8 Things to Hate about Kumon – A Review

If you’ve ever clicked through to my about page, you will see that on that page, I confess my previous, sordid source of income. My occupation took me to a cold and dank church hall twice a week.  I even employed others, some of them barely teenagers, to help in my dastardly enterprise!

I ran a Kumon centre!

Now in some circles being a Kumon Instructor is tantamount to a sub criminal activity! Kumon seems to be something that people either love or hate. I’ve started answering questions on parenting forums and sometimes there are  parent’s asking for a kumon review. The responses often go:
I hate it!

I hate it!

I love it!

I hate it!

I hate it!

8 Things to Hate About Kumon

Photo Credit: Manu-chan ????

So what’s my Kumon review after my time on the inside?

Whenever I read the pros and cons of the Kumon method, I agree with the moderate opinions on both sides; it’s not the answer to all maths problems but it’s not a rip-off or scam either!

However instead of providing an insider’s impartial Kumon review, here are my 8 things to hate about Kumon, along with, what you can learn and use from the Kumon method when tutoring your own child!

1) Kumon is expensive

$100 dollars or £50 a month isn’t cheap. (Yes Kumon is cheaper in the UK as there, the worksheets are marked by the parents.)  It can buy a lot of fun math workbooks or a lot of printer ink to print off worksheets! However it’s cheap compared to $40/£30 per hour for private tuition. Of course tutoring your child yourself is the least financially expensive option of all. Don’t have time to tutor your child yourself? When it comes to time, parents feel that sending their children to Kumon will save time, but when you factor in ferrying your child to the centre each week, tutoring your child yourself at home is a time saver as well.

2) Kumon instructors aren’t qualified maths teachers

Most Kumon instructors, although trained in the Kumon method, are not maths teachers. As a parent you may feel that because you’re not a qualified teacher or a mathematician, then you can’t tutor your own child, but Yes You Can! Who cares more about your child’s learning? In addition, learning alongside your child sets an amazingly positive example to your child!

3) Kumon instructors don’t teach

In fact instructors spend around  a maximum of 10 minutes with each student each session.  As a parent tutor, there will be times when you can tutor your child while preparing a meal. or running your business. Children love being independent, but not always when it comes to school work. We feel that it’s necessary to fill our children’s heads with information, but many times it’s better to encourage children to try to work things out by themselves with guidance where needed.

4) Kumon is repetitive and boring

In the Kumon method, children repeat the same worksheet up to 6 times. It is true that repeating helps kids get faster at their maths, practice does make perfect. Geoff Colvin in his book Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else claims that 10,000 hours of practice is needed in order to truly excel at something. The key here is to make the repetition interesting.  Mix it up; use workbooks, drills, maths games, and videos.

5) Kumon is a franchise so results depend on which centre you study at

Different Kumon instructors have different personalities, some are very strict which is a problem if your child is sensitive and some are gentle which can be a problem if your child needs a firm hand!  As your child’s tutor, you’re in the best position to judge your child’s changing moods and to devise a flexible program (e.g. we won’t do drills today, let’s play cards instead!)

Click here for your FREE Kumon Checklist

6) Kumon doesn’t do (much) problem solving

Kumon does this so kids can focus on improving their arithmetic, which means when they come across a maths problem, the arithmetic part of the question will be easy. Of course, as your child’s tutor you can also cover the important skill of problem solving.

7) Kumon uses different methods from those used at school

In maths, there can be many different ways to solve problems.  Of course it makes sense to follow the methods your child’s school uses, but also looking at other techniques will help your child when faced with different maths problems.

8 ) Kumon turns out arithmeticians not mathematicians

The Kumon method doesn’t cover telling the time, data handling, maths investigations, or (much geometry) but Kumon students will be fast at arithmetic. This in turn improves children’s maths confidence. Make sure that your child’s arithmetic is strong which in turn will support their learning in the other areas of mathematics.

If you’re a  parent trying to make the decision about whether Kumon is right for your family? Check out Maths Insider’s Ultimate Kumon Review.

So tell me, do you still hate Kumon?

More on Kumon:

About Kumon The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 

Is Thinkster Math a Real Alternative to Kumon?

8 Things to Love About Thinkster Math

Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

126 thoughts on “8 Things to Hate about Kumon – A Review

  1. Honestly, I had never heard of Kumon until your post. I live in a small town in Montana though, so that might explain it. It sounds interesting though!

      • Hi i didn’t mean to post this in someones comment space but i just needed to make a opinion heard. Kumon is terrible my kids went there and they hated it teacher were mean and everything they didn’t even tell them on their first day their were to put their things. They learned nothing!!!!!!!! ! Kumon get a better system- their “success” stories are rubbish

        • Although the title says ” 8 Things to Hate About Kumon-A review” in reality it has promoted Kumon program on the web and I’m not surprised that some people who have never heard of Kumon are planning to enroll their child in the program. From my understanding of Kumon methodology and philosophy I will try to answer a few points to counter what has been said in the article.
          1. Kumon is Expensive: Even a Piano lesson, Karate lesson or Swimming class or any sports coaching is equally expensive if not more. For acquiring skills in Math & Reading which will last life time, you need to spend for the future of your child.
          2. Kumon instructors are not qualified Math Teachers: True, not all of them are qualified Math teachers, in fact many of them aren’t teachers by profession in the first place but to become qualified Kumon instructors they go through rigorous training in Math, Reading and Kumon methodology, are a part of continuous professional development to develop their skills & knowledge in the subjects as well as instruction. Only people who can pass the different phases of Kumon training end of becoming instructors, many of them are highly qualified professional who decide to become entrepreneurs in the education industry.
          3.Kumon Instructors don’t teach: Kumon methodology is not about teaching rather making one an independent learner as opposed to hold the student’s hand through the learning process. Kumon instructors are guides or mentors. Kumon worksheets are designed in such a way that most of the average students can learn on their own from the worksheets, however Kumon instructors do explain the new concepts, they offer passive help and get the answer out of the students rather than giving them the answers.
          4. Kumon is repetitive and boring: Yes, it is repetitive because Kumon emphasizes on mastering a skill before moving forward and you only master a skill by doing it repetitively. Think about any skill that you want to master or that you have already mastered by doing it only once!
          It can still be made interesting, it depends on how you handle it.
          5.Kumon doesn’t do much problem solving: If it refers to solving word problems, then yes,Kumon curriculum doesn’t have much word problem because it’s goal for a student in Math is to reach Calculus level before reaching High school so the topics that aren’t directly related to Calculus are omitted and thus it’s supplemental education so that your child still needs to go to school to learn other topics. However it takes care of the advanced computational skills that you need even in your day to day life and a skill that lasts lifetime.
          6.Kumon uses different methods from those used at School: A child is exposed to different method and Kumon method turns out to be simpler and helps faster computation. As such the methodology changes from Board to board and time to time for example many parents complain that their kids are learning mathematical operations in a different way than what they learned during their school days which proves my point. Good students always take advantage of knowing different methods of solving the same problem.

          Some have complained that their kids are taught by High School students employed by Kumon centers. These high school students are part time employees to take care of lot of preparatory work for the class, they are not supposed to instruct. Kumon method doesn’t permit any untrained staff to be involved in instruction moreover to work in the center each and every staff member goes through in house training.
          Finally, the aim of Kumon is just not teaching Math & Reading but much beyond that. It aims to develop student’s work skills, concentration & focus, to become an independent learner and finally an achiever because KUMON truly believes that EVERY CHILD CAN BE AN ACHIEVER!

          • Do you have your own franchise? I am looking into starting one in the US, and would like to learn what others’ challenges and successes are with the program.

        • Hi Brian, If you are a KUMON parent and want to improve the service – please take a minute and fill out this survey: http://fb.me/2LpSmrkaT

          I am currently volunteering as a designer to build a similar service to help children learn math. You contribution could be of great value.

