1. Why learn abacus when we have calculators and computers?
Whereas in the past abacus training had practical use, it remains popular because it provides other benefits that are still relevant:
Improved math skills and improved interest in learning math
Improves the following mental abilities: concentration, observation, memory, analytical ability, visualization, imagination, spatial ability, attention span and focus
Cultivates patience, self-confidence and self-discipline
Promotes the skills of listening, multi-tasking and problem solving
Enhances the coordination between eyes, ears and hands
Stimulates the development of both the left and right side of the brain
2. Is it true that learning abacus can improve concentration skills?
Yes, arithmetic computations need to be very precise. Even when using a calculator, it is easy to make a mistake and press an incorrect key if the mind is not focused. This is also true when using an abacus, where the student has to be focused and alert in order to get the right answer. Thus, practicing this process regularly improves your child's ability to concentrate.
3. What calculations can we do with abacus?
Using abacus, you can solve both simple and complex math problems. Besides addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, we can also calculate decimals, square root and cube root on the abacus.
4. When children can start learning abacus?
Children can start learning abacus at any age between 4-13 years old. There are different pros and cons for a child to start an abacus math class at a younger or older age. See questions 5 and 6 for the pros and cons for starting your child at a younger age vs. an older age.
5. What are the pros and cons of starting early?
Many studies have shown that the majority of the human brain development takes place up to the age of 13. The development and growth of the brain accelerates the most between the ages 4-6 years old, and the progression slows down after age 13. Thus, it is more beneficial to a child's brain development if they start earlier. In addition, the earlier the child grasps the concepts for arithmetic calculations, the earlier they're able to apply these skills and excel in their regular school work. This will help to build their confidence.
It may take a longer time for the student to comprehend the basic concepts for abacus math, such as the addition/subtraction formulas.
6. What are the pros and cons if my child starts late in this program?
Older kids have a stronger background in math, thus, they can normally achieve an advanced level in a shorter time. This allows them to compensate for the later start in the program.
Older kids may not feel as much challenged at the beginning because of their stronger background in math. If they continue to use the method that they were taught in school to solve the addition/subtraction questions, it will take more time for them to gain the benefit of using the abacus for calculations. They may also be less motivated to verify the Times Tables using the abacus way since they may have already memorized the Times Tables.
7. How long does it take for a child to learn mental math?
Abacus based mental math is a very structured level by level program. There are 12 levels and 10 degrees respectively. Each level takes approximately 4-5 months to complete. Lot of parents may observe improvement in math performance after completion of Level 10, but it takes at least 3 years for the program to complete and receive all the permanent benefits associated with this program.
8. Will my child get confused between abacus math and school math?
No, it does not interfere with the school methods of teaching math. Abacus is considered to be an effective tool for learning mental math techniques to solve simple to complex arithmetic calculations. Abacus calculation relies upon the manipulation of beads rather than the arithmetic processes. Therefore, it can be considered as just another method to solve math problems.
9. Can this program help children who have been struggling with school maths?
Children who have difficulty in following the methods for math that is taught in school are the ones who benefit the most from this program if they are committed to this program by doing their homework regularly.
Usually, children start to learn numbers by counting on their fingers. However, it becomes very challenging to comprehend the numeric relationships for numbers that are bigger than 10, due to the lack of tangible countable objects. Abacus helps children to easily grasp multi-digit numeric relationships by presenting the numbers and their relationships as concrete beads instead of regular abstract arithmetic processes.
Using abacus can also help younger kids to easily comprehend concepts of mathematics, such as value of numbers, decimal system, digit positions and so on. Once children understand numbers, they will probably become interested in mathematics. Below are some other positive impacts.
Benefits of using abacus to learn math:
Instantly accomplishes addition and subtraction when numbers are placed on the abacus.
Manifests the concept of decimal places and the progression of units by tens physically.
Improves understanding of compounded numbers (through the use of supplementary numbers for 5 and 10).
Uses a left to right calculation method, which makes quick estimation and rounding off possible.
Works on the decimal rather than fractional system, an easy progression to digital systems.
10. If my child has been an A+ student in math, what is the need to learn abacus math?
Apart from improving mathematical skills, the learning of mental calculation by using abacus also provides stimulation of both sides of the brain development, which leads to significantly improve your child’s overall academic performance and grades in school.
11. Does the child get any homework?
Yes, children are expected to spend 10 minutes a day on their homework which they get after each class. Regular practice ensures that they grasp the concepts learnt in the class and also builds a strong foundation for future learning.
12. How is this program different from other after-school math programs?
We focus on teaching abacus math, which leads to strong mental math skills for life long. The program is designed to be fun and interactive. Kids learn from the instructor through games and exercises.
We offer small class size with 5-7 kids per class to ensure sufficient attention of the instructor. Each session typically lasts for an hour, including instruction, practice and break time. This arrangement suits best for kids, according to a study on children’s mental focus time.
Our program is customized to Canadian students. The program is compact and efficient - parents will typically be able to see results very quickly. The best way is to try it and find it out for yourself.
13. We are not Asian. Will this training be more difficult for my kid?
No, all the training materials were customized to Canadian students and designed and taught in English. The materials have proved effective for over 15,000 Canadian students regardless their races.