What Parents and Students are Saying…
At JAMS we’re very proud of the Abacus math classes we provide. But don’t take our word for it – here’s what our abacus students and families have to say …
Here are recent letters from 2 returning students…
I met Miwako Sensei at the OHEN (Oregon Homeschool Education Network) convention several years ago. My parents sat in on her demonstration, and were extremely impressed. I remember the conversation: “Boys, we found you a math school. You have to go, no matter what!,” they said. I then said, “Great!,” my voice loaded with sarcasm.
However, my sarcasm was unwarranted. It was great… REALLY great! My little brother (Evan) and I worked our way through the levels, competing and demonstrating. It was so much fun to show off the skills I had learned.
Unfortunately, Miwako Sensei needed to relocate the school. Our last demonstration was during the Summer faire, on stage at Bethany Village. We just couldn’t do it. A one hour drive through rush hour just wouldn’t fit in our busy schedule. I was crushed.
It took us a full year to return to JAMS. With a little scheduling magic and Miwako’s graciousness we were able to return. It is great to be back! I discovered (to my delight) that I had not completely lost my skill.
I truly believe that if I get anything out of Abacus, it is that I am not afraid of math. I am so excited to be back in the advanced class, and learning once again!
– Mitchell H.
After being gone so long I realized how much I missed JAMS and every one in it, I missed the friends, the fun! And I missed doing math and actually getting the question right!
– Evan (Mitchell’s brother)
My 5-year-old daughter started Abacus 8 months ago and I’m amazed at what she has accomplished. She is able to do mental calculations with two-digit numbers and she is starting on multiplication! AND she thinks it is FUN!!! Her 2-year-old brother thinks he is missing out on something and tries to mimic her.
Sensei Miwako is a passionate abacus teacher who is devoted to each of her students. I’m very grateful that she has shared her special talent with my daughter. Thank you, Sensei!
At the age of 71, Abacus has been very difficult for me and I’ve struggled with learning a new way of doing math. Without the patience and the enthusiasm that Miwako is always showing me, I would have quit a long time ago. I know it is like Piano, Latin or Chess – a very good mental workout for children and older people like me. Miwako is fast at noticing any work the children are doing and at expanding her knowledge to each of them, though they are all at different levels in their work. She is very demanding and works to develop speed and passion in their lives. I also saw the result that devotion in teaching some of the High Schoolers who come, who continue working with her and who have become very skillful in math. My grandson Paolo’s regular teacher thinks that his math has improved greatly since he began taking Abacus classes a year and half ago, at the age of 8!
I was amazed at how easy and effective the abacus is for me. Math has always been a problem for me, and at 27 I struggle with multiplication tables and need a calculator even for simple computations. I’ve always gotten by in math, as long as I had a calculator and enough time, but it was always a struggle. However, by the end of an hour I was adding and subtracting three digit numbers in my head! While that may sound easy, it is a significant improvement for me, particularly the ability to keep the numbers straight in my head. I wish that I had learned this skill as a child. Yet, the improvement I saw in the short time Miwako spent with my college math class I believe that learning the abacus now is an essential piece of my education. Thanks again
Jocelyn Amy, Student, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts
Abacus has been a wonderful benefit to our son. He has applied the principles learned in everyday life. From school work to a visit in the shopping mall, our son has applied abacus principles in everything from problem solving to calculating a total sale or discount in a store. Abacus has given our son an edge over other students.
Overall, abacus is a useful and beneficial skill for our son to learn and we are glad we signed him up for Abacus and mental calculation classes. Sensei Miwako is a caring and focused on all the students. She is patient, helpful, and most of all encouraging to the students. We are grateful for her service to our son.
Cal and Denise Huey
My son Anish is in the advanced level Abacus math program… it is amazing that he started 1 ½ year ago and he is already at the advanced stage. For the past year we’ve noticed that Anish is very interested in finishing the homework on time and hungry for more math assignments. I am thrilled at the difference this program is making for my son in his thinking skills, building self-confidence and his progress in positive learning with relaxed manner.
Mrs. Miwako has great methods of teaching and encouraging the students. We are very glad to have a teacher like Mrs. Miwako, who dedicates time to each child. We want to THANK Mrs. Miwako and JAMS for providing this great learning opportunity!.