          Thank you.

        • i have been going there since 2006, and i am on Level M, when my dad said I could stop at the end of March, it turns out that they make you pay for the last month, so I have another stupid month of this repetitive crap that doesnt help me. It used to, but NOT anymore, by the way im 14 too

          • My son is 10 and is completing math level J. He is bored at school when it comes to math. His teacher has difficulty assigning him problems because they are too easy for him. During lessons, he practically completes the problems in his head before the teacher completes her sentence while the other students take 25 minutes to solve the problem on paper. He uses the time to complete his homework at school.
            Kumon homework is a daily 5 to 20 minutes (times 2 for reading) routine for him depending on his progression in mastering the subject matter. He doesn’t enjoy it but he doesn’t enjoy his school work either. It’s become a way of life.
            He does complain the current Kumon subject matter is useless because he will not learn in school for another two to three years. I pointed out he learned his current school curriculum three years ago and it’s positively benefitting him now.
            I am surprise from a few earlier comments where students take hours to do daily Kumon worksheets yet excel in their scores and wonder why they are not advancing levels faster. There is a positive correlation between the time it takes to complete worksheets and the number of errors incurred. The longer they take usually means they have not mastered the material and experience increased number of errors. Taking hours to complete worksheets yet no get any wrong doesn’t make any sense.

        • well, different for my son. First and foremost it was his decision to enroll Kumon. He started when he was 6 yo at Math level 4A after 1 year and 3 months he is now at level H-same as you do. It’s really weird looking at a 7 yo doing simultaneous linear equations, functions, graphs etc. Aside Math Kumon, he is also doing Reading Kumon and is now level E2, he also do piano and voice lessons once a week. On top of that we only limit him to 2 hours per week of TV or general rating online games.

        • I think it is your attitude that ‘sucks’ and that attitude will set you back in ways you will never truly understand unless you step back from it and take a good look at yourself. Kumon is about self-learning. Self-learning? Just Mathematics and English? No. It is learning about yourself. It is also about empowerment through that process of learning about yourself and the positive results you can achieve for yourself through your own efforts. This is brought about by gaining confidence in yourself which enhances your self-esteem. With that self-esteem, you are able to look beyond your selfish “shoot yourself in the foot” self in order to be able to examine and explore your potential. This leads you to tremendous success in every field in your life. Use Kumon as a tool to achieve this. Instructors are parents just like yours. They reinforce and validate the guidance your parents give you.

  2. Well, I agree with what you posted and I can see the benefits of kumon. However, my son absolutely hates it although he grudgingly admits his maths has improved. I’m thinking of getting a computer program called CAMI (for maths and english), if anyone has heard of it or has some knowledge of it, I’d love to hear about it.

    • Dalya, my friend’s son’s school uses CAMI. She says it’s great and like Kumon builds up their basic skills. Regarding your son hating Kumon, try the following:
      Move him back half or quarter of a level – maybe the work he’s on is a little above his comfort zone.
      Split the sheet and do it in 2 sessions in the day
      For a few days, you be his scribe and let him tell u what to write on the sheet or do the sheet orally
      If the time is out by just 1 or 2 mins, and he’s repeated the sheet 5 times, just write down the expected time (WARNING This is cheating!!!)
      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Dayla,
      I have heard of CAMI-the computer program to develop Math skill. I don’t know how effective can it be especially for younger students. Won’t it be like online education versus classroom education? Kumon is an individualized program where the instructor plans lessons periodically for each and every student after evaluating the student’s work personally, identifying the weaknesses and skill gaps and also analyzing why a student makes certain types of mistakes and how to rectify it. Is CAMI going to offer this personal-human touch to your son’s learning process, is it going to motivate your child by mentoring him? Is CAMI going to develop your son’s focus and concentration skills, discipline and make him an independent learner? As I had said earlier, apart from developing the skills in reading and math, Kumon aims to develop the soft skills that last a life time.

      • Hi Meesh,
        My Children have done both Kumon and CAMI,
        I prefer CAMI, as I found with Kumon if my children were home doing their work and they were making mistakes they would make the same mistakes throughout the whole exercise until they were marked by either myself or by the Kumon tutor at the next session. To me this is a waste of time as they have been repeating the wrong thing over and over without realising it. CAMI on the other hand presents the solution straight away if they have made a mistake with the screen flashing red, instantly alerting the student they have done something wrong and they can refer to the solution to correct themselves.

        Further if the parent is like to monitor children progress they can do it at any point of time by generating a report, as CAMI constantly monitors the student progress whenever they are doing the exercise.

        I like to keep an eye on the children’s work and progress and find it much easier with CAMI. With Kumon, I had to check through their work and see if the were making mistakes which was very time consuming.

        I find CAMI more individualized than Kumon, on the contrary to your perception Meesh, as they prepare courses for each of the children (normally a couple weeks worth of work) which is sent by email. Subsequent work is tailored and based on their performance is the previous course they have completed and submitted.

        They also have tutors available on the phone and also via email. I have had to use these sparingly as my Maths is thank god is good enough to assist the kids if they have any question (at the moment at least LOL). I have used these mainly to request my preference for the volume of work set and also for some technical advice on the program.

        Kumon was great in its time, but it really hasn’t changed much since my brother and sister did it 20 years ago… CAMI I believe is newer, computerised, improved version of Kumon for today… that being said, it still requires a certain commitment from parents to ensure the child is doing their work and generate and look at the reports…. which is not too difficult …

        To those parents who comment about hating it … my comment is the same as to my about Chinese school on Saturdays … if the parents worried whether their kids love or hated it there would be no schools or they would be empty… Sydney however has so many Chinese schools full of kids, who are learning something that will help them greatly in later life and also teach them about the culture. Although they hate it now they will thank there parents later in life… ( as I did)

    • Hi Dalya,

      Have you looked at http://www.lymboo.com. They have a very extensive math curriculum and it’s structured, and everything is online. Their content and assignments are much superior to Kumon. Also, their methodology of focusing on retention of what’s learned is also unique. Being online, all performance reports are available instantly.

    • I’d guess it’s the #1 maths supplemental program in terms of sheer numbers of students. I suppose the question is love it or hate it, has it helped raise maths achievement levels overall?

  3. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. If you practice the wrong technique over and over you will just ingrain the bad habit.

    I have always considered myself mathematically challenged. However, my son is a born mathematician (maybe skips a generation?) in working with him, I have improved my own skills tremendously, though wish I had a greater depth of knowledge from which to draw in assisting him. He is rapidly approaching the limit of my math skills as he is in 2nd grade and can already do many pre-algebra and basic algebra problems.

    Are there any programs that can be recommended for someone who wants real math help but not of the boring drill type?

    • I always feel a warm glow when I hear of “non specialists” successfully helping their child with maths. Well Done!

      I’m guessing you’re in the States but the British BBC Schools KS3 Maths websiteis a great resource and is used by many children to revise for the numerous UK government tests and assessments. It has explanations, activities and tests, all broken down into “bitesize” chunks. The Key Stage 3 (KS3) site is for 11-16 year olds which I think you and your son might be able to tackle but also take a look at their KS2 site for 7-11 year olds.

      Anyone know of any US sites which could help?

  4. Stopping by from SITS and 31DBBB. THANK YOU for this post! My oldest daughter struggles with math. A LOT and my husband and I have considered a tutoring situation such as Kumon for her. Thank you for the links! I think I’ll put some of them into use and see how things go. :)

    • Welcome! Yes it’s great finding new blogs from the 31dbbb challenge! Summer break is a good time to catch up on maths skills. Just do a little every day and mix it with drills, workbooks and maths games.

  5. Whoever made thisit is an extremely effective way of learning. i’m now an A* Student and am exceling. ur prob just jealous.

    • Not jealous; just offering alternatives to those who don’t want to or don’t have the means to sign up their children to Kumon (my own kids have benefitted from Kumon in the past).

