To Kumon or not to Kumon. That is the question.(976 Posts)
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.
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?
Cons: it's boring.
You can find similar worksheets free on the Internet.
You can buy the workbooks yourself. They are inexpensive. Only get 1 at a time on a subject that interests your DD. No need to spend your time going to classes and making it a chore.
10 minutes a day can be fun but it depends on how you sell it to her.
Cons : it's a drag to keep turning up to the centre.
Cons : reduces the time available for play-dates and after-school clubs.
Cons : sooner you start, sooner child learns Kumon style and resists learning maths in the way state schools teach - check carefully which you prefer as school ethos is more tailored to applying maths rather than calculation.
Cons : If she is bright she will also get bored in class quickly if she knows the content already.
Cons : A bored child in maths is a sure-fire path to low-level class-room disruption.
Fundemental problem - being good at maths WILL NOT make her confident at school, or increase her self-esteem.
Being a good reader will - by Oct she will be comparing colour-bands of all her class-mates, money better spent on intensive reading in my view.
Definitely agree with RosemaryandThyme, that investing in reading is much much more valuable at this stage. I would never pay for Kumon classes as I don't think they offer anything over what you can do with your child at home using their workbooks (apart from more travel time and less time to do other activities!). You also have to recognise that they don't teach maths as such, but make kids good at a narrow range of types of sums by endless repetition. My dd is in year 1. My dh likes them and does bits and pieces at home with her. Her mental arithmetic is very good with number bonds up to 20, she can confidently add and subtract 2 digit numbers, and knows most of her 2,3,4,5,10 times tables but I STILL wouldn't confuse this with being good at maths or being able to problem solve or work things out from first principles. If you use them, I think you have t recognise their limitations and whether you could spend the time more usefully doing something else.
It's boring, expensive, doesn't follow the national curriculum and is a cynical money making exrcise exploiting the insecurities of parents.
I used to work for them. And I would say "don't do it"
I would listen to your con list carefully. Let her learn to enjoy school. Just read with her. Avoid worksheets as well as tutoring. Give her a chance to grow and flourish without pressure.
She hasn't started school and you are thinking about Kumon?
sorry to ask but are you mad?
go and do something interesting with her instead ...have fun!
I can honestly say my DS learnt nothing from Kumon.
mrz, I am neither mad nor a helicopter parent. I just want to ensure my DD is pushed to the best of her abilities. I believe strongly in setting a good foundation in the early years for your child. I also agree with a majority of posters here and do not want to bore her at school by teaching her things she will learn later anyway. As others have said, reading gives more confidence early on. I also believe getting that confidence early on sets a child up for life. Another issue is that when I went through school, an inner city comprehensive, we were never taught grammar or the times tables. The backbone for language and maths. It has not hindered me as my parents ensured I knew these. So I am hoping to supplement and complement where I think the school will lack. I cannot afford to send her to private school so hoping these things will help her in the long run. Also, this wont detract from play as others have said. This is only 20mins a day. Not hrs and hrs.
You can probably see from my post how torn I am.
Try not to presume that your prior experiance of school will be the same for your child.
Both English and Maths are much better now than they were in the 1980's.
There is a difference between supplementing school work (you wont know which "gaps" you'd like filled until child has been at school for at least a few weeks) and deliberatly choosing home learning.
I do choose to formally teach my child at home, in addition to sending them to school, and have always done so. They are 7,5,and 3.
As a result both the 7 and 5 year olds are doing exceptionally well and have been moved to the year ahead (y1 for 5 year old, year3 for y2 seven year old), they are thriving, however this kind of commitment does eat into their play oppotunities, leisure time, and require lots of planning and resources.
honestly - I agree - I wouldn't - if you really feel she need extra help or extension -once she has started school - there are loads of other, cheaper and more fun ways to do it
also loads of reception children are shattered after school so doing extra classes in my view not a good idea in general
No debate to "be torn" about, in my opinion. I wouldn't touch Kumon with a bargepole.
If confidence is what you are looking for why not drama/LAMDA groups/tuition?I agree there is much on tinternet to do to develop maths skills. Music? Languages?
I'm sorry if I offended you megabored but the idea is completely barking IMHO
So because you weren't taught your tables in a secondary school in the 1980s or 90s you are planning to make your 5 year old in 2112 do extra work before she's even started school? Eh?
mrz, no, you did not offend me at all. Sometimes I may verge on the precipice of madness, therefore posted here to get a sanity check. Really appreciate views from everyone. I think your response resonated with my inner goddess.
tweentyten, I am looking to gain academic confidence.Tuition seems 'heavy'. I really do not like the concept of tuition. why not take DD out of school and teach just from tuition?! I want to complement the school system. Not create a school from school iyswim...
Any teachers out there with a view?
I don't think there is a teacher in the land who will agree with Kumon. They will all agree with baking, playing, making and measuring things- and even possibly having a tables song CD for the car. And reading to her loads and loads and loads!
seeker why do you have such strong views on Kumon?
I'm a teacher (I taught reception for two decades and currently teach Y2 - Y1 in September) and you know my opinion
Because I've watched lots of children do it. And I looked into nit for my dd and had someone come to my hose and do the sales pitch. It is incredibly repetitive. Very boring. And I hate anything which homes in on people's insecurities, makes them worse then sells them an expensive solution.
A mathematically able child doesn't need it, and it won't help a less able one because it doesn't do anything to foster understanding or to address specific difficulties.
twentyten, isn't she too young for music? i.e. learning an instrument rather than listening to brain boosting Mozart, Beethoven or twinkle twinkle?
It depends on the instrument. Lots of instruments are just too big for 5 year old, but you can get smaller versions.
TBH, learning an instrument needs a lot of practise and a lot of motivation. It isn't fun at the start- it's just repetitive and irritating if you can't master it (or if your fingers just will not go as fast as you want them to!)
I agree with the others- there are loads and loads of learning opportunities that aren't formal. Baking is excellent. Read the scales. Think about doubling and halving, share the cakes out between different people etc. 8 cakes need red icing, so how many can be blue? Loads of scope.
Why don't you volunteer to work in the school a bit? That way, you can get a feel for the type of maths they do, and it will help reassure you that it's not the same as it was in the 80s.
Seriously, being ahead in maths will just make her bored. The NC starts slowly to ensure all DCs have the basics, but by Y6 it provides a really good grounding for secondary.
Seriously I'd only tutor if you find by Y4/Y5 that your DD is having particular difficulties or that your primary doesn't push bright children to get L5+ or what they need for selective secondary.
Save the money and most importantly the time for something that gives your DD confidence and pleasure.
Having people walking up to her and congratulating her on her singing does DDs confidence more good than any work sheet mark.
Bun tins are great for teaching multiplication arrays so are egg boxes
The research that linked Mozart to brain development was limited, and has since been surpassed with research into broader musical genres - another example of a whole load of "brain-boosting essentials for your baby" that played on parent anxiety,worth a google before buying up the baby einstien shelf.
I'm also a teacher. Think I made my view clear back there too.
I think I understand where you are coming from megabored. I did start kumon for my 3.6yr old DS (shock horo from Mrz and seeker!!) last year because he was not interested in learning at all. Even though he was/is in pre school he just focussed on the playing part. I was not very happy with his progress in his setting in preparing him for Reception and he would not sit with me to learn. So i signed up for both Maths and English as I thought a 3rd party would help me break that attitude. The first week was hard as he cried but eventually he developed an interest and 8 months later he is a different kid that even his pre school has commented on how good he is with numbers and phonics. I have sinced stopped kumon as it has done what I wanted it to do.
Now he is learning to write his name and is having such great pride at his written work.
I do see the point about kumon being repetitive, because it is. It is not for everyone and may not be for your daughter especially if she is bright (like you mentioned) and willing to learn.
If you'd saved your money you would probably find that being 8 months more mature would have achieved the same end result for nothing and without a single tear.
You do not know my son, it had nothing to do with maturity (if it did then teaching primary school kids would be heaven as they would all be able to sit still and learn). and well I prefer to be proactive than reactive . £50 a month is nothing, when some people spend that on dining out and it all ends up in the toilet.
spending that on giving my son a good start is hardly a waste in my opinion.
iyatoda I agree with your dining theory. I am tempted therefore to initially put him in and see how it goes. It can't do any harm. I'd rather try it for a few months then regret later on. I agree with your proactive approach. Why is education so different to swimming? If your cold is crying at swimming you are old to just carry on even at 2 months old. What's going in here?
Cold?! I meant child!!! Predictive text!
We use kumon for our dd who has just turned 6 and in y1.
I do agree with what lots of other posters have said however for us it does what we need it too.
Our dd is very able but lacked confidence and was also not too good at working independently and since starting kumon she has come on leaps and bounds in these areas.
Its not something we plan to do forever but we will continue for as long as dd enjoys doing it.
crying does' nt kill. He is still a happy child. In fact he is a happier child now as he loves what he is accomplishing and is more responsive at pre school which can only be a good thing for teachers like yourself Mrz.
Megabond just to warn you that you would never be encouraged on mnet to do anything academically extra with your child, I do not understand why my self (more so from teachers like Mrz who have been made an expert on this issue by the popular view on Mnet).
Do whats best for your child. I have another DS in YR2 and I did absolutely nothing with him before reception because he was a completely different child to DS2 and he is already a year ahead of his peers according to his teacher. So its not one size fits all when it comes to children, and I'll always be a proactive parent.
Sorry to disappoint you iyatoda but attending Kumon actually makes things more difficult for teachers like me as we have to spend extra time reteaching things the child has been taught.
Kumon isn't academic it isn't even teaching!
So how different is kumon in teaching a child to identify and write 1, 2, 3 than a teacher in a school? what special methods do you use? or do you have a different names for the numbers? of do you teach them to write the numbers standing on their heads or with both their left and right hand?
Utter rubbish. At the centre that we used to attend it was full of parents from state schools who had applied to the centre because their children were not getting maths in school and have been soo happy with their progress never mind the £50 a month, I would not use kumon for DS1 as doesn't need it but if he does I would consider every possible avenue.
The problem is that Kumon isn't academic- it doesn't do anything to help understanding. I wouldn't be so opposed to it if was actually teaching something. Particularly if what it was teaching was in line with the National Curriculum. It's just boring repetitive stuff- there are online places that do much more interesting things that are actually likely to catch a child's attention.
And the though of a 3.5 year old crying because of schoolwork just makes my blood run cold.
Yes I teach them to write the number standing on their head and on their feet and sitting and in any other position you like ... and yes with both hands ... different sizes ... different media .. you name it !
A few years ago I did after school tutoring with a 5-6 year old in the equivalent of YR. She did 10 minutes Kumon daily, 10-20 minutes piano practice, and about 10-20 minutes reading aloud. In total, less than an hour. She had plenty of play dates, and was a lively but tractable child. She has continued to shine and thrive at school. She had parents who were quite firm about the need for practice of skills in order to excel.
perhaps I'm doing something wrong because none of them cry
All I can say is that I don't like the results-it appears to make the DCs very rigid in their thinking.
OP, none of your pros are actually pros at all.
1. It may give her that bit of extra confidence at school. This presupposes that she will lack confidence at school; something you can't possibly know until she starts school.
2. Earlier is better as then she can grow with that system If she doesn't actually have a problem there is no point in trying to solve it earlier.
3. Its not so expensive as to be prohibitive. Again, if it is something you don't need, even if it is affordable, there are still far better things to spend your money on.
I wouldn't bother.
It is very expensive.
The tutors are often students - often sixth form age.
The tutors are not qualified teachers.
There was very little, if any, actual teaching - just sat at a desk answering hundreds of repetitive worksheets under time constraints.
It is death by worksheet.
It requires you and your child to do worksheets every single day as well as attending twice a week.
It is very repetitive.
It doesn't really each a child to understand maths - just focuses on answering questions as fast as possible over and over again.
They start your child on an incredibly low level - apparently to gain confidence but imo to ensure that the child makes so called massive improvements in the first year. The level is VERY low - thing counting dots - even for junior age children.
We looked into it, even had a couple or so trial lessons. Waste of money.
If you really want Kumon - go on Amazon and buy their workbooks - pretty much the same as they do in the sessions anyway.
So you've never heard of children who cry at school? thats a first. My little brother cried for a long time when he started school many years ago. Its not hard to imagine children crying when they are told to do something they don't want to do.
My DS2 just cried today because he did not want to have lunch should I then leave him to starve Mrz?
And he has cried more times than I can care to count on eating, changing into his pyjamas for bed time, brushing his teeth, time to say goodbye to friends who have come over, you name it.
What of my DD who cried this morning because I won't allow her chew on wire?
crazy, confused world this is.
Of course children cry at school. But a 3 year old should not be crying over school work. Over being left at school when he doesn't want to be, possibly. But jot over school work!
Very at the thought of a pre schooler crying at having to learn maths. Why put a little child through that. I mean - why?!
If you want to develop confidence I agree with others - drama. Can work wonders and it is a much better form of confidence that can then be applied to all areas, not just specifics such as Maths.
They don't cry when I say who wants to do a maths job with me iyatoda ...
yes a crazy confused world where three year olds are sent to Kumon
Oh - children cry at school. But not over being forced to work. School, esp reception, just doesn't work like that. Ever heard of learn through play? A far more pleasant experience that, surprise surprise, appears to get good results too!
And we are not even talking of a school age child here - these are toddlers, 3 year olds for goodness sake - only just no longer babies!!!
iya they're supposed to focus on the playing part at 3 and at 4 and I do believe 5 even 6. Kids learn the most from play and in the early years all develop at their own rate.
They have the rest of their school years for w/ss and will learn 100 times more at anything with practical,fun activities.
who made that law because I have never heard of it.
Have you heard of EYFS? It's the statutory curriculum for England (so the law)
EYFS is statutory for all providers for children to age 5y I believe - so that includes school (state and primary) reception years, pre schools, nurseries, etc.
mrz beat me to it.EYFS even childminders have to follow it.Any settings not following it(pre schools included)or say making 3 year olds sit and do w/s would get slated in an OFSTED inspection.
Learning through play hasn't worked for my son. he was disruptive in his setting. He is 4.6 now and what a joy to teach!! the children that were his cohorts in being disruptive 8 months ago are still getting the time out and naughty corner. So 8 months did not 'mature' them and they propably will go on to be disruptive in school.
Like I said, I am a PROACTIVE parent not a oh 'he is just a baby' and then 3 years down the line chasing the SEN provision in school or worse still coming here to seek advise from you lot. Who will then suggest special needs. No thank you.
If he's 4.6 he's still learning through play because he is EYFS
The thing is, iyatoda, is that you can do lots and lots MORE BENEFICIAL maths with your child at home than Kumon could possibly provide - and none of it would involve your child sitting and learning with you, most of it would be free, and all of it would be fun...
Do you, for example:
- Cook together (reading the numbers on the scales)
- lay the table together (everyone needs two plates, count out how many you need altogether)
- Play board games involving dice (the Orchard Toys games are brilliant for this Bus Stop is great for simple addition and subtraction, especially if you talk all the time about how many people are on each bus etc).
- Count things (anything, from apples to stepping stones, from steps to school to cats you pass as you walk along)
- Read numbers (numbers are everywhere. Read them with your child, and discuss them - house numbers on a walk are brliiant for all kinds of maths investigations, number plates on cars are good for reading bigger numbers and e.g. adding all the digits together.)
Not a worksheet or a tear in sight, but some open-ended maths that can challenge every child ...
It's very popular with local children in Singapore, they all seem to be very good at maths. It's good as a tool IMO, you need to be quick with tables etc in order to do maths problems later on. Agree it doesn't help with understanding etc but I'd expect all of that to come from school. Not having to even think about the answer to 7x8 or 9x5 by the age of 7 or 8 is very advantageous IMO. Apparently our school recommend it as an add on for some children.
I think the discipline is good too, the idea that there's a non negotiable 10 minutes where a child has to work isn't a bad thing IMO. It will help when homework becomes part of their lives. Providing there is lots of other play going on etc it won't do harm. It's 10 minutes a day.
That's more than a little bit presumptious on your part, iyatoda.
(Oh, and this is definitely not 'just maths for babies'. DS, before starting school, could read the 4,5 and 6 digit numbers he saw on e.g. lamp-posts, and could work out how many houses would be on each side of the road if the final number on one side was 54, for example)
Save your money, go to the park, count the swings, the steps on the slide, write numbers in the sand pit. Bake cakes and biscuits let them weigh and measure, decorate with smarties they've counted,make numbers with the dough, play dominoes, snakes and ladders, orchard toys have some nice number based games, play shops, get out and about point out numbers on buses and doors and road signs,let them help with shopping "how many apples do we need for our family?" "oh no daddy doesn't like red apples so we need one less how many is that?" "How many do we need if Grandma and Grandpa come for tea?"
All ways to introduce numbers that are fun but will still get the message across.
iya you just can't force it and personally I'd question the setting not him.
Hamish, having a useful store of number facts at 7 or 8 (which the vast majority of childre will acquire in school anyway) is not the same as sending a 3 or 4 year old to Kumon!
So iya, your child was disruptive and has now calmed down at school.
He has also done Kumon.
It doesn't necessarily show that Kumon changed his behaviour. It may be completely irrelevant - his behaviour might well have changed without Kumon, it just happened at the same time. Are all the children who have not done Kumon disruptive??
Ah, I'd missed that OP's child was 3/4? Personally I'd do it around 5 and a half at the very earliest.
Thank you for breaking it down for me Hamishbear. The discipline to sit down for 10mins a day is sooo worth it. I could'nt do it on my own and needed a 3rd party hence kumon. The cost is irrelevant. Like I said people spend more than that on lifestyle choices and don't get crucified for it.
I do not usually contribute but the 'are you mad' from Mrz got my goat. How can a parent be mad for wanting to prepare her child whether she spends £50 or not.
