The Kumon method is one of the largest math and language tutoring systems in the world. There are over 3 million children studying under the Kumon Method in over 43 different countries.
Students do not work together but progress through the levels at their own pace, moving on to the next level when they have achieved mastery of the previous level. This usually involves repeating the same worksheet multiple times until the student achieves a perfect score within an allotted time limit.
Kumon Math starts with very basic skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and progresses to increasingly challenging levels. Kumon English and Japanese focuses in the early stages on reading and word building. Like the math system, Kumon English and Japanese builds upon basic skills, reaching more advanced skills like summary and interpretation of texts in the higher levels. Different countries using the Kumon system often vary the program to include some locally-written texts.
Toru Kumon taught high school mathematics. Mr. Kumon began to teach his youngest son, who was failing mathematics in elementary school, and developed what would later become known as the Kumon Method. This method involves repetition of key mathematics skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, until mastery is reached. Mr. Kumon defined mastery as being able to get an excellent score on the material in the time given, which is intended to benefit students later in the standardized, timed tests used by many schools.
Because of the success of the method, other parents became interested in Mr. Kumon's ideas, and in 1956, the first Kumon Center was opened in Osaka, Japan. In 1958, Toru Kumon founded the Kumon Institute of Education, which set the standards for the Kumon Centers that began to open around the world. The Institute continues today to focus on individual study to help each student reach his or her full potential. The underlying belief behind the Kumon Method is that, given the right kind of materials and the right support, any child is capable of learning anything. Since 1956, more than 19 million students have enrolled in Kumon Centers worldwide.
Touru Kumon passed away in 1995 at the age of 81. His statue now greets students at the main entrance of Kumon Junior/Senior High School.