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To Kumon or not to Kumon. That is the question.

(1000 Posts)
megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 00:28:30

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.

The Pros

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?

mummytime Sun 17-Jun-12 06:11:55

Cons: it's boring.
You can find similar worksheets free on the Internet.

expatbrat Sun 17-Jun-12 06:24:08

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.

RosemaryandThyme Sun 17-Jun-12 06:27:01

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.

flotilla Sun 17-Jun-12 07:00:22

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.

seeker Sun 17-Jun-12 07:00:46

It's boring, expensive, doesn't follow the national curriculum and is a cynical money making exrcise exploiting the insecurities of parents.

fuzzpig Sun 17-Jun-12 07:25:58

I used to work for them. And I would say "don't do it"

SunflowersSmile Sun 17-Jun-12 08:41:33

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.

mrz Sun 17-Jun-12 08:42:53

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!

LynetteScavo Sun 17-Jun-12 08:44:37

I can honestly say my DS learnt nothing from Kumon.

megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 10:09:57

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.

megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 10:11:01

You can probably see from my post how torn I am.

RosemaryandThyme Sun 17-Jun-12 10:26:44

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.

An0therName Sun 17-Jun-12 10:37:18

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

clam Sun 17-Jun-12 10:43:11

No debate to "be torn" about, in my opinion. I wouldn't touch Kumon with a bargepole.

twentyten Sun 17-Jun-12 10:46:39

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?

mrz Sun 17-Jun-12 10:46:47

I'm sorry if I offended you megabored but the idea is completely barking IMHO

seeker Sun 17-Jun-12 10:46:53

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?

megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 10:58:49

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.hmm
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?

seeker Sun 17-Jun-12 11:00:57

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!

megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 11:04:42

seeker why do you have such strong views on Kumon?

mrz Sun 17-Jun-12 11:08:06

I'm a teacher (I taught reception for two decades and currently teach Y2 - Y1 in September) and you know my opinion wink

seeker Sun 17-Jun-12 11:08:19

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.

megabored Sun 17-Jun-12 11:09:27

twentyten, isn't she too young for music? i.e. learning an instrument rather than listening to brain boosting Mozart, Beethoven or twinkle twinkle?

juniper904 Sun 17-Jun-12 11:32:34

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.

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