It really is indescribable how much the abacus has changed my mind. We use math every day. I see people pulling out calculators in checkout lines all the time and think how easy it really is to do those calculations in my head! But what I like most about the abacus is how fun it is. You don’t have to be amazing at the abacus to enjoy it. I’ve been learning the abacus since I was 3, and even though I’m not a super whiz at it I use it every single day. Knowing Abacus has definitely paid off for me. As a teenager, you’d think I would be bored out of my mind being in a room working on math for 2 hours. Well think again – it’s actually fun! The classroom is full of energy, and it’s really a blast. Advanced students really have a blast doing flash Anzan. For me, Abacus is a life changer and a Six Flags thrill ride all in one!
Aya Burkres, JAMS Student
You are so much vested in our kids, for that I feel gratitude to you and thank you for making our kids part of your life and thinking of them as your very own.
JAMS has been absolutely wonderful for our daughter. It is incredible to watch her develop her math skills at a phenomenal pace– but it has been even more fantastic to see how she is developing her abilities to concentrate and focus, skills that have carried over to all of her studies. And every time she comes home from class she proclaims JAMS to be her favorite activity of the week. After class one day she even said to us that when she grows up she wants to be an Abacus Teacher like Miwako!
We really credit Miwako’s patient, understanding and insightful teaching style with the progress we have seen. Although our child has only been in JAMS for one term, and even though she was only adding single digit numbers when she started, believe it or not I now have to check her JAMS work with Microsoft Excel because she can now outperform me in mental calculation! JAMS is just phenomenal!
We feel fortunate to have access to Sensei Miwako and abacus training at JAMS. We have two children enrolled at JAMS and we are at the end of our first term, and they are already capable of doing mental calculations quickly and accurately. However, our primary reason for enrolling them in JAMS was not so they could calculate at lightening fast speed. We were intrigued by studies that substantiate that abacus and anzan training (blind calculation) develops the ability to mentally visualize imagery in a “simulated act of seeing in your mind’s eye.”
We are already witnessing improvement in both of our kids with memory skills, as they memorize spelling words and long piano pieces almost instantly. They are beginning to process complicated information quickly and logically and we’ve observed a recent boost in our daughter’s creativity. We’ve also seen sharpened concentration and comprehension skills in my son who is in second grade. Our only logical answer for all of these recent developments is the rigorous abacus training they have been doing on a daily basis for the last 6 months. I would not think twice about recommending this to anyone who has children. I personally feel it should be taught in our public school system beginning at Kindergarten.
The JAMS program is superb, and Sensei Miwako is a loving teacher who has a passion for teaching abacus and motivating the children to develop their mental gifts.”
My son started taking abacus lessons in September and I was really amazed at how quickly the lessons moved. He learned so fast and it is really helping much more than his math skills. It teaches him focus and discipline and even stronger – problem solving skills. I didn’t expect this as I did not know how the abacus worked. But I am learning along with him and it is really so impressive. He can do math problems on the abacus that I have to check with a calculator! My daughter is in pre-kindergarten and she started lessons in December. In just one month, she can do problems like 5+2 in her head as she “sees the beads”. It is just so impressive! I really appreciate the opportunity to send my kids to JAMS. I feel that it will really improve their math skills above and beyond what my school district is doing. Thank you, Miwako sensei!
My daughter has always enjoyed school and extracurricular activities and I’ve generally steered her towards non-academic classes such as sports, arts, and music. However, when she joined her friends to have some fun in Ms. Miwako’s Abacus class, by the end of the term she was hooked on the Abacus! Her previous strong interest in math was solidified and soared to even higher levels. She begged to attend Abacus Summer camp which met two times a week for the whole summer and she loved it!! She started in a class with several kids younger than her that could calculate as well as or even better than she could. In just over a year, she has made incredible progress in her math skills: rapid addition, subtraction, multiplication of multiple digit numbers without the use of an Abacus, and long division with the aid of an Abacus. Ms. Miwako is an excellent teacher, motivator, and role model for my daughter. Furthermore, from a logistical point of view, as a working mom responsible for all the transportation of my two kids to and from their various schools, activities, and appts, I am extremely appreciative and impressed by the timing discipline that Ms. Miwako consistently displays to ensure that every class starts and ends perfectly on schedule. I feel so very lucky to have discovered Ms. Miwako and JAMS!
