It all started with my kid not doing very well in school at math, and because of the stupid Law 101 not well in English either.
After a little bit of research I found that the easiest and most convenient (schedule wise) for me would be to try Kumon.
Fast forward – Called in, got an appointment, got explained the process, signed up the kid and all went super for a while.
Progress was not obvious and immediate and I was totally OK with with, but here is where things started to go down south:
1) Kumon is starting way below the kid’s ability
You would normally say this is not an issue, but in fact it is. While it can cover some of the crack in the “foundation” starting below the kids’s ability to perform, gives them a quick boost in confidence, with the negative result of thinking this is too easy, too funny – I can relax now.
2) Kumon is not challenging
They have metrics to measure kid’s progress and every time he/she does well, they increase the complexity or the number of exercises. On the flip side, when the kids does poor, they lower the complexity and the kids is back into his/hers confidence zone again
Here’s where the problem is. Kids are darn smart. They figure this quite easily, and since Kumon “instructors” are just a bunch of kids themselves (most are just students) with clear instructions not to “stress or pressure the clients” immediately lower the complexity. That keeps the kid happy and the idiot parent paying
3) Kumon is demotivating (borring)
If you do keep an eye on your kid’s progress, and you meet with the “instructors” you will soon find that the he will make everything possible to keep the child on the upper range of its grade zone by giving them the lowest allowable complexity.
Why? Well, the two main reasons are that for once the kids will fare well, and secondly the parent will not question anymore their methods. But wait, there’s a problem. The kid will start hating the repetitive, simple annoying exercises they’ve already done in class two years ago, and as a result will stop doing homework, make trivial mistakes, talk during classes and so forth.
Now you have a demotivated child, and you are just throwing your money away.
4) Kumon is not aligned with the school boards
Doing things differently it is not abad thing, but discouraging the kids to follow the methods shown in school is another thing. The side effect is that the kid will come home with a nasty note on the school agenda from their teacher, and be singled out in the class – the real class.
Spoke to three different parent from different parts of the city and they all had different methods of doing things explained to their kids by Kumon’s so called instructors
5) Kumon’s instructors
Well, first of all the instructors re not really instructors, are just young (most of the time) uni or college students being trained by Kumon and have this as part time job. No real teaching skills or training, no real experience with kids as parents or psychologists, no incentive of a career of teaching as for them is just a part time or after-school job for the next few years
On top of it all, they must keep “clients” enrolled – so it is all the mighty dollar that counts
6) Poor or non-existent progression feedback.
Couple of times I had spoken and requested to see the child’s progression, and have been shown charts and notes on the file by different employees. I took a picture each time.
When I became unhappy with the results I requested a full progression card, and to my surprise, the good, positive with steep learning curve was sent to me, completely different from the ones I have seen during the year.
From a feedback perspective – Garbage in garbage out – you cannot rely on their feedback – will do anything to keep you as a paying client
Kumon sounds like a good idea, but in fact is nothing more than a feel good parent scheme to get your money.
They rely on the parent’s want and desires for their kids’ success, with tricky methods to keep the child interested enough in the program, no real progress and not real feedback while charging monthly the “tutoring” services.
Do yourself a favor, and enroll your kid in Kahn Academy – a free online resource that you can control, monitor, and always improve or change, with real feedback, realtime, and no pressure at your own and your child’s pace.
Ask me for more and links and I would be more than happy to help out.
Since my child has stopped Kumon he actually started doing better, way better, and since started with Khan he is actually #1 in his class.
Stay away from Kumon!