    • kumon is awesome. i turn out to be a math genius. sometimes i show off my math skills in front of the ordinary students. it makes me feel good.

    • I know the corrections can seem to be a pain, but actually doing corrections will help you learn from your mistakes. Ask your Kumon instructor if it’s OK if you only do 1 or 2 corrections per page, just enough so you can see what mistakes you’ve made!

  6. I had my kids in Kumon Program, but I was very disappointed about their method,
    1. they use repetition and repetition until one day you get it, I belive the kids should use analytical-synthetic method, they need to analize the problem use their brain to get the answer…, I did not wanted my kids to be good robots but I want them to be briliant kids useing their brain and be really good at figuring out things. I saw with Kumon they will never be those kids, yes they will probably will improve their math marks but my goal is for life not just to have good marks now.
    2. Kumon provide students to help their students, and belive me they are not University Students but high school or Elementary School students, I did not want to pay a student, a few years older then my kids, to help my kids. I expected from them to have professional instructors, so I thought anyway I’m staying there an hour to wait for my kids so I figure out if I spend that hour at home teaching my kids math, I could do a better job then those high scool students.
    3. The place was so dirty it seems to me they never care to vacuum or dusting that place, in winter the floor was so wet with snow and the asked the kids to take off their boots and walk in socks on a wet and very dirty floor, my kids had to change their socks right after they finished, the place was unbelievable dirty.

  7. yes, I agree with Sandy’s comment, the place is very very dirty and I also realize they don’t care about us their clients they just wants our money, imagine going to you Dr and the place is very dirty or anywhere else, I had a shock when I saw their low interest in their clients comfort, how can you focus, concentrate in a place like that? and also I found the only mature person a lady by the name Katrina , very disrespectful, not friendly at all, very arrogant, when I presented my issue to her she didn’t even bother to get a solution, the way she spoke with me and treated me it shocked, so that day I took my daughter out from this program, true I lost my registration fee and that month but I was happy just to walk out from that place and from that uneducated woman.
    I strongly recommend OXFORD to you guys, your kids will get professional help, their instructors have university degree and if they hire students to help the kids their students are University student not Elementary student like Kumon has. I saw the difference between Kumon and Oxford from first day when I walk into this Oxford Center, I’m so happy I stopped Kumon and my daughter started Oxford.

  8. i am in kumon it is sort of fun but you get prizes like xbox 360 which i already have i pod touch which i already have ipod nano and shuffle which i already have laptops which i already have sleeping bag which i already have tv which i already have Nintendo Wii which i already have

    • ^the prizes you are talking about are true, but my kumon center doesn’t keep up with adding points. During my first 6 months of kumon, I got a total of about 40 points. after a year and a half, I had 60.

  9. Just came across this forum and wanted to say Kumon has been a great asset to both my daughters. My oldest daughter has been going for 5 years, my youngest 4 years; both take reading and math. Yes, we have had our struggles and still do from time to time – but they view it as part of their required work load (like school work) and know that it is their responsibility.
    Both girls do extremely well in school; especially in math. Learning the Kumon method, plus the school math method (they actually learn math in French and in English – so they learn 3 different methods total), seems to have enhanced their problem solving skills. My oldest daughter’s teacher asked if we have considered testing her to see if she’s gifted because he is blown away by her advanced reasoning skills. (This is a girl that struggled with concepts early on and is in no way ‘gifted’. However, she has a great work ethic and studies hard.)
    Believe me, I hate paying for it, hate correcting the daily work and pushing my kids on the days they don’t feel like doing it; but it does work.

  10. hi, i am thinking about signing up my kid at kumon. if i had money to spare, i would sign my child up right away. my only concern is to save money. after going to orientation and seeing that they admit that they practice teaching with repetition, i would agree kumon or a type of kumon training at home would work for anybody for them to excel in math upto college and then beyond.

    looking back at my experience, as a child i was given supplemental tutoring in math throughout elementary school and i always thought this helped me in my later years. as a kid, i used to hate it. i was working on math on the weekends and during the week on top of regular school work. i even was being taught algebra in 3rd grade. area calculations in 4th, 5th grade. this at the time seemed not useful and hard and seemed so boring due to the bunch of repetitions (although by the time you hit algrebra, you are not just memorizing, you have to understand what it is being done in algebra and it is very good to recognize patterns in equations as fast as you can). speed is especially important in SATs.

    this repetition basically makes you do simple addition, multiplication in your head so when you get to harder stuff like algebra, you are not spending excessive time on it. Repetition does not make one a dumb smart.. It helps a person to connect things faster. Anyway. The point is, none of this supplemental extra learning seemed like it was useful because upto college, I never even thought I understood what math was or why algebra even existed (seems like computers can do these calculations much faster)….. Even though it sucked, in college, it all made sense. Not only could i whiz through simple classes, I ended up double majoring in math and computers. And no computer can only do fast calculations, given the calculation to work on. And computers break if you give them a wrong calculation to work (for example, if the instruction had a loop in it)

    Today as a computer scientist or when I work with mathematicians that come up with financial analysis computations (based on old calculations they have come to recognize through practice) I realize even more how important these skills are. I wish I was given more repetition, more subjects to excel in. I wish I was also given more reading supplementals.

    I think whether you pay for Kumon or do a strict version of it at home (if you can be firm/consistent on it) either way your child will benefit from it and will not regret it. Of course you gotta let the kids be kids as well. I know I don’t regret it and wish I had more.

  11. Hi, I just started my 4 year old daughter in Kumon in Medford Massachusetts. I think it is pretty cool so far but they don’t spend a lot of time with teaching or even with my child. I find it very secretive what the young teachers are actually going over with my child. Now you explained they are re-doing the worksheets.
    Parents are not allowed to enter the room after a certain point.

    The owner of this Kumon is Chinese/Vietnamese and has a Masters in Education from Tufts University. I send my child for both (math & reading) and the first month was expensive for 4 hours per month (30 mins on Monday & Thursday afternoons) . I could make up those worksheets too. I’ll give it more time but I really can’t afford it long term. I wanted to my daughter to be comfortable with math unlike her mom !

    It is just a testament of the public school system in this country and how we are producing more foolish kids than bright ones in other countries. I don’t blame the teachers as much as the parents. Our basic curriculum is not up to standards compared to other countries. And we focus our students on sports way too much. Just my two cents. Thank you for writing about Kumon.

    • Hi Rosey,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Kumon. As a system, it can definitely work, and in comparison to long term private tuition, the price is reasonable. However as you say, it’s also something that can be replicated at home.
      It’s interesting that you say that Kumon is popular in the West due to the poor education system. I agree, however Kumon is even more popular in Asian countries with more traditional math education systems. It seems that parents all around the world realise the importance of their children being strong at math and English.

  12. hate it, stuck there without my consent, work is irrelevant and has done nothing. The fact that i go there about once in three months has made no difference in my performance as when I went regularly. All for one hundred bloody dollars a month. The only reason I’m sticking with it, is out of financial obligation. If I wasn’t unemployed, I’d just pay back my parents and drop out.

    • Maybe if u went twice a wk instead of once every 3 months,u would notice some improvements. And with that attitude,no wonder you are not getting it. Your parents are trying to give you a good future,It’s for your own good not there’s.

  13. Many different math learning centrse have different purposes so if your children just solely want to work on math computation and do not need instruction or teaching then Kumon is fine especially Kumon system is very efficient in running franchise, much like fast food approach.

    But if you want to have you kids not only learn computation skills but also problem solvinig skills then it requires quality taching time, this is where Kuon lacks but if they get iinto this area then their franchise efficient system will suffer. So here is the tradeoff from running an education franchise system of view.

    I believe a well-rounded math education system so my learning centre Ho Math and Chess teaches not only computation but also problem solving skills using chess and puzzles.

