Discover the Kumon Method of Learning

Discover the Kumon Method of Learning

Last update: 15 January, 2017

“Let books be the children’s babysitters.” This is a wise assertion by Toru Kumon, creator of the Kumon method of learning, which today has over 4 million students around the world, and is the focus of this article.

Education has sought dozens of methodologies throughout history to make it more efficient and natural. The Kumon method is one of many trusted by millions of parents. Why?

What is the Kumon method?

The Kumon method aims to incentivize autonomous learning to boost the student’s potential according to their abilities. Therefore, it is a personalized and individual process that is based on the child’s proficiencies.

boy playing with blocks

This process aims to strengthen the child’s sense of security. To do so, it offers the child the opportunity to confront the search for knowledge independently, through stimulation and fun.

Who was Toru Kumon?

Toru Kumon was a mathematics teacher who was particularly concerned with his son’s educationIn fact, when he found an exam that his son, Takeshi, didn’t get a good grade on, he decided to create study materials to encourage his son’s interest and thus improve his results. To do so, Kumon tried to create strategies that would lead his son to study on his own, without overloading the child, helping him be more autonomous.

But when Kumon saw Takeshi’s problems in many other students, he decided to develop materials that would provide the students with the opportunity to confront challenges that they could solve without help, but that would still be challenging enough due to their graduated difficulty. The intention was to create perfectly autonomous students.

Interestingly, Kumon’s neighbors asked him to use his methods with their children when they saw Takeshi’s noticeable improvements. And so in 1958, the math teacher opened his first office in Osaka, Japan. Today, his method has over 4 million students around the world.

“Developing the individual potential of each citizen is equivalent to developing the potential of a society or a nation.”

-Toru Kumon-

The 4 pillars of the Kumon method

In order for the children to solve the exercises available under the Kumon method, regardless of their age or grade level, self-confidence and interest in student performance should be encouraged. The method is built on 4 basic pillars:

Individual capacity

Grade level is not a limitation or an objective in the Kumon method. It is hoped that each child will be able to explore and take full advantage of their competencies according to their individual abilities. They should gradually strive for the best, for the pure joy of learning, and always with security and self-control.

Self-taught children

Above all, the Kumon method values the child’s ability to learn according to their own efforts. Every child solves exercises through their own personal effort, by teaching themselves and arriving at solutions on their own.


Progressive development

Another pillar of this method is progressive development. The material is prepared so that each child’s exercises increase in complexity according to their own rhythm of learning. This is all individualized and based on each student’s capacity for understanding and enjoyment.

The instructor as an observer

The instructor also plays a vital role in the Kumon method. They act as an observer of the academic ability and personality of each child. They adapt the materials to the students’ abilities and participate in the children’s advancement, encouraging them to keep going and take advantage of all of their abilities.

“I hope that more and more children become self-taught through the Kumon method. That way, studying will no longer involve suffering imposed by other people, and will become a sort of pastime where the child progresses by themselves.”

-Toru Kumon-

What do you think of the Kumon method? Do you think it would be a good way to maximize your child’s abilities and academic competencies? There are already many theories that agree that the best way to learn is naturally and progressively, according to each individual’s personal capacities. This methodology is clearly another one of those trends that have proven to be effective.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.