Reaching Kumon Japanese 6a! You can see the image of the material and what we paid attention to in working on it.


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I was a student at Kumon. I attended Kumon from the fifth grade of elementary school until the middle of junior high school and left Kumon in the middle of J (junior high school) in Japanese and math and in the middle of G (junior high school) in English.

While Japanese language and math became a great asset for my university entrance exams and for the rest of my life, in English I was completely unmotivated and didn't feel it had any effect on my life. I also feel that if I could have made more progress in Japanese and Maths it would have had a big effect.

When we talked about our child attending Kumon, we wondered if it would be possible to have a greater effect on him. My child will be three soon. I thought that he might have different issues than me, who started in fifth grade. And in fact, there seemed to be obstacles to continuing at Kumon even before I started.

This time, based on my own experience with Kumon, I came up with a strategy to help my child continue with Kumon.

The Kumon system

The main subjects that Kumon deals with are Japanese language, math, and English. In early childhood, the handwriting material "Jun Jun" is added, and there are also some classes that offer French and German as well.

By junior high, the school year is usually structured in the way that "one letter of the alphabet advances one grade." When I was in elementary school, one of the rationales was that if by sixth grade you got through the I material, which equaled the third year of junior high, you were registered as a member of the "I-league." Now it seems that if you get through the J material, you can register in something called "J Friends".

And if you pass the Q material in math and the O material in English and Japanese, you will have "completed the last material". Then there's a university course of study in liberal arts, but the final material can be seen as a guide.

Each alphabet contains 200 (some 400) printouts. When the class teacher feels that the students have mastered the content of each printout, they can move on to the next material.

Features of Kumon

There are some characteristics of Kumon learning, and the following four should be understood.

Kumon's learning materials are designed to allow students to learn in advance, starting with "easy areas" and then with "repetitive exercises" [math and arithmetic] Figures and sentences are not addressed in Kumon [Japanese and English] The focus is on reading comprehension, with little emphasis on kanji, English vocabulary, and English grammar.

1. materials are practiced through repetition, starting with the easy parts.

In Kumon the basics are covered in depth. Whether it is simple addition or factoring, the same round of problems is repeated thoroughly until you can solve them easily and without errors. Usually, if you make one or two mistakes or take a long time, you are considered to have done it. The goal is not "to be able to solve it," but "to solve it with ease," so from a parent's point of view, it looks like they are repeating easier parts of the work than expected.

(2) Know how to study in advance

Kumon doesn't look at the current school year, but rather how much ability the child has acquired. Therefore, if a child is progressing well, he or she may be learning material that is far ahead of grade level. Therefore, depending on the enthusiasm of the child, he may be able to develop skills beyond imagination, while many parents compare their children to those who can be called geniuses, and feel impatience and envy.

3.[Arithmetic/math] Figures and sentences are not considered in Kumon

Figures and sentences are not considered in Kumon. For this reason, some of the subjects taught in elementary and junior high school are not covered in Kumon. On the other hand, areas studied in high school are covered.

4 [Japanese/English] The focus is on reading comprehension and not so much on kanji, English vocabulary and English grammar.

Kumon's English and Japanese courses focus on reading comprehension and not so much on kanji, English vocabulary and English grammar. The ultimate goal of Kumon's English and Japanese courses is probably to provide students with the opportunity to become familiar with reading comprehension of long texts and with famous books. For this reason, it is easy to acquire the ability to read long passages at the end of the test, while it is difficult to acquire the ability to solve kanji and grammar problems at the beginning.

Three points at which students tend to give up Kumon.

In this area, the expenditure in a broad sense is more or less made if you give lessons to your child. And there are few processes where you "can never pay" those costs, and most of the time they will be the kind you can pay if you work hard.

So when you lose the reason to work hard, that will be the time to give up tutoring. There are three times when you are likely to lose your desire to work hard at Kumon

Early childhood - can't you do so many things at home? Fourth year in elementary school - Kumon can't handle the high school entrance exam After entering high school - I can't afford to do Kumon.

1. early childhood - Can't handle this at home?

This is a question that arises from Kumon's characterization, "Kumon materials are used for repetitive exercises, starting with the easiest parts."

In Kumon, learning starts from the place where you feel you "can still do it". This is because the level of "I can do it" in Kumon is significantly higher than standard. So not only is the starting point easy, but even after six months or a year the child is still endlessly engaged with material that feels easy from the parent's perspective.

Besides, getting the child to do the printouts is quite a challenge. If the child is young, the parent is instructed to do the material with the child, and there is daily homework in Kumon. As you go through the hard work, you start to wonder if it makes sense to go through all that trouble to get them to do such simple things.

For example, in Japanese you can read together with your child the names of the animals and vehicles written on the printouts. In math, try counting the animals and vehicles together. If it's early childhood, there are materials for handwriting, so draw a line from top to bottom. Even if the child isn't doing anything strange for his age, it's understandable that a parent might feel tired and wonder why he's doing this.

As a result, they give up on Kumon. This is a relatively common pattern.

2. fourth grade - Kumon cannot pass the junior high entrance exam

This is a problem that stems from Kumon's characteristics, such as "Kumon does not deal with figures and sentences" and "Kumon focuses on reading comprehension and does not pay much attention to kanji, English vocabulary, and English grammar."

