About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Do you know which post has had the most traffic on Maths Insider? There’s a big clue in the Wordle word cloud above!

It’s my post, “8 Things to Hate About Kumon – A Review”

Of course, if you’ve read my About page, you’ll know that I used to be a Kumon instructor. I ran a Kumon tutorial centre in the UK for 3 years.

But some Maths Insider readers have asked me,

“What is Kumon?”

You see, not everyone has heard of Kumon, even though, according to their official website, they have had 16 million students in 46 countries around the world.

So let me tell you about Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Kumon is an educational franchise, originally founded by Toru Kumon in 1956

The Good

Like McDonalds, the franchising effect means that there are thousands of Kumon centres around the world, from Germany to South Africa and from The Phillipines to the US, all helping children with maths.

The Bad

Each instructor, although trained by Kumon will bring their own personality to the program, some are rigid and some are flexible. The majority have never been teachers.

The Ugly

Like McDonalds, profit is the big motive. Kumon is worth over $650 million, made from charging $100 a month, taking 40% from franchisees, and employing young and poorly paid support staff.

Kumon students typically visit the study centre once or twice a week and are given homework to do for the other 6 days

The Good

At the study centre your child gets support from the Kumon staff and sees other children, all studying towards a common goal.

The Bad

As a parent, you have to take your child to the centre, or arrange for the work to be sent to you each week.

The Ugly

You the parent have to “police” your child’s Kumon homework 5 or 6 days a week, and field the complaints of, “It’s BORING!”

Kumon is an “individualised” learning program – students only move up to the next level when they have mastered the work. Mastery is defined as speed and accuracy

The Good

Each student works through the program at just the right pace for themselves, and children will develop motor and concentration skills as they repeat the worksheets.

The Bad

The repetition and the speed criteria in particular can be tough for children to meet.

The Ugly

Students can literally  get stuck at certain difficult stages in the Kumon program for weeks due to the strict enforcement of target times.

All Kumon students start with easy work relative to their ability

The Good

Student’s will find the work easy and will initially enjoy doing the worksheets.

The Bad

The easy Kumon work eventually becomes not so easy, and then really rather difficult.

The Ugly

Doing 10 pages of questions like these, quickly and accurately is extremely difficult. Even Kumon themselves call this the Level D mountain.

Kumon Level D Worksheets

The Kumon program encourages independent learning

The Good

The Kumon worksheets explain and guide students whenever a new topic is introduced, therefore they can work independently.

The Bad

Students can’t always figure out the work themselves, especially at the higher levels. At larger centres, it can be impossible for instructors and assistants to have the time to explain the work.

The Ugly

There are tales on message boards of students being driven to tears because instructors refused to explain work to them.

Want to know more about Kumon?

The Good

The  Kumon US or Kumon UK websites.

The Bad (actually more funny than bad!)

A mother enrolls herself  onto the Kumon program for 5 months, “I’m a Math Moron” – Slate Magazine

The Ugly

Donald Sauter, a former Kumon instructor spills all!  His Kumon contract was not renewed after he radically tried to change the system, he tells the whole epic story on his website.

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

Share your good, bad and ugly Kumon experiences in the comments below!

 

54 Responses to “About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”

  • Maria Droujkova on October 1, 2010

    Thank you for the colorful write-up! I will send people here when they ask about Kumon!

    • ckmukisa on October 2, 2010

      Your welcome! I’m getting a lot of visitors to my site who searched for “Kumon reviews” on Google, so there are definitely many people who want to know about the good, bad, and ugly side of Kumon!

  • Dan on October 2, 2010

    It is very lucky to see your review through Google. We are planning to invest a learning center in Toronto for G1 to G12 students. For rapidly going into the business, we are thinking to use Franchise, and Kumon is one of them (Kumon, Oxford and Sylvan). My 13-years-old daughter hated Kumon very much when she went to it several years before so that I have to teach her by myself. Could you kindly give me some suggestions about this investment? I am just a math private instructor and I want to expend my private one to one tutoring to a formal business and I can hire other teachers to teach reading and writing.
    Thank you so much for your two reviews about Kumon. They may kill my decision to invest this franchise brand.

    • ckmukisa on October 3, 2010

      The advantage of running a franchise is that the company has a system that works and a brand that advertises itself, however as a franchisee you pay heavily for these. Setting up on your own is doable but requires lots of research. Try to find people who have done this before, but are in a different city or country so that you’re not a competitor. Investigate your local laws regarding setting up a tuition centre, check the costs for staffing, premises rental, materials etc. After you’ve done that then you’ll be in a better position to decide whether to choose a franchise or not.

