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What is your opinion on Kumon?


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#1 Magratte

Posted 23 August 2018 - 08:50 AM

So it seems that a lot of children from our school and neighbouring schools (primary) in our area attend Kumon. I am curious what benefits is has? Any primary teachers here? WDYT? If a large number of children attends would it disadvantage those who don’t attend? E.g higher expectations at school?

#2 seayork2002

Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:02 AM

To be perfectly honest not much - but there must be something to it as where I live there are heaps of kids who go there and we now have another alternative opened. Not sure how it relates back to their day to day schooling

Edited by seayork2002, 23 August 2018 - 09:02 AM.


#3 Liz Lemon

Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:43 AM

We’ve only just started (i.e. she’s up to about session 6).  There’s a free trial period running at the moment (August) so we got the first four sessions free – now we’re paying.

So far I have mixed feelings about it.

My daughter is in Grade 1 and has already fallen way behind with maths.  She just does not get some key addition and subtraction concepts which then makes it impossible for her to keep up with the rest of the class as they move on to other things.

Kumon is just worksheets, worksheets, worksheets.  Drills, rote and repetition.  Which for maths, at this level, I think is necessary.  It does not follow what they’re doing in the classroom at all.

She goes twice a week for half an hour and does worksheets at home every night (they don’t take very long – biggest problem is her resistance to doing them and I’m running out of bribery options already).  She doesn’t hate them – but would just rather be playing with her dollshouse J.

“They” (Kumon) say that they expect most students to be about a year ahead of their class once they’ve been doing Kumon for a year but I have no idea if that’s true.  If we’re not seeing much progress in about six months (when we have to take a break for a family holiday anyway) we will probably switch to Kip McGrath, which I understand follows the curriculum.

Sidebar – I check the work she brings home from class and have spotted mistakes in it that her Kumon teacher has marked as correct!  I’ve raised it with them once already.  Clearly the “tutors” can be quite overworked with helping and correcting depending on how many students are there at a given time …

This ê is an interesting article about the value of rote learning in some maths contexts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/opinion/stem-girls-math-practice.html

#4 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:54 AM

I heard a maths consultant talk about Kumon.  He said there are four major areas of mathematical instruction in school and Kumon only covers one of them - basically quick recall of number facts.  So when they say that children will be a year ahead they will only be a year ahead in one area.  If your child is struggling in maths its more likely to be in a difficulty with the concepts that are being taught and Kumon doesn't help much with that.  (eg it doesn't teach you WHY ten minus one equals nine but will teach you to quickly reponse 'nine' when that question is asked).   I have noticed Kumon children are quite confident in their maths - probably because they can quickly give an answer to some questions.  

There are a lot of resources available online and through books to help kids learn number facts.  Things like studyladder, mathletics etc have an annual subscription which is as much as the fortnightly Kumon fee.

#5 Riotproof

Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:59 AM

I would talk to your child’s teacher first. They will probably have some strategies for helping you help her.


There are worksheets online if you really want her to practise, but I think understanding the concept is more important.

#6 Magratte

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:00 AM

Thank you for your insight and sharing the article, will read it later today.

#7 Liz Lemon

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:15 AM

View PostElizabethandfriend, on 23 August 2018 - 09:54 AM, said:

... it doesn't teach you WHY ten minus one equals nine but will teach you to quickly reponse 'nine' when that question is asked).   I have noticed Kumon children are quite confident in their maths - probably because they can quickly give an answer to some questions.  

I’m actually not sure what this means.  Even I don’t understand “why” 10 minus 1 equals 9.  My answer would be “it just does” J!

So at this stage I want her to just know it.  Like I do.  And so far I think Kumon will help with that.

She also very much needs a confidence boost with her maths and it’s helping with that too (helping her to see that she can learn and remember number facts with enough repetition).

But we’re not wedded to it at all and for higher maths concepts we will probably look to an actual tutor.

#8 qak

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:16 AM

From a friend - she said Kumon is boring and kills any interest in learning ... I wouldn't do it to my kids.

My DD was struggling with Yr 5 maths earlier this year - I'm good at maths but (a) can't teach; and (b) don't know about all the strategies they learn at school. She would be crying over her homework book as there were just questions with no explanation as to how to do them.

I went to Dymocks and had a look at what they had - I ended up buying "Easy-learn Maths" books by Julin Tan (Coroneos Publications). There are two for each grade K-6. These have great explanations, examples and exercises ranging from easy to difficult.

DD loved them, and they gave her so much confidence I no longer have to bribe/yell to get her maths homework done.

