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Kumon/Maths Tutor

(21 Posts)
MrsFruitcake Sun 12-May-13 16:43:32

DD (9) is struggling terribly with maths at the moment. We want to help but I am useless at maths (possibly she has inherited my total lack of ability in this area) and her Dad is not at home enough to properly help out in a consistent way.

Anyone have any experience with Kumon? Or would I better with a private tutor?

whistleahappytune Sun 12-May-13 20:46:00

MsFruit, I had the same situation with my DD. She HATED maths, and thanks to a careless remark by her Y2 teacher "maths aren't DD's strong point, are they?", she was convinced she was rubbish at the subject. Well, I thought she was too young to have such an important subject denied to her, so I did a lot of stuff with her at home, trying to address the problem. We tried: a ton of mathsheets (like Kumon but not Kumon), websites like BBC Bitesize, IXL and Mathswhizz, various games etc. Nothing seemed to make a difference.

In the end there were two things that helped massively. One website Komodo deals with basic numeracy, and is neither gimmicky nor boring. You pay for it, but it's only a small amount per month. She would do about ten minutes most days. It worked on filling the gaps in her basic maths skills. She's also had six sessions with a tutor, who has really transformed her attitude. I feel really lucky we found him - he's lovely and relaxed and got her really excited about maths, and she now LOVES maths and has bounced up two sets in her class within half a term.

I have no direct experience with Kumon. It's terribly expensive, though, so you might spend that money more usefully on a private tutor. Whatever you do, don't be discouraged. You can turn this around and it's really important you do. I wish you the very best of luck.

clam Sun 12-May-13 21:03:23

All Kumon will do, for a lot of money, is teach her how to do Tens and Units sums quickly. It will not help her understanding a jot.

FoundAChopinLizt Sun 12-May-13 21:05:28

Start with the school, tell them your concerns?

FoundAChopinLizt Sun 12-May-13 21:06:12

Sorry I meant to ask if you had spoken to the school, you probably have already.

AngieNJ Wed 15-May-13 19:25:37

MrsFruitcake, I was in a similar situations when I realized that my son is doing terrible at Math. Being a working parent, I was finding it difficult to help me get through this. But I had to fix this. I started looking at various Kumon-like programs, IXL, Khan Academy etc. Still no progress and things started to get worse.

Came across a program called Tabtor that is administered on iPads. It helped my son extensively. I pay for the service but it is a much smaller amount as compared to Kumon. There is a tutor who checks not only the answer but every key stroke that my son makes while solving a problem. He has been doing really well and has received rewards for his performance. I feel much relieved now.

You can try Tabtor and see for yourself. Hope you'll be able to find a fix soon. Good luck!

PastSellByDate Wed 15-May-13 19:57:21

Hi Mrs. Fruitcake:

I'm well known here for singing the praises of Mathsfactor (which my girls use - link: and we've had great success with it - but I will warn you that I have no experience of how boys view this - they may find it too girly. I chose it becaue at core I wanted a woman role model for them, teaching them math - I wanted them to see girls can do maths too! (they're at a school where the boys tend to do well and the girls don't for some reason).

I know others here have sung the praises of mathletics ( which does seem to be very popular with boys & maths whizz (

These can be pricy - but all have had parents write in to say positive things about them here on MN.

I will say this - if the goal is to help your child gain independence and you have fairly busy lives - the beauty of joining something on-line is it can fit in and around things. You just subscribe and when you use it can be entirely at your convenience. I've personally never regretted the monthly membership and genuinely have seen skills radically improve.

I think most of these on-line maths tutor/ game sites (certainly mathsfactor does) test your child and work starts from where they're at. I'm sure others will be along with more ideas or to talk about their success with some of these - but I can assure you that the video game format is well suited to practice of basic maths skills and building number pattern skills and speed.

Best of luck and HTH.

MeDented Wed 15-May-13 20:07:09

We tried kumon, it seemed to work at first but DD very soon resented it. I like the idea behind it ie little and often but don't think it helped DD very much. We have been working on problems together for the last few weeks, just half an hour once a week and I have seen a huge improvement. We are waiting for a slot with a local tutor once exams finish and he is less busy. Again I am going for half an hour a week as this seems to work well for DD. Her times tables are quite weak so we also practice those in the car on the way to school 2 or 3 days a week, but just a couple of minutes. Everyone learns differently so I do think it is a case of trial and error to see what works best for your child.

