- Education and Science
Kumon Math Review
A Mom's Kumon Math Review
I'm a mother, and my children are enrolled in the Kumon Math Program. This is my Kumon Review about whether Kumon is effective as a means of helping your children improve their maths skills.
Once you've read my review of the Kumon system please let me know via the comments box at the bottom of the page whether you have any other great tips for helping to improve children's math ability or whether there is any other information that you would like to find in this review.
What is Kumon Math?
An Explanation of Kumon Math
What is Kumon?
Kumon Math is a program for pre-school and school aged children. Unlike standard math tutoring, with Kumon you learn by working through a series of workbooks at your own pace, learning new concepts as you move through the levels. Whilst students work independently at home rather than one on one with a math tutor, they do visit a Kumon centre once or twice a week to meet with their Kumon supervisor, hand in completed work, and for the supervisor to set new work and monitor their progress.
Don't have time to read my review? Have a look at these Kumon Workbooks To Buy Online
Scroll down for: How Kumon Works
Kumon Books on Amazon
Click the images for more information, other titles and the option to buy on Amazon
Kumon Math : A Description
How The Kumon program works
Kumon Math is a math program designed to help students from kindergarten to teens (and beyond!) improve their math skills. Rather than being a tutoring program, Kumon math is designed to be a self taught program, where the student works through a series of worksheets, each one getting progressively harder. New topics are introduced via a worked example, which students work through and then answer questions on.
Each week your child will attend a Kumon math center where their Kumon instructor will check the work that they have done and issue new work for the following week.
The workbooks are designed so that they get more difficult very, very slowly. This means that new concepts are gradually introduced without the student really knowing that they are moving up a level (although they do know when they move up as they get a certificate, something I find is very motivating for my own children)
One of the features of Kumon math is that the student cannot move up to the next set of worksheets until they have completely mastered the level that they are on. This means that not only can they complete the worksheets accurately, but they have to complete them in a certain "standard completion time" so that the instructor knows that they really, really understand what they are learning.
On joining Kumon each student is given a test and the results of this test show the teacher where the student should start from in the Kumon program. The supervisor then selects a level where the student will be able to work comfortably in order to give them confidence in the system.
One of the unique things about Kumon is that students don't study according to their age or grade level, but at the level of their own maths ability. They progress at their own pace moving through the levels as they fully master them. This means a 7 year old and a 14 year old can be completing the same work, if this is right for them.
Not interested in the full Kumon program? Check out my page on Kumon worksheets to use at home
Scroll Down For : The advantages of the Kumon Program
Kumon Math Poll
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The Advantages Of The Kumon Math Program
What makes Kumon Math great
The way I see it there are several advantages to the Kumon Program:
- Every child works at their own pace. This means that your child never gets left behind or held back by their peers. They get as little or as much time as they need to master each topic.
- Kumon works by repetition. Unlike much schooling these days Kumon uses an old fashioned method of simply going over and over reinforcing things until your child really understands them
- Every day's work is in a sense like a test. This is because not only is the work marked for accuracy each day, it is also timed. Each booklet had a standard completion time that the child needs to complete the work in to move on to the next stage. This helps to show whether your child is really proficient in a subject or still getting to grips with it.
- The workbooks are fairly short, but they are done on a daily basis. This helps your child to focus, without getting too bored. On average Kumon should take about 10-20 minutes a day, although some topics take my kids more, some less time than this..
- Kumon Really Works! All of the children (including my own) that study Kumon at my daughters' school have improved their grades enormously. Maths becomes their favorite subject because they no longer fear it.
- As it is a self taught program the students learn independent study and to be self disciplined.
- It is much cheaper than hiring a daily math tutor, but work is completed daily.
- The Kumon math program has been developed over many years to be as effective as possible. It is constantly revamped and rewritten to make sure that it is as effective as possible.
Below: The Disadvantages of the Kumon program.
Kumon Math Poll
Are your children already enrolled in the Kumon Math Program?
Disadvantages Of The Kumon Math Program.
Things I dislike about Kumon Math
I think the following are the major disadvantages of the Kumon Math Program:
- It is repetitive. Whilst this means that the students REALLY learn their math, it also means that they can sometimes get sick of doing the same booklet over and over again. I find that at this point I have to offer rewards for completing the work. My children often weep and wail about completing the work, especially as a new subject is introduced.