#9 Bam1

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:19 AM

No personal experience but my DS does sports practice at a community centre which also has some rooms hired out to Kumon and it always amazes me that the kids running in with big smiles on their faces aren't the kids going to play sport but the ones with Kumon folders!

#10 seayork2002

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:21 AM

View PostBam1, on 23 August 2018 - 10:19 AM, said:

No personal experience but my DS does sports practice at a community centre which also has some rooms hired out to Kumon and it always amazes me that the kids running in with big smiles on their faces aren't the kids going to play sport but the ones with Kumon folders!

I hear them crying in the bathroom especially the little 3/4 year olds

#11 Liz Lemon

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:34 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 23 August 2018 - 10:21 AM, said:

I hear them crying in the bathroom especially the little 3/4 year olds

Really?  This seems a bit dramatic.  Kumon is not child abuse.  It's boring boring maths.

Incidentally (not on the same point) our child's teacher was supportive.  Which surprised me.

#12 Riotproof

Posted 23 August 2018 - 10:36 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 23 August 2018 - 10:21 AM, said:



I hear them crying in the bathroom especially the little 3/4 year olds

Poor darlings. I don’t really understand why parents are sooo fixated on services like this.

#13 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 23 August 2018 - 11:25 AM

Since Kumon is big in Singapore and now I see it here, I am upset. These afterschool cram places are not how education is for Australia or NZ.  I would probably consider something more Australian created like Kip McGarth or similar before Kumon for tutoring.

Edited by Chelli, 04 September 2018 - 08:08 PM.


#14 Liz Lemon

Posted 23 August 2018 - 11:41 AM

OP it seems you will find a lot of opinions (and resistance) here.  Mainly from people who haven't tried it :)

Not really understanding the fear and hatred of Kumon.  Particularly from those who have no personal involvement with it.

I would recommend doing the free trial period.  Or alternatively buying a Kumon book to get a feel for it.  And then if you don't like it, don't send your child.

#15 FearsomeFeralFreak

Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:14 PM

My son tried it for a little while and we found no value in it.
They get them started on such easy, easy work it is a waste of time. Frankly it feels like a big money making scam. He quit before he got up to anything challenging or useful but after we had spent too much money!

It might have been useful eventually, but it felt like they wanted to ensure they made a good wad of cash out of you first.

Edited by FearsomeFeralFreak, 23 August 2018 - 12:17 PM.


#16 chillipeppers

Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:20 PM

View PostLiz Lemon, on 23 August 2018 - 09:43 AM, said:

We’ve only just started (i.e. she’s up to about session 6).  There’s a free trial period running at the moment (August) so we got the first four sessions free – now we’re paying.

So far I have mixed feelings about it.

My daughter is in Grade 1 and has already fallen way behind with maths.  She just does not get some key addition and subtraction concepts which then makes it impossible for her to keep up with the rest of the class as they move on to other things.

Kumon is just worksheets, worksheets, worksheets.  Drills, rote and repetition.  Which for maths, at this level, I think is necessary.  It does not follow what they’re doing in the classroom at all.

She goes twice a week for half an hour and does worksheets at home every night (they don’t take very long – biggest problem is her resistance to doing them and I’m running out of bribery options already).  She doesn’t hate them – but would just rather be playing with her dollshouse J.

“They” (Kumon) say that they expect most students to be about a year ahead of their class once they’ve been doing Kumon for a year but I have no idea if that’s true.  If we’re not seeing much progress in about six months (when we have to take a break for a family holiday anyway) we will probably switch to Kip McGrath, which I understand follows the curriculum.

Sidebar – I check the work she brings home from class and have spotted mistakes in it that her Kumon teacher has marked as correct!  I’ve raised it with them once already.  Clearly the “tutors” can be quite overworked with helping and correcting depending on how many students are there at a given time …

This ê is an interesting article about the value of rote learning in some maths contexts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/07/opinion/stem-girls-math-practice.html
we did kip McGrath for about a year and their focus is around naplan. We didn’t find it helpful.

#17 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:35 PM

View PostLiz Lemon, on 23 August 2018 - 10:15 AM, said:



I’m actually not sure what this means.  Even I don’t understand “why” 10 minus 1 equals 9.  My answer would be “it just does” J!

So at this stage I want her to just know it.  Like I do.  And so far I think Kumon will help with that.

She also very much needs a confidence boost with her maths and it’s helping with that too (helping her to see that she can learn and remember number facts with enough repetition).

But we’re not wedded to it at all and for higher maths concepts we will probably look to an actual tutor.

Because if you don’t understand the concept you can’t apply it to harder maths.  Eg 100 - 1 = 99.  You cant rote learn every possible sum!

