This story is one of several featuring the successes of our Kumon students. After enjoying this one, be sure to check out a few more of our Kumon Success Stories!
Early learning is becoming a hot topic as parents try to give their children an edge in an ever-more competitive world.
Kumon is a big believer in Early Childhood Education. Rather than get into the nitty gritty of the statistical benefits of early learning, we thought we’d share one of our success stories! Oliver started our program when he was 5 and by the age of 9 he completed the reading program. Not too shabby considering he’s also bilingual.
Oliver: My dad had a fish tank and it was pretty dirty, so I grabbed the bottle of soap and dumped it in there! I even threw in a package of napkins… And that went very well. The fish died but, a few years later my dad was having less and less time to take care of the fish, so he gave them to me. I wanted to become a marine biologist, so it's an enjoyment and it also teaches you responsibility.
My name is Oliver and I'm 12 years old and I am from Columbia, Maryland. I started Kumon at five, and now I’m six, and this was my first trophy. My mom wanted me to go because she thought it would be good in my life. It's like planting a seed - so that when the child is older the tree is already planted and you just have to worry about watering it and keeping it fresh.
Instructor Susan: When he started he was not that confident. They spoke a second language at home, so his parents were really interested in having Oliver learn the reading program.
Oliver: I initially started with both the math and reading program but I stopped the math because I didn't really know how to do it. It was a bit too hard.
Instructor Susan: As an instructor I want to make sure that I find out whether the work was too difficult or there's something else going on. Once he started to master the reading skills, he picked up the math and was able to do it pretty well and pretty regularly.
Oliver is the thinking face of Kumon.
If I ask “how are you doing?”, it breaks his concentration, so I tend to let him sit and work independently.
Oliver: I finished the Kumon reading program at [age] nine and I started the math again also at the age of nine and I'm almost finishing level M*.
Instructor Susan: Oliver is the thinking face of Kumon. If I ask “how are you doing?”, it breaks his concentration, so I tend to let him sit and work independently.
Oliver: If I had a question she would work it out with me she would not tell me the answer, but how to solve it and how it's connected to previous problems or previous examples.
Instructor Susan: What I notice about Oliver is that he's quite a perfectionist. He would make a number and then erase it and do it again so I asked my assistants not to correct him too quickly and that’s a skill I think has stayed with him.
If you're climbing a mountain, it's not only about reaching the top, it's about what you experience along the way.
Oliver: The thing I struggled with the most was probably repetition. I used to not like repetition I thought it was boring it used to be that my mom was dragging me to do my Kumon, but now I do it and I think that it just teaches you values like responsibility and determination. We can use those traits in other things.
Instructor Susan: Oliver was reaching some of the target goals in Kumon as he went along. Showing him the “J by 6”* path on a chart… I think is very motivating for a child who is competitive, the way he is. He competes with himself and he really wants to strive for something higher.
Oliver: When I was little I was motivated by the stickers, by the awards, and that kind of stuff, but as I grew up I think it's more rewarding to learn more things mentally then get something physically. I personally think about learning as a mountain; if you're climbing a mountain, it's not only about reaching the top, it's about what you experience along the way.
Keep climbing that mountain Oliver!
* The Kumon Math and Reading programs are divided into levels:
J by 6: “Level J” in math deals with advanced high-school level math, in particular algebra. If students can reach this level by grade 6, they will be well prepared for the challenges of high-school!
Level M: In level M students study trigonometric functions and analytic geometry.
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other success stories here. To find out more about the Kumon program and what it can do for your child, schedule a parent orientation at a centre near you!