Abacus Learning Q&A


1. What is "abacus"?

Abacus is a simple calculating tool consisting of a square frame with 5 rods, each of which has 5 beads. Dating back thousands of years to the Mesopotamian and Asian civilizations, the abacus served as the original “computer”. It is also a system of calculation rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, thanks to its many benefits for students.


2. What types of mathematics is abacus used for?

Like traditional math classes, abacus students start with addition and subtraction skills, moving steadily to multiplication and division. Eventually, students can mentally calculate complex problems up to 5 digits without the needing the physical abacus. 


3. Why is it better to start students when they are younger?

The human brain is always evolving, based on the tasks it is asked to do. Scientific research has shown that a child’s brain has developed over 95% by the age of 12. Therefore, it is crucial to give children proper training early to stimulate and help their brains grow and develop.


Mental functioning is also determined by genetics and environment. The sooner children start learning abacus, the more easily they will master the system. More importantly, the mental functions abacus requires actually wires the brain differently, increasing neuronal connections and integrating the creative and logical hemispheres. 


4. What is the average age range of your students? 

Generally, the ideal window for learning abacus is ages 4-12. However, older students and adults can learn and benefit, as well. 


5. Does abacus mental math help students with other school work?

Yes! Because students are developing the parts of the brain responsible for visualization, logical processing, and memory, they apply these skills to other academic subjects. What’s more, students often gain confidence, which affects all aspects of life and learning. 


6. My child has always struggled with math. Can abacus arithmetic help?

Yes. Abacus uses a different approach compared to most public and private schools. By using a concrete, hands-on tool, they get a concrete understanding of mathematical principles, rather than memorizing abstract formulas and equations. We often see students who used to struggle in math doing very well after a few months in our program. 


7. What if my child already does well in math? 

When a student is already proficient in math, he or she may adapt and succeed in mental math even more quickly. This does have the added benefit of integrated brain development and faster calculation.


8. What are the benefits of learning abacus? 


 Fun Mental Math is based on scientific research in neurology and psychological studies on brain and intelligence. It derives from abacus mental math, and trains the most crucial brain functions and cognitive skills, such as attention, observation, memory, imagination, and reaction.


Benefits include:

  • Visualization abilities
  • Builds connections between different parts of the brain
  • Improves confidence in math and other subjects
  • Faster calculations
  • Makes math and learning fun


9. Is each student required to have an abacus for the lessons?

Yes, students need an abacus with one bead at the top and four beads at the bottom. We offer quality materials for students who need to purchase one. 


10. Can my child use a 2-5 abacus for the class?

No. Our instructors use the 1-4 model to help students with visualization. 


11. Abacus originated in Asia. Can students of different cultural backgrounds do well in abacus? 

Yes, students of all cultures and ethnicities can benefit from abacus training. Though the method originated in Asia, it has gained popularity in Western countries over the last century. Our class materials and instruction are designed for English speakers. 


12. What is the approximate weekly time commitment?

We offer a wide range of class options to accommodate your scheduling and location needs. Please contact us or talk to your child’s school to find out about class times and enrollment. Typically, classes are 90 minutes once a week. We encourage students to take time to practice with the abacus for 10-15 minutes per day. 


13. Is the abacus still helpful in the age of computers and technology?

Abacus training is extremely practical. Most people have difficulty mentally calculating how much tax or tip they have to pay at a restaurant or store, despite years in math classes. The goal of abacus is to train students to the point where they do not need the actual instrument, anymore, because they can do all the calculations mentally.