My son has been going to Kumon for the past year. As early as 13mos, we discovered that he had an affinity with numbers. My mom taught him numbers using flash cards and my husband, being a former math teacher, started teaching him simple arithmetic. The more he learned, the more we realized that he had a gift.
We wanted him to develop this gift so, we enrolled him in Kumon. I knew it was going to be a challenge to make him do his homeworks everyday. Our friends who enrolled their kids in Kumon warned us that there will be lots of fights. Their kids lasted only a year, I think, before they decided to pull them out.
When we attended the orientation, hubby and I made a deal: We will not push our son. Let him develop his gift on his own. I have attended a few #BetterMe sessions with Coach Pia by then and I was trying to live what I have learned: That my child has his own process and he is his own person.
He breezed through the first couple of levels, it was writing and counting numbers. He had fun with addition, although we were already starting to have a few fights then. The fights became worse over the summer. We were already doing multiplication by then. And the fights were not because he didn’t want to do kumon, it was because he was distracted while doing it. He would play with his eraser, or sing, or just stare at nothing. He would say he didn’t know the answer, but when if you ask him the answer, he actually knows.
I thought he was having a hard time doing his Kumon last summer because it was summer! I was thinking, maybe in his mind he didn’t have school, so why go to Kumon?! But when the school started, it was still the same.
Several times we already questioned if we should let him continue Kumon. Deep inside the “tiger mom” in me was against it. I have a future math wiz here!!! He’s five and he can divide 3-digit numbers, imagine what he can de when he’s ten?! And if we do make him stop, are we stopping because of him or us? Because we’re too tired to fight with him. During bad days we lose about 3 hours of our day doing this. During Sundays sometimes we spend more… It’s like our lives revolve around Kumon! We’ve tried to be creative with him… his lola would race with him, while doing Kumon she would take a shower. Or he would be Teacher Kuya and we would be his student. We’ve even resorted to bribes… more iPad time or go play arcade. When all else fails, we’ve threatened him of punishment. I know, I know… not a very progressive parenting move but we’re desperate!
Funny thing is, when I’ve reached my limit I tell him to stop doing his worksheets and just submit whatever he finished, we wouldn’t stop! He’d cry and say he wants to finish his Kumon. I just want to teach him the concept of “consequences”.
Sometimes I feel guilty because I sometimes forget he’s just five. He’s still a baby who probably just wants to play all day. But then again, I remember my childhood and think how my parents pushed me and my brother to study. What’s so wrong about that?! I’ve talked to his teacher so many times and they always tell us to just be patient… ack!
I’m still learning how to be patient as a parent…
I have a few friends who asked me what I thought of Kumon because they want to enroll their kids too. I always say, think it over because it’s a commitment for both the child and parents. For now, we forge ahead to make this work… let’s see how far we can go.