Teacherwith2kids, I would have gladly done all those things with DS2 if would participate, he is quite smart and would automatically switch off if I had suggested any fun things to do with numbers or alphabets. I do not get the opposition to worksheets from kumon to be honest.
Silly correlation Teacher. I did not say kumon is a cure all, in fact if you read all my post I said its not for everyone. But it helped me when I needed it.
what do you imagine are you preparing your child for iyatoda?
Could you explain why I am silly to have suggested that there might be no correlation (except of timing), while you are not silly to have suggested that there is?
You cited as evidence in your own support that those who have not done Kumon are disruptive, which is why I asked the question?
I would do lots of life based maths, baking, shopping,measuring, playing with money, shape games,sharing and lots of ( laying the table dividing sweets), talking about time, halving and doubling and enjoy your time together. I also completely agree that reading would give a massive confidence boost.All things others have suggested and seem wise.
I am signing off now cos the anti mum trying to help DC army is out. For what its worth OP follow your heart and I hope your DD flourishes.
Teacherwith2kids - is it really the case that most 7/8 year olds will be completely secure with times tables? I've found that the vast majority won't have automatic recall. Even those who 'know' them can't generally answer a quick fire round of questions instantly. May just be those I know are behind most others?
Yes Hamishbear it is the case that most 7/8 year olds will be secure with times tables (with automatic recall) I give my 6-7 year olds 50 to answer in 2 mins (written answers) by this stage of the year
I help my children every single day. I just choose free, felxible and enjoyable ways of doing it, that's all.
Just to add I can see that all the maths games, general maths talk (to develop concepts) is probably the better idea but I personally found this very hard. I don't enjoy maths and found that I don't 'talk maths' as often as I should. I find that I do emphasise those things I really love & my DC do best in these areas. Probably horribly selfish but it also springs from the fact I am not that secure or confident about maths myself. In this sort of situation at least Kumon gives children some maths exposure outside school? Even if only giving a child some basic maths tools it has to be better than nothing?
I suspect there must be others out there who do 'talk maths' but don't do it with any exuberance, flair and natural love for maths radiating from every pore. It's far more effective if done this way IME.
Oh Mrz I am preparing my child for school, I am preparing him to learn to sit STILL for 10mins , because he is going to be spending at least 360mins in school and sooner or later the learning through play phase will end and he will have to sit down quietly for longer.
Sorry I could'nt resist.
Could you not teach the same skill (sit for 10 minutes) with a more fun activity - lego, baking, colouring, cutting and sticking, reading a story together, playing a board game - or even an interactive computer maths game?
Why death by worksheet?
Hula it may go against the grain for most of us but I do have many local friends in Singapore who encouraged formal learning very early. It isn't unusual to start with a 'your baby can read' type programme and move on to phonics enrichment at about 3-4 years old. Kumon or Singapore maths also start very early. There is a usually huge amount of exposure and practice before a child goes to school at 6.
Without exception those local children I know are academically advanced for their age. Many are seen as super intelligent. There is a gifted programme in primary schools here, some try to expose their children to it in advance to ensure their child's admission. Many parents also do lots of creative play etc with their children (which tends not to be realised by many).
A friend of DD spent her first 2 or 3 years in India and it was also very common for formal learning to begin from 2y there. The parents actually didn't go in for it so much so she hadn't been forced through the early learning stuff like some are.
Just seems so sad though
it's interesting that these children are seen as super intelligent because they wouldn't necessarily be regarded as such here where greater emphasis is placed on independent thinking and being able to complete pages of maths would be regarded as a low level skill
Perhaps, but we can't help but see things through our own cultural lens.
I think we can be too laid back in the UK and under estimate the value add of extra enrichment - not necessarily Kumon. A child who has been exposed to work sheets or familiar with the concept of doing sums to time will likely fare better when having to work independently for the first time in Y1 etc - when they are presented with a list of sums or simple word problems it won't be for the first time. They might well then have a head start on their peers which may lead to confidence, success breeds success etc.
Mrz - Singapore Maths isn't just about learning by rote. Kumon is just one string to their bow, one arrow in their quiver.
Yes with kumon Mrz et Hula and he is alive and well and right now he is playing racing cars with his brother. 15 mins ago he was.... wait for it .... writing on worksheets. such torture, poor kid. where is social services!!!!
No I'm looking at it though IQ testing perspective.
Children who have been exposed to worksheets at a young age struggle to work independently without the crutch of a worksheet because they don't know where to begin. They are often the anxious ones in the class continually checking that they are doing it right afraid of anything different.
Would agree that could be the drawback. My local friends have signed up for Elan for example. Elan is apparently about creativity, problem solving and innovation not just worksheets and getting quick at arithmetic. There's a whole raft of programmes out here, some are very interesting and many are about creating future leaders and a whole lot of fun actually.
mrz, I do not see why you despise Kumon so much. Being a teacher I expect you to be more open with other concepts. Debating should be your forte. I can understand people who may have tried it and it may not work for them but to react the way you are reacting is surprising me.
Iyatoda, I understand why you did it. I understand I have to do something similar to get my DD aligned to academic work. I understand that she needs a direction for focus like you did with your son. I am trying to catch it early like you have. If Kumon is a means of achieving it, I do not see any harm. As you said, whatever fits for you. I want to increase my daughters concentration span bit by bit and make her more independent in terms sitting on her own and studying. Kumon may help. If it does not after 6 months, I will let it go.
Kumon is not about IQ. No one has sold me that. Kumon is about gaining independence. learning some basic math by rote to speed up the process of learning maths. it hopefully takes away the boredom in the long run of doing quadratic equations. that is my understanding. the worksheet and the concept of a little each day also appeals. if it does not achieve whgat i feel i want to try it for, i will stop. where is the harm?
I was looking for a balanced view. not an almost personal attack on someone who is sharing their experience.
I am not entirely sure why you asked, if you are simply planning to do it anyway.
Hamishbear Sun 17-Jun-12 17:33:10
Mrz - Singapore Maths isn't just about learning by rote.
Sorry Hamishbear I missed this post .. would it interest you to know I use Singapore maths in my classroom ?
It was recommended by a poster on MN and I bought the books (out of my own money) because I'm not open to new concepts.
and I still think Kumon is inappropriate for a three year old
No she wasn't planning on doing it, she was considering it, she wanted advise not a shout down.
She is now going to go for Kumon, not for eternity but to see if it will acheive what she wants, if it doesn't no harm done (to me, but to all others is death by worksheet).
There are kids in state schools learning with methods that Mrz thinks so highly off that are not doing well and are using so many support tools out off school to acheive. In my experience the age of the child is not the issue here its the method she is using that people are so against.
skipping in the fields and counting sheep, counting eggs whist baking will get more favourable response.
To me, it's not just about whether kumon works though. So what if it makes a child fast at mental arithmetic (which is not the same as maths anyway) - its whole ethos just does not fit with EYFS or my own views on parenting.
Yes the kids we get in school who have done Kumon require extensive support to get them to expected maths levels iyatoda
(sorry that was in response to the start of OP's post above mine)
no, i am still looking at other ideas.Komon ticks some boxes but maybe there is something that fits better? I want to make an informed decision. I also did not see after reading all the posts what harm it could do. I am still sitting on the fence.
mrz, I just wanted to find out more. i really do appreciate ALL your views. but if a mother has already taken a step for her child, the worst we can do is make her feel awful for it.
Thank you all. I have appreciated your input.
I did go and try it; still wouldn't recommendd it - infant especially since going to 2-3 of their sessions and seeing how it works.
mrz, what extra support does a Kumon child need? Is it that the class rooms work by the averages so that if yoour child is ahead of the rest of the class by doing Kumon, teachers have to manage them? I really do not understand your point here. Please can you elaborate or give examples? I will also look up Singapore maths. I do not know what that is about. Also, Kumon is also about English. Why are we concentrating on maths alone?
IME Kumon won't make your child top of the class.
Kumon can be good for quick fire mental maths.
But for proper application of maths t doesn't really help - esp if it involves working things out on paper, explaining how you've done it, using given methods of calculation - and doing it in a real life situation rather than a worksheet question.
TBH though for me it was more about questioning what actually teaching my DD was going to get from Kumon and from who? If I was paying £50 a month I wanted more than a bunch of sixth form students with no qualifications with just one older woman (also with no teaching qualifications) supervising it all.
From my own experience (having worked there) the extra help would be for actually understanding mathematical concepts - it matters not a jot if a child can remember that 3x7=21 if they don't understand how that represents itself in real life. If a child is pushed into memorising such things too early they may actually skip that vital stage which they could have picked up by, say, messing around with smarties or something, and it might be hard to learn the concept after the fact if that makes sense
A child who has done Kumon is usually happy when faced with pages of questions in a format they recognise but has no idea where to start with anything "different".
Often they have to be taken back to basics and taught concepts from scratch to develop understanding and that applies equally to maths and English.
You might be interested on this review from an ex Kumon tutor
posted on another MN thread
earlier posts i completely missed re. children in singapore and india. I am really against that type of rote learning. where EVERYTHING is learnt that way. So theoretically, children are good but cannot apply it practically. However, 10 mins a day surely will not harm? times table learnt early is always a good thing surely?
Hulababy, I undersytand Kumon is not the answer to all math questions. All I am looking for is some sort of math confidence and increase in concentration span for my dd. re. 6th formers teaching, I dont mind. I would if I was paying for tuition. I agree with your point. Some may expect proper math teachers for this cost!
mrz thank you for that link. Interesting reading.
I had this very conversation about young children learning maths with a teacher who used to work on the National Maths Strategy team. Their (extremely professional, educated) view was that Kumon can be useful to children who "just don't get it." If they can't see in their heads like most can, that 10 + 5 = 15 and 15 + 15 = 30, 13 + 8 = 21, then they can learn the answers by using a mass repetition technique like Kumon. But only if they can't do it any other way. Otherwise children will learn the right answers without ever "seeing" the answer.
I can see that by sending a child to Kumon from a very young age, you might succeed in them "knowing" the answers which could add to short term esteem, but could provide a barrier to that child being able to work out the answers for him/herself, so detrimental in the long term. I hope I've explained that right.
fuzzpig thanks for that. Understand the issue now.
I seem to be the exception in having good things to say about Kumon.
A few months into Year 1 at our state primary it became obvious that academically my DC was falling behind a friend's DC who was at a prep school. So we started DC on Kumon Maths and only finished at the end of Year 6.
I often sit back and smugly smile to myself when I read threads about how parents can't get their children to concentrate and focus and how things deteriorate into a shouting match between parent and child when the parent tries to get the DC to do homework or to revise for tests. My DC got into this routine at the age of 5.5 and it has prepared him well for an academic future.
Kumon isn't for everyone. That is why there are so many negative testimonials. It helped my DC secure a place at a highly selective school so it obviously worked for us.
Juniper. I'm sorry but your views on music are totally rubbish. Firstly music is not about learning an instrument, yes you can play instruments but you never actually learn one. It is great fun at the start, never repetitive and certainly not irritating. if you are frustrated at not having the capability for fingers to move quickly. Simply play slower. Lots of practice isn't really the case, but effective practise is important. Your view is the one that usually makes people give up.
tiger mother friend of mine had her daughter do it and concluded that it was expensive and boring and if anything switched the child off maths/literacy.
Do you say "cooooooo-mon" or "come on" with "come" pronounced "cum" ? I'm never sure.
Also K'Nex. Is it "conn-ex" or "kay-nex"?
exactly posh, but they will never get. people who use kumon do not suddenly disappear from school and then turn up one day for Mrz and her cohorts to start their unlearning process. They attend kumon alongside school and in most cases the teachers do not know that they are receiving extra help.
The reason I had the confidence to stop kumon was that DH and I had already decided to not even attempt the state sector with DS2 because of all this dumb them down and such strong opposition to hard work. He starts pivate in sept and DS1 is happily joining him.
Myself and DH schooled in Africa and have never heard of the gospel of EYS or whatever it is called, but DH is a doctor and I an accountant so we managed to do well. I like to think outside the box and do not live according to popular opinion.
At my DS1 info evening at the start of Y2 a parent asked the teacher what extra help he can give to his DS to help him understand simple division and she said if he is mathematically inclined he will get it regardless but if he isn't there is nothing you can do. What sort of defeatist mentality is that?
I like to think outside the box and do not live according to popular opinion.
I've never heard Kumon described as thinking outside the box ... it's the very thing it stiffles!
It is thinking outside the box of 'learning through play'. Much as you had love it to be he is anything but stifled. He isn't afraid to learn now. He can count, can identify numbers and is most of all proud that he can. and I pray my paths never cross teachers like you as I think you and a lot of parents are part of the problem why the state school is going down hill in this country.
Sorry iyatoda if you can't see that Kumon doesn't encourage a child to think then I'm very sorry for you.
Save your sympathy I don't need it or your imaginary status.
One of dd.'s friends did kumon up to y6. Did v well up to y7/8 through learning by rote and accuracy. Now floundering in y 10 because she hasn't got the skills to solve problems and is not used to being able to work out how to tackle problems. Not usd to finding it hard either. For music I meant music groups/drama clubs etc.
We did Kumon for a little bit. DD needed to catch up on some reading as we were overseas and I didn't know what I was doing!
My experience of Kumon is that is got us into the routine of doing something each day and I think gave us all an idea of what daily discipline was like but there are 101 better ways to help your child.
Check out WH Smith. So many work books in there and you'll get a feel for what is being taught in schools. We've used maths whizz from time to time and found this more useful than Kumon. Once you've got an idea you can then google for fun activities.
Just being around your child, helping them become independent, trips to farm, zoos, meeting friends will give your little one so much. There are also lots of games to help that are more fun.
Trust me all the stuff you teach kids sinks in when they are good and ready so pushing can sometimes not be worth the extra time. Certainly with number 2 I waited until he was ready. What has helped him get started was practising writing his letters, writing out his numbers in a grid, being able to use scissors, some sounds. I definitely wouldn't rush the reading next time unless it was synthetic phonic books as look/say books worked against him in my opinion.
I am a mathematician. My children have not gone to Kumon. They will not go to Kumon. Not ever. If they fall behind and need extra tuition (and I don't have the patience) I'll send them to a maths teacher. If they get ahead and need extra stretching (and I if I couldn't do it myself) I'd send them to a maths teacher.
Kumon delivers a fast, accurate and rigid approach to arithmetic. Children who struggle with maths, and who haven't grasped the basics sometimes benefit from Kumon as they don't have to understand why 8x9 is 6x12, they just remember both are 72. For functional numeracy, Kumon may be the answer for the lowest end of the ability spectrum.
I don't "tutor" my children at home, or make them do worksheets or computer games. I do talk to them all the time about mathematical concepts and I answer their questions. Occasionally I set them a challenge, or we have a game that we all enjoy. (Currently the toast game is in vogue chez Quip: every morning at breakfast, the DCs will choose a number and see if it's possible to cut their toast into that number of squares. Every piece has to be a perfect square and all the squares have to fit together with no gaps, into a square. It's a good game for developing mathematical thinking, but they wouldn't do it if it wasn't funny ) As a result, they entered school 1 or 2 years ahead in maths, and have continued at this level, and love maths at school.
See if you've got a children's music centre near you. Violin and Cello can be learned by reception age children and does stretch them (and may help with maths in a roundabout way).
No I am more sorry for you and the people who have elevated you to the demi god status that you seem to enjoy
What a disproportionately venemous response - just look at all the advice from other posters who have explained to you patiently and in detail why Kumon doesn't work, not just mrz. Shame on you for your sniping, iyatoda, it's totally uncalled for and reflects very badly on you.
Music like Maths is about patterns IMVHO
and children who recognise the patterns are those who find maths easy also IMVHO
Why Feenie should I listen to peoples on Mnet when I have tried kumon and it worked for what I wanted it to acheive? why? I am not the OP, the OP wanted opnions and I gave mine.
Kumon is not for everyone I completely get that but it would not be in business today if people did not benefit somehow from its methods.
Now I AM truly out of this conversation.
You are perfectly entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to take poisonous swipes at people whose opinions differ from your own.
Music is very like maths. I got distinction in every exam that I took in theory of music. I could find an augmented 5th, diminished 7th, transpose to a different key- but I hadn't (and still haven't) a clue what any of it meant or what it sounded like!! The certificates look impressive -even though meaningless!
I was interested in Quip's post.I know very little about it, but I haven't been impressed with the DCs who have gone. They are very rigid in their thinking and you constantly get 'I don't do it like that at Kumon'. I think it is rather like me and my music -a work sheet and a formula that works.
Please please let children be children and learn through play and leave the teaching to proper teachers when they start school.
By "proper teachers," do you mean "demi-gods?"
The last thing that a DC starting school needs at the end of the school day are boring worksheets. If you want to help her teach her chess, play cards, board games -do cooking etc and make it fun.
Mrz - great news re: using Singapore maths in your classroom.
I am surprised you've seen so many struggle with maths who do Kumon. If you look at the international schools here you'll find that the very top sets are IME almost entirely populated with Kumon (and tutored) children (schools are vast so we have around 8 or 9 maths sets a year). All of these understand mathematical concepts and Kumon is just an arrow in their quiver. Many of these children are of Indian heritage where culturally much emphasis is placed on maths/academics (as you'll know).
My children learnt through play in the very early years and I have many friends who are very keen on Reggio Emilia (sp?) etc. I have found that mine are 'naturally' creative and that it's been hard to persuade them to sit to formal homework in slightly later years. They are used to free play.