Our 6 year old started the Abacus program around six months back. It has been a very positive learning experience for him. In just a few months, we noticed a steep rise in his math capabilities along with mental math skills. We believe this program helps boost self-confidence in kids and is an excellent program to enhance math skills.
Ms. Miwako is a very dedicated teacher with ability to motivate kids to achieve challenging goals. She has a very unique ability to keep each of her students focused on their individual work. She maintains a very small class size and so she is able to provide individual attention to each student. Enrolling our son in Ms. Miwako’s Abacus math has been one of the best decisions we have made.
Kiran & Priya
I felt lucky when I moved to Portland and found out there was an abacus school (JAMS) in town. Remembering what I learned from abacus as a child was one of things I wanted my daughter to experience. Abacus is a useful tool in daily life and a skill that follows throughout one’s life. Every Ms. Miwako’s class is intense, thus student advancement is dramatic. My daughter at age 5, joined JAMS as a preschooler and in a little more than one year accomplished three-digit calculation and up to division.
Moreover, Ms. Miwako does an amazing job keeping her motivated. No matter the assignment, my daughter finds the class is enjoyable. Ms. Miwako is also a passionate instructor looking for improvement from each student and in each class. Her professionalism extends in many areas; she is punctual, never finishes early than scheduled time, is taking a pride in teaching, and has the perception to read a student’s personality and ability. She is incredibly perceptive and intuitive.
I wholeheartedly believe that Ms. Miwako’s students are having a worthwhile class from beginning to end. My husband and I are grateful to Ms. Miwako for all her hard work, her strong work ethic, and in providing a stellar learning environment.
My daughter, Quinn, is eight years old and in the 3rd grade. This year she began learning her multiplication tables and that is when we discovered that she was not confident in her math skills so she did not progress, but that she also lacked some basic math skills. It was heartbreaking to see my daughter’s self esteem and confidence diminish because she did not know the materials presented in her class.
About the same time that we discovered Quinn’s dilemma, JAMS was recommended to me by another parent whose daughters attend JAMS classes. We quickly realized this could very well be the resource that would help Quinn.
From the very first class, Quinn took to the abacus. She seemed to have a natural affinity to it, the transition was very easy and I can only thank Miwako Sensei for that, and she was proud to be learning a new skill. Quinn has always loved to share her abacus skill with others, which is a great confidence booster for her in addition to solidifying her skill.
Miwako Sensei runs a tight ship and that is exactly what I appreciate about her program. I would not like it if she spent time on one or two students for disciplinary or inattention issues. Miwako spends time teaching. The norm in her class is hard work, focused attention on the task at hand, and lots of interaction with her. That is the norm, so when new students join the class they know how to act based on the current environment. It certainly helps that the classes are small. It is obvious that students like Miwako Sensei, yet also know that she will require each child to finish their work.
Miwako Sensei is very good at interacting with parents and is consistent with her messages that students must practice at home or the program won’t work as well. When Quinn began the JAMS program she did not understand the math she was supposed to be learning in school; she was self-conscious about participating in class; and she worried about not knowing the materials. Since she’s been attending JAMS she is now keeping up with the math taught in her school and both her teachers have commented how much she’s improved. Since attendance at JAMS she is much more comfortable participating in class because she’s understand the materials more, plus she’s gained self-confidence she didn’t have before. Her new found self-confidence has spilled over into other academic subjects. Because she’ comfortable interacting with Miwako Sensei, she now tends to interact more with her other teachers.
Finally, Quinn has a some peace about going to school and knowing the material. It’s also a great that Miwako Sensei speaks Japanese which allows my daughter to use that language too. JAMS has provided Quinn the math skills she needs, confidence to perform in school, and improved her concetration . JAMS has provided me peace of mind that my daughter is learning and happy.
My son, Nicholas, was only 4 years-old when he started JAMS. He couldn’t write is numbers and counted to 20. Today Nicholas is 6 years-old and attends kindergarten. He adds and subtracts double and triple digits and has memorized his multiplication tables – AMAZING!
Math has become a part of our everyday lives. He adds and subtracts prices at the store, how many minutes are left in the hour and adds his own score when we play board games together. I often think to myself; “I can’t believe this is my 6-year-old!”