    Details see http://www.mathandchess.com

  14. The way of learning maths which they (Kumon authorities) claim to be “highly effective because it is time tested and over 50 years old that follows the Japanese style of learning” is not based on evidence according to the US Department of Education (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/elementary_math/kumon/index.asp).
    Kumon maths is for children who are just starting to learn arithmetic or for those who find maths very difficult and are failing in class. It is not for math savvy children in higher grades. Children are given a timed test to ‘check their level’ and placed at a certain level of practice. Most children inevitably start with basic arithmetic like ‘8+1=’. Try doing 150 problems in 10-15 minutes! Most of us would make at least 1 mistake. The child has to have 100% correct answers. After months and books and books of this they graduate to the next level which is ‘8-0=’!
    If basic arithmetic is given for the first day, it would be OK, provided there were true math certified tutors at Kumon who would teach students mental maths, i.e. tricks of doing maths. Rote learning is never effective. The human brain does not remember memorized facts, it needs to understand facts. The same way children need to understand mathematics. In addition applied maths is what is important for smart older children. There is always simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in any math problem. The tutors at Kumon are not experts in maths. They charge a lot of money for a few workbooks that parents have to help kids do.
    Mothers who believe their gifted student is getting straight A’s in class because of Kumon are completely disillusioned. It is because your child is smart and knows maths that he/she is doing so well: give your child some credit! Compare what your child does in class and what he/she does at Kumon- you will find a big discrepancy. Your child can probably teach the tutor how to do algebra and calculus!
    Kumon can actually hurt a child who is good in maths. If a child who is getting straight A’s in school is forced to do problems like ‘8-0=’ and led to believe that she /he needs to do over 500 such problems because that is what her/his understanding and level of math is, he/she will be completely stripped of confidence. Where is the challenge that smart kids need? If you want your child to practice at home then search on the web; you will find worksheets for a subscription of $10 a month. You can have them practice any number of problems that will be corrected and graded automatically.
    Therefore, understand your child and her/his needs before going to Kumon. Do not enroll your child to satisfy yourself, instead think of what it can do for your child: help or harm!

  15. THE MAIN REASON KIDS [I] HATE KUMON: takes up time of their days. they feel its a waste of time and would rather do something else. extra homework everyday is harder than you think, because the child may feel it isn’t needed.

  16. kumon helps your results enormously. it gets you above the standard for your year level, and also makes you quicker from all the repetition, however saying that, I actually hate kumon because of the stupid homework books. they are a waste of time, and if you are a high school student it is just another thing you have to do on top of all your other homework. i always have lots of other things to do, and the homework is just such a boring waste of time. i would love kumon if there was no homework. period.

  17. I love kumon and I am a twelve yr old that is very busy and barley has time. I made it into algebra because of kumon. I am ahead and the work I do is soooo easy. I would really recommend it at age ten cause that’s when it starts to benefit. My instructor is the smartest lady I know. I need help she explains it in a way which makes you think. I love kumon a lot. I thank my parents for enrolling me . And when I was told to quit an extra curricular activity I chose my favorite sport track over kumon. It will get ur kid in an iv league collage if she he really devotes time. This message came from a kid btw:)

  18. First off, your #7, and #8 are not even things to “hate” about Kumon. Even in your review, they are things to actually “like” about Kumon. Second, Kumon is NOT a tutoring program and its not supposed to be and it is not promoted as such. The repetition is designed to train the kids to learn on their own.

  19. Hi there,

    My son is 7 3/4 years old and has been going to Kumon for a little over than a year, he started in the summer after completing 1st grade. We began with math and added reading about 6 months ago. Initially he was placed at the 1st grade level, in a year zoomed through the worksheets and is now at level F (6th grade equivalent). Kumon was a lifesaver for him (and us his parents) as he started getting extremely bored with school’s math. I tried to supplement with extra work at home but he needed a good system. Kumon was able to fill that void, we later found out that some of his friends from school also go there which added some healthy competition to the success equation. My son has a competitive nature (he was very excited when he “bit everybody, even those who went there since they were babies” and went ahead of his grade-level peers) and though “rebels” against Kumon at times, still tries to do his best to complete the assigned work.

    All was well up to this point. Due to such high level of work that he is currently doing and other commitments (sports, other languages, etc) it is difficult for him to do 5 sheets/day as he used to do. We cut down to 3-4 sheets/day. He’d probably be even better off doing less than that to free up more time for other things that he enjoys doing during the day but this is where the problem is.

    I caught myself giving Kumon first priority among things that need to be done after-school even if I think something else would probably be more beneficial for my child because of (a parent confession follows…) a pressure of a monthly bill! I can’t help it, I realized that I have this thought sitting there in the back of my mind! Especially after finding out that our Kumon center charges about 25-40% more than what they typically charge in other areas, my math is good enough to figure out how much our family “looses” each day when work is not being done completely or when a week goes by and he only did what he normally does in a day or two.

    I think that what my son is doing on level F is beneficial for him in a “non-mathematical” sense: it stretches his brain, helps with attention, focus, concentration and makes him a better student overall. But going an inch in a quarter for the same monthly fee seems to be psychologically hard to handle. It really makes me question the true value of the math work itself that he’s doing. At this point Kumon helped him build a “skeleton”, he needs to put “meat” on it in a form of more word problems, reasoning exercises, etc. We would have liked to continue with Kumon but the way things are right now, it forms bad parenting habits (as well as makes my son’s work sloppier than ever before as he rushes through it just to be done sooner). I hate that this “use-it-or-loose-it” approach dictates my parenting choices.

    Any advice please?

    Thank you!

    • Hi!
      That’s so cool that your son has moved so far with the Kumon program. Say “Well Done” to him from me! I can totally sympathize with you about having a young child on the higher Kumon levels. My own son was getting frustrated with the early part of Level H when I stopped his Kumon. He was 9 years old at the time.

      The problem isn’t just the repetition, it’s the fact that Kumon kind of “over trains” the child, that is, it gives children questions that are way harder than what would be expected in a normal textbook. What’s good about that is that it means that when kids meet a standard maths question, they find it easy, but what it also means is that they also feel that they’re not good at that particular topic because they struggle with the advanced questions. Level D and F and H are particularly bad for that.

      My advice. Algebra comes in at the end of Level G, and it’s nice if he can get some algebra under his belt, and Level G is relatively easy compared to Level F. Perhaps promise him he can stop at the end of Level G. You may find he’ll actually want to continue! I wouldn’t bother cutting down to less than 3 pages – it’ll just make the whole thing drag on. If it’s just not working though, then stop. You can then focus on the word problems etc. My son goes green at the sight of a geometry question – Kumon helped him be a “Maths Whizz” but gave him a false sense of his maths ability – yes he’ll still come top in maths tests for a long time to come but there are still plenty of maths skills that he needs to develop.

      Take a look at some of the resources in this post 6 Super Resources for Your Bored Maths Genius There’s some nice variety there which will be useful whether you stop Kumon or not.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hello, I know this is a bit late, but I just came across this web page today. I have to admit, I feel like you, as I have 3 children enrolled right now. All of them have reduced workloads. I rqstd a reduction in one child’s workload due to his rigorous college prep school homework load. However, they reduced all of their work. I have one child in level h, one in level f, and one in level a. I always rqst a full workload in the summer, however, for my 4yr old, I won’t be doing that this summer. I do feel like I’m bleeding money on occasion as I have them enrolled in another math program which focuses on word problems and problem-solving. An additional $100 or so per class! I do feel that they both have their benefits, and your child will experience a sort of, roller coaster effect with his/her homework “intestinal fortitude”, but taking the long-term goals into consideration, it’s always worth it to apply stick-with-it-ness to any endeavor. I hope this helps you, or at least make you feel less alone.