We set for maths in our school, very young, and if mine had been doing Kumon or similar earlier and I'd placed more formal emphasis on learning they would be in higher sets. I am absolutely certain of it. I hadn't realised but all the other parents were sending their children to maths enrichment a couple of hours a week so they hit the ground running when they went to an NC international school that came to these things slightly earlier than we had. I can see both sides of the coin having lived in the UK and in three countries in Asia. Having said that IME the UK are positively full on compared to Australia. To generalise, dfferent countries different priorities. In our maths club you won't find many Australians but go to a swimming gala and you'll find Australian parents who are showing a steely, fierce competitiveness for their children and determination that would make the fiercest 'academic' tiger mother quake in her boots.
Not that you can generalise but those who assume Kumon children and those in Singapore etc who study in a different or multi faceted way are somehow always inferior and lack understanding are incorrect (IMHO). This idea that they are all robots who learn by rote is usually trotted out by people that haven't spent any time immersed in a different education system or have any idea. Perhaps once there was a grain of truth in it but we need to wake up, things are changing (again IMHO). I think sometimes we trot out this platitude just to make us feel better in the UK.
The anti kumon opinions expressed here reminds me of the threads to do with tiger moms and the education system in places in Hong Kong which is basically this - traditional British methods churn out kids that are creative and free thinking unlike those damned pesky foreigners with their learning by rote methods.
All these arguments would have more credibility with me if the UK's international rankings in maths weren't so poor.
Yes I know that places like Oxbridge churn out outstanding mathematicians but the reality for pupils in general is that many leave school totally incapable of calculating a 12.5% service charge for a food bill (London Evening Standard)
PooshTun, that's not a very nice thing to say. This is an internet forum the op asked a question, everyone is entitled to answer.
Until this thread I knew nothing about Kumon, now I think it must be like marmite.
I thought that I had strayed on to the wrong thread- PooshTun has taken it into such a peculiar direction. It is merely a system of worksheets designed by someone who has made a lot of money from them. I don't think there is any other system that you can do as cheaply. If I thought that my DCs needed extra Maths tuition I pay out for a Maths tutor for individual work to suit their needs.
I know many DCs who have gone on to do Maths at places like Cambridge and Warwick and not one has done Kumon- as I said earlier I find that it makes them rigid in their thinking and they don't seem to make connection.
Your post to seeker at 23.38 is highly unpleasant- not to mention totally wrong, PooshTun and I think that you ought to retract it.
Actually, I hope that post stays- it doesn't bother me, and it shows PooshTun's true colours.
Thank you, though to those that reported it.
o... disappointed in that remark pooshtune, that is somehow quite low.
To Kumon or not to kumon? Do what you like, try it out OP and let us know.
sadly, a lot of kids really could do with a bit of extra work/homework.
I waited for years to intervene for my underperforming DS, I had lots of faith in the teachers and the state system. But I was wrong. That's all I know, wish I had gotten him help earlier on.
I will be working through a few work books this summer hol, planing to do 30 mins a day. We did this at Easter, and it is amazing how quickly the catch up with a bit of focus and dedication.
I WISH we could all leave it to the school, but that does not always work out, sadly...
Chandon the OPs child is THREE years old! it's too early to know if they will need extra work.
Chanson- the child is 3!
And nobody has said never do any extra work- they have said don't do Kumon. Completely different things,
My son would have failed the 11+. Not on intelligence, or Maths but his huge struggles with writing. He could end up at a top University, if he works (at present he wants to go to one of the top in the world but not Oxbridge). He has never done Kumon, I considered it but just didn't have time together with the extra help he needed for his dyslexia and his sister and his extra curricular activities. But we did do some worksheets in primary school, which I found free on the Internet. They were tedious though.
Neither of my oldest children shone at Maths at primary, because they just weren't that fast at tables etc. My daughter thought she was awful at Maths until this year, when she has discovered that she "get number". Maybe it is the way their primary teaches Maths but they are the kind of kids who aren't great at the rote learning, but do "get" higher level Maths. Eg. DS has spent ages working on bases other than 10, especially binary.
So Kumon is expensive, doesn't teach higher level skills, and is a bit boring unless you are highly motivated by certificates. For a 5 year old I would work much more on making sure they understand the language of Maths (higher, lower, more than, less than and so on), and then work on real life Maths, like adding up a supermarket bill or sharing out toys (smarties).
Chess is excellent-all County players appear to be good at Maths.
You can do masses with card games-very good for number bonds and mental maths. Board games are the same. I'm sure my younger brother was very quick on the uptake because he was playing Monopoly at 5 yrs and we were out to cheat him if possible! Great games here and all for free.
Kumon is something that you can consider later -if you still want to by then.
4. She is 4. But that's neither here nor there.
mrz you are still missing the whole point.
poosh & chandon etc have understood what I am looking for. It's not about kumon (per se) which is how this post started off. It's about how to supplement and support your child or even boost your child's potential. We seem to be going around in circles here with the kumon haters. chandons last post sums it up for me. Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level. The British education system is clearly failing to produce engineers and scientists. I want to be a proactive parent. Whether my DD wants to become an engineer or scientist is not the issue before I get a barrage of posts in that. I am trying to ensure I do everything I possibly can to ensure she has that choice. I want to start pushing her potential now than wait till I see the gaps. By then it will be too late like it was for me. If I am am making an uncreative child, I will pull back. But I doubt 10mins a day will do that. This debate\post has been so interesting for me. It seems it is okay for the kumon haters to judge the parents who make their kids cry to achieve something but not okay the other way around.
It seems it is okay for the kumon haters to judge the parents who make their kids cry to achieve something but not okay the other way around.
It's not okay to take swipes at people's kids, megabored, on either side of the debate.
Surprised you are condoning this.
You don't support a 4 yr old by sending them to Kumon Maths!
You probably put them off for life!
Unless they like doing repetitive work sheets-some do.
It could however be like my clutch of music certificates- all embossed with distinction-and no understanding at all!
And I loved my theory of music-who wouldn't when you can get 100% each time.
Sorry- I keep posting too soon-have now finished!
I wasn't having a go at seeker's children. I was having a go at seeker - subtle difference.
I originally decided to just offer my opinion on kumon and then to stay out of it. I've been on enough of these threads to know that the strength of conviction here is such that things will invariably turn into a bun fight. At the end of the day kumon has helped my state primary DS to rise to the top of his predominantly prep school background maths class so do I really care if others have a negative opinion? Not really. Consequently I don't feel a need to convince others but I couldn't hold back when seeker advised the OP not to bother because a DC with ability doesn't need help.
There are lots of MNetters that I don't agree with but at least they can say -in ya face Poosh. My kids are thriving Poosh, so what I have to say is equally valid.
But this isn't what seeker is saying. What she is saying is that kumon is rubbish and that the OP should forget about it. If she could finish that story with how she rejected kumon and that her DS went on to pass the 11+ then it would be advice worth taking. As it is, her advice is ill conceived.
However I accept that the comment was a bit harsh and that the same point could have been made without a between-the-eyes shot and for that alone I apologize.
I fail to see what the 11+ has to do with it!
I wasn't having a go at seeker's children. I was having a go at seeker - subtle difference
I'm not sure anyone agrees with that - your spite was quite shocking. And personal attacks are not allowed on MN.
No. I agree. Comment from poosh is not acceptable. I am trying to highlight the tone that was taken with iyn when she made her child cry to sit down and do something.
It was making out that if your DC doesn't pass an exam you are somehow a useless parent and your advice isn't valuable. The subtext is that 'if seeker had got it right her DS would have passed'.
This is where you get the competitive mummies from-as in 'my DC is on a higher reading band and therefore I am the better parent'! Culminating with 'my DC is at Oxford and therefore I have fantastic parenting skills'!!!
Someone whose DC is deemed to have 'failed' may have very relevant advice.
@OP - the problem isn't with kumon. It's with the parents that use it.
It's like the parent that went on about how her DC was struggling in maths in Year 10 because kumon hadn't given the DC a proper understanding. The DC was in Year 10 and was struggling and of course this was an example of the failings of kumon and had nothing to do with the school she was in.
Then there are the parents who have an either or approach . You either get the DC to study 20min a day OR you get your children to bake, go to museums and do kids stuff. Why does it have to be either or? Why not both? DS did kumon and still did football, swimming and music stuff.
We chose kumon because we didn't have the time to trawl the Internet for a constant source of free material. Buying work books wasn't an option either. Do you know how many books you need to buy in order to generate enough material for daily homework sessions?
If you don't think kumon is for you then that's fine. As I said above, its not for everyone. There have been threads on alternatives to kumon. Something called Lip Mc???? has been mentioned. I suggest that you look at your DC's abilities and what your aspirations are for your DC and take it from there.
Although it may seem like it, there is a large contingent of pushy parents here. It's just that the let children be children brigade is a bit more vocal. So don't let anyone convince you that you are a bad parent just because you have academic aspirations for your DC.
Take it from a parent that has been there and bought the T Shirt, children can be children and still be pushed academically, if not with kumon then with something else that works for your dc.
exotic - if seeker had said that her DC failed because she went with kumon, wasted a lot of money and it didn't work for her DS then she would be perfectly within her rights to tell the OP and others to stay away from kumon
But that isn't what she is saying.
She dismissed the kumon representative. She went on about how it preyed on parents with insecurities. She then went on about how children with ability don't really need help.
If the advice came from someone like Yellowtip then, considering she has a bunch of thriving kids, I would think that it was valid advice even though I didn't agree.
I just think that if you are to give parenting advice it should be along the times of - this is what I did wrong so learn from my mistakes OR look at my success story and this is my advice.
I am sure/hope Seeker has 'thriving kids' Pooshtun. I take thriving to be happy, healthy and well rounded individuals. You seem to have a narrower view.
This thread has turned quite nasty.
I think kumon is fantastic. i wish my d was learning her times tables and basic arithmetic at school but she isn't so kumon is helping her get the basics building blocks that you need to really study maths or science.
PooshTun Mon 18-Jun-12 09:13:41
@OP - the problem isn't with kumon. It's with the parents that use it.
You continue to provide us with a perfect demonstration of this point, Pooshtun.
"Sunflower - You've obviously haven't read seeker's posts in other threads about how unhappy her DS is and how others have made him feel a failure and how the secondary school is an inferior product. "
That is a lie. I have never said anything of the sort.
Moving back to the OP's point...
mrz said further up: "Yes the kids we get in school who have done Kumon require extensive support to get them to expected maths levels iyatoda"
That must be a very particular experience, then, because while I can believe that some children who do Kumon require extensive support, it hasn't been the experience of the children who do Kumon (for maths) at my sons' primary school. In fact, most of the ones I know are highly achieving, in the extension groups for maths, gaining places at highly selective secondary schools and being chosen for out of school enrichment classes.
Kumon is expensive and boring, but it is very good at reinforcing one quite narrow thing - arithmetic. If your child is conceptually strong at maths, but struggles with fact recall, Kumon is one way to help. It is not the only way and it might not be good value for money, but it isn't without value. I certainly didn't have the time or energy to source endless daily worksheets, though I beleive there are sites now that generate them cheaply.
I wouldn't do it with a preschooler though. If you want to get them used to sitting down and doing bits of work, you could buy various workbooks and get them to fill in a page a day - you can even time it if you want to replicate that full on Kumon experience!
Just to answer the OP and ignore the bunfight- I have a pretty normal 4yo who sounds like yours- happy, bright, inquisitive, loves learning. There is NO WAY I would put her in Kumon, or any other kind of 'extra learning' programme. The EYFS curriculum is great and in my opinion has got it completely right- at this age they should be learning through play.
I am preparing her for school in Sept by making sure she can eat nicely, use the toilet on her own, put her clothes on herself, take turns etc- those are the skills essential for starting reception imo. That and a love of learning because as far as she is concerned it is fun and not forced.
So OP you are not prepared to work with your child making sure she can do Maths with counters, and understand the physical reality of Maths. You want her to be able to work with abstract numbers, so she can become a Scientist or Engineer if she wants?
Well as a scientist I hate to tell you that unless she has a good grasp of what lies behind calculations she will not succeed in those fields.
For example for my doctorate I had to take expressions of how Chemical reactions took place and translate these into very complex computer code. I could only do this because I understood what lay behind simple Maths.
I would say that the more time children get to manipulate objects, and to discover Maths for themselves the better, especially if they want to become Scientists nd Engineers.
I also suspect that Scientists and Engineers from China and India have also spent a lot of time being creative with number. A Chinese abacus is a fabulous tool for exploring numbers.
(However even Kumon does in it's earliest worksheets, try to express numbers in more concrete ways.)
quick - <stepping over the bunfight> IMO 4 yrs old is a bit too soon to start a DC on something like Kumon. But then, people told me the same when I started DS at 5.5 yrs old
Yeah, right. Set over the gunfight which you started, and fail to retract the lies you told about me.
I'm sorry, everyone. But she can say what she likes about me. But I will NOT allow her to lie about my child.
I haven't read the thread in its entirety - but to answer the OP, I wouldn't think that a bright four year old should be doing extra stuff (unless you are hothousing for some highly selective London prep - and that's a WHOLE other thread ). There is plenty of time if you feel you need to supplement their learning.
My two elder children (Yr 2 and Y3) do Kip McGrath tutoring which I think is fantastic. I don't really know much about Kumon other than it is a rote system, and a teacher friend of mine advised against it because it can cause confusion as maths is taught differently in school. I do however have friends who rave about it, but we went down the Kip route, and my Y3 son has been doing 11+ level maths for the past 6 months. He won a scholarship (at 7) to a very selective prep (which we turned down for various reasons) but Kip extends him and challenges him - and he loves it, and his teachers support us giving him extension work over and above what they do as it's obviously something he's got a talent for. It's tailored to each child and for my daughter, who is more literary, it has been invaluable in giving her confidence in her maths.
I think you will find that many people have reported your disgusting behaviour, PooshTun - personal attacks are not allowed on MN.
Especially about posters' children. How low can you go?
panicmode thanks for that. I'll look up kip McGrath.
Not only nasty behaviour but also total irrelevant. Think it's time to leave mn.
Coming back to this thread after a morning of teaching children to do - among other things - maths.
I find the polarisation of this debate difficult.
1a. Kumon teaches children to know basic number facts fast. This is not a bad thing BUT it is a tiny subset of maths as a subject. Children who have, or develop alongside this recall through other teaching, a good concept of number will find such number facts useful and may be able to apply them in other contexts. This is a good thing but it requires additional teaching to the 'core' Kumon curriculum.
1b. There are other, cheaper and more enjoyable ways of learning basic number facts fast, but there is nothing intrinsically wrong with using Kumon to do it, as long as the child has other opportunities to develop a proper understanding of number, preferably in advance.
2a. Kumon is one example of an out of school activity which parents enter their children for, which has some academic content and thus may improve a child's in school performance in one small area of their academic life.
2b. There are many other examples of out of school activities which have some academic content and which parents organise for or do with their children, and which may improve a child's in-school performance This be something formal like another form of tutoring, or a different type of organised activity such as drama or music. There are also innumerable 'informal' activities - baking together, reading together, playing board games or card games, doing practical maths together, having a kitchen table covered with science experiments - which may equally boost a child's in-school performance.
3a. Kumon, with its very focused and structured approach, may help a child to acquire the ability to concentrate for short periods, and they may gain self-esteem from the measured progress such a system has built in.
3b. There are many other ways in which a child can acquire or practise the ability to concentrate and focus (reading with an adult, attending a dance or drama lesson, storytime at the local library, playing board games with the family, building a Lego model, drwing or painting or jigsaws etc etc). Equally there are many other ways in which a child's self-esteem may be reinforced - my DD's self-confidence, for example, comes primarily through dance.
I know no mathematicians (of whom, as it happens, I know an unusual number) who have ever attended anything like Kumon, and equally the academic and professional scientists and engineers I know spent more of their childhoods taking things apart, growing moulds on the kitchen table and making things go 'bang' than learning number facts by rote... However, as long as a child ALREADY has a strong concept of number through practical activities, receives a rounded maths education elsewhere and understands that arithmetic is not the whole of maths and that not all maths has a single right answer, then Kumon is unlikely to do any harm. Whether the benefit matches the cost - and the 'opportunity cost' of the time which could be spent receiving a more rounded and personalised type of education - and whether the same benefits could be delivered in a different form which might be better for the child, is a balance for each family to make..
Very interesting points teacherwith2kids, especially the bit about children just experimenting, seeing what happens if....and blowing things up. My son spends a lot of time doing that sort of thing....
But if you do like the Kumon approach you can print off enough worksheets from Minute Tests here to probably last you all of primary school.
I don't think that chess / computer programming etc makes you good at maths - I think that kids who are good at maths enjoy chess and computer programming.
It really shouldn't take you daily drills from 4 to get good at arithmetic.
You do need to ensure your kids are good at arithmetic - before they leave primary school.
Being good at worksheets won't help a reception child at all, when it's all 'learn through play'. So it won't give them any confidence.
Kumon is the work of the devil, used by pushy, competitive parents who are frightened of some unseen and unknown threat to their child.
Any child that has even the remotest ability in maths will hate it. Far better to buy toys that enrich maths in a sideways direction and improves problem solving.
I've just remembered a point 4, by the way:
4a Kumon will teach your child a limited number of key arithmetic facts. It will not necessarily show you whether your child could, in fact, perform much more complex maths - rather than stretching your child, it may be putting a ceiling on what they can achieve.
4b. A more mixed and practical Maths diet, including lots of real world exposure to numbers and their uses, may by removing this ceiling allow your child to demonstrate their understanding of a much wider variety of maths facts. A child who 'learns through play' about football league tables can learn to add and subtract numbers with negative answers, and may go on to order, add and subtract said negative numbers. If the same child reads the numbers on EVERYTHING from telephones to telegraph poles to houses they will learn to recognise and read numbers up to 6 or more digits and may go on to investigate and describe relationships between them. A rush to 'formalise' maths as a basic set of arithmetic facts may in fact limit a child's maths development rather than hasten it...
