To Kumon or not to Kumon. That is the question.

(968 Posts)
megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 00:28:30

DD is starting school in September. Below are the Pros and Cons I have been debating recently.

1. She is bright, so should be okay without extra help in school
2. It is too early to put her through this
3. Kumon is expensive and time consuming.

The Pros

1. It may give her that bit of extra confidence at school
2. Earlier is better as then she can grow with that system
3. Its not so expensive as to be prohibitive.

I really cant decide either way. Please someone help?

Feenie Sat 15-Jun-13 21:40:51

And you definitely can't up three old threads to do so.

Feenie Sat 15-Jun-13 21:35:41

I don't think you are allowed to conduct market research on MN without permission.

ajensen Sat 15-Jun-13 21:30:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

margarateishere Mon 25-Feb-13 23:17:28

I did extensive research on this topic and those are the most insightful research papers I was able to digg up:

A study of the Kumon method used as an in-school supplemental program to traditional mathematics instruction in the fourth-grade
Hughes, Raymond Carroll. The University of Mississippi, 1994. 9431566.

Significant Improvements in Statewide Test Results As A Consequence of Using A Japanese-Based Supplemental Mathematics System, Kumon Mathematics, in an Inner-Urban School District. ... by Barbara Oakley, Doreen Lawrence, Jesse Petway, Mark Jackson, Pat Dessert, Darrin Hanna

Using the Kumon Method to Revitalize Mathematics in an Inner-Urban School District. Barbara A. Oakley, Doreen Lawrence, Walter L. Burt, Broderick Boxley, Christopher J. Kobus

Elaine28 Sun 24-Feb-13 20:01:32

I decided to give Kumon a go after watching DS play super mario bros. He was only 4 and had started playing it with his big cousins. He was more than happy to repeat the same thing over and over till he corrected his mistake and was able to move onto the next level. He wasn't bothered that he kept having to do the same thing again till he got it right. Kids seem to like repetition, they don’t mind watching the same show on tv for the 100th time. Millions are spent developing these games and millions of kids love them so they’ve got something right.

Sure enough he loves the challenge of doing his Kumon and trying to beat his own time. Yes some days he whinges and doesn't want to do it, but then sometimes he doesn't want to tidy his room and sometimes he doesn't want to go to the toilet when he's dancing on the spot, so I guess that's life!
£55 is a lot of money, but he doesn’t do Judo or tennis etc. and I'd rather spend the money on giving him something that gives him so much confidence in school.

mumofteen Fri 22-Feb-13 17:25:51

Kumon works! Surely everyone realises we learn through repetition. How does a baby learn to talk, how do we learn to play an instrument. In order to be good at something we need to practise it over and over till we have mastered it. Andy Murray has hit more than a few balls to get to where he is today, Tiger Woods has put in a good few hours of practise. If you want to understand why the Kumon Method works read "The Talent Code: Greatness isn't born. It's Grown" Daniel Coyle and "Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practise". If you want to master something you need to practise it a little every day. I have two DD's doing Kumon, both were middle of the road students before they started. Now DD1 is in the top Maths set in the top school according to the Times List, this is not a coincidence. Is she overworked and pushed too hard - No! she does 15-30 mins maths a day, and still manages to squeeze in 4-5 hours on facebook/TV smile
If your thinking about Kumon give your child a chance and decide for yourself, you wont regret it.

Feenie Thu 21-Feb-13 20:52:01

You have to pay for those kinds of opportunites, margarateishere.

margarateishere Thu 21-Feb-13 20:20:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Deepdiver Sun 09-Dec-12 07:48:45

I have an 11 year old and a 7 year old. Both went into the Kumon system early (pre school) and benefitted greatly. I disagree that it does not give them confidence - being able to answer questions in class that others cannot is a great source of confidence and pride. They both achieve at the highest level, I know I'm very lucky - this year they got gold and silver and double gold at the awards. BUT - we are now looking at reducing the amount done drastically, obviously more for the 11 year old, theres still valuable lessons for the younger one. They have learned the basics that Kumon does well and now the benefit curve has begun to slow, allowing us to consider other ways of developing their abilities.

