It’s been 9 years, and the journey has finally come to an end. Well, partially. Let me be more specific. After 9 years, my journey on the Kumon Reading program has finally ended. It ended some time ago in August, but very recently, something very exciting has brought it up. But before that, let’s travel 9 years back to where it all started.
I don’t remember the exact details of when I first started Kumon, but according to my parents, it was around when I was 4. I had first started the reading program, and my dad says that this was so I could be able to read. Reading doesn’t necessarily refer to books or text comprehension or just words in general, but instead, it means to recognize something and understand what it means. In math, you read numbers and graphs, you can read different languages, signs, animal tracks, etc. All these are based on the basics of reading, and that’s primarily why my parents wanted me to start with reading before math. Skip forward a year to 2014.
I don’t remember much of 2014 as well, but there is one specific memory I have. Before I share, let me explain how the programs are structured. In Kumon, there are5th-grade5th-grade different levels, and they each focus on different skills. While both Programs are organized slightly differently, they both have a similar structure of what should be focused on in a certain set, and both have more content in the next level based on what was learned.
Anyways, I’m not sure the exact year this happened, but, after a few minutes of intense calculation and photo searching, I believe it would have been sometime in 2014. I remember how one day, I was told that I would no longer be sitting with the Early Learners, and would have to sit with the older kids. I was pretty much confused at that time, but now looking back, I think it was because I had passed the Early Learning/Developing Skills levels. After that, I remember having to sit with the older kids and do my work instead of with my friends. I think sometime into 2014 I began the math program as well. ( And a side note, it was the year I first started learning the violin as well.)
2015 is one of the years I have specific memories from. I moved from Ohio to Texas in 2015, started writing a blog very shortly after I moved, and began a new school in a new state that year as well. It was a spur of fast-moving changes that were overwhelming and complex at that time. Anyways, before I had moved, we had taken A LOT of Kumon packets with us so I still had that habit of Kumon, and to keep me working until school started, or we found another Kumon center for me to attend. I remember lying around in an apartment with piles of Level CII packets around me. I remember working on a made-up story about a woman called Petite Mama who lived far away and sold crops. Fascinating what the brain remembers, isn’t it?
I do remember when I started at a new Kumon Center. It was a new building, a new Instructor, and I was terrified. I eventually got used to it, and slowly started picking up from where I left off at my previous center.
There was only one change that happened that year. My mom started working at the Center so she could take over. Because of this, two things happened. One, I would have to start going to after-school care, which I dislike very much, and two, I would no longer go to the Center run-person. Since my mom worked there, she would bring me the packets regularly.
Another thing that happened was that I was chosen to take the CBE (Credit by Examination) test for math. I think that at that time, they wanted to see how it would go, and for that, there were 7 kids, including me, in 3rd grade who were chosen to take it. Out of that, 6 of us passed, and in 4th grade, we all took 5th-grade math. From that moment until now, I’ve been taking accelerated math, and am currently taking Geometry in 8th grade.
4th grade. The main part of 4th grade was 5th-grade math. It was a bit complicated as I was taking math a grade higher than normal, and because I had only learned the previous course over a few months. It was really fun though. I enjoyed taking it. I have a memory from this year as well. We were learning fractions, and I couldn’t help but beam through the entire lesson as I had learned how to use fractions long before. I just couldn’t help but feel good that I knew something others didn’t. Not in a smug, “Haha, I know more than you do!” way, but more, “Oh, I’ve learned this before!! I know how to do this!” way. It’s like when you know what something means or can do something that others haven’t, and the teacher lets you show the others or be an example. It was one of those moments.
Okay, 2018 was a terrible year for me. I’ve mentioned and complained many, many times how much last year brought me down and how much it set me back, but I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that this had happened previously before as well. It wasn’t for all subjects, but more for math. I struggled HEAVILY that year, and most of my grades consisted of B’s and C’s. I don’t remember a time I ever got a 100 that year in math.
We all know this year. Ah yes, the year you all know. The year where I did not push myself and was very relaxed when working. Yeah. I don’t think you need more explanation. For Kumon, it went well. I started level J for reading and was almost done with my second attempt at Level J for math. Math was slow because of that extra time, but Reading went by really fast. I completed Level J and started K that year. A little more than halfway through the school year, I completed Level J and started Level K. And that brings us to this year.
At the start of this year, I was on Level K for math, and Level L for reading. Was. Meaning, I finished Level L this year. I finished it this August5th-grade5th-grade and completed the entire Reading Program. Looking back, it has been an incredible journey to get this far. I’ve gone through so many ups and downs during this, and it only feels like yesterday where I was on level FI. Time goes by so fast, and who would have known that I would be done with the Reading Program after 9 years. I’ve done all the levels, and seen every part of it to get here, and now it’s over. I still have math, and that’ll take who knows how long. ( It finishes at Level O) Right now, I’ve completed Level K, but I’m stuck on reviewing it before I test. ( Maximum and Minimum are giving me a hard time.)
I’ve slowed down a bit since school started, in Kumon, but I’m trying to bring that stamina and determination to complete the Program back. After I complete the Math Program, I’ll be done with Kumon entirely, and have done both Programs from start to finish. This is my goal. I’ve already gotten everything else completed in the Math Program, and completion is the only thing left.
Ever since I’ve received my first award, I started aiming for higher. There are 4 “ranks”. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. I first started getting Gold, and that’s when I decided to work harder to get Platinum. I’ve started to get all Platinum for a few years now and to be honest, I’ve never thought further about my ranking. However, after seeing what my rank for August was, my new goal for math is to climb higher and rank 1st for math as well. In August, I ranked 848 out of 9302 students in the grade by reaching K 180. It’s okay, but it could be better. It could go higher, and now I want to work so it becomes 1.
Kumon has helped me come a really long way. It’s helped me in so many ways other than just Math and Reading. It’s helped me learn to work independently by learning new concepts and understanding them myself, working through difficult problems I may not understand, and applying what I already know to go further. It’s helped shape my working style and method in order to get things done efficiently and correctly. Although I’m relieved I’ve finally finished the Reading Program, I know I’ll miss it. Maybe long after I’ve completed both programs, I’ll still want to go back and do Kumon again. It’s been, and still is, a part of my daily life for a very long time, and I want to keep working and doing it until the end. I’ve gotten this far already, and giving up would be a waste. So, I’ll keep working to complete the Math Program.