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Is Kumon Really Worth It?
Since 2016 we enrolled our firstborn child when he was just about to turn 5. Then we enrolled our next 2 children when they were around the age of 3.5. All three of our children are still currently enrolled as Kumon students, and whether you’ve got younger children or older children Kumon can place you into the program at any age.
With our youngest two starting at an early age they were able to begin at the foundational basic math units of Kumon’s course. However, when our eldest child began he undertook a test to determine his grade level and to assess a comfortable starting point into the program best suited to his abilities. By performing these tests Kumon can determine what a child’s needs are and whether there are any gaps in their learning.
The Kumon learning method is fairly simple and straightforward. They work on the principle of small incremental steps and mastery of concepts through repetition (or rote memorisation) before progression. New concepts start at their basic level and incrementally get more challenging as you progress.
By having the students learn math skills by small incremental steps it takes the burden of having to teach the child each lesson. It also helps the child become an independent learner as they can grasp new mathematical concepts quickly due to the small changes.
For example, when a child is learning the concept of addition the Kumon program uses objects for the child to count. The child counts the number of objects on the page and writes this number down. As the child continues through their workbook the questions begin to change by moving from all objects to count to a number and some objects to count. Eventually the child has completely moved away from counting objects and is now counting numbers. Then they’re adding larger numbers and learn the concept of carry.
By making these small incremental changes within the workbook, or over several workbooks the child can learn and perform the work at the their own pace. Being independent can help remove the load from the parents on having to teach and instruct the child each time they do their Kumon work.
The work students undertake is a workbook a day. A workbook consists of 10 work sheets and some parents may elect to halve this early on to help their child get through the work.
Each booklet can contain anywhere from 20 questions on a single sided page (40 in total on the complete page), to one or two questions. Depending upon the type of question asked some questions require additional working out, whereas others just need a simple answer.
We have undertaken both the Kumon math program and the Kumon reading program. The only difference in workload with both programs is that the Kumon reading program requires the students to read their booklets which are chapters from popular books, as well as perform comprehension and spelling work in another booklet. Therefore, students can be given up to two booklets with the reading program.
Kumon Learning Centres
Within the Kumon centre will be a director who is likely to be the franchisee. A good learning centre will have a director who sees the franchise more than just a business and has a passion for helping children to improve their math and reading abilities.
Helping the students within the centre progress through the material are likely to be students who have either gone through the program completely, or are still progressing through, and helping other students, or parents who have a passion to help children with their education.
Depending on the individual centre it is like having your own private tutor and math teacher with the help the students get as they progress through their workbooks. However, I’m also aware that centres who are run as a tight business do not receive much tutelage, putting the workload back onto the parent to help their child progress.
It’s important then that you
check the credentials of the centre
and if they have gone through the program themselves.
You would also want to find a local Kumon centre nearest to you as you will have to visit up to twice a week for as long as 30 minutes each program. For example, if you’re enrolled in the math program and the reading program you will have 1 hour each session.
But does that mean it will be a worthwhile fit for you and your family?
We have found Kumon Math & English beneficial for our children and the evidence of their progress is seen both with their achievements in the Kumon program
Ok, so it seems to work for you. How do
make it work?
There are several aspects that make Kumon worthwhile, but these are the biggest factors which help to get the most out of it:
1. Time Is Needed
If you don’t have the time to help guide and motivate your child to do the work it will be quite a painful ordeal for your family.
You could drop your child off at your local Kumon centre have them do their testing and work, but if you’re not available to help guide and teach them when they do their work from home throughout the rest of the week then it will not work for you.
As with any worthy pursuit in life it’s going to require some sacrifice and diligence in getting through the work. Some days will be amazing and your child will shine through the workbooks, and then there will be other days where you think you’ve picked up the wrong child from school.
Some days will be, what we call,
Your child’s brain may be in a bit of a fuzz, and the level of output shows it. While you don’t want to have too many
days, be mindful they will occur and you’ll need strategies on how you’re going to handle those days.
But you will need to help guide your child and this requires time
especially when you start the program
Don’t think your child will magically become Einstein after doing one workbook, and especially don’t think your child will love to keep doing the work after completing a couple of workbooks.
While being consistent is the key to success in this program, getting that inert brain into motion is the hardest part – especially when you’re starting from a young age.
We have started 2 of our children from the age of around 3-and-a-half (one boy and one girl). Our daughter was naturally inclined to do the work, and it didn’t take long for her to undertake the work by herself with minimal supervision.
However, our youngest, who started at the same age as his older sister has been more resistant to undertaking the work than her sibling sister.
While this is still a work in progress, we hope by starting young and steering him to perform the work himself he will be able to complete the workbooks by himself. We already have seen him complete several books now that he is 4, but supervision is required.
