Strategy Brought to You by Kumon

Strategy has been on my mind, mainly revolving around the vaccine distribution. Recently it switched back to something that caused a ruckus in our childhood.

Kumon Maths and English.

If you’ve not heard of it, Kumon is a worldwide method for teaching arithmetic, reading and writing. It’s a Japanese company where my mum has been an instructor for 24 years. We did it as children and that meant we developed strategy. Kumon strategy. No not Kumon method, that’s what the Japanese wanted. The Kumon strategy is how to outsmart your parents and cheat in Kumon. It’s an art form mirrored by youngsters around the globe.

For Kumon to work a kid has to work for 10 -15 mins a day solving quick fire maths or English questions in little booklets. The sums/ questions are repeated over and over in a puzzle of orders until the answers are drilled into their brains and they answer automatically without thinking. Namely timetables, fractions, subtraction and division or the spelling of tricky words and common phonemes. It sounds technical. It is torture.

Losing Kumon Strategies for Life

My mum told me that the mysterious disappearance strategy is still going strong. This week a parent had to request extra work because the Kumon sheets had “gone missing”. We’re looking at you little Joe. This is a poor strategy that only bides time. Short term freedom that paves the way for future harsh crack downs.

This I would attribute to procrastination strategy in real life. It’s stealing time only from yourself.

Strategy number 2, the terror child. This child will become a devil of misdemeanors to terrorize the parents into giving up. They will tear the pages up. Throw tantrums. Scribble over the booklet making it illegible. It’s a vicious strategy and one that could cost you all the good things in life. Treats, TV time, etc. It also means that the child is trapped in the Kumon torture time for much longer than the designated 15 minutes. There are tears, conflict and many hours of unhappiness. It’s a losing strategy.

You can’t tear down or terrorize others in order to get to the top. That kind of success is tainted and toxic.

The methodological cheating. My preferred method. You open page one and solve the first problem. Say 4 x 8 = 32. Now in rapid time you flit through the pages of the book and copy that answer next to every problem that says 4×8 or 8×4 (cheeky). Repeat this action until you’ve solved the entire book. The pros: it takes very little brain power as you only solve each problem once. The cons: sometimes those dastardly pages stick together, and you lose precious seconds. In the end, it adds time even if there is little room for error.

This is a slow strategy. One that eventually will teach you something but adds on wasteful minutes.

Winning Kumon Strategies for Life

The best strategy is to simply follow the Kumon method. The path well-beaten. Sure, add your flare as you go but don’t reinvent the wheel. One day when you’re tackling quantum physics, you’ll be laughing at flitting through the pages to cheat at your timetables.

Don’t be drawn in by expensive and unproven strategies that businesses/ influencers / salesmen / weird self-help authors are selling you. The only strategy is hard work and repetition.

Turn back to the well-beaten path and take it step by tiring step. Mastery will come.

P.s. Also remember if someone wants to convince you that a kale smoothie is the key to success in life, that person is a ruse.

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