The back to basics approach, and why it works so well.
“The prevalent idea of mathematical works is that you must understand the reason why first, before you proceed to practice. That is fudge and fiddlesticks. I know mathematical processes that I have used with success for a very long time, of which neither I, nor anyone else understands the scholastic logic. I have grown into them, and so understand them that way”
- Oliver Heaviside
In mathematics, the logical place to start is with the basics. It is futile to promote problem solving to the exclusion of the basic arithmetical operations.
To do so is a prescription for failure. Without proficiency in basic skills, in practice, math problems cannot be solved. Fundamental calculations are the building blocks of math proficiency. A command of computational operations is essential in order to think critically in mathematics. Counting, sequencing and adding are rudimentary processes; however, these are also areas in which achievement is clearly and readily attained in specific, measurable ways. With Kumon, students gain confidence along with a foundation of the basic facts (initially, we can define “the basics” as the concepts presented in Kumon Levels 3A through D). This mastery is a crucial and powerful motivator of Kumon students. It is for this reason that the Kumon Method requires students to completely master the basics in math. For they are the platform for advanced learning.
Once students have acquired this strong foundation, they are empowered to successfully advance to higher-level mathematics. Careless mistakes are exterminated. Those who develop proficiency with the basics become fast and accurate students. Students who have mastered this material are able to advance easily to fractions. When students have completed Kumon Levels E through G, they are then ready to smoothly progress into algebra. Without the benefits of a solid foundation provided by these crucial Kumon study levels, smooth progress, sustained motivation and continued achievement in mathematics would not be possible.
Another important reason to require students to master the basics in mathematics is that this proficiency results in motivation. In most cases, students who do not like math are typically not good at it, however, students who enjoy math usually excel.
Kumon provides a systematic method for daily math achievement that, from day one, promotes a positive attitude as it develops mathematical aptitude. A strong foundation in the basics of math is a great asset for students to possess. Achievements breed enthusiasm. The Kumon Method helps develop students who are not only good at math, but also who enjoy learning it as well.