Overall, Kumon seems to have been designed with university entrance exams or post-university study in mind. In mathematics and arithmetic, some of the lessons in elementary and junior high school are omitted, but the entire high school course is covered, and in Japanese and English what is ultimately required is the ability to read documents. So although they can give you the basic skills required at university, they won't be able to cope with the high school entrance exams.

Therefore, in order to sit for the high school entrance exams, you need to attend a separate school for the high school entrance exams, separate from Kumon. However, the amount of self-study and Kumon progress are directly related, and the amount of homework in high school entrance exam prep school will probably not be enough for even one hand to keep up with. As a result, they give up on Kumon and concentrate on the high school entrance exam. I think this is one of the patterns.

In addition, families who understand this trend from the beginning also complete "F Materials (grade 6 equivalent) by grade 3" and move on to high school entrance exam prep schools by grade 4. Preventive learning is another feature of Kumon, and it is an advantage to have high basic numeracy and reading comprehension skills by the time you enter a high school entrance exam preparation group. This is a smart way of thinking.

3. after entering high school - no room for Kumon

Then there is after entering high school. I'm busy with high school activities and can't afford to do Kumon. This is the reason why I gave up Kumon.

In junior high, club activities start in earnest. Tests are also called "regular tests" and "finals" and many people prepare for them more thoroughly than in elementary school. Relationships also become more complicated, and it's hard to imagine that high school would have been easier if you hadn't taken the high school entrance exam.

They are not old enough to listen to their parents, and become more emotionally unstable. In this case, it would require a lot of motivation from the student to continue with Kumon.

However, the volume area of Kumon students is elementary schools. This may depend on the classroom, but there are few opportunities to see students from junior high age and up. Add to that a sense of shame, and it becomes even harder to keep motivated.

The first two cases of quitting are based on the parent's decision, but it is more likely to be based on the student's own decision.

What conditions make it easier to continue at Kumon?

Based on these "when should I withdraw from Kumon" what position should you take as a parent?

The first step would be to understand the characteristics of Kumon. Especially in early childhood. By familiarizing yourself with the concept of Kumon to thoroughly understand the basics, you can reduce the feeling of discomfort you are likely to experience in the early years. It is my impression that children who have started with Kumon in early childhood and continued through elementary school make rapid progress. The difference between success and failure is whether you think the effort is worth it or not.

In addition, the position towards the high school entrance exam is an important issue. It is really not easy to hear that a child has completed the last Kumon materials in grade 3 or 4. It would also be difficult to discontinue the use of Kumon during the high school entrance exam and resume it in high school for the above reasons. The role that Kumon can play changes significantly depending on whether or not students pass the high school entrance exam. It is important to share this understanding with your partner and children.

Continuing Kumon in high school will become more difficult. Even if Kumon can be continued through the first year of high school, kids will have to take high school entrance exams as they go through the grades and will also become core members in club activities. In order to continue, they will need to have a strong motivation to continue Kumon.

And what motivates the kids are the results they get. In the extreme case, if a child only has to complete one more alphabet before entering school, they will likely be motivated to do their best to finish. What it takes for them to think this way is to make progress in Kumon. I think the key to continuity here is that you work hard at Kumon.

What strategy do you need to have in place?

In my family, we plan to avoid taking the high school entrance exam. Hence, we can consider Kumon as a main line of study rather than a supplement.

And the high school he will probably attend will probably focus on his studies. If there is a lot of homework at school, it will gradually become more difficult to continue with Kumon, even if the club activities are not serious.

This is why progress is so important. Just as sports and games are more interesting if you win, Kumon will become more interesting if you can make a lot of progress.

The goal should be "finishing the last material in elementary school". That is one of the goals.

It's a goal related to effort. Actually, you don't have to progress to the final material, but ideally you should progress to the point where you can see the final material at that point. Even if the ending is not visible, if the child feels that Kumon is having a positive effect, they are more likely to want to continue after entering junior high.

And in order to move forward with Kumon, it is advantageous for them to start learning early and have Kumon present in their lives from an early age. If you understand this, it will be easier to find meaning in learning Kumon at an early age.

Why do you want them to continue Kumon to this extent?

It is because of the benefits I have received from Kumon.

I studied Japanese and math from 5th grade and English from 1st grade. I think this is a late age to start learning Kumon, and it is not a long period of time.

However, the assets I gained during this period are immeasurable. Initially, I was the type of person who "calculates pretty fast but also makes a lot of careless mistakes", but with Kumon I became "pretty fast and almost mistake free". In Japanese, I loved novels, but I became passionate about critical writing when I read "The Structure of Amae" in Kumon's materials, and was able to expand my reading world. Above all, the habit of self-education and the realization of the advantages that can be gained by learning the basics had a great influence on me in my later life.

These abilities are the kind that are difficult to train on purpose, but can be acquired through Kumon. I am trying to come up with ways to continue Kumon so that my children can also gain from me these great advantages that I believe will contribute to their lives.


In this article, I wrote about our stance toward Kumon at home. After giving a good overview of Kumon and its features, I listed the costs of Kumon and the reasons why I would have to give it up, and then the goal I believe for continuing Kumon is "completing the final material in elementary schools." This is a goal to strive for rather than a goal to achieve, and is only a roadmap to that goal, but I think it is not wrong as a direction to strive for.

I hope they will enjoy Kumon as we work together from here on out.