“Slow and steady wins the race.” As a parent, we’re sure you’re familiar with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. You may have even read the story about the slow-yet-determined tortoise beating the speedy-but-overconfident hare to your children at bedtime. But did you know that the message of this timeless fable also applies to learning?
Too Much of a Good Thing
Have you ever gotten really excited about learning something new? Maybe you wanted to learn how to play the guitar or study another language. How did it go? If you practiced chords all day in your excitement to become the next Jimi Hendrix, your hands may have gotten blistered and you couldn’t get past the pain the next day to practice again. Your dreams of musical stardom quickly become a thing of the past. Your attempt at learning Spanish may not have been as physically painful, but after an hour of conjugating verbs, you started to question whether language learning was really for you.
These are not uncommon stories. It’s easy to get burnt out when you try to do too much at once. When it comes to learning, studies have confirmed that cramming the night before a test does not lead to long term retention. Instead, students learn more effectively and remember material much longer when they study smaller amounts consistently and see the same material multiple times. This process, called spaced repetition or distributed practice, is a big part of the Kumon Method. Instead of cramming a lot of material at once, Kumon Students study a little bit every day. Repetition of concepts is built into the worksheets, and Instructors can add additional repetition based on each individual student’s needs.
A Little Every Day
Consistent study isn’t just important for improving memory, it’s the key to building habits. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to develop a habit. Doing just a little bit every day can lead to long-term success. Soon, it becomes second nature, and a habit is formed.
This is true of learning a new language, playing an instrument, or doing Kumon. Top musicians practice a little bit every day. Language learners are more successful when they study consistently. Kumon Students see the most progress when they do a little bit every day without taking breaks. Once a habit is developed, completing worksheets is no longer a struggle. And when learning becomes a habit, a student’s potential is unlimited!
So, when it comes to learning, be a tortoise — not a hare.