  • [...] About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly [...]

  • [...] About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly [...]

  • Frank Ho on December 1, 2010

    The way to teach elementary student math must be different from those who teach high school math and the way to produce elementary math workbooks must be also different from those who produce high school math workbooks.

    The main problem with the current many elementary math worksheets is they are oudated and do not have any new ideas. Young kids like puzzles, and they like games, they like cell phones but how do we incorporate all these what they like into math worksheets?

    To just put a computer game on the computer is not the solution because it gives students a feeling that they are playing games not doing math. They do not improve math much by just playing computer games.

    combine the subject of math, chess and puzzles all in one worksheet is the solution.

  • Beth Hewitt on January 15, 2011

    Hi Caroline,

    I have to confess I too have never heard of Kumon. Thank you for your frank and honest thoughts on the company. It will definitely allow parents to have a better understanding and point them in the right direction for them to do their due diligence.

    Thanks for the info,

    Beth :)
    Beth Hewitt recently posted..How to never stop Blogging

  • Linda G. Cox on January 19, 2011

    Caroline~
    Kumon is new to me! Your write-up is great fun to read! My kids are nearly high school graduates so we’re not needing this service. I’m glad I had a chance to read about it here, I’ll tell any of my friends who have children still at this age.
    Linda
    Linda G. Cox recently posted..Duane Forrester and Optimizing Your Blog

    • Caroline Mukisa on January 19, 2011

      Thanks for passing by Linda!
      I hope your friends will find the Kumon information useful. If your kids are keen mathematicians the Wild About Math website has some nice higher level puzzles.

  • Belinda Cunningham on January 26, 2011

    Hi Caroline
    This has got to be the first blog that I have been on that is about maths. Well done. I am a teacher in Australia and have done my share of maths classes and had heard of Kumon. I will enjoy returning to your site to see what is going on here. McDonalds has a great maths site for students, not sure it is just an Australian site, are you familiar with it?
    Belinda
    Belinda Cunningham recently posted..Bach Flowers for Over-sensitivity to Influences and Ideas

    • Caroline Mukisa on January 26, 2011

      Hi Belinda!
      Great that you discovered Maths Insider! I’ve tutored the kids of my Australian ex neighbour before so I’ve seen that the curricullum seems similar to the US and UK ones.

      Thanks for the tip about the McDonalds website. I’m currently researching free maths websites for an article, so I’ll check that out!

  • Marlon Acosta on February 3, 2011

    I have never heard of Kumon so thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

    I love how broke down the pro’s and con’s about the system.

  • Steve Shoemaker on February 5, 2011

    Caroline I must confess as well I have never heard of Kumon. But I do recognize when someone is passionate about a subject and really tries to explain the ins and outs of the topic discussed which I think you do very well. It was an interesting read.

    Steve
    Steve Shoemaker recently posted..How To Get Your Post Noticed On Facebook

  • Yasser Khan on February 5, 2011

    Hi Caroline!
    the way you break down information in byte-sized pieces is exceptionally easy to comprehend and assimilate. Exactly like a tutor!
    I can relate to that, as I did tutoring too in my younger days…
    Yes, they’ve been very active in Singapore, with its tuition-crazy culture and ultra-competitive education system.
    Yasser

  • Dr. Erica Goodstone on March 4, 2011

    Caroline,

    Kumon is new to me but sounds quite interesting. I am sure it helps many students to succeed who might have really struggled and failed often without this assistance. The negatives about parents having to take the children to the center and monitor the homework, donot sound like negatives – just good parenting skills.

    I like the way you broke each aspect into the good, the bad and the ugly. You have made it so easy to understand and made your long blog post so easy to read.

    Warmly,

    Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..The Now Habit – Do YOU Have It

    • Caroline Mukisa on March 6, 2011

      Hi Dr. Erica!

      I’m glad you liked the format of this post. As with many things, there is always a good side and a bad side!

      I can see your point about ferrying kids to centers and monitoring homework, but even the most conscientious parent needs to choose the “sanity saving” option at times. That’s one of the reasons why I use a few online programs with my own kids (as well as ferrying them to classes and monitoring homework both on and offline!)

  • Gavin Mountford on March 5, 2011

    I’ve never actually heard of Kumon and maths was never my strong point at school. I love your blog, it’s different and unique from the blogs we usually see in TSA. Great to meet you and keep up the great work.