And it never meant they didnt play, or read. Kumon took up twenty minutes or so a day - we did it either straight after school or immediately after breakfast on a weekend. Easy peasy.

HRHLadyG Tue 06-Nov-12 20:25:23

Let her settle, let her play and explore her new school world without pressure. These first years are about learning to learn and enjoy learning NOT being top of the class. She's more likely to develop good self esteem and self confidence if she feels she's able to be as she is!

Crouchendmumoftwo Tue 09-Oct-12 23:51:33

Your poor daughter she is only 5 let he be a child and enjoy her childhood without forcing more restrictions on her and what you think is best. Let her be creative, play with friends, have free time and none of all this pressure. She has plenty of that to come, she has school. She is going to be a very subdued put upon child at this rate. Lighten up and let her be a child and enjoy herself a bit!
I really feel for her it doesnt sound like there is much fun in store for her. Take her to the park in her free time, make cakes, have giggles dont stick her in a room and put pressure on her. It sounds ghastly! Most of all lighten up she is just a little child.

Seth Tue 09-Oct-12 22:30:08

sorry posted previous message in wrong thread - will move

Seth Tue 09-Oct-12 22:29:16

Hi. I have a question re home schooling and wondered if anyone had any first hand experience of what a parent has to do in order to homeschool. I am not asking for me my DD is in year one at a local school. It's actually more of a concern for a friend of mine. She works full time and her DH is full time carer for their DS who is 4. He has never been to nursery or a playgroup and there are no plans for him to. He doesn't have any regular interaction with children his age

Now it transpires that the plan is for him to be homeschooled. This is a decision taken by my friend's husband. You could say this is none of my business, and I suppose it technically isn't but I am quite concerned about the whole thing (along with some other friends of ours). The Husband is very strong willed, very religious and does not see a need for his DS to have any interaction with other children. He thinks that all he really needs to know about is God. The DS is a truly lovely boy but is lacking in confidence and would really benefit from seeing other children and being in a school environment

I have googled home schooling to see what one has to do in order to home school and unless I am wrong it doesn't seem that there are any real checks or assessments done in order for a parent to do this. I hope I am wrong and am missing something ?

I haven't even had the chance to ask my dear friend how she feels about this as he was there last time we saw each other but I do know that she feels as if she has less of a voice due to the fact that she is out at work all day. I know it may seem as if I am sticking my nose in but I am not going to try and interfere, I just want to know a little more about it if anyone has any experience of this. Ultimately it's their choice regardless of what I think! Thanks.

marbleslost Tue 09-Oct-12 10:26:27

I think it's good if you have a dc who wants to do it. We tried the Kumon maths when it became apparent mine was doing very well on the literacy side but not very well with maths - just with a view to bringing her up a bit. I wanted her to be doing some basic sums - she was early year 1.

From the start she found the worksheets too long - she didn't have the concentration for them (I think it was 20 pages a day). So the teacher cut them in half. But even then, she just never wanted to do them. We tried all sorts of bribery encouragement but it was painful by the end. We managed a few months and she did progress in some ways - she'd been writing some numbers back to front and things - if anything she could write her numbers properly and go up to 1000. It was very slow progress - I think for four months the worksheets were mainly adding one to numbers up to 500.

I know that her friend, who loves a challenge and has good concentration, would have really enjoyed it and done the worksheet in the recommended ten minutes a day.

But for mine it was like pulling teeth. We'd be there for up to an hour trying to encourage her to do it and end up with an overload of them to do at the weekend because we'd missed days.

I think another factor for me would be how much they really needed it. For us, she wasn't behind as such, just not great at it.

A friend of mine has a dc who was a year behind in both maths and literacy and it has done wonders for him.

NeedsMust Mon 08-Oct-12 17:55:44

I couldn't agree more with what you have said Leavethehighlands. What is right for one child may not be right for another, even within the same family. Is it not a disservice to a child to hold them back as much as it is a disservice to a child not to help them to progress?

