Welcome to the first post of a series of stories of student success at First Avenue Kumon! It is our hope that this series of stories will encourage and inspire our current and future students as well highlight some of our students’ accomplishments.
We’ve asked one of our own Math completers, Joel L. to share his own experiences of going through the program and finishing:
- When did you first get started at Kumon?
I got started in 2010, when I was in grade 7.
- What level did you start at?
I started at Level C (Multiplication and Division)
- What was your/your family’s motivation for enrolling? What did they hope to achieve through the Kumon program?
Originally, they were planning on enrolling my younger brother, but then they saw that the program was helpful and felt it would be a good idea if I joined as well. My family wanted me to strengthen my mathematics foundation.
- What was it like when you first started the Kumon program? Was it difficult/easy?
Starting out, the work itself was easy as I started at a low level, but working on homework everyday needed some getting used to.
- What were some of the challenges you faced going through the program?
Careless mistakes, to name one, especially with four operations involving fractions which really frustrated me because I knew how to do it.
Another challenge I faced was trying to understand the concepts of what I was actually studying for level K (linear functions, quadratic functions, irrational functions). I could do it, but I didn’t understand it.
Level O (calculus), the last level, was very hard because I forced myself to finish it in a very short amount of time.
- As a Kumon Math program completer, how did you get through the challenges you faced? What did you do? How did Louisa/First Avenue Kumon staff help you get through them?
I pushed through, stuck to my goal and asked more questions. Louisa and the staff helped me set a goal, encouraged me to stick to it, and followed up with me whenever I had questions, making sure I understood the material.
I also forced myself not to miss any homework. Even if I couldn’t do homework each day, I would tell myself to do double or more the next day.
Louisa gave me a lot of freedom over what kind of review I wanted to do. She always asked me if I wanted more practice with certain concepts or if I felt ready to handle new material.
- How has First Avenue Kumon helped you achieve your goals? What are your goals now that you’ve completed the program and secondary school?
I’ve been able to study above my grade level, making math at school really easy.
It also gave me the opportunity to study calculus at Capilano University before even graduating High School. I also scored the highest in the class on the final exam. The calculus I learned at Kumon gave me a good foundation to learn new topics.
I will be attending the University of Toronto in the fall and plan to study chemical engineering. I also want to study more Math if given the opportunity.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to current and future Kumon students about getting through the program?
- Don’t give up before you see results at school. When you do, you will want to continue
- Aim to do your work once, so really try. It’s better for you to take a little longer the first time then get them all wrong so that you actually understand. When you do the repeat, it would be accurate and fast.
- For higher levels look for ways to cut steps: you write less, you train your brain
- Look for mistakes in your steps so that you know whether it was careless or a conceptual mistake
- Ask questions in class, especially for higher levels, for clarification.
- For lower levels, aim for speed.
- Write clearly so you can read it when you correct
- Try getting through 3-4 levels a year, more for lower levels.
- Take homework on vacations. Not more, because you’ll end up stressing out. Not less because when you come back, you won’t like having a larger workload.
- Keep the last 20 sheets handy so that you may refer to them for examples.
- Why should families choose First Avenue Kumon?
First Avenue Kumon is very organized and gives students a lot of freedom over how much work they receive. We also try to help them set achievable goals and study independently.
First Avenue cares about their students and tries its best to help them stick to their goals. There are also a lot of different ways to give feedback over progress.