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Kumon - worth it for a 7 yr old? Is there a Kumon "Method"?

(5 Posts)
Tensmumym Wed 03-Dec-14 13:46:04

Dd is in one of the youngest in her year 3 class and struggling with maths. A friend of a friend mentioned that her friend's daughter is doing Kumon and has stopped using her fingers when doing addition. Does Kumon teach a particular method or is it just daily practice? Thanks.

HowDoesThatWork Wed 03-Dec-14 14:35:31

I think you are right.

AIUI, they don't teach methods, they don't teach anything just provide sheets.

It is repetition, repetition, repetition.

You might find this interesting..

Ferguson Wed 03-Dec-14 15:55:09

I was a TA / helper in primary schools for over twenty years.

Invariably children (and adults!) are less confident in numeracy than literacy, which is strange in a way, as maths is about 'facts' and there are consistent 'rules' that don't have 'exceptions', unlike in spelling, where there are so many variables.

This is possibly due to a lack of UNDERSTANDING in the basic number concepts. This is advice I always give in response to queries like yours:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other


then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


I hope this goes some way to helping DD understand maths better, but come back if I can help with any specific problems.

howtodrainyourflagon Wed 03-Dec-14 16:50:50

I recommend the carol vorderman maths factor online. It's vastly cheaper and the video lessons are good. Kumon is very expensive and not much fun for the child.

Tensmumym Wed 03-Dec-14 17:12:01

Thank you so much for your replies and advice. I look forward to looking at everything you have recommended. One book I have found very useful which I saw in Sainsburys, although they seem to have stopped selling it, is Andrew Brodie's Let's Do Mental Maths. Dd has just finished working through the one for ages 6-7 see here

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