    • I think you would love the Continental Mathematics League workbooks- very complicated word problems, have to graph etc- its what kumon does not teach. Do a search on google. You will be surprised, he will be challenged! Honestly if your son is doing level F at such a young age, just stop. When he is older look for the SIG gifted camps in math for summer. Kumon is good to nail all the basic functions, but now he may be limited in using his creativity to solve problems his way. He has all the tools.

  20. I have 2 sons in Kumon for about 4 years now. Below are some of the pro’s and con’s that I see with Kumon:


    * My son is a whiz at arithmetic now and that’s what gets you ahead. Unfortunately kids in western countries always need to reach out for their calculator to do simple math

    * Reading comprehension is vital for communication and understanding. The reading questions help build this and also helps them learn new vocabulary. Paragraphs are small and they may be a couple questions about it which helps test the child’s understanding.

    * stickers and points are rewarded which gives them a choice of items to “purchase”. A big deal for kids.

    * The steps used to master math and reading is gradual and repetitive which helps them build on their learned skills ex. in math kids start off with adding small numbers, then larger numbers, then subtracting small numbers, then large numbers, then vertical addition and subtraction, then multiplication,division, fractions……

    * The Kumon centre my kids go to is organized which makes things run smoother

    * My kids get 20 minutes worth of school work during the week which leaves the entire evening to do nothing and instead of leaving them to television, games or fighting each other, I find Kumon is more productive.


    * can be expensive if you’ve got more than 1 child and they are in math and reading.

    * There is no interaction with the children and the work. By this I mean, when a child is struggling with something, to my knowledge, the staff is not required to help the child understand their work by going through the problem with them to help them understand which then creates repeat mistakes.
    This same problem occurs when the child does work at home and finds that he/she didn’t understand a concept and repeated the mistakes in multiple worksheets which in turn forces them to repeat all of the worksheets. To avoid this, as a parent, I am forced to mark my childs work regularly so that I know he/she understands the concept instead of repeating the same mistakes.

    * Due to the above, I put alot of time and dedication in marking and explaining/helping them understand their mistakes because as much as they hate Kumon, I’m not a fan of it either but I think it’s important they get these basic skills. I also do this to help them excel faster.

    * children will rush through work just to get it out of the way without regards to the quality of their work.

    * getting them to do it! After struggling for 2 years, they know the drill and don’t fuss as much

    * everyday is Kumon day no matter what, even on the weekends, even though its not a must but if you don’t then it’ll just take longer to get through Kumon.

    Hope this helps some of you parent(s).

    I think a lot of people believe that Kumon should help raise their childs marks in school. Make no mistake, Kumon is not necessarily for kids who are struggling but those who want their child(ren) to master arithmetic and reading comprehension skills.

  21. i still hate kumon. A LOT!
    alothough it has helped me improve on maths, it’s also been getting in my way many, many times with homework. with the amount of homework i’m getting and adding kumon homework, i sometimes think i can’t get it all done and i really want to get high marks from school! and so i don’t really finish my kumon homework, resulting to a waste of a whole lot of trees.


  22. Enjoyed reading your blog. I’m doing some research on the “big guys” in the world of tutoring – appreciated the perspective from an insider.
    If you have a minute please check out the latest post on our blog (I think you might enjoy it).


    Good luck and hope to hear from you!


  23. I went to kumon for 8 months and I feel it quietly good…The problem is that by the time I get there
    I was entering to University so the instructors
    at Kumon told me that i needed to began by level
    A, and I felt very dissapointed because i was 18 Yrs and
    to learn things like 5+5 it very distress for my age and
    boring but I had hope that in 2 months I reach the
    level L but the reality but me far away. The Kumon
    instructors never wanted me to get more math sheets
    and even if I learn to solve the problems 100% by using their method, they asked me to repeat it 5 times more
    and that 5x more means you spending 2 weeks more for just and operation..So when I reach the 8 months I ended on level H but all the math that i learn was useless for my age and for the carrer I began to study. And that’s the reason I quit so in short words (KUMON is just for little kids and not for adult people)

  24. Kumon has helped me but teaching is weird and gives me headaches my brother stoped doing kumon but i still do it it is terrible i hate it so much.

  25. Sometimes I am puzzled whether I need to keep my kids in Kumon. They have been doing Kumon for a year. I think my son improved some in his reading, but for math, it is like what others are saying that it did not teach problem solving skills. My kids hate Kumon as well. I am afraid the longer I keep them in Kumon, the more they will hate study, which would be the worst outcome of doing Kumon, plus it is expensive.

    • You’ll likely see a more visible improvement in math skills on the Kumon program after the 18 month mark. The first year or so fills any gaps in their knowledge and lays the foundation for the higher level work. Have you looked at any of the online math programs like Math-Whizz? They may not produce kids who are as super-fast as arithmeticians, but are great for building overall math skills including problem solving. My latest post highlights why my son loves Math-Whizz. Hope this helps!

  26. i want to be good in math.. but every time our professor discussed, i doesn’t able to catch-up that’s why i always got bad grades, low scores… how should i catch-up our lessons in an easy way? to get good grades?…can somebody help me?

  27. Kumon is VERY effective, it has helped my child’s speed in class, confidence and her work skills, she was unable to do simple maths skills at 13 even though she has been to private schools throughout her life. She can do advanced maths very well but has never been taught basic arithmetic.

  28. Kumon is simply horrible. I’m learning grade 12 language arts and grade 11 math. What’s the point in learning it if you’re going to forget it when you get to high school. Honestly, I’ve went to Kumon ever since I was in grade 3 and it’s stupid. Especially the instructor’s daughter. She’s a bitch when she sees me. I ditch often but you can’t blame me. It’s a waste of my time and i want to live a fun carefree childhood but that’s ruined. Now I’m in my teen years and I still am stuck wih kumon. But i had asked my parents if I could quit at the end of 8th grade and they said maybe.

  29. Kumon is an awful learning center. How would doing a large amount of homework that is, in most cases, completely unrelated to school lessons, help the student? It would only overwhelm him/her and foster a hatred towards learning. Yes, it’s true they want the kids to teach themselves, but that may be a little rocky. Strong early education is essential to being able to teach yourself in the future, so in elementary and middle school, you do want someone to “hold your hand” in teaching. You need a strong foundation to build off of for the future. Kumon does not provide that. And in later middle school and high school years, regular schools provide so much homework that any additional work will be extremely stressful for the child.


  31. Hi,

    I have 2 kids in Kumon now. My sone hates it as it repetitive and boring. However he’s also happy that he’s ahead in his class. My daughter likes it and also ahead in her class. I think its good for early ages as its sharpens arithmetic and teach kids that practice makes perfect. The activities also teachers discipline and consistency as they need to do practice daily.
    I have found atomicsteps.com which is a new Math practice site which allows for kids to practice online, self graded with thousands of questions. Its not boring as its filled with critical thinking and images. Try it out !

  32. Hi,
    I read this dicussion with interest.

    My daughters are 2yrs and 4yrs old. I bought the Lets Color, -Paste and -Cut workbooks for them. Also the Workbook of Mazes and workbook on drawings. They love it!

    I see your comments all are for the more advanced and children attending the weekly classes.

    I haven’t approached the KUMON Centre in my area so I dont know what any of the classes are all about.

    Could you please explain step by step how it works, and what are expected of the instructors and the kids alike during any class.

    Cant I buy the books as they get older and let them work through them at their own pace? Can a parent be a instructor?

    Any constructive feedback will be appreciated.