Just noticed a few post deletions...
By the way - still believe at Reception age kumon and worksheets have no place at all. [If ever].
indigobell I agree, that it's people who are mathematically inclined like logical games such as chess. Not the other way.
The daily drills I suppose help with routine, discipline and concentration. I agree so does story time, lego etc.
The worksheets I hope ( not tried them so no idea) will help with pencil holding, letter and number forming etc.i am not even talking basic arithmetics. Agree these are available everywhere.
What did kind of catch my eye was a comment from a poster that said (not sure who said it) that having that weekly contact with a third party helps motivate.
What is wrong with giving your child a good grounding in arithmetic? My child gets all the other stuff at school I don't see why doing 10-15 mins extra work at night is such a big deal.
I think a bigger ceiling is put on a child who cannot perform mental arithmetic
It seems it is okay for the kumon haters to judge the parents who make their kids cry to achieve something but not okay the other way around.
All to do with personal attacks, OP and Overstepping The Mark. Hence the deletions.
Now what I don't understand is why people think that parents whose children go to kumon do nothing else to balance al that arithmetic? Why does it have to be either or?! Again, going around in circles on this thread.
I've gained some very useful ideas and insights so thank you all.
There is nothing wrong with "giving your child a good grounding in arithmetic".
Kumon will, as I have said, teach your child a number of maths facts that can be instantly recalled, and as long as the basic understanding of number is there (likely in a schooled child of say 5 or 6 years of age) then there is no harm in that. The cost / benefit balance will be different for each child in each family - my children's school, for example, doesn't do a huge variety of science experiments, nor do they do a particularly large number of open-ended maths investigations, nor do they allow very extended individual reading, nor do they have an orchestra, so I prioritise all those things instead - but for most children Kumon will do no harm - as my post above says, there just may be alternative - and maybe better - ways of giving the same benefits.
Megabored - I suppose I see that £50 a month or whatever, and the time invested on a weekly and daily basis, as an 'opportunity cost' loss. If that money, and that time, could not be used for any of the other activities, and if you have sufficient time and sufficient money for both KUumon and a full set of other activities, then that is fine.
Hhowever, for most families there is likely to be some kind of trade-off between time in Kumon sessions vs time playing board games or setting up science investigations, and equally between money for Kumon and money for e.g. musical instruments or going to a live science show or whatever. It's whether Kumon is the best use of the scarce resources of money, time and parental attention?
"for most families there is likely to be some kind of trade-off between time in Kumon sessions vs time playing board games or setting up science investigations"
It doesn't have to be that way. Our DCs would do their kumon while breakfast or tea was being prepared. So the trade off was between TV/Xbox and Kumon as opposed to between quality time and Kumon.
As I said above, kumon antis see it as a solution to a problem and not surprisingly it doesn't live up to their expectations. Whereas I see it as an aide, a bit like a teaching assistant who is there to backup the teacher as opposed to replacing her. If you start off with the premise that the TA is solely responsible for educating your DC then off course you are going to be disappointed with her performance.
At the end of the day, kumon is international so it must be doing something right. Surely not all these parents are, as a certain poster puts it, victims of a business that preys on insecure parents.
Waiting for the apology, PooshTun.
And I am sorry about derailing this thread, but I feel very strongly about this.
As long as Kumon markets itself as what it is - an aid to learning simple mental arithmetic - and is completely honest about that, without raising any other expectations in parents, then there shouldn't be a problem.
It's when parents see it as 'teaching my child maths' or 'stretching my child's ability' or 'the passport to success in maths', or when it is marketed as this, then there is a problem, as it rasies a perception gap.
I think op had already decided anyway..
A certain amount of hype is expected. I mean, are Internet dating sites really full of young and very attractive people? Is losing a bit of weight really going to launch you into a new life, a new job and a better social life?
poosh what a comparison.
I am actually just surprised at the way kumon polarises people. I did not expect thus thread. I began this as such an innocent question. As I have said before, I have found everyone's insight really useful. I remain neutral like Switzerland.
"Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level. The British education system is clearly failing to produce engineers and scientists."
How on earth then do we explain Finland's ranking in the international educational data for reading, maths and science when their children do precisely this until they start school- at seven years old?
"Surely not all these parents are, as a certain poster puts it, victims of a business that preys on insecure parents."
An international business which preys on people's insecurities? That would be absurd <whistles>
"think op had already decided anyway" from about
"I am actually just surprised at the way kumon polarises people"
Its not kumon. Anything that smacks of pushy parenting polorises people.
tethersend they possibly have a better overall education system? So it may
Not be about whether you start at 4 or 7, but more about What and How you are taught when you are in the system. But in the same instance we can quite China and India that produce highly competent internationally astute doctors, engineers and scientists etc.
Which way is more correct? Who knows. Certainly not the British. Hoping to avoid the Bun fight for my last remark.
I don't think you are going to get an apology Seeker though in my opinion you do deserve one.
Ignoring is rather rude too I feel.
Don't do it - dull, dull, dull!!
What works for a different culture isn't proof that it will work in our culture.
I mean, for years Scandinavian countries have been held up as a shining example of how you can have a generous welfare system and still be economically successful. Now lets focus our attention on Greece
And then there is the other side of the argument which is that many of the so called tiger parenting countries that advocates the learning by rote system that is despised by many here is out ranking the UK in terms of academic achievements.
"What works for a different culture isn't proof that it will work in our culture."
Poosh, the OP's quote was: "Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level."
Clearly, they are.
tethersend, not from my understanding. I don't understand how they could be. So for example, if I just do the arty farty stuff, as I tactfully describe it, and start my
Dd at school at 7, she at a British school in year R1, all other things being the same, it is going to be enough to produce a
High achieving rounded individual? and some more
poosh Greece is a separate thread.
sticklebug you are funny. So are you seeker.
Hope you have all had a nice day by the way!
"Ignoring is rather rude too I feel"
Then I wouldn't be able to enjoy seeker going - apologise .... apologise....apologise God dammit! apologise
Waiting for the apology, PooshTun.
And I am sorry about derailing this thread, but I feel very strongly about this.
And rightly so. You aren't going to get one from that kind of poster though.
Me thinks you are a bit peculiar PushTun....
Nice, PooshTun - taunt someone about their kids, then try to bait them with stupid remarks about enjoying their discomfort. Lovely.
"Poosh, the OP's quote was: "Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level."
Clearly, they are."
Maybe it works for Finland but its certainly not working for the UK which was my point. Otherwise we would be churning out more scientists and engineers etc then those damned pesky foreigners with their tiger mom attitudes.
Well I'm a mum who excels at the arty farty stuff and I wouldn't have sat my child down with a worksheet at any cost. Funnily enough ds got offered exceptional funding for Cambridge and dd just came top of her year in the optional SATs so they must have picked something up from all the fun we had particularly as they entered nursery late and only went part time until they had to be full time in school.
Let me throw another bomb in this thread then. Do you think if we were men we would be asking for this apology or refusing an asked apology? (goes and hides)
I think PooshTun is enjoying playing games and her apology would mean not a jot.
"Me thinks you are a bit peculiar PushTun"
Depends on which side of the window you are sitting. My friends on this side having pretty scathing things to say about you ladies on the other side of the window
What a strange comment, megabored.
There are some very odd and unpleasant people of this thread.
My friends on this side having pretty scathing things to say about you ladies on the other side of the window
Yep, I imagine they are if they are friends of yours, Pooshtun. I prefer my side thanks - where no one takes verbal swipes at my children for fun and giggles.
insanity great. Good it's worked for you. I too eventually ended with a scholarship despite the fact that I feel the education system i was in failed me (at school) I did not do kumon. There were no computers to print worksheet off. However, my patents gave attention to my studies. Be it talking to teachers for extra homework (which they refused and classed my parents as pushy) or tried to give me a set routine. My parent too did the arty farty stuff but also ensured I had other means of learning my times tables and arithmetic and algebra.
Megabored- you have remembered that your child is 4, haven't you? There aree loads of fantastic ways to do extra maths - cooking ( how many biscuits do we make for 2 each?) making ("measure the cardboard box- how much do we need to cut off?") and so on. Fun, free and helps with the understanding as well as learning the facts.
Seeker that is all we did and we had such a lovely time doing it too. I think the practical application of numbers is a far more useful skill than being able to recite number facts tbh although mine sort of absorbed those as we went along rather than being formally taught them.
The most mathematically ably pre school child I've encountered developed his ability going to the community centre with his grandpa and playing dominoes and card games with the retired members. He didn't need pen, paper or calculator to work quickly with large numbers.
"tethersend, not from my understanding. I don't understand how they could be. So for example, if I just do the arty farty stuff, as I tactfully describe it, and start my
Dd at school at 7, she at a British school in year R1, all other things being the same, it is going to be enough to produce a
High achieving rounded individual? and some more"
You clearly stated that arty farty stuff was inadequate for achievement at international level: "Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level." Since your DD is four, I can only assume that you were referring to four year olds. You erroneously asserted that four year olds counting beans and arty farty things hampered achievement to the extent that a country could not compete at an international level. Finland's achievement proves this to be wrong.
There are many, many factors which make Finland's education system what it is; but do not assume that counting beads and arty farty stuff hamper achievement. They do not.
"Maybe it works for Finland but its certainly not working for the UK which was my point."
Was it? Sorry, was responding to the OP, your point had completely passed me by. So, to be clear, you are saying that an education system which we do not use in the UK does not work in the UK? Have I got that right?
I agree with teacherwith2kids-all very sensible reasons.
I don't know any able mathematicians who bothered with Kumon either-they are far more likely, as mrz says, to have spent their time playing dominoes, card games and chess with grandpa and anyone who had the time.
Parents like worksheets because they can sit them down, get on with other things and feel they are doing something. I was the sort of DC who would have loved some worksheets and a paper full of ticks but I can't say it would have improved my understanding-just speeded me up a bit.
seeker as someone else said, any apology from pooshtun is not worth waiting for. I think her posts say enough about her, frankly.
"Parents like worksheets because they can sit them down, get on with other things and feel they are doing something. I was the sort of DC who would have loved some worksheets and a paper full of ticks but I can't say it would have improved my understanding-just speeded me up a bit.." - maybe thats it.
quickhide: "I am preparing her for school in Sept by making sure she can eat nicely, use the toilet on her own, put her clothes on herself, take turns etc- those are the skills essential for starting reception imo. That and a love of learning because as far as she is concerned it is fun and not forced."
Probably the most sensible and relevant post on the whole thread. Our Foundation teachers are pulling their hair out about these basic life-skills that an increasingly large proportion of children enter school unable to cope with. And this is in a "leafy, middle-class" catchment school.
I wrong to an inner city comp in the 80's and was not taught grammar nor times tables. Spent a lot of time doing maths investigations rather than arithmetic. My mental arithmetic is still awful and DP ( computer programmer) marvels at my inability to do long division on paper.
Funny thing was that when I started to do statistics as part if under snd post grad research ( social science) I found I could easily grasp the concepts - I know what statistic I need to help me explain my results, I understand how to use them, means and medians, ordinal and other scales, statistical significance etc
And I think much of that is to do with the work on concepts I did at school. My DZc seem to have a balance of mental arithmetic and Maths and it works well.
Perhaps op you should check out how Maths is taught at school - but you seem wedded to Kumon, your defensive tone is what makes me think this.
Bloody phone: ' I went..'
It can be an advantage to speed up but I am sure that you can buy workbooks from WH Smith that are similar and much cheaper.
The fact that Pooshtun has had a lot of posts removed tells you a lot-since only last week she was sent posting guidelines and so should know the score.
about I am not wedding to anything but my DH. Specially not a worksheet churning money making machine but that would be nice on second thoughts.
But I am not going to say on here that, I now conclude the ONLY thing I am prepared to do is teach my DD to count eggs and house numbers and that, that should be enough'. If it makes it easier for you to classify my parenting style in a box, please go ahead. I've understood enough to realise there is a little truth in all your posts. What suits my DD is for me to decide. It may be worksheets today and arty farty stuff tomorrow. Who knows. I will have to try and see.
We use Big Maths (and Little Big Maths) http://www.andrelleducation.co.uk/BMFreebies/BMBT%20Learn%20Its%20Tests.zip
in reception they begin with answering 7 simple addition questions to answer in 20 seconds
all materials are free and teach instant recall of addition facts
the tests practise writing numerals, counting, adding, fractions,more and less, odd and even before moving onto number sentences and multiplication .......
mrz thank you for that link. Looks great. I also found this today.
you might also like www.newoscott.bham.sch.uk/Maths+Zone/Number+Club
The thing is, megabored, that 'counting eggs and house numbers' meant that DS, before he started school, could:
- Count up as far as he felt like (and appreciate that numbers went on forever, even if he stopped counting at 1,245 because it was tea time)
- Read numbers up to 1 million
- Add 1,2 and 3 digit numbers together and subtract them from one another (so could e.g. do 672 - 385 mentally)
- Divide numbers up to about 80 (biggest house number in the village) by 2, and explain which house numbers were odd and which ones were even
- Read scales, both numbered and partially numbered.
- Could multiply 1 digit numbers by 2, 4 (number of people in family), 5, 10 and 11 (because 11 is fun) and share larger numbers of items out equally into 2 and 4, understanding the concept of a remainder and simple fractions like half and a quarter.
- Form the same numbver in lots of different ways (so asked to find e.g. 20 cups for a party, he knew that he could have 4 big and 10 medium and 6 small, or 10 big and 10 small, or whatever)
- Read prices in £p and present correct money for it in coins.
- Play pretty much any board game involving dice and numbers in any form.
I don't think that he would have gained that through Kumon.... 'Only counting eggs and house numbers' can get you a LONG way in maths!
Some interesting stuff about the international comparison tables that governments love so much:
In fact the figures are entirely incorrect, and have their roots in a deliberately misleading DfE press release. A proper review of the OECD Programme of International Student Assessment (as conducted by the National Foundation for Education Research) shows that standards in reading, maths and science are holding up well; you can only 'create' the 7th-to-25th position trend in the tables for reading if you a) ignore the fact that 12 of the 25 countries are not different by a statistically significant margin; b) that two countries are new to the table; c) two of the countries higher than the UK have the same score but are higher because they start with an earlier letter of the alphabet; d) that the OECD report gives an explicit warning that the tables should not be used for trend assessment, because earlier studies had sample sizes which make this invalid
Lies, damned lies, and yes - statistics. Used to beat up an entire profession with until people believe that teachers are not worthy of respect and that the state education system in the UK produces cohorts consisting of 100% morons.
I refuse to disrespect my children in this way, especially when I see how much more, and more difficult, stuff they are doing than I did at their age in 'the good old days' (I am 44).
Now if Kumo taught basic statistics and how to put uncertainty ranges on graphs, it might be worth paying for!
bunting I was just waiting for a post like yours. Haha.
I am also very keen to make sure my dd has a great education and give her the opportunities to do whatever she wants to do but I don't think I even considered a tutor before she started school. Unless a mum was aware of learning difficulties (and you say your child is bright) I would at least give her some time to settle in at school and learn the same curriculum as classmates. I always interacted and talked to my dd from a very early age. We loved reading books together and acting out the words and played lots of fun counting games together at every opportunity. I was very lucky to be able to stay at home for the first 5 years and I took immense pleasure in teaching her whilst having lots of fun. When she started school, I backed off a bit but made sure I went over her homework and gave lots of praise for her efforts. She now shares my love of reading and devours books way beyond her age. At age 10 she is learning to play two musical instruments (of her own choice) and is writing her own lyrics to songs for fun. (proud mummy!) However, I noticed a few years ago that maths was causing problems for her and homework time was becoming stressful. She just didn't seem to have any confidence and parent's night confirmed that. So I decided to get her a tutor. We tried Explore Learning (don't consider it!) and we also phoned the local Kumon Centre but to be honest having spoken to other mums I decided I wanted a qualified teacher to actually teach her and follow the Scottish curriculum. I enrolled her at the local Kip McGrath Education Centre and she has come on so much this past year she has moved up to the top group in maths. Even her teacher commented on her progress last month. She loves going and her confidence has soared. I think every mum is different and what works for some children won't for others. However, at age 5, before a child has started school, I would have thought that private tuition was a tad excessive?
mummy Private tuition? If you have read my post, I am totally against that at this age. From my understading Kumon is not private tuition. The appeal of Kumon is not having to trawl for worksheets, having someone motivate child on a weekly basis and from the sheets I have seen, it is no different to her doing the pages on the Cbeebies magazine (Now I will get accused of siding with Kumon and put into the pro-Kumon box. ) The worry is that I will create a nerd or pressurise her so much that she will be off math and English for life. (in short)
I understand what you are saying and it is a very wise parenting style. However, as you say, you were lucky that you were at home for 5 years with her.
I think all under fives should be playing and learning life skills like table manners and learning through play not sat at a desk with a worksheet they will got all this when they are older.
Reading back through this thread sounds like some of you are still at school all bitching with each other and demanding apologies.
"chandons last post sums it up for me. Counting beans or doing arty farty things are clearly not enough if you want to stay competitive at an International level. "
ha ha ha. How wrong you are. I have a Y1 child on 3a in maths after arty farty bean counting. Never touched a worksheet in our lives. We do, however, play bizz buzz boom bang on long car journeys, with him, cook with him (weighing ingredients, doubling up quantities etc) and answer all his questions. And when he was a toddler, we counted beans. And ducks. And houses...
I think small children should have the opportunity to enjoy life in a faintly pointless manner, in all honesty. (Actually I think that about adults too.)
<unhelpful but quite highly educated emoticon>
Quip that's exactly what learning through play is. I expect your children are enjoying themselves without realising they are learning.