#18 Riotproof

Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:43 PM

View PostElizabethandfriend, on 23 August 2018 - 12:35 PM, said:



Because if you don’t understand the concept you can’t apply it to harder maths.  Eg 100 - 1 = 99.  You cant rote learn every possible sum!

Exactly.

I feel like it's such a mistake to discount why schools have moved away from "the old" methods and onto different ones.

#19 TheGreenSheep

Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:50 PM

A friend keeps recommending Kumon to me as her child finds it helpful. Digging deeper it raises his confidence, not necessarily his ability, or in turn his results. He always seems to be doing maths sheets after maths sheets.

At this stage I think DS benefits greater from 1:1 tutoring tailored for his learning difficulty.

#20 AdelTwins

Posted 23 August 2018 - 01:03 PM

Our school uses Back to Front Maths.
https://www.backtofrontmaths.com.au

As far as I can see, it tries to make the kids problem solvers rather than knowing the answer from memory.

#21 AdelTwins

Posted 23 August 2018 - 01:09 PM

Also, if you are talking about basic maths (addition/subtraction) then lots of kids games can help.
Monopoly
Yahtzee
Dragonwood

Cooking from a recipe is good for fractions.

#22 ~J_WTF~

Posted 23 August 2018 - 01:14 PM

Blackjack is good for kids counting and if you use 5 cents for betting, its a double bonus as they learn about money too ;)

#23 mpoppins92

Posted 23 August 2018 - 01:39 PM

View PostLiz Lemon, on 23 August 2018 - 10:15 AM, said:



I’m actually not sure what this means.  Even I don’t understand “why” 10 minus 1 equals 9.  My answer would be “it just does” J!

So at this stage I want her to just know it.  Like I do.  And so far I think Kumon will help with that.

She also very much needs a confidence boost with her maths and it’s helping with that too (helping her to see that she can learn and remember number facts with enough repetition).

But we’re not wedded to it at all and for higher maths concepts we will probably look to an actual tutor.

But you do actually know what this means. You know that you had something with the value of 10 and you removed the value of one and it left you with the value of 9. It’s just something you learnt so long ago it is ingrained. Children have to learn that and then understand why they learnt it and how it can be applied.

Kumon can definitely improve mathematical confidence in children but it is rote learning. A session with a private tutor to learn where she is struggling may be better placed. If she needs practice it may help but if she is missing a concept like place value or similar she needs help understanding that concept. Rote learning won’t help if she’s faced with a sum she doesn’t know and she can’t apply the skills to problem solve.

#24 mayahlb

Posted 23 August 2018 - 01:57 PM

We play a lot of numero here. It's got lots of addition going on (mainly up to 15). It has definitely helped with solidifying number concepts.

Also dice games. You can buy dice with larger numbers (we have ones, tens, hundreds on our and use them to make all sort of combinations, which is great for place value). Playing "shop" with plain counters is great.

My kids for some reason love word problems rather then the maths sums. I just printed off a bunch from the net and we talk about it.

Lots of practical types things.

Worksheets don't do anything for my kids except get them to remember facts. Which admittedly we have been memorising times tables but he also understand the concept behind times tables and why memorising them is good, as then he can use them to figure out harder sums (this is the big kid, but the yr 2 kid is also learning the concept behind multiplication before they work on memorising them)

#25 annodam

Posted 23 August 2018 - 02:15 PM

This is not a Kumon plug, we could also be talking about Kip Magrath too.

A few kids at our school go to Kumon & have done since the Junior years.
It’s kept them at the very top of the Math class every year.   They have always been 2yrs ahead of the rest of the cohort.
Now in the Senior years, they’re excelling doing Methods & Specialist.

My eldest struggled in Math last year in Yr 10, so we ended up getting her a private Tutor, it was way too late by then, that ship had sailed.
She has since dropped Math because it was way too hard for her.  I was disappointed to say the least, as I value Math as a subject & wanted my kids to do well in it.
Not excel mind you, but going through school with Math as a C grade student gets you stuck in Yrs 11/12.
Every one of my daughters fiends at school who is doing Math in Yrs 11 & 12 has some form of tutoring, whether it be Kumon or a private lesson at home.

With Kumon as with everything, just because you don’t see an improvement in say 6mo to a year, it doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time & money, it takes time & patience.
Keep at it & you will reap the rewards.

My youngest just “gets” Math but as he gets older he too will have a Tutor, some people will ask, why have a Tutor when he understands Math?  
Well my answer is, the same reason people get coaches/instructors for dancing, swimming, musical instruments etc., to get better!



EFS:

Edited by annodam, 23 August 2018 - 02:17 PM.





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