    • Glad to hear your girls liked the Kumon books. The Kumon books are actually quite good (I’ve used some with my own preschooler) In fact I’d go as far as saying that in general the preschool Kumon materials on the actual Kumon program are also good for the first 3 or 4 levels – kids tend to like the colourful, fun nature of the worksheets at those levels.
      Most Kumon centres wouldn’t take children until they are 3 or 4 years old (I started the preschool materials with one of my kids at 2.5 years old but that was because as an instructor I had the materials and could do it with him at home) I think the Kumon books are a good substitute for those who can’t get hold of the materials
      Regarding parents being their child’s instructor: parents aren’t allowed into the work area so your child would only work with the Kumon instructor or one of the assistants. However, since worksheets are also given for the child to do at home on the remaining 6 days, in effect you are your child’s instructor on those days. You could also just go to the centre to pick up the work or get the instructor to mail the work to you then do all the work at home with your child.
      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks Caroline! I think I will continue with the workbooks at home. Once both are around 4yrs I will enroll them at the center closes to us.

      • Hi Caroline
        Its impressive that you were able to start Kumon for your kid at 2.5 years. I have twin daughters. They just turned two. Is that way too early to enroll them in Kumon. They can count to 10.

  33. The instructor (who shall remain unnamed) of Hornsby and Neutral Bay Kumon Franchises in Sydney has been ripping off parents for decades. She has basically applied a ‘tiger mum’ approach with none of the effectiveness, since she doesn’t believe in ‘teaching’. This results in children as young as 4 crying EVERY lesson and students having their confidence crushed. Maths and English errors are quite vocally reprimanded so the student is publically humiliated in front of their peers. The instructor is self worshipping and thinks that any inconvenience (such as homework not being marked), is the fault of the child or her staff. Perhaps if Kumon implemented some basic educational and personality screening for their franchisers they wouldn’t have this travesty.


  35. I’ve been going to Kumon for two years now and I really like it. Sure they give you lots of lessons to take home, but how else are you going to hone your mathematical skills? I don’t mind the extra home work since I’m an indoors kind of guy. I’m very well disciplined in my scholastic home studies and music lessons (classical guitar, bass and piano).

    After high school I plan to pursue my future studies in either psychology or accounting. Yeah, two subjects that are world’s apart but they both pique my interests especially psychology.

    When my Mom and Dad first brought me to Kumon I noticed the sign on the building of the Kumon center with the serious looking kid’s face in the letter O. That is so cool looking!

  36. Really don’t understand the people who moan, Kumon is a great system , my child at 8 rears old was bottom of his class in matghs and English, after one year at Kumon he is now top of his class in Maths and has made great improvements in his English. No he didnt like doing it, it used to take him nearly an hour a day to do the work and yes we had some tantrums ,but now it takes him no more that 20 minutes a day and usually just ten minutes its not hard its easy and he is very pleased with his own efforts, and I am very proud of him also.

  37. If you have an iPad check out http://www.Tabtor.com its Khan Academy on Steriods. Its a personal math tutor for your child on the iPad. The child gets a diagnostic test at the beginning and the tutor then personalizes the work activity based on results. There is a 14 day free trial period with no credit card or commitment necessary. There is no catch. Think of this as the netflix of the tutoring world, you get superior service from the comfort of your home. A tutor contacts you on a daily basis regarding your child’s performance through email and one 15 minute conference call per week.

    Here is a video of my son using the program, see for yourself. Please contact me if you have any questions.


  38. Just like to add that my daughter has been going for two months and I believe we are starting to see a difference. It’s the beginning of the 3rd marking period and her grades are picking up and she just received her 1st “A” in math, spelling and reading last week. We are so excited! I hope this is the turning point. The Kumon program does focus on repetition but I think that it is working for her. Her time is getting faster with the worksheets, from 40 min per sheet to 8 min. Her confidence is building too. I believe her confidence, or lack there of, in the class room and with homework is a big part of the problem we were having. So 2 months in and we are seeing lot’s of improvement. Our goal is to get her caught up and prepare her for 3rd grade next year!

    • I recommiend you try Tabtor, its much better and more personlaized than Kumon. why leave your house when you can do it from the comfort of your own home. All worksheets are personalized to your son/daughters strengths and weaknesses. You get a weekly conference call with the tutor in addition to weekly reports.

      There is a 14 day free trial with no credit card necessary and there is no obligation whatsoever. You will save over $900 a year by switching to Tabtor. check us out at http://www.tabtor.com. You do the math!

      If you have questions, please email me at michael@tabtor.com

  39. I’m 13 and I go to Kumon. I think it’s very helpful. Kumon made math so much easier for me. (I’m really bored in Algebra class in school). Even though it is stressful at times when they give super hard problems, and I ending staying at the center for about 2-3 hours, I think it’s worth it. I started Kumon in 2007, but then I had to quit. I started it again in 2010, now it’s 2013, and I’m on Level J.

  40. been to kumon centre in putney, london.its horrible.lady running the centre is very rude, staff is not at all qaulified to handle kids..its just money making.worksheets can be taken from net rather paying to kumon for 10 mins with cheap unqualified school kids teaching for easy money.

  41. Its kind of ironic that all the students that have posted that they think Kumon is helping them, have not been able to spell or type correctly. They are using phone slang shortcuts, which, if you wish to get anywhere in life, is a bad habit not to encourage. No employer will take you on if you write like that. If I were Kumon, I’d be ashamed of the public examples of my teaching skills. Isn’t English one of the topics?

  42. I strongly urge everyone to at least Tabtor. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We just won the Shiksha Ratan award in India from the Department of Education as the Best MAth LAb solution in the country. Private schools across the U.S. are excited after presenting at the NAIS convention in Philly last week.


    There is a Free Trial for 14 days with no credit card necessary absoultely no risk. If you use mathinsider1 in the referral code, you will save $10 a month. There is a physical tutor behind every child that personalizes his or her work flow to their strengths and weaknesses. We are the only service out there that can provide this service and we are able to do so through technology.

    To start use the link here: https://www.tabtor.com/app/freetrial.php?code=mathinsider1


  43. My kids have been in kumon since they were 3. Guess its about 6 years now. Initially it was math and reading. I ditched the reading last year- it did not improve reading comp, as my son pretty much just memorized the answers on each packet. I have read all the comments here, must say that those parents who say their child is 5 doing level H work is pretty hard to swallow. The child has to do repeats of work sheets, and its days. A kid would have to do 30 sheets a day to pull that off, by kumon standards.- Unless the kumon instructor is doing her/his own thing. I love the math kumon- I wanted my kids to be able to master all 4 functions- add/subtract/multiply and divide, now fractions. I must say this, when kids are younger kumon is living hell. Its hard for them to just do it and hours will pass. Eventually though the child learns self control and whammo its 20 minutes. My kids have concentration, which I really attribute to them doing work everyday. I will say I am not a kumon nazi. Since they are both 2 yrs ahead in math, they do 3 pages a day and one day a week no kumon. This keeps them sane. My son is in 3rd grade and daughter in 2nd grade, private school. The school is all about games for math- yet the students are hardly proficient. There is no way the kids in the class could answer more challenging problems. My son – his class has not mastered the times table and division is a joke. If I had not done kumon for them I would be really concerned that they really can’t do math. The issue is schools really suck at math. If my kids can learn adding/subtracting really hard problems and master times table at the end of first grade then why oh why are schools unable to do this with a child at the end of 3rd grade? Our math skills as a nation are dismal, I can see very clearly as to why now. In China, all the kids learn how to multiply at the end of 1st grade, here- maybe they get it in 4th. Its this everyday math, combining addition/ subtraction and wanting clever solutions to complicated word problems. In my opinion, the kids just have to do the math, it is not about loving it all the the time, but character is built. It takes my son 5 minutes to do his math homework, at school mind you. He does not have math class everyday, only 2 times a week, math homework is rare. Pitiful really. The money I spend at kumon is well spent. The teachers hate, hate kumon- but if every kid in the class did kumon they would be forced to come up with a more challenging math program- ta da! If schools believe they are doing such a great job how about giving the kids here- 3rd graders a shanghai 1st grade math test? It would be hard to look at that and do nothing. Its my job to get my kids up to global standards , I can’t get these years back. But!!! If you do kumon give the kids a break every now and then. I will walk into kumon after 1.5 hours and pull them out- they sit and wait forever for corrections, I say “sick” and walk them out. Time is time, can’t be a maniac about it.