Chigley1 Wed 15-May-13 20:10:20

If she is struggling with maths, a tutor be much more useful. Kumon is mostly about improving speed of arithmetic, and little about understanding.

LAlady Wed 15-May-13 20:32:59

We found Kumon really helped my DD. It goes back to basics which she needed and more importantly built up her confidence. Little and often worked well and all her report grades in maths and tests improved as a result.

MrsFruitcake Thu 16-May-13 19:08:29

We have discussed the issue with the school but they weren't very bothered - they just said we need to help as much as we can which isn't easily possible given the family circumstances. I do try but to be honest, I struggle and although her Dad is great at Maths, he's not at home enough for him to help in any great way.

I feel terrible that I can't offer her more support but that's the way it is - anything to do with English or any other subject I can deal with, just not Maths. I was very much like her at that age, the rot set in when I was exactly her age and because I felt I couldn't do it and nobody could help me through that, I just never learnt or progressed and switched off altogether. She is in real danger of repeating my pattern which is terrible.

I have put the feelers out to a couple of tutors this week, I'm hoping that one of them will be the right person as i have discounted Kumon - their brochure arrived yesterday and it was all very 'blah' and fancy-dancy but of little real information IMHO.

PastSellByDate Fri 17-May-13 11:53:14

Hi Mrs. Fruitcake:

I thought your child was a DS not a DD.

In that case - I think you should give mathsfactor a try. You may have to help with typing in the numbers - but that's it.

The first month is free on the monthly arithmetic school - or I think sometime in June they'll advertise the summer school (so you can try it for a short time with a small one-off payment and see if it makes a difference).

We use the arithmetic school. There's usually a short video from Carol Vorderman about the math concept you're working on. A quick quiz (usually at a simpler level - so if you're learning times tables, you might have a quick quiz adding & subtracting single digit numbers) or a quick game to help warm you up for the homework and then a homework.

It is meant to last 30 minutes - but we've usually found the whole thing from start to finish lasts 10 - 20 minutes. It nicely combines instructional videos, quizzes, games and good old fashioned 'sums' to work out but does it in a very gentle, gradual progression which helps those intimidated by maths.

My DD1 was literally unable to take 1 from 10 at the end of KS1. We've faithfully done 5 homeworks on mathsfactor a week (aim for 3 in week and 2 at weekend - but I stress we're at a school with no homework whatsoever) and the improvement is phenomenal.

It's worth a try Mrs. Fruitcake. And genuinely you can just hand your child over to this programme - they set up a system of e-mail to your personal e-mail or e-mail within the package to see how your child is doing and update you on what is coming up next. There's tons of games ideas to play with your child off computer - and generally it just is plain, simple good old fashioned maths but brought right up to date.

LifeofPo Fri 17-May-13 11:58:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jmspbro Sat 18-May-13 21:26:48

How about Student Support Centre Simply Maths? Don't spend the thousand signing up direct with SSC - instead buy second hand off eBay (search for Simply Maths). Once done with, you can always sell it back on eBay and get your money back.

MummaBubba123 Sun 19-May-13 19:45:02

Interesting quandary. Kumon is likely to teach her to carry out mathematical 'sums' automatically. However, it won't help her to build an understanding of mathematical concepts.

BBAus Tue 21-May-13 01:58:37

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ganz31 Tue 25-Jun-13 13:07:23

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EDUReading Tue 25-Jun-13 13:53:28

As well as Kumon, consider Explore Learning... less rote learning, more focus on processes and 'how' to be a great learner!

AShibli Sat 03-Aug-13 20:36:04

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busychad Sat 10-Aug-13 15:14:33

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babasheep Sat 10-Aug-13 19:33:38

Ms Fruitcake- my dd was like that too. However when she was half way yr 4 I really made her learn all her timetable to the point that she can easily n quickly do her division table. I also paid a tutor to help to fill any knowledge gaps she had for about 4 months. Since she s able to get on with maths a lot better. So just do what you think is best for your child. Learning timetable is not as difficult as many people think. Unless one has some learning difficulties most young children are capable to memorize full set of timetable.

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