It seems that there are as many unique teaching and tutoring approaches out there as there are children! And while many of them are similar, it’s important to make distinctions between the various styles – especially when your child’s education is the concern! Because everyone learns differently, as a parent it’s important to understand your child’s learning style in order to help them overcome their struggles. Kumon and Abacus are frequently associated but they are quite different. They both have Asian roots and require practice but the similarities end there. Here’s a quick breakdown of each style.


  • Ancient tool, originating from China and known as the Soroban in Japan
  • Taught in a small group environment and students work together to encourage one another
  • Increases child’s concentration
  • Improves problem solving skills
  • Utilizes eyes, ears and fingers to activate child’s senses
  • Teaches mental calculation
  • Focus on math and problem solving skills


  • Developed in the 1950s but Japanese educator, Toru Kumon
  • Learn on an individual basis
  • Requires high involvement from parents
  • Improves Memorization
  • Daily practice with worksheets
  • Does not teach mental calculation
  • Focus on math, reading and writing

If you were considering either Kumon and Abacus for your child, make sure you understand the approaches and which one may be best suited for your child. There’s nothing worse to see your child struggle to learn something in school to only struggle more outside of school. Help encourage them to succeed by getting them in an environment where they can succeed and see incremental growth.

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 online Abacus Classes – 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.