JAMS has opened many doors for my child. His kindergarten teacher is amazed by his math proficiency at such a young age. Nicholas was recently accepted into TAG at his school after scoring a 99% on his standardized testing. Ms. Miwako has worked incredibly hard with Nicholas to achieve this level of success. She has individualized his program to meet his specific needs and gives him an incredible amount of one-on-one attention. He is confident, focused and thriving in school. I couldn’t be more sure that JAMS is the best investment in his future that we have made! ”
Since Maddie has taken Abacus a little over six months ago, we’ve not only noticed her math skills have developed but we have also seen that her ability to focus and concentrate have improve. It has benefited Maddie beyond just math. Ms. Miwako has done an amazing job with all her students, helping each child, no matter the age, to fully realize their potential.
Our 9-year-old child have started to attend JAMS four years ago. He have been taught not only abacus skills but also how to concentrate on himself. As Japanese parents, we are very much used to using the abacus in math study, and we believe that learning the abacus is a one of the best approach to master basic math skills for young children.
Miwako-sensei is always enthusiastic about teaching children. She is strict yet very attentive. She observes individual child carefully during classes. She is always happy to spend extra times to help each child if she/he has troubles understanding.
Our younger child also have been attending JAMS since last fall. He was always looking forward to taking lessons with his older brother. I remember that he was so thrilled to receive a new abacus book from Miwako-sensei at the first day of his class. He already knew how to count in Japanese when he started his lesson. However, he struggled with leaning numbers in English.
Thanks to Miwako-sensei’s positive attitude toward him, I already see big improvements in his English and math skill in seven months. We are sure that leaning the abacus helps children to build their self-esteem.
To our Jacob, abacus is more of a hobby than a study. That’s how much he loves abacus and the enjoyment has grown over the years as his ability and skills have improved. Naturally, that gives Joshua encouragement to want to learn abacus and be as good as his brother. It’s a great tool for any child to build on for all math related studies. We’re very pleased with the JAMS and would recommend it to anyone!
My daughter Adilah has just turned 7 and already has a good foundation in math thanks to the Abacus classes. She is much more confident in handling her class work and her interest in math has increased. Six months of Abacus classes have given my daughter a leap of more than a few years in math. She has completed classes in addition, subtraction and multiplication and is currently learning division.
Her tutor, Miwako takes the time and provides individual attention to each student in helping him or her understand mathematical concepts. Miwako also reviews each day’s work, there by making certain that Adilah understands what she was taught. The Abacus method of instruction is unique and will give students the ability to calculate mentally, enabling them to make complex mathematical calculations with relative ease.
I’m glad we decided to enroll Adilah in this class. With individual attention and unique technique, Miwako has made math interesting and fun for Adilah.
Tariq S. Musaliar
My 9 ½ year old son, Joshua, has been attending Ms. Miwako Sakabayashi’s Japanese Abacus Math School (JAMS) for approximately three months.
He initially attended the program because of his difficulty in comprehending two digit addition and subtraction problems. Due to Ms. Sakabayashi’s excellent teaching skills, Josh’s mathematical comprehension and ability have greatly improved. Using both the abacus and anzan (mental calculation) methods, Ms. Sakabayashi is able to instill a whole new approach to learning and understanding math concepts. She clearly communicates how to manipulate the abacus, and she patiently works with each student to ensure that the comprehension and skill have been achieved. Ms. Sakabayashi is also very firm. She believes that all of her students are capable of learning how to use the abacus and she continually challenges her students to work diligently to achieve their goals.
It is evident that Ms. Sakabayashi cares deeply about her students. She spends extra time with them when it is necessary, and she rewards them when they understand and demonstrate the assigned tasks.
Since Joshua has been attending JAMS his math skills have greatly improved. However, the improvement is not limited to just the math skills. His concentration has increased and his memory is also better. He is more confident and self-assured. He even brought his abacus to school one day to demonstrate how to use it. (His classmates were fascinated.)
I am delighted that Josh is working with Ms. Sakabayashi. I am happy to endorse her program.
Roberta Kaplan Israel
Miwako has been teaching my seven- year-old son since October of 2002.
