You’ve probably watched your kids stare blankly at their math homework.
It’s been more than 10 minutes, and they haven’t tackled the first problem.
You try to give it more time. But, the moment you check on their progress, you discover they have abandoned math and turned to something more fun on the computer.
Worry starts to creep in…
You ask yourself, “Why can’t they finish their homework? This is an everyday routine. Is it my fault?”
You got could just get angry and reprimand your child, but you know that won’t solve the problem. You decide to look for alternative ways to teach your kids about math.
This blog post is my way of showing you a different approach. We all could learn a thing or two about why Japanese kids grasp math so easily. Japanese kids have a longer school day. Even at an early age, they put in long hours to participate in different games. One important learning tool they use in these games is the Japanese Abacus.
The Soroban, as it is popularly called, is the Abacus established in Japan. Created in China thousands of years ago, the Abacus is considered the world’s first computer. Today, many consider it to be an archaic tool, but countries such as China, Russia, and Japan still find it relevant. In fact, the Abacus is still widely used in schools up to this day.
Using the Soroban is not as complicated as one may think. It is divided into two sections. In the top section, there’s 1 bead for every column, and 1 bead is equivalent to 5 units. In the bottom section, there are 4 beads for every column, and each bead is equivalent to 1 unit.
The beads are moved toward the center of the abacus. The beads on the center (or dividing line) are the only ones counted, and you read the Abacus from left to right. It’s really that easy to operate. Once mastered, the Soroban proves to be the better alternative to a calculator.
When you slide the beads up and down, the human senses are more involved. Plus, it is not quite as dragging as scribbling numbers on paper. Not only that, but Soroban users can perform advanced calculations mentally. This method is known as the Anzan Soroban.
Soroban users are urged to solve math equations swiftly. Flash Anzan Soroban competitions are a common practice to motivate students to calculate faster. A number is shown for a brief second, and students have to calculate all those numbers at the end.
Because of these techniques, Japanese students perform well in school. There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! Because of these educational games, the children learn better. Taking a timed math test sharpens their speed and accuracy. According to Pew Reaserach Center, U.S. students are far behind their peers in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Japan. This study compared reading, science, and math scores of 15-year-olds. In math, the U.S. was in 30th place while Japan gained the 5th spot. So, what does this imply?
No, you don’t need to buy an Abacus right away. What your kids need is guidance outside of school. This is where JAMS comes in handy. JAMS is certified by the League for Soroban Abacus, and it is the ONLY math school in the Portland and Beaverton areas. We specialize in the Abacus and Anzan technique to ensure that your kids will have a strong foundation of mental math. For more information on JAMS, you can schedule a free assessment right now. You may click this link or call +503-386-1407.
Nothing fuels the fire for math than discovering you can be a math genius! If you’re not sure Abacus will help your child, sign up for a free preview of our class – there’s no obligation to register! Come meet with us, watch some kids in action, calculating at the speed of light! We guarantee you will have fun watching these little geniuses.
JAMS is proud to be the only Abacus math school in Portland and in the State of Oregon certified by the League of Soroban of Americas. Since 2001, we have dedicated to Abacus & Anzan instruction and to building a strong foundation of Mental Mathematics along with lifelong skills. JAMS empowers children to achieve academic success, so they will grow in areas that go well beyond the classroom. JAMS parents can expect their child to improve in 5 different areas: concentration, discipline, problem-solving, time management, and confidence. This is the teaching approach at JAMS since opening its doors.