Kumon maths - experiences?

(16 Posts)
geekgirl Sun 02-Sep-07 14:21:50

I'm considering enrolling my dd1 in a Kumon maths programme - just wondering what experiences others have had with this?

Dd1 (8, about to go into Y4) used to be very good at maths (G&T register apparently.. hmm) but has lost ground completely in the past year. She struggles with simple equations and doesn't seem to have been taught/learnt the basics - e.g., I noticed that when we play games using several dice, she will count the individual eyes rather than recognise the amounts immediately. She has not been taught times tables properly at all angry and also seems unfamiliar with ways of simplifying mathematical problems and still uses her fingers.
My mum is a very experienced primary school teacher, head teacher and inspector, and was really shocked at dd1's lack of skills when she saw her a few weeks ago.

Anyway, we need to sort this out because she will end up far behind at this rate - will Kumon help?

Of course I'll also go and talk to her teacher to find out what exactly has gone wrong...hmm

wheresthehamster Sun 02-Sep-07 14:30:28

Your dd could have been mine.

Dd2 was in yr 5 when I noticed the same thing and the school were really unhelpful because she wasn't appearing to be that far behind.

I looked at Kumon and realised that dd2 (nor me) wouldn't have the commitment needed to make it successful.

I got a tutor for 2 terms, and although I couldn't put my finger on what exactly she did for dd, the fog lifted and she got a level 5 at ks2 and is above average still going into year 8.

Sorry - just read this back and not much help!

ivykaty44 Sun 02-Sep-07 14:32:09

My dd has done kumon for 3 years last april, she is now going into year 4 this week. I have found it very good, the oncentration is on the basics and developing confidence in maths.

Learning is done at the speed for each individual child and not skipping over things and moving on before the child is ready.

each stage is marked by a test and the child doesn't move on until they pass the test.

You do have to be disaplined to do the book each day and I get my dd to do her book each morning as she has had enough by the end of school and never does aswell. You also have to mark each days the work they do and the child corrects any mistakes.

geekgirl Sun 02-Sep-07 14:34:46

no, thank you, that is useful.

I have also been considering a tutor instead - mainly because Kumon would mean a 20 min dash across town straight after school, and that seems a bit much for a barely 8 year oldhmm.

geekgirl Sun 02-Sep-07 14:36:56

so how does it work, ivykaty? do they go for one lesson a week and then do work sheets each day? How long is the lesson?

On the website it says that the session is from 3:45 - 5:45 - sounds terribly long after a school day hmm

frogs Sun 02-Sep-07 14:47:15

Geekgrl, I've posted before about my ds's kumon experiences, both positives and negatives -- the threads must be in the archive somewhere.

The session is a drop-in -- the times given are the opening times for that centre, your child goes for as long as it takes him/her to do a workbook, get it marked and get feedback -- maybe 30 mins?

Kumon can be very very good for deficiencies in basic understanding of how numbers work. It's also very good at teaching children to work to time pressure and the leaders (tho' each group is different obv.) are good at motivating the children with stickers and awards. The daily worksheet is not a massive burden once you get into a routine -- after breakfast but before school is the best time if you can manage it.

On the downside, the Kumon syllabus is very narrowly focussed on pure maths (number work) -- if you have a child who is not a natural mathematician like my ds, you may encounter problems with the child moving from being able to do 17-9=8 to word-based number problems involving the same calculations. And many NC topics such as shapes, symmetry, graphs etc are not covered at all. I think Kumon possibly also encourages children to rely on short-term memory for the solutions to the whatever sums they're doing at the time -- ds's ability to retrieve the answers to simple sums decayed quite quickly once he stopped going.

He's going to start with a tutor in January to give him more rounded, personal support, and actually it doesn't work out that much more expensive.

