The Origins Of The Kumon Method

A concerned father’s love for his son led to the creation of the Kumon Method

It all began over 50 years ago in Japan when Takeshi, a second-grade boy, went home with a math examination paper in his pocket for which he had gotten a poorer grade than usual. When his mother found the paper, she was worried that her son would receive more unfavorable grades in math and consulted with Takeshi’s father.

The boy’s father was Toru Kumon who at that time was a high school math teacher with over 20 years of experience. He took an unusual approach — instead of teaching his son, every night he would create a math worksheet for Takeshi to solve by himself the following day. The primary focus of these worksheets was to help his son develop strong calculation skills and the habit of self-learning. Toru Kumon strongly believed that mastering calculation was the key to enable his son to advance to senior high school level math as quickly as possible. He felt that this would allow Takeshi to spend his high school days comfortably and enter the university of his choice without having to study frantically for entrance examinations. He also believed that Takeshi would be able to continue to learn by himself after entering university and go on to truly excel in life.

Takeshi had to complete one worksheet by himself every day for thirty (30) minutes. Toru then marked the worksheet in the evening and Takeshi corrected his mistakes the following day. Takeshi started with simple addition problems while in second grade, but by the time he entered grade six he had already progressed to senior high school level materials such as differential and integral calculus.

Encouraged by his son’s great achievement as well as requests from neighbors, Toru Kumon decided to open a math study ceter in his home. By 1958, just four years later, the first office of Osaka Institute of Mathematics was set up in Osaka, attracting hundreds of students mainly by word-of-mouth.

This is how the Kumon Method was born. In spite of its humble beginnings, Kumon is now available in 46 countries and regions around the globe with millions of students completing their worksheets daily. We believe that all children, regardless of their age or school grade possess boundless potential and that what was possible for one child is possible for others.

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1. January 28, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I want my daughter to enroll in Kumon kaya lang medyo expensive eh being a single mom need to budget everything.

2. January 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

One of the regrets I have in my life is that I wasn’t able to enroll to Kumon. Haha. If I were able to, maybe I’d be better in math and that sort of stuff. I’m only good in using the calculator! Haha. When I get a child of my own in the future, I’d definitely try Kumon – the story is pretty inspiring! Thanks for sharing :D

3. January 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Wow. Thanks for the info. Kumon is now one of the leading tutorial centers in the world and I agree that every kid’s potential will only be evident once we help them hone it. :)

4. January 30, 2014 at 12:12 am

What a wonderful story and thank you for sharing this one. I learned something today about the story of the Kumon Method.

5. January 30, 2014 at 4:43 am

The Dad is very smart to design a pattern that his son would adapt to.

6. January 30, 2014 at 5:46 am

A great story. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Kumon + would really love to enroll my little man. In fact, I have just inquired about their free trial classes + would give it a go before I enroll Jared to their reading classes.

7. January 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I always heard the word KUMON but no freaking clue that it is all about. Thank you for enlightening me. I really love this idea. It will help kids especially with Math. I would love join my son as he is struggling with Math as well if only it is available here in the US :-)

8. April McGregor

January 31, 2014 at 2:23 am