Learning to use abacus has tremendously improved his computational skills as well as his confidence level in math. Miwako is an excellent teacher. Her lessons are structured and fast-paced. She keeps everyone on task while working with individual child. Her stern, yet, not intimidating style seems to help maintain order in the class. She also seems to create a friendly competitive atmosphere among the students.
I know Miwako has worked very diligently with my son who at times was reluctant to do his work. Although my son is a very capable child he easily became frustrated and resisted challenge. She made many adjustments in her teaching to keep him motivated while keeping the communication lines open with me. My son is excited about the progress he has made. He can calculate much more quickly, accurately, and with such ease than any of his classmates at school. Seeing the visible and dramatic result of his effort motivates him to continue with the lessons. It was worthwhile endeavor for me to drive twenty minutes each way twice a week to the lesson, and wait for an hour with my three months old infant and his three-year-old brother.
As a parent and former teacher I appreciate Miwako’s dedication to her students. She is passionate about teaching and learning. She has very high expectation of herself, and her students seem to raise their own standard in response to her. I am excited to see my son excel academically, but more importantly, I’m thrilled that he has the opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as self-discipline, motivation, and persistence.
Mrs. Miwako offers a very fun and effective approach to learning math and developing skills that will benefit my son for many years to come.
Starting as a pre-kindergartener, Ben has learned about the discipline of consistent practice and concentration. Mrs. Miwako sets realistic expectations that involve strong parental support along with a biweekly schedule, which gives her the opportunity to continually assess Ben’s progress and adjust how she progresses with his lessons.
The curriculum is varied – using flash cards, abacus, multiple books, computer and timed calculation.
Furthermore, Mrs. Miwako is very aware of the affect of peers on study. She adjusts class participants considering age, level of competency, behavior / maturity, number of students, etc.
I am very satisfied with Ben’s progress. He has been studying for 8 months and he is at 2nd grade math level – able to add and subtract multiple numbered equations. He is excelling in being able to think through calculations by envisioning the abacus in his head (known as mental calculation or ANZAN). Plus he is now memorizing his 2, 3,4,5,8 and 9 multiplication tables.
I am confident that Ben is getting a good foundation in math as well as study skills. Not to mention the positive effect on his self-esteem. By working together, both Ben and I have learned a lot about abacus and ourselves. We look forward to continuing.
Jams is an excellent math program. Mrs. Miwako teaches discipline on top of stimulating the brain, when we started. Ryan was hungry for the challenge. It is getting harder for him to come to class right now because something he wonders why he has to do such complicated problem. But once he is in the class, he has so much fun. He likes to learn new stuff and proud to be able to do the challenge.
Mrs. Miwako has a way to challenge the student in a fun way. She is a tough teacher, very discipline but yet the students seem to love her. She knows when & how to back off when the students are frustrated. She is very sensitive to the students need, and knows how to bring out their high expectation. She is very generous with her praises and likes to celebrate her student’s milestones. She has a way to boost their confidence & self esteem. She always supports the parents through the ups & downs. She also always has time to discuss problems outside the class. I am very happy with the program & with Mrs. Miwako’s way of teaching.
I couldn’t find a better teacher. I also like the flexibility of the class.
My son Dean started his abacus lesson at JAMS last summer after his annual spring trip to Shanghai where he attended a kindergarten and came across abacus first time in his life. At the time that he turned age 5, all the kids in his class (this class would be the age equivalent of second year of preschool in the US) were able to do 2 digit addition. Starting from last summer, Dean has been studying abacus with Miwako Sensei at JAMS. It is a fast paced and intense class with homework. However, Miwako Sensei is able to give each student personal attention and instruction and get these youngsters focus to on the lesson. Before we knew it¸ Dean was able to do 2 digit addition, subtraction, and some simple multiplication. This spring, Dean once again attended his kindergarten in Shanghai and he completely caught up with the local kids in abacus. He could do addition and subtraction as well as those children who had already studied for almost 2 years. We are very grateful to Miwako Sensei’s efforts! Besides, Miwako Sensei is also very flexible and accommodating to meet students’ individual needs and requests. She is always available to communicate with parents so that we are kept informed about the progress our children have made and problems they face. We are now ready for another summer class.
JAMS – Where your child’s success really adds up!
Call JAMS today at 503.520.1063 to schedule your no obligation preview of our Abacus math classes!