Nikhil didn't get locked down

Jul 2020

Nikhil, a Grade 11 student at the Winchester Hills Study Centre, completed the English Programme in April 2020, during level one of lockdown in South Africa. He does admit to enjoying having the title of being a Kumon English Completer, and as well he should, as this is an amazing achievement!

With more time on his hands because of not being able to go to school, he took the opportunity to repeat some of the last few worksheets of the English Programme to ensure he was confident with the content. Nikhil is currently doing Macbeth at school, and as four of the books on Level L deal with Tragedy using Macbeth as an example, this was an ideal opportunity to revise the material for his school studies.

Nikhil has enjoyed the English Programme. He has not liked all the stories that are covered for various reasons, but admits to always learning from all the material – even the stories he did not enjoy. He says that the English Programme has opened up his vocabulary, introduced him to plays, poetry and all the different genres of writing. It has improved his English marks, as well as assisted him to understand his other subjects better, such as Biology and Accounting, because he is able to grasp the language. He appreciates being introduced to poetry other than that covered at school, such as that of William Blake, whose poetry he finds very realistic in approach, and which covers topics such as politics and religion.

Being someone who loves reading, Nikhil reads quite a bit. He was introduced to and really enjoyed ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Dracula’ through the Kumon worksheets. His parents often had to buy the books referred to in the worksheets as Nikhil wanted to finish reading the book. Books are like treasure to him, and he takes pleasure in rereading his favourites. He loves the Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones books. Nikhil enjoys it when certain stories and characters really captivate him. While working through the worksheets he would talk about the stories featured with his Instructor, Hamleta, and with his family, which would also help him to confidently complete the questions.

Having started with the Maths Programme in Grade 3, the family made the decision to enrol Nikhil on the English programme the following year. Nikhil was already showing an interest and an acumen for the English language, and it was felt that doing the English Programme would provide Nikhil with a good grasp on all things, and help him with all his school subjects. With plans to complete the Maths Programme sometime next year, Nikhil feels that the programme has grounded him and prepared him better for his school Maths studies. He enjoys the fact that the Maths worksheets follow on each other, that it is linear in nature, creating what he describes as a ‘domino’ effect. Factorisation in particular has been very helpful for him. He is feeling more confident as he goes into his matric year because of his Kumon studies. Nikhil’s sister who is in Grade 8 is also doing the Maths Programme, and Nikhil is able to assist her with her worksheets with his understanding of the progression of the work.

The skills that the Kumon Programmes develop in students has been more apparent to Nikhil during lockdown, as he is required now more than ever to have a strong work ethic and discipline to work at home, and to be able to do so independently. Kumon students are being given the opportunity to utilise their self-learning skills as they now are studying at home. He says too, that studying the Kumon Programmes has matured him, and grown him as a person.

After matriculating next year, Nikhil would like to do a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Finance and Accounting, and then later do a Master’s in Business Administration. He enjoys Accounting, and would love to learn more about business.

Nikhil reads the newspaper every morning, and is therefore always aware of what is happening in terms of news, with the added advantage that his general knowledge is very good. Before lockdown, Nikhil played chess at school as well as ran cross country. He loves movies, and he loves a good character, either in a book or a movie.

Nikhil’s advice to other students is to persevere through the programmes, and to see the work you are doing as investing in yourself, and doing something for your future. This starts with completing your worksheets on a daily basis.

Hamleta describes Nikhil’s parents as supportive and dedicated. Mrs Parshotam, Nikhil’s mom, says that as parents it is important that you are there for your children and that you support them with their Kumon studies. Doing Kumon does take perseverance, and it is for 365 days a year. Parents need to continuously motivate their children, reinforcing that it is for their own good, and that it will help them later in life. Parents need to show an interest in their children’s studies and to mark their books. Her experience is that it takes two to three years for stability to be established, and for the students to become more independent with their studies, and for the student and parent to see the true, long term benefits of the programme.

As a final word, Nikhil says that students may feel that they are working in the dark at the moment, as a result of the social distancing and the influence it has had on education. He sees Kumon as a programme that sheds some light on this darkness, and on the future, and therefore encourages students to keep on doing their Kumon.

We thank Nikhil for the inspiration that he is. We wish him well as he works towards completing the Maths Programme as well, and as he prepares for his final year at school.