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It All Adds Up… Helping Children Excel In Math

Math is one of my favorite subjects, probably because math is a universal language and isn’t really open to interpretation- an answer is right or it isn’t. It’s so pragmatic and practical and useful, and having a good grasp of all areas of math benefits us throughout our lives. The fact is, we will use math in our lives, very often, on an almost basis basis, despite the despairing wails of those who never grasped math skills well and complain they don’t think they need it anyway. The Kumon Method of learning math can help ensure your children never feel so frustrated with this important subject, and offers a large selection of books spanning all topics to aid children to learn on their own in a progressive way that encourages independence, good study habits, and confidence.

As we head into back to school season, I was concerned about summer learning loss, and my sons forgetting important math concepts they learned the last few months of their previous academic school year. For this reason, I started to research the best way to reinforce math skills learned in their previous academic years, because it really doesn’t take much effort to help them remember and start the school off on the right foot- I just need to make sure I exert that effort. Enter Kumon Publishing math books, which helps children retain their newly acquired knowledge with just a little math review each day during their summer holiday.

We incorporated math drills into our days by assigning each boy pages or units from their work books each day. We started with review of easier material (addition without regrouping for my first grader, and simple multiplication and division of multi-digit numbers for my older son). We moved on to more complicated math that was still a review on their previous year, ending with subtraction and multiplying decimals and fractions, measuring area and angles and volume, etc. Their practice sessions ranged from ten minutes to thirty minutes a day, and I feel confident they are heading into second and fifth grades with a strong foundation in math, and won’t flounder as they add on new and more complicated math concepts this year.

Kumon workbooks can be completed at home or while traveling, and it’s worthwhile to pick up even just the Summer Review & Prep books for each grade. They act as a sort of summer bridge between grades, reviewing both math and reading skills. The Summer Review & Prep books pass through the concepts more briefly, instead of an entire book dedicated to each concept or skills, and organize summer days to expose children to about 20-30 minutes of review and practice a day until they head back to school.

For children entering second grade, these Kumon books are fabulous:

• My Awesome Doodle & Draw Workbook (ages 5 and up- appropriate for down time learning in slightly older children)
• Summer Review & Prep Grade 1-2 (excellent review of math and reading skills that are organized by day and intended to cover a full summer vacation without overwhelming a child)
• My Book of Addition (lots of practice for ages 6, 7, 8)
• My Book of Subtraction (for ages 6, 7, 8- lots of subtraction practice for up two digits number to 20)

For students entering their fifth year of school, we recommend these Kumon math books to both review fourth grade math and prepare to drill at home as he learns 5th grade math:

• Grade 4 Multiplication (review drills)
• Grade 4 Division (review drills)
• Grade 4 Decimals & Fractions
Grade 4 Geometry & Measurement – excellent reinforcement for: angles, area, volume, elapsed time, and more ***
• Grade 4 Word Problems
Grade 4-5 Summer Review & Prep – covers both math (all areas) in a more condensed manner for the short summer season, and reading- comprehension, vocabulary, writing, etc ***
• Grade 5 Decimals & Fractions
Grade 5 Geometry & Measurement

During the school year children can continue to drill with the more focused math books, and really master each concept to a point of high accuracy and speed. Fourth and fifth grade math quickly accelerates in complexity, with completely new topics being added to a child’s knowledge base in a short amount of time. My son learned more complicated multiplication and division (including fractions and decimals), mixed fractions, measuring area, angles, volume, length, and mass in both standard and metric systems, and lots more. He was taught everything in a short span of time, and I couldn’t tell if he mastered them before moving on to the next topic, so being able to go over everything in depth and at length at home with Kumon Publishing books really set my mind at ease. I know he understands it all now.

Benefits of reinforcing math skills with Kumon books

1. Repetition supports memorization, and when it comes to basic math facts, memorizing them is ideal.
2. Drills in a specific area of math skill development encourage mastery, so when a problem in school (or situation in life) arises that calls for a child to be able to correctly measure, calculate, etc, they can.
3. Mastery of each previous topic helps a child more easily assimilate new concepts as they are taught, because they aren’t struggling with prior ideas or skills anymore.
4. Continuous exposure to math in small doses ensures a child will not have forgotten key math skills over the summer, and will also not feel overwhelmed during their vacation.
5. Kumon books provide additional practice during the academic year after a child is taught by a teacher and in need of supplementary material to fortify their newly acquired knowledge in their minds.

There are many other benefits, but these are so impactful that I had to mention them, to inspire parents to really consider providing their children a resource to help them reach their full potential and continue to excel. Our routine is to either complete two units each a day, or to work for about 15-20 minutes a day (some review areas are quick and they can complete a couple of units in less than ten minutes, and sometimes they struggle to get through a single unit for a very complicated or time-consuming set of problems, so we try to make it more relaxed and enjoyable for them by never asking them to do more than 30 minutes maximum during summer days). After approximately three weeks of using Kumon math books so far this summer, I already feel incredibly more confident with where the boys will start school this year.

I’d like to thank Kumon Publishing for the opportunity to review their math books to share with other parents seeking help their children excel during the school year, and to prevent summer learning loss. Kumon Publishing offers a varietyy of books for children from age 2-14 to improve writing skills, reading comprehension, advanced math skills, logic, thinking skills, and much more. Visit http://kumonbooks.com/ to learn more.