Therefore, in concluding this point, if you have the time to assist your child with completing the workbooks you will see your child grow. The assistance will be needed more if you’re starting with a younger child (pre-school years), and at the start of the program while your child establishes a routine with completing the work.
At least one parent needs to be committed to the program.
It helps if that parent has been through the program they will likely know the extent and length of the work and can help motivate their child to keep progressing.
It also means that if at least one parent is committed to assisting the family with the progress of the children through it, the other may be doing duties to assist at times when the other is busy. For example, if the wife is the main parent assisting the kids in the program and does other house duties, the husband may have to step up and help out with duties not done around the house (cooking, ironing, etc).
If both parents are committed then the duties will be shared and it would be wise to plan and communicate who does what around the home and with the kids.
3. Find A Good Centre
You’re in partnership with the coach and staff at your local Kumon centre. You’ll therefore want to work with an experienced team who has been through the program and can help you as the parent.
As Kumon centres are franchises they are businesses. This means they need to make a profit for the owner. If there’s no profit, there’s no Kumon centre.
While we understand the basic business principle of the centre being open and remaining open, you’ll want to make sure your child is given enough challenging work.
If you find your child is progressing quite rapidly through the material then you’ll want to notify the local centre and have them tested.
If you find you’re struggling through the material then you’ll want tips from the centre on how you can help your child through these concepts.
What are some questions you can ask a prospective centre in
- Make sure you speak to the head instructor or owner. Who will be delegating the work to your child?
- Listen to the feedback through the free trial they offer on where your child’s ability is at. Does the person convey an understanding of your child’s ability, or are they just relaying statistics?
- Have they personally done the program when they were a child, or have had their children go through the program? What insights can they provide for parents if they themselves haven’t gone through it?
It’s Not Perfect
If you’re looking for the perfect maths program that will set your child’s mathematical abilities on fire and they will become an instant genius after completing 4 workbooks then you have unrealistic expectations.
Kumon is a marathon, not a sprint.
Many programs will try to sell you on either speed, performance or entertainment, but at the end of the day you just need repetition to keep those mathematical concepts in their head.
The problem with school and life is that there are millions of other things to do and to distract your child from fulfilling their mathematical potential, but Kumon focuses on math drills with a little problem solving along the way.
The benefit of this type of rote learning is that it’s consistent in approach, easy to follow, easy to mark and easy to provide feedback to your child on their progress.
Besides the work your child will after the completion of about six months of work have a rank where they can see how their work is performing against other Kumon children at the same age. This can help spur the child to do better, if they are falling behind, and give the parent some idea on their child’s abilities compared to others.
Kumon is an excellent program with the right commitment with time, attitude and perspective. It slowly builds in difficulty through the main mathematical concepts and provides regular tests to check performance of your child.
It doesn’t matter whether your child is struggling in elementary school, kindergarten, or high school students can benefit from the teaching methods used by Kumon’s material and staff to help achieve success and mastery in math and reading skills.
We have certainly found our children are at a higher level in their math school programs than they would have otherwise been without Kumon. In fact, when our eldest child started school they didn’t achieve the school’s enrichment program, but within a couple of years of Kumon they are now one of the brightest in the math enrichment program run by the school.
is kumon worth the money
Related Questions & Answers
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asks from Philadelphia
My two younger kids do Kumon . They have been doing it for almost 1 year. My daughter is doing excellent. My son is doing really good. However they hate it. Yesterda…
- not really. if they’re hating it, and you’re not willing to take a break or consider another approach, what is there to say?
there’s not a curriculum out there, even…
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asks from Dallas
Hi I started Kumon math for my going to be 1st grader and 3rd grader. I need some feedback from parents who have used or use this as a method for math enrichment. Her…
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i did not do Kumon but heard is was boring as well. I just do hooked on phonics at home and it is working very well.
asks from Pittsburgh
I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has enrolled their elementary-age child at a Kumon learnng center. Specifically, I’d love to know if you found the math curr…
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Soooo, here’s her take on her time w/ Sylvan:
#1 verify & request a committed TOTAL clas…
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- I personally would go the private tutor route myself.
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asks from Los Angeles
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asks from Bakersfield
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Which Kumon notebooks to choose for 2 year olds
Today I will tell you about the sequence in which it will be convenient to pass Kumon notebooks with 2+ kids.
Let me remind you that I am talking about the example of my cub with 0-th preliminary training and based on the results of the analysis of a bunch of materials that I have read on Kumono forums and websites of different countries.
In this article I will give explanations and detailed comments, and on a separate page you can find a plan for passing notebooks from the very first Malyshov to notebooks for high school.
Let’s go in order; and I remind you that all the names of the notebooks in the article are clickable. When you click on them in the next tab, you will open the page of this book on the publisher’s website, so you can immediately see how much this notebook costs.