Er...given that Quip has said above that she is a mathematician, I slightly suspect she does know that
I have a child whose maths has been falling behind a bit. Personally I'm going to see how a move to a secondary school which has dedicated maths teachers and specialises in maths will benefit her. I may at that point consider a maths teacher in addition. Kumon, not so much.
Five year olds, definitely not.
I have just looked at the Kumon English programme. Oh dear. Far better to read lots and lots and lots of books.
@megabored Sorry I shouldn't have said private tuition - that is certainly not what Kumon are about. It is endless worksheets which have to be checked by parents and the instructors are not teachers in the main - a Kumon centre can be run by almost anyone I believe. From what I gather Kumon are very good at teaching the times table by repetition. Sometimes that is all some kids need I am sure but for others, this does not address problems that really need to be addressed by a qualified teacher. From your comment I assume you are a working mum. Yes, I was lucky to have the first 5 years off with my dd and I feel very grateful about that. I chose to give up a lot financially to be able to do this but this was my choice and I applaud other mums who manage to juggle work and motherhood in the early years. I understand from your comments that you want someone else to motivate your child and that is why you are considering Kumon. I have been working full time for the past 5 years and my dd is 10 going on 14. That is why I chose to send her to Kip McGrath when I noticed there was a problem as I just couldn't do it myself. When it comes to reading, we have a shared love of books and she and I will read the same book and then we will have a get together to discuss the book. However when it comes to maths, I am lost and I rely on Kip McGrath to help with that and she is coming along so well. Why don't you give Kumon a try for a few weeks and see how you both feel? I still feel it would be better until after she has started school but mums always know best! You could also see if there is a Kip McGrath centre near you. I was checking out their website to add the link and noticed they do a Get Ready for School package! www.kipmcgrath.co.uk
Kumon is a franchise which anyone can "buy into" without any "educational" knowledge.
It is convenient but in the main preys on parents desire to do the best for their child
Having looked at their franchise page I would be rather doubtful-I would imagine they vary a lot depending on who is running them and how many assistants they are willing to employ.
When I worked there a lovely girl (about 10) was really stuck on long division. So stuck she was in tears when she kept getting questions wrong I was told that she just had to keep repeating the worksheets. Because that's what you do at kumon. Keep doing it and doing it until the scores go up. I wasn't supposed to actually help her learn how to do it, or explain the concepts behind it, because kumon is about practising the processes, you just do it over and over.
Well, (excuse the language) fuck that. I sat her down and went right back to basics. Genuine lightbulb moment sort of thing. She was so much happier. I left soon after though, as it really showed me what kumon was about, and what it wasn't about, and I didn't like what I saw.
mummy, I am on maternity leave till early next year so have some time to spend with DD. after that it will be full speed all the way so I was looking for a tool that tames her, makes her independent, increases her concentration as a start. She is very bright but really lazy and argumentative (from being bright). In 3 months we have gone from not knowing the alphabets to reading 3 letter and some 4 letter words. Even teaching this I debated a lot as a lot of mums told me not to teach her and And that i will confuse her at school but I could not not answer all the questions being asked very night at story time. Currently she is into drawing and tries to write the objects name on the paper and spell on her own. If I tell her no, that's now how you write a e (capital e written with say 8 horizontal lines), we get into debates so this formal learning and someone else also overseeing may help me. We have tried books that you can get from tesco and
M&s that are like worksheets but she refuses to do anything like that. Which again is fine. She is desperate to learn more but won't do so properly from me. So I considered kumon (as I am new to parenthood and the mums in my area do not talk openly about what they are doing with their children re reading, numbers etcetc) as that is the only thing I have heard about from friends. We already do the measuring, the counting stairs, reading number plates, playing snakes and ladders etc. there is more to this but I hope this kind of answers some of the questions you may have.
Added to this mix is the experience I had at school, hence the lack of confidence in our schooling system.
Nothing wrong with a child learning to read before they start school. But if it is taught more formally then ideally you need to make sure you are doing it all using phonics - and using the pure sounds for each letter/grapheme.
Why not buy one of the Kumon worksheet books from Amazon and have a look for yourself. They are pretty much the same as what you will be given to do there and at home.
To be honest she sounds like a child that would-be bored rigid and stifled by Kumon.
I think you should carry on with what you're doing, then review the situation after she!s been at school for 6 months, then get a proper private tutor if you think it's needed.
I have taught her both phonics and what I learnt at school, ie the letter C makes the sound ccccc. So she is fluent with both. We do science too in our spare time. She is like a sponge and I am just trying to channel that enthusiasm and focus that energy. The laziness now. Despite knowing all this, she will refuse to tell say her nursery that she already knows this. So for example, at parent evening we were told, by her key worker, your daughter is doing great, she knows 2 or 3 letters from the alphabet. I was surprised at that as I know she knows all of them. So I asked the key worker to test her in front of me and she was able to read 3 letter words the key worker pointed out and all the letters of the alphabet. At school, if this continues, whether it stems from lack of confidence or laziness her potential will not be realised. We have been working very closely with the nursery to push her or give her a nudge now and again so that she does not get bored. Daily practice with give her a routine that she thrives in. It is not necessarily about kumon, it is just a means to an end.
OK. So even more not Kumon! It really is just boring routine and for reinforcing stuff children aren't secure in. So very wrong for your dd- she need her horizons expanding, not shutting down!
Oh, and she's not lazy- she's 4!
@megabored LOL! This could be me talking about my dd! She sounds like a very intelligent little girl with her own mind and free thinking. I sometimes despaired at the attitude I could get from my dd when she was as young as 3 (and I don't mean bad behaviour!). She has always had her own mind and questions everything. She is very intelligent and well read and I marvel in her knowledge sometimes. OK she had a problem with maths but a term at Kip McGrath has caught her up and she is going into P6 on a par with her colleagues in maths and way ahead (in my opinion) in English. It sounds to me as if your dd is ready for school - not Kumon. Let her teacher do the job in P1 - they know what they are doing! Participate in her homework and praise her efforts and show her how much her good work means to you. Your dd will love to come home and show you what she has learned and if I were you, I would encourage her and praise her efforts. It is your choice but I would let her have a bit if school learning before you consider other options.
mummy the laziness - another example.
The key worker showed me the wonderful scribbling that she did in her books every day at nursery. Again a surprises. At home, she draws aliens and dolls and policemen and butterflies. At nursery I was getting drawing with just scratches on them. Again, I told the key worker, she can form such and such letters so far, draw teddes etc. showed the key worker what we did at home. Completely different child. From the next day, the nursery started reading with her and drawing 'better' pictures!
She was being lazy so that she did not have to do it, not concentrate. I am
Mathematically inclined myself so its not that i cant teach her. I am concerned she will do the same at school and not be pushed.
She sounds like my DD ... who despite her elder brother being a keen pre-school reader and mathematician, was adamant that such things were'for school, mummy' and despite loving books and stories and board games refused to countenance 'learning stuff' before starting school.
Minx - she was a fluent reader by the end of term 1. I would swear that she DID know it all really, just wasn't willing to show it except in 'the proper place'.
DD remains more 'school shaped' and conventional, and her maths is by no means as 'spiky' as DS's is, but in general their levels at the same ages have been pretty similar and in the top 1 or 2 in their classes at school. Free thinkingness about learning age 3-4 is definitely not a path to 'not realising potential' in school!
I am concerned that the teachers will not realise what she is capable of and just let her plod along. I will miss the opportunity to make that difference if I don't do something now.
megabored How about trusting that the teachers are professionals and know their job?
she's not lazy- she's 4!
Quite! And I admit that is something I have struggled to come to terms with regarding my own DD. I was really, really geeky and studious as a child. I would not play (actually it's more that I didn't know how), I preferred to read or find mathematical patterns etc. I used to steal my mum's old Reasoning test books (TBH I wouldn't have liked Kumon because of its repetitive nature)
Turns out I have Aspergers. DD I am pretty sure is NT and while she is getting on ok at school, she is by no means the studious type. She plays imaginative games and skips around happily. She has lots of friends. She is so different to me and TBH I sometimes have to remind myself to accept that she is not going to be a genius. That sounds horrible. I do not mean I want her to be some successful prodigy so I can show her off, I am not interested in that, what I mean is that I wish I could see her enjoy, no, crave knowledge like I did. She is alien to me in many ways. But she is NORMAL! And more to the point, she is happy, so very happy, more than I ever have been or will be. She is learning to love learning in school thanks to the wonderful EYFS and while I think I will always feel a little bit sad that she might not be as academic as me, I am incredibly thankful that she's got a much better chance of a rounded full life than I had.
I should add that the Aspergers isn't the only reason I missed out on playing etc - it was also down to my parents. They were (and still are) pushy and actually did just want a genius child to boast about. I grew up believing that Academics are Everything because that was what they wanted from me. I am still left with the feeling they wouldn't have loved me if I wasn't clever. I limit their time with DD (things like reading, I don't want them to listen to her try and read because they just criticise the fact that she isn't as fluent at 4 as I was at 3 - I don't think they are deliberately nasty, they are just so narrow-minded) and have had to force myself not to run to them with every achievement, craving approval, because it damages me and will damage my little girl too.
Sorry, am rambling now - and I'm not accusing anyone here of being like my parents, just explaining why I feel so strongly about this, even though it creates a lot of inner battles.
She is 4 years old and growing up quickly- just enjoy spending time with her and stop worrying about it!
You sound like you have a happy, bouncy, joyful child Fuzzpig.
A tip from a lazy Mum.. nought wrong with a little bit of Cbeebies!
My just 3 year old loves Numtums and Alphablocks [amongst other lovely Cbeebies stuff]. TV can be educational!
He loves spotting door numbers as we walk to town at the moment and bellowing out the numbers.
I am sorry meg aboard you sound very anxious about your child please let her be a little girl and play. Don't keep calling her lazy because she does not want to do school work at four.
Sunflowers you are right cbeebies can be educational in a fun way where children do not realise they are learning.
Fuzz pig your child sounds happy and normal the important thing to me would be your child has lots of friends and knows how to mix. Reading and writing can always be learnt later social skills can't .
"I am concerned that the teachers will not realise what she is capable of and just let her plod along. I will miss the opportunity to make that difference if I don't do something now."
You honestly won't "miss the opportunity"! She's only little and you're aware and in tune with her. Stop worrying and have fun!
And be really careful you don't actually do more harm then good with too much formal learning too young....it's as easy to turn them off with too much as too little.
seeker I agree. I am therefore very aware of that. Hence this thread. Anyway! Let's
see how it goes!
fuzzpig forgive ur parents and move on. They tried to do what they thought was best for you. I am sure you will make mistakes too. No parent is perfect.
That's a fair assumption to what I wrote here mega but the pushiness is the least of my worries with them compared to everything else they did (which I've written about a lot on MN but it isn't relevant here) - forgiveness is not likely. I was just writing it as an example of what can go wrong if academics are a higher priority than a child's welfare
I would say have more faith in the teachers in the school she will attend to recognise her abilities, and challenge and motivate her. I sent ds to the school nursery and didn't mention he could read and write and manipulate three figure numbers because I figured if it was a problem the teachers would let me know. It took three days before they called me in to ask for him to be seen by the ed psych as his abilities were outside of what they were used to. Even so he had a great time they took the ed psych's advice and he was challenged and motivated alongside his peers even if he was working a good way ahead of them.
Oh, she has a great time at nursery and with her friends etc. so, if I share this with the school, my concern over her abilities being challenged, (in a non-direct ) way, will I come across as a pushy parent who wants her child to go beyond her abilities or do you think the teachers will understand where I am coming from?
I certainly wouldn't "over-share" whilst she's in Reception. Totally unnecessary. They might nod and smile, but secretly they'll think you're nuts.
When we were looking for a school we found teachers who were lovely and encouraging about our practical and proactive interest in our daughter's reading. And we found others who were quite defensive and rude about it, making it clear that they thought teaching was for teachers and parents should settle for the odd update. If you can you should investigate what your daughter's school's policy is in regard to parental inclusion. It might be excellent, some schools are. If it's dire and unfortunately some schools are dire too, then don't be discouraged from contributing to your child's education, but just do it separately from the school.
But the most 'lovely and encouraging' of teachers are quite likely to become pissed off if the OP goes in straight from the off and tells them she doesn't think they going to realise what her dd's capable of and that she believes she needs pushing in Reception because she's lazy.
OP you have given an example of your DD's laziness in that she only produces scribbles at nursery. And then you give examples of the wonderful drawings she produces at home, which suggests she is anything but lazy - if you want to see it in those terms. It could be that in nursery that there are 101 other things that she wants to try, that doesn't leave much time for detailed drawing. Your DD sounds as if she is doing fine, but I agree with clam that I wouldn't overshare - take an interest in what DD is doing; she will want to come home and share all the exciting things she is doing with you.
learn I agree with your approach. As others have said, it will just brand me and possibly by child.
Very true Cecily, my DD never came home from preschool with all the big paintings and crafts like the other children. When I volunteered there I noticed she didn't even do much of the construction/puzzles etc.
I asked the staff if this was a problem, and they said absolutely not! She was spending time outside running around (extra good for us as we don't have a proper garden) and getting exercise, and making friends, and learning about the real world by doing pretend play. She was learning in the way you'd expect of a 3 year old.
At her school I overhear some parents actually grumbling at the DCs when they come out of school and respond to the "what did you do today" question with "I played" it seems to then turn into an interrogation about whether they read or wrote etc. Weird and sad.
fuzzpig you seem to have a black and white view on things. It's okay to ask of they did writing or reading isn't it?! I always ask my dd what she did, who did she play with, check her writing practice at nursery, what story did they read today. Gosh, I would not want to be judged by you.
Yes of course it's ok to ask FGS. The parents I mentioned were grumbling as in saying things like "what, you only played?" and "why didn't you learn anything?" as in, they might see no value in normal play. Parents complaining that their children aren't being made to sit down and write, and that all that playing is a "waste of time". THAT is sad.
It might be nice if everybody, some teachers included, could chill out a little bit more about some parents having a keen interest in their children's abilities in the three rs, after all that's what we're aiming for. It's a bit confusing to enthuse about teaching these things and then listen to people saying no, no, no you shouldn't teach your children to read, write and add up! Of course you should if you want to.
I wouldn't advise teaching toddlers hang-gliding and archery.
That would actually make more sense to me as these are things LOs will be unlikely to get the opportunity to learn in primary school.
I think it's really good to teach your children stuff, and take an active interest in what they are learning, and build on it. But there's a world of difference between that, and regarding 'play' as being lazy/a waste of time when it is actually incredibly important for all types of learning. I think teachers have every right to be sad about parents doing the latter TBH.
My DD does archery (it's made of foam though)
(BTW I'm not implying that anyone here is like that, just that those parents do exist, I see plenty - not just my own!)
learn I totally agree. I deliberated for months on teaching my dd something as simple as the alphabet as other parents I spoke to scared me so much. The last thing I want is my dd not to have a childhood. At the same time, just because it is education, I do not want to not teach her. I have seen parents deny they teach at home to avoid coming across as pushy. It is crazy.
"It might be nice if everybody, some teachers included, could chill out a little bit more about some parents having a keen interest in their children's abilities in the three rs, after all that's what we're aiming for. It's a bit confusing to enthuse about teaching these things and then listen to people saying no, no, no you shouldn't teach your children to read, write and add up! Of course you should if you want to."
But this thread is about whether to send a 4 year old to Kumon, fgs! Which is a bit more than that.
clam I think our conversation has evolved somewhat.
Good grief I would never deny teaching DD something, that is sad. The key is being child led isn't it. Our school is very insistent that if our DCs don't want to do something (like practising writing at home), then stop. It is counterproductive to force them as even if they learn faster it will put them off in the long run.
Say with DD, she was interested in phonics for a while before school, but when it came to blending, she just didn't get it and didn't want to, so we stopped. However recently they've been doing tally charts at school so on a day trip at half term we did our own (flag spotting), as she loved it, and then I showed her how to turn the tally into a graph, because she sees me deal with graphs and wanted to do it, writing the numbers and colouring the squares in etc. She said she wants to do another one about types of birds in our garden.
I say again, why does it have to be either/or with some parents? Why can't a child be pushed academically and still do 'kid' stuff? The two doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.
DS went to the pre school which had a qualified teacher come in every day and she would do reading and counting for about an hour and this was from the age of 3 onwards. The rest of the day they did 'kid' stuff like painting & drawing. And come picking up time, in the car we would 'interrogate' DCs as to what they had for tea? what did they play and, yes, we even showed a 'weird and sad' interest in what they read and wrote that day.
As I said above, we turned to Kumon when we discovered that the state primary wasn't going to push DC. DC entered Year R ahead of his peers in reading and writing, thanks to the efforts of the pre school, and by Year 1 the boy was just plain bored. Hence Kumon.
There are studies and reports out there and they have been discussed here many times on MN, which goes on about how educationally we are lagging behind the Tiger economies. So it perplexes me that many parents continue to think that we can carry on being a Let Children Be Children society that looks down on pesky pushy foreigners.
I am NOT suggesting tying a child to a desk and forcing them to do hours and hours of studying but surely there is a middle ground?
It's the lack of child-ledness (that's a word, right? ) that I don't like about Kumon. It is so... stale. There's none of the wonderful discovery you get when you discover new patterns in things all by yourself. Seeing that happen on a child's face is amazing, just like the first time a baby drops a toy off their high chair and realises they made that noise happen all by themselves
and then do it a million bloody times and maths especially is a subject that is full of those moments right up to A level and beyond (IMO as a maths geek). For example DD realising by herself that she could apply our flag-counting/displaying method to something else that she loves (goldfinches etc). Kumon cannot possibly hope to provide that.
"It's the lack of child-ledness (that's a word, right? grin) that I don't like about Kumon"
My point is that it is not an either/or situation. On top of Kumon we did other 'fun but educational' stuff. Kumon was just one aspect of the program.