But ignore both the Kumon evangelists and the Kumon haters -- the truth lies somewhere in between, though the proponents can come across as slightly culty! Check it out and see whether you think it's for you.

ivykaty44 Sun 02-Sep-07 14:48:23

The center is open in my area from 3.30 till 6pm on a friday, I take my dd to the center at 3.30 and she does one booklet at the center and this can take anywhere between 10 mins and 30 mins - then she waits will it is marked and then brings home her 6 booklets for the rest of the week. Your not at the enter the whole time it is open - its more like a drop in. Sometimes if my dd has gone to a freinds for tea then I have poped in and just picked up her booklets for the week or we go later at say 5.30pm

Dd will then do one booklet each day and we take them back to the center to hand in the next friday (I have to mark the booklets during the week and dd corrects any mistakes)

They keep a tally at the center of how well she is progressing using the booklets.

My dd does add up and subtract without using her fingers, it is from practice and practice and practice, for the first two years dd did only adding and subtracting and nothing else, now she has moved on to times tables....ahh. Hopefully though it will give her a good grounding of the basics you need in life.

Reallytired Sun 02-Sep-07 16:52:19

What about

http://powerof2.co.uk/

I have to admit I have not tried it yet, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper than Kumon. I am thinking about getting it for my son.

lonedad2 Wed 03-Oct-07 10:40:21

How much is Kumon anyway? Is it worth the trip or not?

We got our dd (yr5) a tutor from Russell Group Tutors. Don't have the details on me now but could dig them out if anyone's interested?

Madsometimes Wed 31-Oct-07 12:13:36

I am a Kumon parent and recommend it. However, it is not an easy fix and takes a lot of time. You go to the Kumon centre once or twice a week, and wait there for about an hour while your child does their work. On other days you sit with your child at home while they work. Often they will not want to do the work because it can be boring and repetitious, so you have Kumon arguments. That's the negative. On the positive note, my daughter used to say she did not like school because she could not understand the work. She doesn't say that anymore. She's probably never going to be a natural in maths, but last year she got a 2a in keystage one SATS. This would not have happened if I have not intervened.

nickToD Wed 31-Oct-07 23:56:29

How is an 8 year old child who counts on their fingers considered to be g&t? Sorry but schools are supposed to choose 5% OF children to be G&T. Depends on who they are comparing child against. In school where I work my dd1 would be considered g&t, in school where she went only slighlty above average.

There are a lot of positives about Kumon:

They start them at a level lower than their current level of achievement/ability, so that they are encouraged by their ease of progress

It is repetitive, so it makes sure that they learn things - gradually they automatically realise that 5x5=25, rather than always having to work it out (so times tables get learned, without them having to learn the tables)

There is a lot of praise for good work - stickers etc, which works especially well with younger ones

They are encouraged to use their brains to calculate sums rather than just relying on calculators.

But

It is a commitment from you - they have to do a paper/test every day which should take 10 minutes (can take more if they struggle) and then you have to mark it.

They have to do this every day - including holidays and Christmas day.

It is very hard to motivate them once they get to secondary age.

We had to stop it because my business went into a significant decline and we simply couldn't afford it. On balance, I would definitely have continued it as I think the benefits outweighed the negatives. But both my boys hated it and really resented having to do it, and it was a real uphill struggle to keep them focussed and get them to do the work - so I'm not sure how long we would have lasted in the long run.

But if you're having problems as you suggest it's definitely an option I'd explore - but in your situation, after my experience, I would also explore a personal tutor as well.

nickToD Thu 01-Nov-07 00:11:32

Sorry but 8 year olds should not be having personal tutors unless special needs. What is the benefit of children being forced to do yet more school work especially if they hate it and resent it.. It will only turn them off learning. Let them be children. If school is that bad that child is not reaching potential change schools.

twinsetandpearls Thu 01-Nov-07 00:14:03

We have a few kids that do kumon at the secondary school I teach in, tbh it does not seem to be helping the ones in my year group.

I would go and talk to the school first before commiting to kumon, if they are not teaching your dd right they need to know.

Saturn74 Thu 01-Nov-07 00:18:44

It's expensive, time-consuming, and the children found it very, very boring after the initial few weeks.

We persevered for about a year, and although it helped the children to consolidate their number bonds, and helped with subtraction and multiplication, it was simply too dry and too dull in the end.

They now have a tutor for maths instead, and have come on in leaps and bounds.

(And I don't have to do the endless Kumon marking anymore! grin)

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