“Edward started the Kumon programmes in September 2010. When Edward started he was seven-years-old and now he is nine. Edward’s initial level in English was the very first one – level 7a. This means he embarked on learning by exploring different sounds – by repeating words and sentences. At seven-years-old, Edward had to begin from the very basics because of his learning difficulties – Edward has a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder and his language development has been delayed. In maths, Edward’s starting level was 6a – counting dots. At seven-years-old, Edward could only count to ten.
“Edward enjoyed Kumon straightaway – despite his learning difficulties. He was eager to learn and was happy with the structured and consistent approach which the Kumon Method offers.
“As he continued with the programme, there were many ups and downs. Ups – when Edward successfully completed each level, and downs when he didn’t feel confident enough with a new level’s more difficult work. But as soon as he mastered the difficult work and gained new skills and confidence – the downs became the ups.
“In less than two years Edward moved up seven levels in English and six levels in maths. His current level is B – both in English and maths. I think this is impressive considering where Edward started and the difficulties he had.
“Apart from the obvious benefit of the Kumon Method, which is acquiring essential skills in maths and English, I observed several other important benefits:
1. Growing confidence – by following the Kumon Method, the child feels it is absolutely possible to overcome difficulties and get through each new level’s tasks even though they may seem to be too hard at first.
2. Self-discipline – the child develops this vital skill by getting used to sitting down every day and doing the work. For example, Edward learned that putting his work aside and not doing it every day creates a backlog – which is not a very nice thing.
3. Reading for pleasure – two years ago Edward did not know how to read simple words (such as “log” or “dog”) and now he reads fluently and enjoys it. His favourites are Dr Who comics; however, he likes many other books too.
4. Child and parent time together – by doing Kumon, I have got used to sitting down with Edward every day and using this time not only for what Kumon requires (marking and corrections) but also for talking about what he just read, discussing any difficulties and answering his questions. This encouraged Edward to start writing his own little stories – my favourite is his “Sweetie couch” story.
“Working full time, I have to admit that it is not always easy for me to find time every day to make sure Edward does not fall behind with his Kumon. It is also sometimes hard to encourage him to do the work when he does not feel like it. Different things work with different children. With Edward, we use a points system – for each day’s work he gets two points – one for maths, one for English. I also give him points for some other activities, for example – reading a book which was given at school for weekend reading or doing his Russian lessons. We write his points every day in a special “points book” and, when he gets 100 points, he receives a reward.
“So to conclude, Kumon has made a real difference to Edward, my child. From a shy diffident little boy with little educational success, he has grown in confidence with each obstacle overcome, each little success. Yes, Kumon does cost, but the result is priceless!”