Last Saturday morning I stopped by the Kumon office for supplies. It was teeming with little munchkins. A young male employee greeted me at the door, looking around for my little tykes. I didn't have the heart to explain that they're big and rebellious now, and I'm here for myself.

I asked for Jennifer, the owner, who immediately ran over to greet me. We had our awkward little munchkin moment, and then we moved on to a conversation about what supplies I need based on how I'm scoring.

Go ahead, laugh......but I'm telling you, it works.

I've been doing Kumon for about 3 weeks now (or is it 4?). I started with simple addition for 3 minutes per day. I told the Kumon woman that I can handle more, so now I get a double dose. I'm working my way through subtraction and have even seen a smattering of addition sprinkled in (just a hint, and only recently).

I keep asking the Kumon lady, "when are we getting to those polynomials?" and she smiles, and says back to me, "not for a long time."

Ok, this is a painstakingly slow process, BUT,

A) I'm enjoying it enormously


B) I am in the midst of I.Q. and achievement tests with a psychologist, and one part of the neuropsych evaluation today was Kumon style worksheets (but all mixed up), and he said that I had 3 minutes to do the sheets, and from the way he said it, it didn't sound like I was supposed to finish.

And when he hit that stop watch, I ran like the wind. The only thing stopping me was how fast my hand could write. I was a Kumon Ninja.

It made me realize (what I already knew in my bones), that there is a method to their madness (i.e. Kumon), and it may seem absurdly slow, but I'm telling you, I finished that part of the I.Q. test early, and there was NO WAY that that would have happened a month ago. I would have hesitated, and hemmed and hawed about how to carry over the multiple numbers in subtraction, etc.

Today, there wasn't an iota of hesitation. None.

I may be on my death bed by the time I get to those polynomials, but who's counting.

No question the spaced repetition works. Just ask Sheldon the Word-Nerd.

llustration by Jennifer Orkin Lewis

Copyright Debbie Stier

The Perfect Score Project

One mom's quest to ace the SAT.
Catherine Johnson Ph.D.
Catherine Johnson, Ph.D. is an "afterschooling" parent and co-author of Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior.

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