NeedsMust Mon 08-Oct-12 17:53:02

There are an awful lot of people here who are jumping on the bash Kumon band wagon! I wonder if these people have ever been in a position as a parent who is desperately worried about their child and how the child is going to achieve. If you haven't been in that situation then firstly I say to you, you are blessed. Secondly I say to you, what gives you the right to put people down who are trying to make it better for their children? The 'one size fits all' education system does not suit every child in our society and there are children who are left behind by the system whether it be from the point of view that they are under-achieving or from the other end of the spectrum where they are not being challenged enough by the education system. Likewise Kumon does not suit every child but it certainly benefits a lot of children who would otherwise be left to flounder. I am an Instructor at a Kumon centre and I can categorically state that I have a centre full of happy and confident children. I am not in business to take money from parents under false pretences. If I feel that I can help a child then I will take them on otherwise I will advise the parents accordingly. I have children who have thanked me for the help that I have given them on the Kumon programme and who have identified for themselves the difference in their own learning abilities since starting on the Kumon programme. It's all too easy for all you parents saying "this is the way it should be done and that is the way it shouldn't be done" just because these are your own personal beliefs - you all need to have respect for other people's beliefs and values and aspirations for their children. But what I will say is that Kumon treats children as people in their own right and will always involve the child in decisions about their studies as part of the program. We are not ogres at Kumon, we work hard to make sure that our children are getting the service that they signed up for and that at all times they are happy. As for forcing children to figure things out for themselves and not helping them - that is total and utter nonsense, yes we do encourage the child to try and figure it out but this is done under observation and if the child is genuinely having difficulty with the topic being studied then one on one tuition is used to help the child to learn the topic. I have NEVER left a child in distress over a piece of work. The child's happiness is my main concern as I firmly believe that only a happy child can develop and make progress.

Megabored Mon 16-Jul-12 18:02:01

Thanks leftthehighlands. My DD started at the lowest level (I think). We had not taught much 'math' to DD. She can do plus and minus with raisens, grapes etc at a basic level, count to 100 but did not know how to 'read' the numbers (higher than 20) etc. We are only doing half 'packs' so that we dont over-burden her.

Maybe the benefits will be realised when we get to higher levels.

I started her on Kumon to get the discipline in before school started. I am not too sure how the school will be here but being Surrey, it may be fine. But I dont want a 'mediocre' school or expectations. She is currently happy to do these fun sheets 10 mins per day so not an issue really. I gave negative points as well as positives as I am sure people want to have a balanced view.

leftthehighlands Mon 16-Jul-12 17:09:03

They do not start all children from the beginning of the Kumon programme. They tested her and despite being only just 4 years old she started several levels higher and she went through levels very quickly to start with. The whole point of Kumon is that the child progresses at a speed that is appropriate for them and not a class of 30 children. My younger child was very able, I had already done a lot at home with her, and she thought the sheets were fun and was totally bored at the Nursery class in school. She had taught herself to read age 3, probably from sitting on my knee from a baby listening to her older brother.
Show me an average state school that will teach yr1 column subtraction & addition, yr 2 up to x12 tables with long multiplication and division. There are some children who do maths because they want to not because they are forced. It was also a lot cheaper than sending the children to private school which was the alternative at the time.

Silibilimili Mon 16-Jul-12 16:58:33

leftthehighlands, thanks for sharing your experience. That's what I am planning to do. Give it up once dd reaches a certain level where her basics are solid. Was your experience same as mine in the early days?

Iamnotminterested Mon 16-Jul-12 14:19:29

Lordy me, your child is 4, OP, and you are paying £50 per month for her to be taught numbers 1-30.

I'm not going to wade in and tell you what my 4 year-old Dd, also starting reception in September can do, but I honestly think you are mad to be paying that money. If you are paying for the discipline of it as you say, do it at home, have a "Learning time" when you devote 15 minutes to stuff like that, you do not need to pay someone.

leftthehighlands Mon 16-Jul-12 13:49:50

I'm going to speak in favour of Kumon, it does work in some circumstances.