Traditionally we were taught to chant the times table over and over and over again. I don't understand why when you put it down on a worksheet and give the child a pen the whole thing becomes the work of Satan
I think you're misunderstanding what I meant about the other school parents, of course it's not bad to ask what DCs did at school or if they did reading or whatever, surely most parents do that, it would be sad if they didn't take an interest. Taking interest is in the middle ground. But there's a massive difference between that and actually saying to their children that 'just playing' isn't good enough or that anything but 'proper schoolwork' is a waste of time.
I think that there is a risk to some - not all! - children that if you do
expensive worksheet overkill, they will then lose the initiative and excitement that maths can bring, and then not actually be able to get the best out of any other 'fun but educational' stuff because they are so used to the worksheet method. I guess much of that rests on how it is approached at home.
Arithmetic is of course very useful especially if you're quick at it but what Kumon neglects to tell you is that you can be brilliant at it but still be crap at maths in the longer term!
I accept that there are parents like that but I like to think that they are in the minority.
Kumon does no harm as long as you know what you are getting for your money.
I mean, I remember one mum going on about how she paid for years of Kumon maths and how disgusted she now was with it. Apparently she sat her DC down in front of a 11+ maths practice paper and realised that Kumon maths doesn't really prepare you for the 11+. IMO her expectation was at fault rather than Kumon.
Similarly others parents sit their DCs in front of worksheets, go hands off for a few months and then complain that DC is still struggling.
Wow, interesting how grim others' experiences of Kumon are.
Our dcs have done well with it.
DS (17) is a natural mathematician, A* at GCSE and A in AddMaths, doing Maths and Further Maths for A-level - and he has still benefited hugely from it just BECAUSE it's repetitive. Not all learning is intrinsically interesting - all language learning for example involves an element of repetition - or should.
Dd hated maths and saw herself as dreadful at it - after a year of Kumon she is much more confident and able.
So for us it was money well spent, though it's one of those things where it depends on you and your dcs. Just saying this because our experience is so different form those of most posters. DD also does Kumon English....
Of course they are very much in the minority. I was just unlucky getting a pair of them all to myself . And TBH it is maybe quite unlikely they are on MN, because most people who go on threads like this are actually bothered with trying to find out what is best for their child as a person, trying to find that middle ground, rather than just blindly pushing their child forward and forward with no regard for their overall wellbeing.
posh I have noticed that too. I do not understand these things either. I am not afraid of the pesky foreigners and would not want the education system here to be like somewhere in Singapore or Japan where kid goes from school to tuition to sleep and that is all they do during the school week. I have seen this and it is detrimental in every way. However, agree with you that it is not a black or white answer and that the current system we haev here is not TOTALLY working. It is the arty farty stuff and the pressure to be arty farty and nothing else that does not help. I see my DD trying to write my name and spell as I type this all of her own accord. Why cant I feel free to teach her formally for 20mins a day and capture this? Am I then branded as a pushy mum who is verging on child abuse by oh dear using a worksheet?!
The REALLY important thing to remember is that the op's child is 4. So no way of knowing what sort of learner she is, and whether she might be the sort of child who might look at a worksheet , think "sod that for a game of soldiers" and dig her heels in! Some love worksheets- some it would turn off.
So wait and see.
"most people who go on threads like this are actually bothered with trying to find out what is best for their child as a person, trying to find that middle ground, rather than just blindly pushing their child forward and forward with no regard for their overall wellbeing"
And just when I thought that you was a reasonable person that I could seriously engage with, you come along with this sweeping statement that drops everyone that you don't agree with into a big overly pushy unfeeling parent box
I find that a lot of parents who in favour of so-called pushy parenting techniques can't be arsed to come onto threads like and argue their case. Thus it gives the illusion that MN or the Real World is full of people that agree with you.
I don't think I've come across a pushy parent yet. The one parent who had a maths tutor for a five year old turned out to have a good reason, her child was difficult and genuinely responded to being taught maths in that way. I'm sure there are people who genuinely believe that because Mozart could compose at five their child should do so too and because Kasparov became world champion at fourteen their two year old child should recite competitive chess moves for two hours before bedtime. But I'd imagine that those people are slightly deranged. There are lots of mad people out there and some of them are parents. Learning the three rs comes well within the range of three, four and five year olds and still leaves endless time for playing.
Hmmmm that's not quite what I meant, everyone will come to their own conclusions about how much 'pushing' is ok, but at least most of them will have given it some thought and weighed it up with the other aspects of their child's life. I certainly wouldn't shove all kumonning parents into a metaphorical giant box or assume that they were unfeeling just because they came to a different conclusion to me!
(though I do maintain that people who don't recognise the value and importance of learning through play are, at best, numpties )
Cbeebies, Cbeebies- oh yeah, oh yeah..
Oh sorry- threads moved on and all that. Tum te tum. tra la la.
Let play and play all day.. .
"As I said above, we turned to Kumon when we discovered that the state primary wasn't going to push DC. DC entered Year R ahead of his peers in reading and writing, thanks to the efforts of the pre school, and by Year 1 the boy was just plain bored. Hence Kumon."
He was bored at school so you thought the answer was Kumon, with its endless repetitive worksheet drill?
@Fuzz - I stand corrected
Re your point about the value of play, it depends on the child.
When DS was nearly 4 we put him into a Saturday morning music session for pre schoolers.
To cut a long story short, DS found the learning music through play so irritating and childish. Similarly, when it came to learning the times table his primary teacher insisted that he learn what he termed a 'silly song'.
IMO learning through play proponents ignore that some, dare I say it?, brighter kids respond to a more traditional method.
@clam - You may go at my posts but at the end of the day I'm the one that smiles smugly to myself when others post about not being able to get their teenagers to study or to do homework. Or how they can't get their DCs to focus on one thing.
So right back at you and I raise you a
That is a fair point, I was very much into sitting down with workbooks etc. Hence me struggling a bit at first with the fact that DD isn't (usually - occasionally she will spend hours on them)
Good for them to have a range of choices in the classroom as well as at home. I remember feeling happy at school (much more so than at home) and knowing that however I chose to direct my own learning was valid and exciting
Oh wait until they rebel PooshTun..[I'll lay off the grins].
Poosh, believe me , I am a pushy parent. I am quite willing to spend hours reading the numbers on lamp-posts and adding up all the numbers we see on car registration plates, and to spend money on more and more and more books for DD to devour, and to drive long distances each week to orchestra and music lessons and dance and sport.
I am not 'not pushy' because I don't enrol my children in programmes such as Kumon. I just show it in a slightly different way [deranged grin] and perhaps see educational value in activities you might not see as educational. Seems to be working so far [even wider deranged grin]....
Sunflowers DD asked to go on the computer earlier so we tried out the numtums part of cbeebies - not sure about the programme itself but damn those things are cute!
Kumon definintely works for some dc. I know one who romped through the levels at primary school (loved it) and is now an exceptionally good mathematician (I'll be astounded if he doesn't gain A* A* for his maths & f maths A levels and go on to Cambridge). It also worked for my dd who needed the repetition to learn number bonds and tables. She was struggling at maths n primary, did kumon for about 2+ years (on and off - I can't say that she or I enjoyed it, and certainly if I'd had the motivation to do similar repetative work with her would not have needed kumon, but later she has told me she's glad she did it as she can now do the calculations without error which was he problem before. She is has an A* in her first 2 GCSE modules which I think is amazing for someone struggling as she was.
I think 4 might be a bit young to start, but I wouldn't right it off completely as some people do - it can have its place.
PushTun I don't know how old your DCs are. Mine are already teens and have a formidable work ethic, as all their exam/music/dram/sports results to date show. So, no need to worry on my behalf.
And do you really smile smugly when other people report problems with their DCs? I'd put a , except that I'm afraid I'm not hugely surprised, bearing in mind some of your previous comments to others on here.
A friend of mine swears by it...her DD was struggling with maths in reception and Kumon has really helped her. Doing very well now with maths (Y3). I suspect the same can be achieved at home if you're happy to do it. Horses for courses and all that.
I get that the OP's child is 4, but I find some of what people are saying here alarming.
Not all education can be a barrel of fun. Not all education can or should be child-led. Not all education can be learning through play. Sometimes you have to get through a period of boredom to master something. Showing a child this sometimes does involve pushing them to finish what they have started.
I'm also very alarmed by the way 'pushy' is being used here; apparently anyone who is not a full-hearted eager supporter of current educational standards in state schools is 'pushy', and anyone bothered about our relatively modest place in international league tables is pushy as well. Meanwhile statements are being made about e.g. education in Singapore which are scarily close to racism. Ethnocentrism, anyway.
And btw, Kumon English involves reading lots of books... so another misleading either-or above.
"Oh wait until they rebel PooshTun..[I'll lay off the grins]."
I'm grinning right now. Your arrogance is such that you must be right eh? So there can be only one outcome for me and it is going to be a negative one. Thanks for keeping an open mind. Here, have a for free.
I am sure that if Kumon at a young age could genuinely inoculate children against teenage rebellion there would be MANY takers! Is there any such statistical link that you know of. Poosh?
"And do you really smile smugly when other people report problems with their DCs? I'd put a hmm , except that I'm afraid I'm not hugely surprised, bearing in mind some of your previous comments to others on here"
Why do you assume that I am deriving enjoyment from the misery of others?
I also smile smugly when friends talk about how they only have to look at a pastry for them to gain pounds. I 'smile smugly' not because I take delight in their weight problems but because I'm lucky to have a metabolism that burns it all away.
Similarly, I 'smile smugly' because I consider myself lucky because I don't have those problems when it comes to homework and stuff.
"Not all education can be a barrel of fun. Not all education can or should be child-led. Not all education can be learning through play."
I don't think anyone has said it should be. What people are saying is that there are better ways to support a 4 year old's learning than worksheets. And people have made lots of helpful suggestions.
If the question had been asked about a 8 year old, for example, the answers would have been very different. I would still be anti kumon, but I would not have been suggesting a llaissez faire approach either.
But seeker, my point is that lots of the respondents weren't making exactly the distinction you are making, but saying with a sweep of the hand that all xs must be y, as if their words must be equally true for 4 and 14....
What's your take on why this has become so nasty and heated, btw?
Sieglinde- I didn't see that- I thought most people were thinking specifically about the 4 year old in question.
Your other question? No idea. But it does seem to have stemmed from one particular .....interesting....poster!
sieglinde You might be better directing that question to PooshTun, for all she professes amusement.
I agree - This thread (including what I wrote) would've been completely different if it were about an older child.
I am not saying that Kumon has magic powers that will give you a well rounded polite and academic child at the end of the program. I am just questioning the assertion that kids will inevitably rebel as teenagers if subjected to the evils of kumon.
It all comes down to the child itself. If you take a child that isn't particularly academic and you subject that kid to years of kumon or any other type of concentrated and directed learning then of course there will be negative side effects later on in life.
But that is not to say that ALL children will end up that way. Going by the life histories posted by a number of posters a number have 'issues' to do with having pushy parents themselves. But not all 'pushy' parents are the same and not all 'pushed' children are the same.
At primary school DC was two years ahead in maths compared to his classmates. His friends would call him the Human Calculator. The teacher would get him to help some of the others with their maths. Today, he is at a highly regarded selective school and whenever adults ask him which school he goes to he beams when they tell him that he must be a very clever boy to go there.
Basically, DC likes being clever. Yet for many posters they slot in their experiences and prejudices and roll their eyes and predict burn out and rebellion in years to come. It never enters their mind that an academically pushed child can thrive because their own (narrow) experiences tell them it is the work of the Devil.
I say 'narrow' because at least I am prepared to accept that Kumon is not for everybody but some on the other side of the fence, such is their arrogance, are going - its the work of the devil. End of discussion.
Equally the balance between all those a)s and b)s in my long post up thread would be different for an older child, particularly for an older child who had a good concept of number but needed rehearsal to memorise number facts.
"lots of the respondents weren't making exactly the distinction you are making, but saying with a sweep of the hand that all xs must be y, as if their words must be equally true for 4 and 14.."
"You might be better directing that question to PooshTun, for all she professes amusement"
Not guilty. Upthread I said that IMO starting Kumon at the age of 4 was too soon. The points I have been making relates to my son who did Kumon from the age of 5 to 11.
I have a DS exactly as you describe yours - except that he will go to our local comprehensive because it gets better results than any of the 'highly regarded selective private schools' locally.
He is 3+ years ahead in maths. He has exactly the same nickname as your son (though it alternates with his 'sporting' nickname as he is also a very able sportsman). He does not help others with their maths because his (state primary) school teacher seems it as her job that she ensures he makes the maximum progress possible while in her class and she does not see that helping others is a useful use of his time. He loves being clever.
He is not narrowly academically pushed - but he thrives intellectually on a mixed diet of sport, music, discussion, reading newspapers, theatre, books and Scouts. He has never been near Kumon.
I therefore don't see a link between Kumon and being academically able, or between it and having a ferocious work ethic etc.
Your son might be exactly the same without Kumon. Mine might well have been the same with Kumon. The point I am making is that there is no causal link.
We actually did kumon but reading upthread a lot of people's opinions seem to be based on other people's negative experiences. Does everybody appreciate what Kumon looks like for a young child or are you just blindly joining in the chant 'its the work of the Devil. Its the work of the Devil'?
DS was assessed at the age of 5.5 and went in at the level which involved worksheets that had dots that look like a piece from a domino. DS was required to work to the clock and count the dots. I later found that when we played board games (yes we did do kids stuff as well ) DS could roll the dice and instantly knew how many spaces to move his token.
I'm guessing that the work sheets for a 4 year old wouldn't be that much different.
Why does something this simple evoke such strong anti emotions? I mean, a stranger passing by would think that that Kumon was preaching creationism and not evolution.
The only reason you should do Kumon is if it's something your children really want to do. On the other hand you can play board games, read together, write letters to the Queen, all those other things that are fun, and don't cost cash.
Love the faux naïveté , PooshTun. That's why I didn't want your posts deleted-you can deny all now.
"I have a DS exactly as you describe yours - except that he will go to our local comprehensive because it gets better results than any of the 'highly regarded selective private schools' locally."
Unfortunately I can't say the same. The local comps here are ok but not great.
"He is 3+ years ahead in maths..... He does not help others with their maths because his (state primary) school teacher seems it as her job that she ensures he makes the maximum progress possible while in her class and she does not see that helping others is a useful use of his time. "
DS's teacher did it to keep him busy . He would finish the 10 minutes maths challenge in 2 minutes for example. Rather than set him harder work she would simply get him to help others that were struggling.
"I therefore don't see a link between Kumon and being academically able, or between it and having a ferocious work ethic etc .... Your son might be exactly the same without Kumon. Mine might well have been the same with Kumon. The point I am making is that there is no causal link"
I am not suggesting a rigid link either
All I am saying is that it taught him to focus and to concentrate and to work to the clock.
At DS's school there was no homework at all. It wasn't particularly academic and as I mentioned above the teachers did nothing to develop my son's potential. If he had your school and /or your teacher then I would have been happy to chuck Kumon out the window and save myself £50 a month.
What I am saying is that Kumon suited my personal circumstances. I am not claiming that it automatically churns out high achievers
Seeker - You are like some school girl going - look, look, look everybody. PT is being mean to me
I've been very good today. Notice that I didn't call you a hypocrite at all today so I've no idea what you are going on about.
In any case, I didn't realise that I ever gave you the impression that I was here to win friends or to be popular. I offer my opinion and advice. People can take it or leave it. They can think of me as a twat or as a righteous dude. Doesn't make that much of a difference to me one way or the other.
I'm not as insecure as you in that that I don't feel a need to solicit others to take my side in a bun fight or to go - there, there seeker. You are the cool one and PT is a twat.
Woman Up Heeker
"The only reason you should do Kumon is if it's something your children really want to do"
Given the choice my DS would not want to do kumon. But,then neither would he want to practice his violin, shower daily, go to bed at 7:30pm, eat vegetables etc etc.
Pooshtun - from what I saw almost all hidden start with those worksheets regardless of age and ability. Say able 8/9 year olds given it! I am sure it has nothing todo with their claims that children will make fantastic progress at the end of their first Kumon year.
And you might want to check out the correct spelling of "practice/practise" when used as a verb. There might be a Kumon sheet on it.
Oh for goodness sake stop squabbling like school girls. Anyone can have an opinion that's the idea of mumsnet. Seeker why don't you let it go it's over with now.
Some parents are treating this thread as a boasting sight just because you have a bright three your old they might not turn out bright
Before you all jump in I meant site not sight.
Juniper I think your views on music are very distorted, maybe from a bad teacher.
Music should be fun from the start, otherwise don't do it. It isn't necessarily repetitive nor irritating and how can you expect to master something so quickly. I'd say music everytime.
Hula baby yes that bit about children starting at very low levels is true, makes it look ever so good when they inevitably race through them! (to be fair I suppose it increases self confidence at the start)
<fervently ignores slanging match>
Pooshtun. Just wanted to add my dd wants to do all the things your dc doesn't want to do, but I would never push her to do kumon or anything else. I pity your poor child
Redglow, apologies. I am very aware that my posts on this thread could come across as boasting and I did consider anonymising (spelling??) them as 'i know a child who'.
I posted the information I did because professionally and personally I find it very difficult when parents see 'learning through play' and 'academic learning' as polar opposites, whereas my professional and personal experience is that the academic learning which comes through play in the early years is often wider, deeper and far more stretching than that from any 'taught' lesson or worksheet for that age group. Unfortunately for me communicating this opinion on MN, my best examples of this do come from my own children ...
It often takes a trained eye to spot the learning which is taking place in planned 'play' activities in pre-schools and schools - and therefore parents can miss it. That does not mean it is not there....