  44. My daughter is with kumon for 3rd year and we found that the its almost rip of your money and time and the instructors are worst ever don’t update the progress and do lot cheap tricks to get money and milking you so that your kids study there long time
    They give few papers or give the same papers again and again and don’t listen to the kids or even parents and adamant
    There are so many sites now and you can learn a lot if your kids spent at-least half an hour
    rather than you do this as its useless in kids education and not helps to pass any exams at all

  45. I’m a marker at kumon. In my opinion, kumon is a waste of money. It’s expensive. Moreover, they didn’t teach or solve problems. A lot of students do not understand when they reach new level and just keep making mistakes. There are no teacher guiding. Moreover, the instructor and staff are not professional in maths. So, if you want your kids to have good foundation in maths or truly understand the concepts of maths, I’d not suggest kumon.

  46. Kumon is for those who want there son or daughter to always be busy. It makes student over confident and ultimately they end up doing bad in Higher grades and universities. I have first experience about this. It is just a business, people get tricked.

  47. I am a Kumon student since, 2011 and I am now on level I as well as sixth grade
    I only do math and while I find it sometimes diffifult I do it, here is what I think;

    Pros ~
    Kumon really drills it in and every packet builds upon the last
    We learn not to always rely on your teachers but to figure it out yourself

    Cons ~
    Teachers are mean
    Not a friendly, happy envioment
    Too much work really, I found that My HARD Kumon with Simple but a lot of School work really cut my time
    I am a straight up A+ student and Kumon really takes time and effort from school

  48. Kumon = Scam

    You pay stupid unqualified tutors $150 every month just to torture your child and repeat the same worksheets till you are in a financial hole.

    • Tabtor is $60, it’s done on tablets, you earn money doing math, you can do it anywhere, and all teachers are certified teachers. It’s like going from a regular cell phone to a smart phone. Does anyone ever go back to the regular cell phone. If you are contemplating Kumon, I think you owe it to yourself to check out Tabtor.

  49. Kumon is seriously dangerous to children as it lacks creativity and critical thinking. Children studying Kumon tend to level off and decline cognitively because their developmental years are seriously damaged by introduction of rote learning such as Kumon. If are a parent and want your child to be brilliant, quit Kumon and enroll them in a creative and stimulating environment. You will be happy you did.

    A great example can be seen from Barbara Walters’s ABC-TV Special “The 10 Most Fascinating People Of 2004” on Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of the popular Internet search engine Google.com, whocredited their years as Montessori students as a major factor in behind their success. Having been friends since childhood. When Barbara Walters asked if the fact that their parents were college professors was a factor behind their success, they said no, that it was their going to Montessori school where they learned to be self-directed and self-starters. They said that Montessori allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests.

  50. I have been doing kumon since the second grade and so when i show this to her, I hope she finds no positives whatsoever so that I can finally get out of it!!! And I am in 7th grade now :__( Thank you for posting this because now i have more evidence to get out of the ugly world of Kumon

  51. I am the daughter of a Kumon instructor, and I can say that Kumon has changed. I started when I was 3 and I finished the reading program in 4th grade. We DO NOT print off our own worksheets, the Kumon headquarters supply them to us. Kumon trains students to be fast and accurate, therefore word problems should not be a problem. It never was for me.

    The writer says that the parent his/her self can teach their child. Not completely nonsense, but there are certain flaws. I will give you an example: Our center once had a student whose mother bragged about his intelligence. “He’s the top in his class,” she said. “He’s never gotten a ‘B’ in his life, and I taught him.” Yes, the mother! We tested him, only to find out he was incredibly slow, and steps were all over the page. He was using a different method of two-digit multiplication, a lattice method, that took too long to draw and compute. His basic addition and subtraction skills were fine, but he was too slow and sloppy. So yes, feel free to teach your child, but if you are not a, I quote, “qualified maths teacher,” maybe you should leave it to the Kumon instructor.

    Also the writer seems to be saying ALL Kumon instructors do not teach the students. Of course they don’t, Kumon is intended to be self-learning. If a student needs help comprehending, my mom always spent MUCH more than 10 minutes helping them understand. When I was doing Level L in Math, I always studied the solution book first, then went to complete the set, and if I still did not get something, I asked my mom.

    Furthermore, the writer appears to be very opinionated. Kumon is repetitive, yes that is a fact. Kumon is boring? Opinion right there. I would expect the readers to conjure their own opinions, while the writer should only supply the eight ABSOLUTE HORRIBLE things about Kumon solely. Nothing else!

    I understand that the writer used to run a Kumon Center, and often times, it is a very stressful job. However, I believe in it, and I was disappointed in this article. By the way, I’m going into 8th grade.

  52. I am interested in Cmaths, can anyone tell me if it is good or not? My kids can not do the same thing over and over- kumon bored them

  53. Kumon may not be the most effective method for children to gain more practical skills with learning math and reading. Although you are given the core skills of being able to do arithmetic quickly but it still takes other skills (like comprehension skill set) to really get children to be able to complete questions when taking tests. I would recommend trying out a website called Beestar which provided my daughter with helpful worksheets that makes her think for her own! She is highly entertained with the different types of worksheets.

    • One word Tabtor. It’s the best alternative on the market. Check it out at Tabtor.com. It’s like having a tutor in your pocket.

  54. Kumon is not effective for children to grasp practical math and reading skills. Core skills are strengthened in a timely manner but seems to lack critical thinking skills. I would recommend trying out a website called Beestar which provided my daughter with helpful worksheets that helps her think critically. She is fairly interested with the different types of worksheet that is provided by the website.

  55. Well, I haven’t been having any oppositions and arguments about your statements, but Kumon is not that boring; you see it’s fun if you will think that “It’s fun and not totally boring!” I know that it may be hard to continue it ’til the end, but it is for your own future’s sake. What they promote is focus and accuracy, and because of these technique you can do your tasks in a fast and sure way, minimizing the consumed time to do the task. Also, the performance depends on you. It’s your choice whether you enroll or not or just “at the neutrality of the game.” You have the privilege to decide. That’s all I want to say. :)

  56. I’m 6 pages from finishing level O in math. I’ve been in Kumon for ~9 years, and I started at level 2A. Throughout my time at Kumon, I’ve seen people drop out and regret doing so (including my sister). I took Hnrs. Geometry in 9th grade, completed Alg 2 Hnrs online over a summer, took Hnrs. Precalc in 10th, took AP Calc AB 11th grade (got a 5 with ease), took Calc 2 the first semester of my senior year, and am currently taking Calc 3 alongside college students (and I can solve difficult problems meant for groups by myself). I’m planning to major in engineering once I graduate from high school. Trust me: Kumon is a valuable resource

  57. I am in Japan,the origin of kumon,and I hate it.Really,my parents force me to do it.At school,a international school,Everyone hates it.No one like it,exept the kumon instructors!They don’t think!Even,1+1 questions,they see the answer note book to check!All they do is say”Good Job,you did well”and get money.They even make us pay electric fee 20 dollars!I should cost only 30 dollars,divided by the amount of students!

    • I think you should talk to your parents about this, because if you don’t have the drive to do something, then you have nothing. The will to work is the most important piece.

  58. I definitely do not recommend for anybody to send their child to kumon. It is a complete waste of time and money. Kumon may seem useful is primary grades but once kids have to start thinking and applying their knowledge, kumon will be of no use. kumon simply enforces the use of mental math which the strudents will eventually forget once they get to higher grades and are required to use a calculator. I have worked at a kumon center and honestly, I hated working there. The instructors are reluctant to explain anything even when it is painfully obvious that the student has no clue what he/she us doing. Several times, students have approached me for help because they kept getting the same questions wrong. I tried to explain to them how to solve the questions but my boss (owner of franchise) told me to let them figured it out on their own. I don’t understand how they were even supposed to do these questions without being introduced to the material first. Plus, if I wanted my kid to do billions of worksheets I would print them online.