Before I get shouted at, I'm also a secondary trained Maths teacher and have also taught specialist "catch-up" maths in KS2. Both my children studied Kumon for two very different reasons. My elder child from yr2 on the advice of an Ed.Psysch as he needed to see the work (rather than the ridiculous amount of verbal only in his school) and repetition. My youngest started the week after her 4th birthday because she ASKED to start and really enjoyed it as Nursery maths was way below her ability and she was bored. I did stop once they had covered all the basic arithmetic up to fractions and they both now thank me for making them do it.

I also now see working as a teacher that many pupils do have excellent problem solving skills and can tell you verbally how to solve a problem but sadly cannot reach the correct answer or are frustratingly (for themselves) slow due to poor basic arithmetic, including times tables. I have met many children who are really being held back in maths once they reach yr 6/7 by their lack of basics. Remember they still need to do a lot of arithmetic without a calculator in KS3 and a calculator is only as good as the person pressing the keys, you still need to be able to estimate the answer.

Some Primary Schools are good at getting children to do fast accurate arithmetic but sadly many are not and often it is the children in the lower ability ranges that suffer the most, repetition can really help in some cases. At the school my children were at the numeracy teaching was terrible, shortly after stopping Kumon we moved county and had they not done Kumon even my bright child would of struggled to keep up at her new school.

I also had a friend whose child had SEN and the Kumon centre did adapt the work for them, the SEN child made the most amazing strides. The centre we used never did hard sales to peoples houses, they preferred you to come to the centre and talk to other parents whose children were using them.

My children also did baking, swimming, reading and a lot of time using their own imagination playing on their own.

Megabored Mon 16-Jul-12 08:48:29

tread my dd can 'count' up to a 100 too and can tell the time. Kumon does not teach how to tell the time. Not so far anyway. With kumon, she can now put in numbers in a sequence if there are any missing in numbers ranging from 1-30. Recognise that if there is a one before a three, it's calle thirteen. So far things have been easy But we are taking things slowly.
I too would like to know how well this goes after 6 months and then 1 year. Compared to if we had not done this.
We are getting much more out of the 'discipline' and increase in concentration span than anything else at the moment.

treadheavily Mon 16-Jul-12 03:44:00

*So, DD has been 'doing' kumon Maths for past month or so. She can now do the following:
1. Recognise written numbers from 1-30.
2. Hold a pencil
3. Know the numbers out of sequence too (I think some people were saying kumon is rigid and therefore does not reach this).
4. She is really into the numbers now. Sees them everywhere.*

I would be interested to see where she's at in 6m-1yr. My 4yo is, I think, a pretty average kid but he has been able to do that stuff since at least 3, counting to 100 since 2, and can tell the time. It's just through conversation. I think maybe you're paying a price for your insecurities.

goodasgold Mon 16-Jul-12 00:46:00

I think that maths is being taught to a low level in the UK. My dd asks me 'why do I need to know this?' and I say well when you do understand it you do, you just know it.

There are two different teaching styles, knowledge/ learning, I prefer knowledge, nothing against the learning, just for my children I would prefer knowledge.

Megabored Mon 16-Jul-12 00:19:17

Hi there not sure if this link still is okay to feedback on as I am a relatively new poster. So, DD has been 'doing' kumon Maths for past month or so. She can now do the following:
1. Recognise written numbers from 1-30.
2. Hold a pencil
3. Know the numbers out of sequence too (I think some people were saying kumon is rigid and therefore does not reach this).
4. She is really into the numbers now. Sees them everywhere.


1. Sometimes I still think that it is expensive for learning just 1-30 (Gbp 50). But the positive is the discipline of doing 15 mins per day. We would not have consistently sat down with dd for 15 mins to do math. Kumon forces us to do just this.
2. We have to turn up at the centre at least once very week.
3. Maybe I though I would get more for my money like simultaneous equation solving for 4 year olds rather than just learning 1-30!!!

Overall I the k it's good. It's a useful thing for discipline for parents and kids if u can afford the time, effort and money. I don't regret it. But u have to go in having the right expectations!!

Hope this is useful feedback.

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