@clam - Wasn't it Oscar Wilde that said that typo/spelling flames are the lowest form of wit?
Come on clam, is insulting my spelling the best you can do?
fuzzpig - yes, the confidence thing is what they told me too when we considered it for DD. It did just the opposite for us. DD looked at it, considered it baby preschool work, then decided maybe it was because she really was bd at maths after all - we;d considered it as DD is able at Maths, but not great at the quick fire stuff (she can do the harder stuff where it gets worked out, etc. but found mental maths tougher to do fast). Just managed to make DD feel bad about herself. We saw this happen with 3 or 4 other children - all DD's age or older - when they were given the counting dots sheets alongside the 4 and 5 year olds.
"Seeker why don't you let it go it's over with now."
Right. Because obviously I should just take the shit that's being handed out to me and accept it.
morethan - I would pass on your pity but my son is at his school, preparing for his solo at his school's end of year music scholars concert but I'll be sure to pass it on when I pick him up later.
I'm not interested in the bunfight either! If you recall, the first salvos came from you!
we've read the posts including the ones MN deleted
So, feenie, mrz, 2kids. You all finished your reports? I'm on the last 3 statements, hence
wasting time dabbling on here!
I've got targets for next year to add and one or two teacher comments to change but doing them on line isn't good for my MN addiction
All Maths to do and all my personal statements. Am further behind than I would normally be at this time of year, but 'tis all in hand.
Clam....everything written but complex jobshare merge / edit job to do once I get everything from the person who does the 0.3 part of my jobshare (trying to make two people sound like one is time consuming and a little stressful, especially when we have slightly different approaches to deadlines .....)
seeker - I have a 2ii university degree. It's nothing to write home about. Consequently I do not consider myself equipped to hand out advice to people asking about universities.
But if I were to do so and were you to point it out to me anyway I would not consider your comments to be 'vile'.
But then I am quite a confident and secure individual.
According to the on line report monitor I'm 92% complete
PooshTun- quote of the week "But then I am quite a confident and secure individual."
so secure and confident that you get your kicks attaching a random stranger on th internet!!!
Has mega bored actually come to a conclusion - or lost the will to live reading this?!
The older ones don't start with counting dots round here. They always start a level or two below what they're capable of so they can whizz through the first couple of levels while getting used to the routine and to build confidence - this is a problem for children wanting to do complicated maths when their speed/accuracy isn't up to kumon speeds initially (which is unlikely) if it isn't explained to them that that's what they have to work on first.
Incidently the very high levels are good for proper maths (factorising quadratics and that sort of thing) - not rote stuff at all, but very few dc take it that far.
I'm thinking about using it philosophy tomorrow
Teacherwith kids I didn't think you did come over as boasting. Your posts make sense. My argument on this thread has been about a four year old being pushed by an over anxious mum but that's just my opinion.
Then it all got of the subject with seeker keep mentioning the post that has been deleted that a lot if people did not see. Then someone else comming in and calling someone vile that's a bit strong like the op calling her four year old lazy because she does not want o do school work.
I believe this thread is becoming boring. It seems like you can take the girl out of school but cant take the... anyway!!
Thank you all for the insight into the world of parenting, and the good advise. I am sure our paths will cross on another thread.
Till we meet again.
exotic I have lost the will to read between all the squabbles!! :-)
However, between the squabbles, the views of everyone has been so enlighening to read. My opinion lies somewhere inbetween these thread. I like the approach from poosh and other 'pushy' in your face mums but I also appreciate very much views from seeker and in essence agree with them. There I will finish this post.
With respect redglow if someone made derogatory comments about your child you might feel a little upset too
keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
Well of course I would but how could she know anything about her child anyway. It's not as though she knows the person that had said it. It now has been deleted anyway so a bit silly going on about it.
When our children are attacked it's a natural reaction
I think it's a bit silly to harangue posters who think that attacking people's children is nasty. But there you go. Yet you keep 'going on about it', redglow.
Good grief it's like watching Wimbledon reading this back-and-forth
Lovely quotes mrz (I wonder what people would think of me after an hour of play?)
I'm in my Greek philosophy mood (perhaps due to the Olympics) and P4C tomorrow
In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.
The only philosophical quote I know is from Kurt Vonnegut on a postcard my college tutor had by her desk:
To be is to do - Socrates
To do is to be - Sartre
Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra
Which bears no relation to this thread, I just wanted an excuse to post it.
Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? - Diogenes of Sinope
(could not resist). Last post I hope!
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."
- Hector Berlioz
Is that Vonnegut? I'm so pleased- another reason to love him!
Redglow- I really can't stop myself saying that I find it a little odd that you appear to be making me responsible for the spat on this thread. Please don't reply- but just to clarify, I'm not.
Apparently it is Vonnegut, yes (from deadeye dick I think) - had no idea until quite recently when I decided to put the quote into google (purely to see if I could buy a copy of the postcard!)
Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.
seeker - the so called 'vile' posts have been deleted, I'm not even throwing any buns at you. So you are the only one keeping this spat going.
In any case, I don't know why you are so outraged. I mean I seem to recall in your thread about you appealing your LEA's decision that those posters called you worst things [and yet they escaped MNHQ's deletion rubber ]
Slaughterhouse 5. Best book ever. Or not?
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
It is better to conceal one's knowledge than to reveal one's ignorance
"In the beginning, there was nothing. Then God said, "Let there be light". And there was still nothing but you could see it."
Just because some of us can read and write and do a little maths, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the Universe.
Erm, I've never actually read any Vonnegut
Problem is I have had a biggish glass of wine and just want to throw some quotes in for the sheer hell of it. Totally irrelevant ones!
EG: 'May you live in interesting times' - Chinese curse.
I'll stop it and make myself a coffee!!
I of course don't want to curse anyone...
'and all shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of things shall be well'. [By some Saint or other].
"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."
- Winnie The Pooh
I think, therefore I am. I'm pink, therefore I'm spam.
Being shot in the arse is a good cure for toothache.
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.
Some are wise - some are otherwise.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I'll show you a flat minor.
A wise man learns from others mistakes
A fool learns from his own.
If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
I have got all these half remembered quotes in my head but they are all a little bit wrong!
When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new
When I was three I was almost me
When I was four I was not much more
When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six I am clever as clever
I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
I intend to live forever -- so far, so good
Give me a boy til he's seven and I'll show you the man.
[or something like that!].
The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up
If you judge people you have no time to love them
"when she arrived later in the day, she took the point at once - but she also took the spoons." (LOTR)
'I have secret plans and clever tricks' - The Enormous Crocodile..
glaurung - or is the starting 2 levels below what they are capable of anything to do with the fact that Kumon than state that in the first year a child will make xx amount of progress - not suprising really if they are starting at a much lower level than they are really capable of.
The children I saw being asked to count dots were around 7-9 years.
'It's a million to one chance, but it might just work' - Terry Pratchett
Blinkin' flip. I nip off out on an airport run for an hour and you all go intelligent on me!
<<flounces back to reports>>
Divide the fire and you will soon put it out.
Dd started beyond the dot stage at around age 8 hulla and I never noticed many children doing that at the centre (might have been me being unobservant, but I can only think of one child in about two years and they were very young). And the first level took a fortnight to complete with the second taking not that much longer, so she was up to the right level within a couple of months - I don't think it made much difference to the progress claimed over the first year as all the adults more or less discounted those first two stages anyway.
you don't need to preempt her P1 progress
stop being pushy mum, locating tutors and additional classes isn't necessary. a good teacher will explain progress,strategies etc and it won't include kumon
ime,kumon is pushy mum territory
Guess it depends on the centre itself then - definitely occurred where we went.
"Divide the fire and you will soon put it out."
Until scottishmummy comes along with a great big can of petrol and starts it all off again!
if as parent you have disposable income and insecurities
some unmet need will pop up
megaboard, if you're still reading..
I've not got time to read all the posts.. but it's not pleasant having read a couple of pages so don't really want to.
To answer your OP, I used to work in Kumon briefly and would not send my children there unless they are having issues in school and the school recommends it, which I doubt they will. Thankfully for me, for now my DS1 lets me go through numbers and phonics books with him. He loves them and asks me teach him all sorts so I bought some books for him. I'm not really pushy though so that might not suit you because if DS1 doesn't ask, then I don't bother going through the books. Actually, iIt's been a month since we last went through Jolly Phonics workbook 4.
Why not ascertain from your DD if she wants to do it? My DS1 spent 6 month begging me to send him for all sorts of different language lessons (my background and he was also exposed to it during his brief time at pre-prep) I resisted but I am so glad I finally gave in. He started a month ago and he really enjoys his tuition. He is so happy going for lessons, I sit in the same room watching them (and desperately wishing I had a fancy tablet to read mumsnet on) and I can see how much he enjoys it.
At this age, I'm trying my best to let him learn through play and enjoyment. Having said that, DS1 is so eager to learn things so it's so easy for me at the moment, my smugness will wash away prompto I bet when DS2 turns 4.
Must file some of these quoted.
glaurung - Mine finished with the dot counting after 6 months which was shortly after he turned six. No, I am not stealth boasting ladies. I was just adding perspective to the comment about how older kids were still doing dot counting.
So its not normal to be doing dot counting at that age.
[inserts not stealth boasting disclaimer] By Year 5 DS was two years ahead of the national average for maths which is contrary to any claim that kumon centres typically starts kids low so as to create an artificial spurt of achievement.
A child needs to show mastery of a level before moving on. As a result less academic kids can repeat a level a number of times thus giving the illusion that kumon moves kids along at a slow pace.
why are you predicting an unidentified need?
not at school yet
I've never met a teacher who'd recommend kumon
scottishmummy - not predicting anything and not saying teachers will recommend it. Just trying to put across the point that i would only send my child (last resort kinda thing) if pushed by teachers (which would never happen).
Sigh... I don't support kumon at all but op does so trying to speak neutrally. Never mind.. <leaving>..
mumsofwliboys all the quotes and misquotes have livened this up again. not sure what you are tryin to say. Maybe I am exhausted today. Hit day here in sunny Surrey.
you're not the op
she is anticipating a need
IMO wait on staff assessment and feedback
megaboard, sorry.. I haven't read that far. I am tired too so probably missing everything!
mumoft - You aren't comparing like with like I've only got O Level maths but DP has degree level maths. So between the two of us we could have tutored DS but we simply didn't have the time since both of us work.
And when we came home we wanted quality with the children so we didn't want to be doing maths with them. With kumon they either did it when breakfast was being cooked or when tea was cooked.
If either one of us was a SAHP then we would chuck kumon out the window. As it was, it suited our routine.
Between two evils, always pick the one you have never tried before'.
What I don't get is, a number of posters have recommended gcgrath tuition. No one seems to mind that. It does. It crest such polarity compared to kumon. Why?
kumon is pushy mom territory
bulgy eyed angsty do better types
kumon is shorthand for all of that
Last sentence should read 'it does not create as much polarity....
No idea, I've only ever heard of it on MN! I guess it takes a different approach?
The children should be children brigade don't like it because children shouldn't be subject to 20min homework a day.
The learning should be fun brigade don't like it because it is boring and repetative (it is) Oops, did I say that out loud?
mumsofwaliboys now, if I say, yes I agree everyone, kumon is the devils work, please forgive me. How could I possibly even consider it. Would you believe me? If I say, yes kumon is great and it's what pushed kids of pushy parents are made of. What reactions am I going to get? If I say, I will try out kumon at a later date maybe when dd is say 5, in 4 months time, what then? Why do I have to be in a camp either way?
push eating broccoli is boring and yucky. If given too much it is boring and repetitive. It will put dd off broccoli for life tasting that. Let my child be a child and I will only give her Haribo sweets. How is that?
what the hell mixed metaphor gobbledeegook was that
scottishmummy what mixed metaphor? . Maybe I'll look at it tomorrow. So tired today. Goodnight.
The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.
Erik H. Erikson
The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.
They're not saying you should just give them sweets, they're saying that too much broccoli too young might not be very nutritious as it could prevent them from trying all the other wonderful food available
A balanced diet can take some of both.
Same with play and worksheets - but too many worksheets runs the danger of putting them off maths.
Love the quotes by the way.
'When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret. Now I'm fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness'.
ive never heard a teacher effuse about kumon
Don't bother. It's boring for the child. I sent my dd to 2 lessons because they were free but dd was bored with doing the 'homework' exercises after the second lesson.
Not sure it's worth persevering here... just wanted to add that DS has reached Level M, which is Calculus, and not about counting dots at all, while DD is doing quadratics - again FWIW, ds's best friend also did the whole set of Kumon levels as part of home ed and went on to get the top scholarship to a certain very famous school - he is now planning to do physics and philosophy at uni.
No doubt this may be misrepresented as 'pushy parenting', but the right and left here has been annoying me. On the one hand, people say Kumon is pushy, and on the other banal and boring. Actually, above the early levels it is neither. I have been astonished by the level of careless misrepresentation here, but I hope this is to do with the OP's focus on very early years at Kumon - again fwiw, DS was 12 when he started, and dd was 8, and I wouldn't on the whole favour it as a way of grounding. But as a method of consolidation it is excellent or has been for my dcs.
I think that we lose sight of the fact that it is merely a maths scheme-one of many and it may or may not suit your DC. Since OP DC is little more than a baby and hasn't even started school I would wait and see what sort of thing suits her.
Personally I would go for Target Maths which are great for consolidation BUT not if they are using them at school and not until they are 7yrs. It is a lot cheaper. Or I would use Maths Zone again when older.
I didn't use anything extra-they all got enough at school and with homework-we played lots of card games etc which sharpen the mind and are fun.
Various posters seem surprised that teachers don't 'effuse' about kumon.
Many parents turn to kumon because they think that the traditional methods at their school has failed their children. So why do you expect the teachers from this system to effuse about kumon?
People choose kumon for various reasons. For me, I had a mathematically able child that I felt wasn't being challenged at his school. Kumon challenged my DC and got him to the point where he was two years above the national average by Year 5 so I had a positive experience.
Others choose kumon because their child is struggling and, for whatever reason, the parent is unable to help. Hence the search for an outside solution. If this is you then of course you are going to have a negative experience with kumon.
Kumon is an aid to learning. It's not a total solution to your problems. If that is your expectation then course it is going to disappoint.
I would agree with you there-an aid to learning-one of hundreds.
sieg - My DC did kumon from 5 to 11 so I must have liked it but it is boring and repetative, which is a problem for some parents and/or children.
At my university karate club I got to know a Japanese student and he was saying that Karate was taught differently back home. For example, a beginner would spend weeks practising his stance. Only when he had a rock steady platform would he learn how to punch. Such a teaching style wouldn't work in the West he said. Here, students want instant results, they want to do flying kicks, they want gradings, they want wax on wax off training techniques and so on.
Basically, the philosophy behind Kumon suits the Japanese-type mind set. And that is why it has so many detractors here in the West
exotic - We usually don't agree but at least you have a reasoned reason for your positions, unlike some others that seem to go into auto attack mode. What is it about kumon that you don't like?
I'm not asking for a children should be children argument. Stacked against other learning aids of the same cost what makes you like those aids and not kumon?
I say same cost because other posters have said that xyz is better but when I go to the website I see that it is more expensive or you pay for each session or its one2one. So its apples and oranges.
Also, if I was buying the cbeebies magazines every week and sitting down with dd every day, no one would bat an eyelid. As it is not called kumon. The kumon sheets I have seen for dds level are infant less confusing and better pictorially than cbeebies mags.
I have nothing against kumon as I don't know much about it. I have heard that its something that pushy mums subscribe to. FWIW I don't like the education system at all, for any subject, but I get all my resources free. I certainly wouldn't pay for them when there are so many activities you can do with your dc that are fun. I suppose if you don't want to make time to do things with your dcs and they attend a failing school, you maybe feel as though you should pay for this. I agree though there are many alternatives to bring dcs up to the required level.
morethan I am happy to pay for the motivation of having to see a third party every week. I am more than happy to spend time going thru the sheets with dd. i am happy to spend endless hrs climbing trees and jumping puddles. i am not happy seeing dds lack of confidence when put against a say another kid in class who does kumon and therefore is ahead of the rest of the group. No matter how many apples and cheerios we count, my dd will not be as fast in mental arithmetic due to lack of practice.
Now I feel obliged to say something anti kumon.
I don't like it because when I have taught DCs who do it I find them inflexible-they tend to state 'that is not how we do it at Kumon' and they don't want to even consider another method. I consider that a good mathematician is the one who makes connections, knows why something is done, can pick the way that suits them and can apply it in other areas.
A good analogy is my theory of music, as a child I went to classes every Saturday morning and did worksheets. I loved it, found them easy where others struggled and got top marks. Every so often we went to a centre and had an exam and I got a lovely certificate with distinction embossed on it. However, I had not a clue what any of it meant musically and it didn't help my piano playing!
To be fair, the children who go to Kumon are not the good mathematicians and they like a crutch so they can say 'this is....... and this is how you do it-but that is too rigid an approach. The really good mathematicians are more likely to play competitive chess etc.
glaurung - Mine finished with the dot counting after 6 months which was shortly after he turned six. No, I am not stealth boasting ladies. I was just adding perspective to the comment about how older kids were still doing dot counting.
A mathematically able child of a maths graduate spending 6 months counting dots? You are not exactly selling it to me, PooshTun.
Kumon does not claim to make a good mathematician of a 4 or 5 year old. It claims to increase concentration in children and make them more able to attempt arithmetic. I have a phd in physics based subject. All sciences and business and even art and sport involves Maths. And to be more specific, arithmetic. For fear of being branded I have not mentioned my Background openly before. I will be tryin out kumon and seeing how it works in more detail. It may work, it may not. But it certainly won't scar my dd for life.