Start with stickers – first “At the Zoo”, then, when this notebook was finished – “Transport” (“Transport” is noticeably more complicated, there are more small details and tasks for combining the pattern).
Why should you start with stickers? It’s no secret that normally young children are not able to do more than 5-10 minutes. But there is a caveat: for more than 5 – 10 minutes they are not able to do what their mother wants to do with them. As soon as they find something more fun to do – scatter cereals and flour all over the apartment, sculpt Easter cakes in a dirty puddle, decorate the mirror with mom’s lipstick, and the floor with felt-tip pens – they can do this for hours (well, until mom catches a crime).
This means that it is not a matter of fundamental lack of perseverance, but of interest.
For normal Kumon classes, we need to get a child who can sit on his butt and work out for at least 20 minutes, and interesting stickers are perfect for this.
Also, Kumon’s “At the Zoo” and “Transportation” stickers are very smart and not at all simple. Be sure to read in detail about the classes on them in this article, now I’ll just note that, in addition to actually gluing, you can use them to do a bunch of other useful things:
- Learn geometric shapes and colors
- Learn “who says what” – the typewriter “b-b”, and the owl “wow-wow”
- Learn counting and even addition (count objects in the picture)
- Learn which animal is whose cub
- Learn who is older – who is younger, who is bigger – who is smaller
- And a bunch of other things (read more in the articles with methodical recommendations “At the Zoo” and “Transport”)
It’s better not to go through anything in parallel with the stickers. But at the end of them, when the baby already has an interest in learning + a developed reflex for daily work, you can take three notebooks at the same time.
2. First Steps Series
After completing the stickers, go to the notebooks from the series “First Steps”:
- Let’s cut (here you can read about this series)
- Let’s glue (here you can read about this series)
- Let’s draw (here you can read about this series)
Depending on how you and your baby like it, for one lesson (one day) you can give tasks only from one notebook or a little bit from several. We took three notebooks at once.
However, if you take more than one notebook and offer your child a choice, pay attention – at the stage of the formation of a skill, I highly recommend practicing this skill every day. That is, you do not need to alternate notebooks by day (today one – tomorrow another). They took three – go through all three a little daily.
Go through all the “First Steps” notebooks for the selected skill, guided by the Kumon map for age 2+. Please note that the notebooks from the “First Steps” series are also sequential, it is advisable to go through them in the order in which they are shown on the map.
When you finish your notebooks with a 2+, the natural progression, according to the skill, will be:
- Learning to cut, 3-5
- Learning to color, 2-4
If you continue with these notebooks, the transition is smooth and hassle-free.
3. “Let’s put pictures together” exercise books
“Let’s put the pictures together” notebooks also belong to the “First Steps” series, but it is better to give them after you have completed the previous three skills completely.
I don’t know about you, but in the past I somehow clearly underestimated the importance and complexity of the skill of folding pictures. Who would have thought, but it turned out that folding leaves is a mega-complicated matter, much more difficult than cutting out – and for this you already need an understanding of straight lines, and highly developed fine motor skills.
That is why it is better to first practice fine motor skills on other notebooks, and only after them move on to these.
4. Learning and Growing Series
The desire of parents to immediately teach the newborn Chinese and quantum mechanics is understandable. Until recently, I was no exception, teaching a child the higher sciences, desperately constructing a hadron collider from pasta and molecules from gummies.
Alas, the little ferret just ate my molecules, refusing to understand about photons, benzene rings, and even simple hydrogen.
It took me to give birth and grow up to 2.5 years of another child to understand that in the beginning there must be basic skills – and only them, and then everything else.
What I’m talking about: The Learning and Growing series is designed for children who already have basic pencil and preferably pen skills. If this is not about you yet, you definitely don’t need to start with notebooks in this series with a 2-year-old baby.
Strictly speaking, you don’t have to take this series at all – it is additional and stands somewhat apart in the KUMON card (read more about this series here), but classes on it with kids will greatly simplify the transition to adult notebooks.
In general, if you decide to take this series to work, then go through it in the following sequence:
- Count from 1 to 30
Why after “Lines” is it worth taking “Count from 1 to 30” and not the seemingly simpler “Labyrinths”? Surprised? The fact is that “Counting from 1 to 30” is from the “Learning and Growing” series – these are essentially the same “Lines”, but they need to be drawn by points – numbers.
The kid will continue to train drawing straight lines, and the mother next to him will call out loud the numbers through which the baby draws these lines. Involuntarily, he will remember the name of “this squiggle” that got in his way, and when you move on to the “adult” account, you won’t have to remember the names anymore, you will only work out the spelling.
Why not start at the age of 2 with “Labyrinths”? It’s easy here too.
