Articles for parents

Using lockdown to get to grips with the early foundations of maths

Jul 2020

At Kumon, we’ve continued to connect with new families during a time when meeting face-to-face hasn’t been possible. We’ve been chatting with Mark, a father to six-year-old daughter, Sophia, to find out why he chose to enrol her with Instructor Sharon Carlin of the Kumon Urmston Study Centre, and to hear about their experience so far.

Hi Mark!
What initially prompted your interest in Kumon?

"Sophia has been doing really well in Year 1 at school, but we noticed that her English and phonics were at a more advanced stage than her maths. I think we found it easier to support with her phonics rather than maths, due to some of the tools they use for maths in school. Because of the virus lockdown and lack of school routine, we were concerned that Sophia had less enthusiasm for her maths schoolwork, and that our own teaching methods might not have the right impact for her.

We were actually looking at Kumon anyway. A Year 1 teacher at Sophia’s school, had already mentioned Kumon, so we knew it was something the school were endorsing. I did a bit of research on it and I was impressed with the style of the learning and how it worked." 

What happened when you got in touch with Sharon?
"We had an initial chat with Sharon, and she talked us through what would happen at the initial assessment on Zoom. We knew the assessment would ascertain Sophia’s current ability; that was good for us because we wanted to understand where her baseline was. Sharon also explained how Sophia would initially begin and how she would progress on the programme. She also explained that Sophia would start at a comfortable, easy level to ensure she could get used to the study and becoming more confident, before moving to more difficult work and we felt that was perfect for her."

How did Sophia’s initial assessment go?
"I don’t think there were any surprises. It confirmed what we believed - that some of her work at school was a bit too advanced for her, and that she needed to spend more time on the fundamentals of number bonds. Sometimes she was getting the answer correct but she needed some support with her presentation of the work, as she was reading back-to-front numbers."

How did Sophia manage in terms of using Zoom for her initial assessment and Kumon classes?
"She’s been doing gymnastics and drama sessions on Zoom for a few weeks, so we knew this format worked for her. I’m happy with the Kumon Zoom sessions and I knew Sophia would like them. Sharon is approachable and friendly and has good interpersonal skills. When Sophia is in that online classroom setting with Sharon, she focuses on it as a class rather than working at home with mummy and daddy."

How are Sophia’s Kumon studies going, and what are your plans going forward?
"We can already see the confidence she’s gained. We’ve been doing it for about six weeks so she’s only had about a dozen sessions so far. She's doing really well and we’re very happy.

What we’ve noticed is that things are becoming more intuitive to her. Previously, if you said “Write the number 62” she’d have to really think what those digits were, and take a look at the number chart on our fridge. Now I can pretty much say any number from 1-100 and she can write it down instantaneously, which is a massive improvement in just six weeks.

Kumon isn't just a lockdown decision either - we're not going to stop it when Sophia goes back to school. We're looking at the long-term to get her to a place where she can be the best she can be, with no pressure from us. Kumon is definitely a study system that’s achieving that."