    • It is true that often times graders and instructors don’t want to teach you, but that just makes me more independent. It irritates me too sometimes when the graders are completely clueless on a subject, but I hardly ever ask for help anyways. The student should be able to learn on their own, by slowly analyzing an example from Kumon and determining what goes where and why it goes there. The examples easily tell me everything.

  59. i actually think that kumon is helpful, my child did not know how to speak or write in english because we are originally from a different country and my child has improved so much that at her school they gave her an english award for being first in her class and same with my other son but he got a maths award and all thanks to KUMON!

  60. I know an eight grader and a tenth grader who are now doing university level math because of kumon. Kumon is definitely helpful. My parents regret not sending my sister to kumon.

  61. The problem with this analysis is that it assumes Kumon replaces school. Taking Kumon does not mean that your child should quit school. Kumon works to fill in the gaps of what is hard to teach in school.

    Most kids falling behind in school are falling behind because they are not yet fluent enough in the basics. A third grader cannot possibly learn about how much change to give if they still have to think hard about basic arithmetic. That would be ridiculously overwhelming. But teachers with 30+ students in their class struggle to give everyone the large amount of one-on-one time required to solidify these basics, especially when not every student is struggling with them. Kumon helps to make the math easy so that in school, the student can focus their attention on the new concepts being taught.

    As a teacher, I love the Kumon system.

  62. Kumon is very expensive,take example of the good school in Africa Ndameze English Medium School in East africa with good education but the fee is very cheap.

  63. Here is an idea, author: Don’t send your kid(s) to Kumon then! I can tell you that Kumon has worked wonders for our 5 year old. We started sending him at age 4, so total of about 15 months. He learned FAR more at Kumon as far as basic reading and math skills than his ultra expensive pre school. In fact, Kumon gave him such a strong start that his first few days at Kindergarten have me wondering if he is going to get bored.

    Your mileage may vary, and I’m sure there is variation between each franchise. Older kids might not get same value that we did, etc. I can tell you for my son and for his friends who also attended, it ROCKED!

  64. I think Kumon helped my child a lot with reading she was a grade level ahead of the other children in her class so thumbs up to Kumon

  65. Kumon is not at all that horrible. It does take a long time and the instructors don’t tell you how to do anything but that increases your independence. I did Kumon myself and it is the only reason I achieved high marks in school and had all advanced classes. Of course you have to actually stay in Kumon for a long time to actually see results. Staying for one or two days may make you think it is horrible but a couple years in the program makes you appreciate it.

  66. I Hate Kumon! Im a student there and if your interested in joining your kids in kumon, DONT! I begged my mom for 3years to quit kumon and the day finally came. Yesterday my mom told me I can quit! I was so happy that I started to cry! Kumon just wants your money they don’t care if you get it or not. It takes about 1-2 hours to do my homework from kumon that I don’t even get and I have to do that every single day. Every time I try to ask for help at the Kumon center they don’t know how to do it so they said I can just guess. 1st of all the people that work there are in high school and don’t know what there doing. 2nd the people that work there are super mean. 3rd they repeat you for 2 months on 2nd grade math and don’t put you at the grade level you are. Finally, its way too much stress because you have school work to do Plus extra work to do from Kumon it just kills your kids. oh and the parents get stressed too because you have to check there hw everyday and if u miss a day it just becomes a mess. My mom thinks its a good idea to be in kumon but NOPE for the kids its like hell. Please don’t put your kids in Kumon.

    • Same-ish ever since I started I kept on asking my mom and dad if I could quit. Plus it wastes your time. I have a lot of homework and Kumon just makes me work late

    • Honestly, the only way to forge steel, is to temper it with fire. You want to be successful in life, you gotta go through hell first, but Kumon isn’t even hell. It really helped me become a better, smarter person. I really appreciate Kumon’s help.

  67. Hmm.

    I’m a 12 year old.

    I have A’s in advanced English & Math.

    I finished the English program last year, and I’m on Level L in Math.

    I can say, kumon HAS helped me. A lot.

    Even though I’d not want to admit it, doing worksheets every single day when everyone else had free time has reduced my homework time, and in the long run it is useful.

    I’m doing integrals in kumon, while I’m doing simple algebra/pre-algebra in school.

    It does help.

    I don’t know what’s up with other people’s kumon centers; mine is squeaky clean, the instructors are nice and helpful and have a parttime job in math related things such as engineering.

    Trust me; Kumon is worth it if you pick the right center.

  68. I have worked in the education field for 20+ years in varying capacities and through my experiences, I have learned that one size does not fit all. Starting out in my career, I taught preschool, 2nd and 4th grade. Additionally, I have worked as an ABA Therapist with children who have been on the autistic spectrum as well as children that are classified as “gifted and talented.” In all my years, I have never found that these franchised establishments work at an optimal level for students. It is more of a cookie cutter curriculum instead of providing a learning environment that is tailored around each child and their needs, weaknesses and strengths. Each child deserves to be assisted on a level that they are comfortable with whereby learning is the goal but they pull from their experiences to allow for a wider and more accurate understanding of the material. If you have a question or comment, please feel free to contact me via my website: ilenemiller.com and I would happy to provide a response.

  69. I actually go to Kumon and the Reading program there is not helpful, and I agree with this review. The math program helps a little bit, but I am over grade level and I don’t learn anything about problem solving or anything to do with word problems. This website is wrong though on the cost of the program. To do 1 subject you need to pay $170.

  70. I have to say, the lack of focus on fostering problem-solving skills is incredibly detrimental in older grades. Once you reach around the 6th grade, calculators are given as it no longer becomes practical to limit students by their arithmetic abilities ( try finding the decimal value of sin (17) in your head). It no longer becomes efficient to simply learn how to do mental math. Being able to rigorously apply them and understand how these concepts function will benefit a student much more than mental math. Furthermore, in popular math contests, mental math is nigh on useless. One must recognize how the concepts they learned connect and how they can be applied. This type of problem solving is the heart of mathematics and it is saddening to see it ignored in after-school programs such as these.

    This is not to say that quick mental math has no value. Unless the student pursues a career in mathematics, mental math will aid them substantially. Yet so will problem solving and recognizing patterns to get from point A to point B. A balance must be achieved to create a mathematically literate student.

  71. Hi! Reading this article just impelled me to say something. I’m a middle school kid, 7th grade, and I have been going to Kumon for about 2 and a half years now. Just so you guys know, I found Kumon very worthwhile to me, and I have already started working on differential calculus. I do know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but if you have a drive to work and become smarter and better, Kumon definitely pushed me to a better point. And honestly, I think that even if my teacher was mean, although I wouldn’t like that, I would keep going as long as I was learning something. Honestly, my parents are definitely stricter than a handful of Kumon instructors. Besides, they have examples, and while they don’t explain everything, it just takes a minute or 2 to decipher what the example means. It just takes a little thinking outside of the box. Not everything in life is super simple, like 1+1=2. In real life, when I grow up, I’m sure it will be much more difficult.

  72. I’ve attended Kumon for several years now and am now in Level O of math and have completed the English course as well. I believe that these opinions of Kumon are different from the ones that I have received from my peers because of who their from. Kumon is originally a Japanese institution so, naturally, people not of the Japanese culture would find it very different. In Asia, specifically the Philippines, where I grew up, Kumon is HUGE. Parents purposely send their children to not only improve their mathematics skills, but to shoot their child ahead of their class. From my experience, Kumon is a highly competitive environment where we would all scramble to be the best. My peers and I have come to love it and accept how it helped us become top of our grades.
    It saddens me to hear that people and students outside of Asia do not find Kumon to be worth it or effective. But it was interesting to hear a different opinion than what’s the norm over here!

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