Why do we need labyrinths? That’s right, for training orientation in space, the ability to see the whole (input and output) and highlighting the private (a specific track).
The child should not go through all the paths and wander. You need to look at the labyrinth for several minutes, find the entrance and exit, find the desired path with your eyes, then go through it with your finger (at subsequent stages, this step is removed), then lead with a pencil. Only one single correct path should be drawn on the picture.
You can read more about mazes – why they are needed and how to deal with them in the classroom – in this article, but here I propose to consider the following thesis: a 2-year-old baby does not have the necessary connections in the brain for analysis and synthesis tasks. They will appear closer to 3 years. And before this age, you are unlikely to be able to explain to the child why you can’t go through the labyrinths “through the wall”.
Well, let’s say that it is you who can explain this to your baby at 2 years old. But the goal of labyrinths about training the whole and the particular will still not be solved – he will move along one path to a dead end, along the second to a dead end – and so on, deleting all the paths in the entire maze.
The passage of labyrinths will bring exactly the same benefits as drawing a path from the “Lines” notebook. Whether it is a pity for you to use the book with labyrinths for other purposes – decide for yourself …
However, I note that KUMON provides a special notebook about mazes and for the smallest – from the classic series – “Simple mazes”. You will get to this notebook much faster.
KUMON baby card
So, based on everything written, your route will be approximately the same as written below.
A stage is the passage of one or more notebooks from start to finish.
While we are going through the stickers, we will study only one notebook at a time. Starting from the third stage (when we finished both notebooks with stickers), we take into work three notebooks in succession.
- Stage 1:
- Zoo Stickers
- Stage 2:
- Vehicle Stickers
- Stage 3 :
- “Let’s cut” (with a bear),
- “Let’s glue” (with a dog),
- “Let’s draw” (with a cat).
- Stage 4:
- “Let’s cut. Funny stories”,
- “Let’s glue. Funny stories”,
- “Let’s draw. Funny stories”.
- Stage 5:
- “Let’s cut. Funny animals”,
- “Let’s glue. Funny Animals”,
- “Let’s put the pictures together” (with a bunny).
- Stage 6:
- “Let’s cut. Delicious tasks”,
- “Let’s glue. Delicious tasks”,
- “Let’s put the pictures together. Funny stories”.
- Stage 7:
- “Learning and growing. Lines”,
- “Learning and growing. Counting from 1 to 30”,
- “Learning to color”.
- Stage 8:
- Simple Lines,
- Learning and Growing. Labyrinths”,
- “Learning to color. In zoo”.
With the maximum speed that a child of 2 years is capable of in 20 minutes, most likely the plan on this page will last you at least 4 months (but most likely 5-6 months). And there the child, both in age and in skills, will mature to notebooks at the age of 2-4 years.
Then take a look at the full map page (link coming soon).
Enjoy your studies and a lot of patience!
Kumon. Liven up the picture! Liven up the picture! Animals from the hobby market “ZIGZAG”
Weight of one copy:
Width: 22 cm, Height: 29 cm (60×90/8) (Large format book)
Country of production of goods:
The year of publishing:
This workbook helps develop KUMON’s individualized learning skills in the Cut and Glue section. A series of notebooks “Relive the picture!” designed to develop fine motor skills. The child will have to cut out the details of different shapes and stick them on the pictures. You can play with ready-made applications! For example, it is worth moving the detail and the hippopotamus will open its mouth, and the peacock will spread its magnificent tail. Interactive tasks will help to involve the child in the learning process! The notebook is suitable for children who have already mastered the work with scissors, learned how to fold paper, and also mastered working with glue.
In parallel with the work on the notebook “Revive the picture!” important:
– continue to develop spatial thinking and prepare a hand for writing with notebooks “Labyrinths. Around the World”;
– continue training logical thinking and spatial thinking with the notebooks “Development of thinking. Logic” and “Development of thinking. Spatial thinking.”
After completing the work on the notebook to consolidate the skill, go to:
– to the second notebook “Relive the picture! Transport”
– to perform more complex crafts in the workbook “My first crafts”.
How to study from a notebook
Study with workbooks five days a week. Each task takes approximately twenty minutes to complete. The child should not get tired of classes, then he will study more regularly and with great interest!
Tips for parents
First you need to check whether the child knows how to handle scissors. And also, are the scissors and glue chosen correctly.
Complete tasks on several pages daily. Finish classes when the child is not tired and wants to work out more.
Before offering the child a task, cut the sheet along the marked lines.
Then read the instruction “How to animate a picture?” and collect the craft.
You can play with the finished application! All pictures are movable.
The book will help to interest the child in a particular topic. The author of the series invites parents to take their kids to the zoo or museum, and read together about the animals they see and transport in children’s encyclopedias.
Who is this notebook for?
The notebook is intended for classes with children from 4 years old.