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Why are Kumon students encouraged to do calculations without writing carries and borrows?

Feb 2024
Doing calculations without writing carries and borrows
By working in this way, a child expands their mental capacity and develops greater mental agility.

Schools will often teach children how to calculate column addition or subtraction by using carries or borrows, however, Kumon students are taught a different method to solve these sums. Kumon Instructors will ask students to do these calculations without the carries or borrows to help them develop their abilities as they progress through the Kumon Maths Programme.

Being able to do calculations without carries and borrows is a valuable mathematical skill and, by working in this way, a child expands their mental capacity and develops greater mental agility compared to the child who needs to write down carries and borrows. As a child progresses through the Kumon Maths Programme, the calculations and topics become more complex and a child dependent on coping strategies for calculations would find the Kumon journey quite challenging. They are instead freed up to focus their energies on self-learning new and more complex topics, not hindered by running through more basic calculations which they know they can already do.

While writing carries and borrows is a perfectly acceptable way to do calculations, the Kumon Method seeks to maximise each child's ability so we encourage students to use their mental calculation skills. Kumon study works to maximise students' abilities and drive for self-learning - we aim to help students develop into strong individuals who can tackle challenges independently.

At Kumon, we encourage students to answer questions in the quickest or most efficient method. In this case, calculating without carries is the most effective method as it enables students to develop the number sense and calculation skills that they will need later in the programme and their maths education, for example, when answering questions on the four operations and factorisation. The fostering of independent learning and mathematical ability through Kumon study helps students gain valuable skills which will greatly benefit them in their secondary education and beyond.