Glad you said it CecilyP. I was confused by that post and the reference to stealth boasting. Seems like you have to settle for pretty low standards with Kumon.
The more anti kumon comments I read the more I conclude that some of these critics don't have any first hand experience of what it is they are criticising.
A kumon critic upthread smugly went on about how she taught her child to count by counting cars or telegraph poles. The purpose of the dot counting is to train the child so that he can look and 'see' 5 cars instead of going 1, 2, 3 .... like the critic's DC. The next stage is to do adding. Imagine throwing down a domino piece face up. After 6 months DS could look at this and instantly 'see' 6 dots and 7 dots without having to count them and then add it all up in his mind. The next stage is to get the child to actually do 6 + 7 = ? in his mind.
As I said, by the year 5 DS was ahead of the national average for maths by two years so snigger all you want about dot counting
Megabored, each to thir own I supose. I'm not at all interested in what other peoples children do in relation to mine. As long as my dc are doing well thats enough for me, its not a competition.
exotic, just want to say all over again that my ds IS A PRETTY GOOD MATHEMATICIAN, and he also benefited from Kumon.
You absolutely do NOT have to settle for low standards with Kumon; DS has an A* atMmaths and Further Maths GCSEs and an A in Add Maths, all marks in the high 90s. He's also won some prizes and Maths Olympiad...
Could we not all agree that individuals might differ, and that some might benefit?
Agree too with PooshTun's anecdote about karate. We are the same in every subject. Let's make language teaching FUN so kids never learn any grammar. Let's make humanities teaching FUN so kids never learn any dates.
Obviously this is fine for the OP's 4-year-old, but at what age are we willing to say, ok, let's add some work in here?
megabored, school at this stage isn't a competition. Don't you want your daughter to be happy in school? I can't see what anything has to do with being at the top of her group. I'm not sure that prepping our daughters to ensure that they will always be ahead of their classmates is a good reason for doing it. But preparing them for the three rs for its own sake seems reasonable to me. I don't think parents can control who's at the top of which group anyway, because parents don't allocate the children to groups.
Um, at the risk of going way off topic here, I disagree about karate. Karate is a Japanese invention so it has cultural significances there that it doesn't have here. The implication is that if sport was done the Japanese way it would be done better. So why aren't the Japanese any good at rugby, cricket and football, (because they're not traditional Japanese sports.)
mega - In answer to your question "Stealth Boasting" is an accusation thrown by people with a complex about xyz
My accountant recently did my tax return and I was having a whinge in the Real World to my friend about how much tax I had to pay at year end. My friend said that was nothing. She got a big bonus from her firm but a large chunk of that was going to the tax man. We then proceeded to have a whinge about the British tax system. To some, me or my friend or both are guilty of stealth boasting i.e. look at me, look how much I earn and how much tax I pay. Whereas to us, it was just two friends having a whinge about how much tax we had to hand over to the taxman, a conversation that many of us have whenever we get our payslips
Basically, if you are on a low income or you have kids that aren't doing as well as you would like then you are going to be sensitive to others talking about how great their jobs are or how well their children are doing at school.
I accept that there are some parents out there who do use the opportunity to boast about how much money they have or how clever their kids are but I know who these people are so I make sure that I avoid them.
never too young really to expose them to music notation surely? Son's school does music classes from recpetion. It is only once a week at that age and they don't really learn anything (at least my son didn't) but they are gaining a familiarity. Instrument lessons are available in theory from Year 1, but it is more like a 'club' as it is just once a week. He loves it and is keen to go on to the piano now.
"Agree too with PooshTun's anecdote about karate. We are the same in every subject. Let's make language teaching FUN so kids never learn any grammar. Let's make humanities teaching FUN so kids never learn any dates."
DS's first violin teacher was like that. He is just a child, she would say, so it doesn't matter that the technique isn't right or the piece is only 70% there. Lets move on to a new piece. After all, we don't want DS to get bored, do we?
DS's current teacher is a very nice Russian lady. She is a concert violinist turned teacher at his indie and she has basically spent the past 9 months stripping away the bad habits and rebuilding DS's technique from the ground up.
Some of the other mums don't like her because they feel that she is too strict but we love her because she is strict.
poosh again it is very British to down play everything. So it's okay if i had said my dd is not so bright and needs help with math (assume I am now talking about someone 8 and not 4). And I am so dirt poor that I can afford food. That would be okay to share. But if I share that my dd is bright and I have a phd in physics, that is stealth boasting ?
mega - Everybody has been concentrating on Kumon maths but what about Kumon English for your DC? Surely no one can find fault with something that encourages a 4 year old to read? Or am I being naive?
@mega - In the eyes of some, that is 'stealth boasting' I must admit that I never heard of the term before I came onto MN.
Yup, Poosh, we also had the FUN stuff with music. Utterly useless, really, and it's actually not FUN never doing anything well and never improving much, nor is it FUN to rely entirely on natural talent and social privilege (which is what FUN in education after around age 8 means) because those things are the things most threatened by good sound teaching for everyone.
Sorry, people, but it can actually be more constraining for your Dcs in the long run if you never teach them anything solid.
I love reading about other children's progress. Genuinely. Life if however more
Fun and interesting when there is healthy competition. Another problem I find with our system is we feel the need to downplay achievement. Of course it would be nice to
have dd in top group at school. I will try and ensure that by providing her with every opportunity to grow. Not just by 'play'. Why can't worksheets be play?!
poosh I began this topic by talking about english. But others kept on pushing it back to math. Maybe (dare I day it) most of the mummies here are my age. Circa 80s and 90s educated like me. But unlike me, they may have a complex relationship with Maths. As they maybe we nit taught the time tables repetitively like me. Where they feel almost threatened by it. Hence the continuous comments on make math fun. It is fun!
It is fun if u r good at it. U r good at it as u can do it fast and accurately and correctly. U can do it accurately and correct because u practice. Everyday. Using various methods including worksheets!
"I don't like it because when I have taught DCs who do it I find them inflexible-they tend to state 'that is not how we do it at Kumon' and they don't want to even consider another method."
It has been a few years so my recollection is a bit vague but I think it was to do with column addition. Kumon taught DS the 'adult' way i.e. you add up the columns from the right and put the carry over on the column to the left. DS got into trouble with the teacher because she was teaching the method whereby you add the columns from left to right and she pulled up DS for using the adult/kumon method.
At that stage he had been doing column addition for a few months in Kumon where he was adding up multiple 4 to 5 column figures and here was this teacher telling him that he was doing it wrong when he could see that the method she was using only worked for small numbers. DS ended being quite upset because the teacher was not receptive to his 'that is not how we do it at Kumon' observation.
We spoke to the teacher after school one day and she accepted that it only works when a limited number of columns is involved but it is be the recognised method of introducing the concept of column addition to young children.
What wound me up was that faced with a kid that could use the adult method she still insisted that he use the kids method.
I obviously can't comment on your scenario. All I am saying is that my son was faced with a situation where the kumon method was the correct method.
"I consider that a good mathematician is the one who makes connections, knows why something is done, can pick the way that suits them and can apply it in other areas"
I agree with you there but, on the positive side, Kumon did equip DS with a Human Calculator mind so when it came to do 'proper' maths he could do the calculations in his head. And as I've said above, kumon is just an aid and not a total solution even though Kumon HQ might market it as such.
"To be fair, the children who go to Kumon are not the good mathematicians and they like a crutch so they can say 'this is....... and this is how you do it-but that is too rigid an approach"
This is the point I made above. Some parents look for help because their child is struggling with maths. Kumon comes along and says this is how you do it, follow these steps and you will get your answer. Given the above, of course you are going to end up with a child that is rigid in his approach and doesn't really have an indepth understanding of the subject.
"The really good mathematicians are more likely to play competitive chess etc."
That is only true in our culture. The common view here, and probably in the Real World, is that the OP's child is doing fine so there is no need for external learning whether it is Kumon or something else. So of course the kids who are already good at maths won't be signed up to do Kumon and Friends.
In my case, DS was good at maths and we put him into Kumon because we wanted him to be even better. Such a view isn't popular in our culture which is why a significant proportion of the Kumon kids that we saw at our centre were Asian and Oriental.
Be careful poosh. U may be branded as borderline racist as I was earlier in the thread. Of course it is not a competition as you study just naturally grow and develop. Anything barely taxing to the brain is being pushy. Your anecdote re. He addition methodology is similar to the comments I got to not teach my dd to read as they now use phonics system and therefore she won't be able to read if I taught her the old fashioned way.
Play is training for the unexpected.
In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior. In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.
Another thing I don't get is. It's okay to say, "oh, Maths is beyond me, I don't do Maths." no embarrassment. But would the same
people say, "oh, I don't do reading, reading (or writing) is beyond me,"
We also did Kumon English. While I can find faults with Kumon Maths while supporting it, I was totally satisfied with Kumon English.
Each worksheet would have passages from famous and not so famous novels and DC would be asked questions about the passages. At the early stages it was simply a case of searching the passage to identify the correct word missing from a sentence. By Year 6 DC had exposure to the works of Mark Twain and others that I can't remember here and now. DC had read about the experiences of slaves in the USA and how the Civil War freed them. Then there was the story about the experiences of a poor Indian girl and how she was going to be sold off as a servant to a rich family. Then there was the story about a family during the Great Depression (the book selection tend to have an American bias )
Like Kumon Maths, English is not a total solution. It doesn't develop essay writing skills for example. Having said that, it did greatly increase DD's vocab, trained her to scan a passage, quickly comprehend what it is saying, to pick out key points and to summarise these points.
Before people rush to say it, of course a parent can read with their children and it won't cost them £50 a month, we both work and we decided that we rather spend out Quality Time doing 'fun' stuff with the kids. In any case, Kumon English did not preclude us from getting our DCs to read their school/library books to us before going to bed.
Mrz. Fantastic. I don't know how I missed that one, hats off to you. I did a dissertation on Play.
Personally, I think the best learning comes from play. Its the attitude, it is an aid to consolidating a subject matter or task, often with a huge amount of fun.
My dd plays music, plays with maths, with English. Plays in bands, orchestras, groups etc.
All these activities are fun to her and nothing makes her demotivated to learn as she has the attitude of playing with them. To her nothing is hard work.
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.
A child loves his play, not because its easy, but because its hard.
"He addition methodology is similar to the comments I got to not teach my dd to read as they now use phonics system and therefore she won't be able to read if I taught her the old fashioned way"
I've seen threads about phonics and I heard the terms used at parents evenings but I've no idea what it is. We gave our DCs a book. They read out loud to us. We corrected their pronunciation when required. Simples, as the ad goes.
more, great! My dd is therefore going to be so boring and off Maths as I will be TRYING worksheets with her. All day long. No play, just math worksheets hr after hr.
Well, now I have taught her the phonic method and the plain old method I learnt from, they r teaching other kids at schools using something called cued articulation!
So now, although she knows how to pronounce each and every letter clearly and can recognise them everywhere, she has to learn it another way. That's okay. It broadens her. But why can't I then teach more at home ie writing?!
In Singapore the head of a well regarded school filled with European teachers and some Australians told me 'phonics is not the only way'. I said you'd be hung, drawn and quartered for less if you said that to parents of UK children.
PooshTun, no disrespect but you clearly have more money than sense. I have given my dcs everything you have and much more by the sounds of it, without it costing anything near what you pay. If you pay for an indie school wasn't it your assumption that your dcs would get a better education. I can't see how pushing them further will help them at all, but maybe its a culture thing where you come from. I don't see it being a case of stealth boasting though as discussed above, because I don't think earning potential, salary comes into most peoples preferences for their dcs education.
Poosh's point about Kumon being generally used in the UK by children who struggle with Maths is an interesting one. I think MrZ, correct me if I am wrong, said she had always found Kumon children struggle etc?
In Asia there is, as most know, a huge enrichment culture. You might already be the best in the class at Maths and still might go every night for extra tuition, Kumon might be for your arithmetic and Elan Soma for your practical Maths/abstract and creative thinking session. You so get increasingly better.
Having lived in Asia for quite a while I would say 'pushing children further' increases intellect more than I'd ever have imagined possible.
morethan - I agree that paying for Kumon or any other kind of tutoring AND paying for private schooling at the same time is a questionable decision but we stopped Kumon at end of Year 6.
I think you will find that phonics is the only way you will reliably be able to work out new words for yourself. If you have a great visual memory, of course you can remember words you are told, but no more than that.
i am not happy seeing dds lack of confidence when put against a say another kid in class who does kumon and therefore is ahead of the rest of the group. No matter how many apples and cheerios we count, my dd will not be as fast in mental arithmetic due to lack of practice.
OP, go to Kumon if you want, teach your child to write if you want (just make sure you teach correct letter formation) but I think you are worrying totally unecessarily. I think your dd will do really well at school for the following reasons:
1 She is a girl
2 She is old in year
3 She is able to make recognisable drawings of all sorts of things and chooses to do this - just not in preschool
4 You have already told us she is bright.
5 She has intelligent, educated parents
6 She has interested parents who will make time for her
Will confidence come from being good at maths? As someone who was good at maths in early years, I would say it is pretty irelavent. The confident popular girls seemed to be the ones who could make up complex fantasy games that lasted the whole of playtime - not something you can really get from a class.
phonics did and does not work for my dyslexic DS, at all. It works for my other DS though.
So defo not the only way.
cecily you may be right. That I am worrying unnecessarily. All I am trying to do us decrease the probability that I am worrying un - necessarily.
The other key thing about Asia, especially Chinese and Japanese culture, is the lack of our British idea of some children being naturally "cleverer" than others. They expect every child in a class to be able to "do it".
But what is the point of pushing even further if the child is already capable. I can see the point in giving/offering extra support when needed. The school day is long enough without pushing academics further.
If my dd came home and said "Please mum can I do some maths worksheets theyr'e really fun", then I might consider it. All too often parents think its coming from the kids but more often its the parents pushing.
I had same problem with dd and music. However, she considers herself a musician not somebody learning to play instruments. If they consider themselves mathematicians then yes of course you would support and encourage all the way. But surely not to be the best in the class just for the sake of it when they could be having fun. There will always be somebody better than you at something. What are you going to do, push every subject you find.
"Will confidence come from being good at maths? As someone who was good at maths in early years, I would say it is pretty irelavent. The confident popular girls seemed to be the ones who could make up complex fantasy games that lasted the whole of playtime - not something you can really get from a class."
Nothing to do with Kumon but my niece as a child was naturally gifted at maths. Her older sister was the popular and funny one. She was also the sporty one and the pretty one. She was, as some people might put it, the complete package.
Being good at maths didn't make her popular but it gave her confidence because she knew that in this one area she was better than everyone else.
My point? Being good at something gives you confidence even if it doesn't make you popular.
Each to their own - if you are convinced of the merits of Kumon then I dare say it will work.
On the inflexibility - it wasn't the fact that I was insisting they use my method but just that their mind was blocked in that the Kumon way was THE method for everyone.
My DS got top marks at GCSE and A'level without it and the really top Maths brains that I have taught e.g the yr 5 boy going to the secondary school once a week for Maths never touched it - he was however playing chess for the county.
By all means use it if you wish to pay out and like worksheets, but it is only one way - I wish that I had come up with it and sold the franchises because there seems little competition!
The other key thing about Asia, especially Chinese and Japanese culture, is the lack of our British idea of some children being naturally "cleverer" than others. They expect every child in a class to be able to "do it".
I've never lived in Japan so I can comment there but during my time in HK it often struck me how the people seem to have no limit on their expectations or aspirations when it comes to their children. If the child isn't academic then you enrol him for extra lessons. If the piece of music is too hard to play then increase the time you allocate to practice and so on.
Its 'funny' how we roll our eyes and go pushy foreigners because the flip side of the coin is that they look at us, roll their eyes and go [I'll leave you to fill in the blanks]
exotic why r u and other posters stuck on being anti worksheets?! How many times and in how many ways do I have to say that 'yes, we r already using other metjods', including door number counting and image native play such as playing 'Shopping'!!!!
I am really exhausted by this conversation. Again going around in circles!
It depends on your DC - mine wouldn't respond well to the Chinese/Japanese way and neither would I. We tend to see the success stories and not the casualties.
posh it is not the Chinese or the Singaporean or the Indian growth that is suffering. I wonder why?!
I don't know why my views on worksheets are upsetting you! By all means use them if you want to. If you believe in something it tends to work. I don't like them so they tend not to. I am not against them altogether_ everything has its place.
I had a wonderful visit to Singapore - loved it but I wouldn't want to live there.
"By all means use it if you wish to pay out and like worksheets, but it is only one way"
I never said that it wasn't. But I still have no idea why people are against it.
I get it that the Let Children Be Children Brigade are against children being pushed at that age so I am assuming that they are against other methods as well and not just Kumon.
Assuming that you see the value of paid tuition, what turns you off with regards to Kumon and how does your preferred method turn you on?
As it is, all I hear is anecdotes about how it didn't work for some children.
exotic why not? I bet the Singaporeans would be flexible and would LOVE to live anywhere (within reason!) to broaden their horizons!
"I had a wonderful visit to Singapore - loved it but I wouldn't want to live there"
Same here. It was kind of weird waiting to cross a traffic free road in the middle of the night and no one would cross because the crossing lights were still red.
I'm not sure whether it was because they are indocrinated into obeying rules even when it doesn't make sense or whether the Singaporean traffic enforcement officers hide in the bushes ready to hand out jay walking citations
posh no, they are against kumon. The name. It does not make sense! What did Shakespeare say about a rose?! As I said earlier, if I was purchasing cbeebies books or spending same or similar amount on printer ink trawling day after day for 'free' workbooks, no one would bat an eyelid. This is the same sort of snobbery as buying second had designer goods but turning snobby at buying brand new items at ASDA!