try until they find the correct answer – helped his son to grow into an independent learner.
“I think now he has more confidence in forming and explaining his opinions”, Steven says. “Sometimes when he does not agree with me, he will say, ‘Oh, I do not agree with you’. Then he will tell me the reasons why. He became a lot more confident and he has his own opinions now. Even though he’s in Year 4, sometimes when I am talking to him I feel like I’m talking to a teenager”.
Steven says that becoming an advanced student in Kumon heightened Matthew’s curiosity and love for learning. Matthew also has strong study stamina and is not afraid of making mistakes.
Kumon is a partnership between student, parent, and Kumon Instructor. Steven attributes his son’s achievement of programme completion to Matthew’s own self-discipline in completing his assigned worksheets each day, to Matthew’s Kumon centre for always ensuring that he studied at the ‘just-right level’, and to the efforts of Matthew’s mother for her praise and encouragement of Matthew and his younger brother Jonathan, who also studies Kumon.
“I must also say my wife actually put a lot of effort in. In the early stage, she would be always stay with them in the room and made sure that they followed the worksheets”, Steven says.
“In the later stages, it’s become a lot easier, as both boys have developed their study skills. I think if I’m going to thank anyone, I probably need to thank my wife the most because she put in quite a lot of effort”.
Jonathan, in Year 3 at school and Matthew’s younger brother, is also studying Kumon Mathematics more than five years ahead of his school grade and is on track to completing the programme. Matthew’s next goal is to complete the Kumon English programme.
*Matthew and Jonathon are children of a current Kumon staff member