- It can be expensive. Although Kumon costs less than getting a math tutor, it is still quite costly. There are cheaper options such as the Kumon Workbooks Available Online(see below)
- You do not get an actual one on one tutor every day. Although the workbooks are designed to be self explanatory, they are not always. Every now and then I do need to sit down and go over something with my daughters that they just cannot understand.
- Also, a tutor can spot the areas that your child needs a little more help and expand around the subject. With Kumon, you get what you get, and you have to go through the program in the correct order, there is no flexibility.
- You are required to mark the work each day. The Kumon centre provides you with an answer book, but the parent or guardian needs to check the answers in this book. This isn't really too time consuming, but sometimes when I am busy or I forget this aspect of the program it is frustrating. I often forget to do it until the end of the week, when it can be an hour+ per child to mark it all. Frankly, I would rather pay a bit more and not mark the work, but this isn't possible.
- Centres really vary in how good they are because they are franchises. I have been to some fantastic centres, and one terrible one, as we have moved house several times. If you don't like your centre I really recommend trying another one instead of sticking with one you don't like. There are lots where I live, so it's easy to move.
Below: Kumon alternatives
Click images for further information
What Are The Alternatives To The Kumon Math Program?
Kumon Math too expensive? Try these cheaper alternatives
Of course, for parents that can afford it a math tutor is one alternative to the Kumon program. However, to complete the same volume of work you would probably require a tutor 2-3 times a week for an hour, which for many parents would be simply too expensive.
At home alternatives to Kumon include printing off worksheets from online sources. The problem that I have found with this is that a Kumon workbook includes 10 double sided sheets of problems for a student to do each day. These are designed to get more difficult exactly at the right time so that the student is never over or under challenged and are designed to include just the right amount of repetition. I found finding sufficient worksheets that were at exactly the right level very difficult. It also became quite costly to print off such a volume of worksheets.
One alternative that I did find was workbooks published by Kumon themselves available through Amazon (see links below). Whilst they are not as comprehensive as the Kumon program itself they do incorporate most of the best features about Kumon. For parents that are prepared to set work from these for their children each day they could be a very cost effective alternative as they do offer the chance to use exactly the same methods as those employed in the Kumon math program, but without visiting a centre.
Kumon Books To Try At Home: Grade 1 & 2
These Kumon workbooks provide a cost effective alternative to the full Kumon program, but are also a great way for you to gauge whether Kumon style problems will suit your child.
If your child has mastered grade one addition and subtraction and grade 2 addition, this is the next step.
Kumon Math Costs Poll
Where I live the enrolling in Kumon costs almost $120 per child per subject per month. Do you think this is:
Kumon Grade 3 & 4
For students in other years clicking on any of the links below will take you to an Amazon page where you can view other books for students in older years
This is one of a series of books on decimals and fractions. Remember to start your child on a level that they will comfortably cope with in order to build confidence, and then gradually move them up.
4 Year Old Kumon Student - Students study at their own pace...
Did you know there was an at home alternative to enrolling in Kumon?
Useful Kumon Links
- Kumon Math Review | Thinking Mothers
Another parents review of the Kumon Math program.
- Kumon US Website
Kumon Reading and Math Program, Kumon Academic Enrichment Program, help your children reach their true potential, motivate your child to achieve more
- Video of a 4 year old Kumon student
The video shows Emily (aged 4 years) doing Kumon Maths worksheet B11 (vertical addition up to 100, Part 1). She completed the set in 19 minutes (below x time...
- Mathletics.com.au - Achieve More
Mathletics is the next generation in learning, helping students enjoy maths and improve their results. Mathletics covers Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum
Whether you enrol your child in the full Kumon program or decide to use the Kumon workbooks for use at home it's a good idea to supplement your child's math learning with some problem solving exercises. By this I mean questions where your child not only has to figure out the math, but also has to figure out exactly what the question is asking them to do.
With my own children I have really had to focus on this - I noticed as they progress through school and get to around grade five the amount of problem solving questions really increases. My children were fantastic at performing the mathematical element of these questions, but not so good at working out exactly what they were asking them to do in the first place. If you can seek out some verbal reasoning problems that make you work out exactly what they are asking you to calculate as well as those that simply need a calculation.
Kumon workbooks are like a mini version of the Kumon program
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