Sharon Smith: Kumon Instructor, Traveler

Spotted in: Jack London Square, Oakland

Occupation: Kumon Instructor

What are you up to today?

I'm working with my daughter who's the founder of Luna Moon knits. She's here at the festival with her line.

What is your occupation?

I'm a Kumon instructor. It's a program for all students—of all age levels—who need either extra preparation for school because they're having trouble, or for those students who want to improve their skills and become better learners.

What drew you to that?

When my kids were younger they were doing Kumon earlier on and I noticed a big difference in the way that they approached logical and critical thinking. So that's what I went into.

What do you think stands out about their approach?

What stands out is that it's individualized, it's more of a program for students to increase their learning abilities and capabilities. It emphasizes students looking at things and figuring them out a little bit more on their own. It's more critical thinking, and right about now we need that in schools—and all over.

When you're not working, what do you like to do?

There's not too much time that I'm not working [laughs]!

[Daughter says: "You travel!"]

Yeah, I travel.

Where do you like to travel?

All over the world.

Where have you traveled recently?

[Asks husband] Where was that recently?

[Husband: Costa Rica.]

Costa Rica . . . and Hawaii. And Africa is our next destination.

What did you do while you were in Hawaii?

We were with our family so it was very nice. We went to Maui, Kauai, and we were on the Big Island. We were just relaxing—it was a cruise.

What has been inspiring you lately?

The kids. I'm inspired watching the kids growing up. I'm seeing lights come on and eyes being opened. Just seeing them figure out how to do things, and understanding how things are put together. That they can think and go from a place where they're not understanding to a place where they get it, and pretty much do that in stages on their own.

Are you from here originally?

I'm from San Francisco.

And what drew you to the East Bay?

We moved to Benica for the schools and because the kids were younger.

What are your favorite things about this area?

I like the people, most of the people I've encountered here are friendly, and I like that it's up and coming. I didn't even know anything about it until maybe a couple of years ago. We were just scouting the area and then we came down here, walked around and went to the farmers' market. It's just a very pleasant area.

I want to ask you about your outfit because it's all so interesting!

So my scarf is from my daughter's line Luna Moon knits. This dress is from Vanite Couture, it's a store in downtown Benicia.

I love all your silver bangles here too!

Oh yeah, well this is . . . [Asks family member: What is this?] Pandora.

So these are all local shops?

Yes. This is silver bangle is Israeli and these bangles are from Hawaii.

I love the boots too!

These are Coach.

I was also going to ask you about your beautiful turquoise ring right here.

My husband just got it for me at the Alameda Antique Fair.

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!