Through dedicated study of the Kumon Mathematics and English programmes, sisters 16-year-old Jasmine and 14-year-old Orchid are strong self-learners who have developed confidence, a daily study habit, and a high level of mathematics and reading ability.
Jasmine, a Kumon Mathematics and English programme completer, attributes her love of reading to her study of Kumon English. Jasmine was enrolled in Kumon English in kindergarten and completed the programme by the end of primary school.
“Kumon English exposed me to such a wide range of literature, because you analyse so many types of literature from different time periods”, Jasmine says. “It fostered my love for reading and I’ve been much more confident in tackling more advanced literature.”
Kumon English builds a high level of reading comprehension ability. To inspire students to read widely, the worksheets contain more extracts from published texts than any other reading programme in the world. Jasmine’s favourite passages in Kumon English include excerpts from Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and the poetry extracts contained throughout the worksheets.
Jasmine, who will enter Year 12 next year, also says that completing Kumon English in primary school had a direct and positive impact on her high schooling.
“I take many humanities subjects in school, which are content-heavy”, she says. “The comprehension and summarisation skills I learnt in Kumon English have helped to synthesise information a lot quicker and learn better in the classroom.”
Jasmine has a deep interest in politics and advocacy, and is aiming to pursue a career in this area once she graduates high school. She’s already started by being a member of her local council’s youth committee, amongst other organisations. Jasmine says her exposure to books and reading at young fuelled her passion for politics.
“It made me much more goal-oriented and driven, because I was looking at all these figures in history, and I was like, ‘Wow, those are really cool people.’ I want to be those people one day”, she says.
While Jasmine mostly enjoyed her study of Kumon English, she had to persevere to complete Kumon Mathematics. However, she does not regret sticking it out.
“Maths was never really my strong suit and I often didn’t pass the tests on the first try”, Jasmine says. “While it was something I struggled with, the good thing about that is it taught me perseverance, grit and patience. It taught me the idea that what matters most is to put in your best effort. This helped me to make a habit of learning from my mistakes, and producing high quality work.”
Orchid, in Year 9, is also an English programme completer, and is studying advanced differentiation and differential equations in the final level of Kumon Mathematics. These are concepts usually not encountered until university.
Orchid aims to hopes to pursue a career in biochemistry, and believes the strong maths skills and independence that she developed in Kumon will help her in later life.
“Kumon really teaches you to be independent and be able to learn by yourself, because it isn’t the stereotypical tutoring centre where you sit in a classroom and are taught by the teacher,” Orchid says. “You have to use the examples in the worksheet to find the answers.”
“I feel like in biochemistry there’s a lot of new things that can be discovered. This is definitely something that draws me to the subject. To make these discoveries, I’ll have to be able to learn independently.”
The Kumon Mathematics and English programmes develop the skill of self-learning in students. When Kumon students advance ahead of school grade level in the worksheets, they learn for themselves what they are yet to be taught at school. When they encounter something new, they study the example, draw on previous learning and give it a try. They try, and try again, until they finally get it, sometimes with a hint from the Instructor.
This is how Kumon develops self-learning. Kumon students come to expect the challenge of something new, and gain satisfaction in working it out for themselves. They develop a mindset that no problem is too difficult to attempt.
Jesse, Orchid and Jasmine’s father, says the development of self-learning is this most significant advantage of the Kumon programmes.
“Self-learning is a very special, unique advantage of Kumon”, Jesse explains. “Basically, the Kumon programmes help them build the confidence and habits for self-learning. It gives them the way of how to learn something new by their own efforts.”
“Jasmine and Orchid, they both have a lot of interests outside of class and school, and they apply these skills of self-learning towards these areas. And I think they now have more freedom in learning anything that they are interested in.”
“That will be the greatest gift that Kumon has given for their later life.”