    You should have a comment spam filter which I see on many blogs, it says something like… what’s 7+3? then they have to put the answer.

    It would be funny if the person got it wrong wouldn’t it, lol

    Thanks
    Gavin

    • Caroline Mukisa on March 6, 2011

      Hi Gavin,

      Yes, not too many “maths” blogs on TSA, but still lots to learn from!

      I have seen the arithmetic comment spam filters, they are cool, but I don’t want to put “non mathematicians” off.

      Thanks for passing by!

  • Rakiya on March 11, 2011

    Hi there, great article, hits the nail on the head!

    I worked at Kumon for 4 years to find that only the rich, famous and desperate could afford to do it! But, somehow I managed to financially support my little sisters to do the math and english, by working there.

    Whilst working there, I realized that my mental maths was so rubbish, having grown up at school with a calculator to hand. I worked in one of the best Kumon centres in the country with a real buzz and excitement, which made it all the worth while. She made us (staff) complete Kumon worksheets upto multiplication tables which paid dividends as now I pride myself with a Masters degree in MATHS lol.

    And my two little sisters pride themselves with Masters degrees.

    With all the boredom and financial frustration…it does pay off in the end, just it takes patience and motivation!

    To all your math problem solving success
    Rakiya
    Rakiya recently posted..Mar 10- glossary of math terms

    • Caroline Mukisa on March 15, 2011

      Hi Rakiya!

      Yes Kumon staff are encouraged to do at least some of the worksheets themselves – some of my maths phobic staff improved their mental maths skills once they realised marking the students worksheets was MUCH quicker without using the answer books!

      My Kumon centre was actually a mix of the rich and famous and poor families who had scraped together the monthly fees.

      Kumon does work but parents can certainly Do It Themselves with some guidance.

      Cool that you and your sisters got Masters degrees as a result of your strong mental maths skills!

      Thanks for passing by!

  • Eddy on May 30, 2011

    My son went to kumon when he was4 years and 3 months. Ever since he was born, he played 365 days per year in the park or playpen, unless he gets sick. He played 5-6 hours per day outside and it came to a point where I need to give him a little bit of academic learning. I went to kumon and boy did he fly like bird in the sky. He’s 5 years and 6 months old now, he’s ranked 68 out of 12000 throughout the USA. In three months time, he’s going to be ranked 1. By the time he starts kindergarten he’s done 6th grade math and will soon pick algebra. He still plays 5-6 hours a day out in the park. He does 10 page packet in 30 minutes and I don’t give him reward at all. Organic playing and over working him in playing outside really worked for him. 99% play and 1% does well for him. I let him play in the park until he succumbs to exhaustion, that is my motto until now. When we get home he draws for hours. He sketches very good. I only taught him math, I never introduced him to reading, but I was surprised when his pre school teacher told me that he read a whole book to his classmates, I was flabbergasted. If I teach him how to read, I thought I might over worked it so I just let go of the reading and just proceed with the math. I thought maybe he started picking learning habit because he was already bored running outside the park and playing 365 days a year.

    • Priguppy on December 12, 2012

      Hi Eddy, my son is very much in the same situation, only that he is in Kindergarten already at 5 years and 6 months. He ranks 220 out of 12000 in Kumon and is currently in level C math. We only enroll him in math because we figured reading does not do him good as the answers are straight from the book – meaning even if you provide the correct answer but doesn’t match the answer book, you are wrong! Anyway, I have a feeling the ranking is done based on what grade the kid is in, pre-school/Kindergarten, and not by age?

  • Eddy on May 30, 2011

    Addendum, we never watched television at home.no tv at all.

  • [...] Are you sending your child to Kumon? If you do, you may want to read Caroline Mikusa’s Kumon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. [...]

  • Anuja Kamat on September 9, 2011

    My children have been in Kumon for the past 4 years. They love it. Like the first point said, “A lot depends on the instructor”. I would add, “And the child and parents”. One size does not fit all. I would suggest trying it. You can always quit if it does not. We have a wonderful, compassionate, patient instructor. He is indeed a great teacher. My children are academic. So may be that has worked out great for us. I am not sure I have seen an unhappy family at our center. If you are unhappy, talk, talk talk! and find a good solution. It is a good program. But it is upto the instructor, child and parents to make it work.

  • Crystal on December 5, 2011

    My daughter’s doctor recommended that I have my daughter to attend for Mat but after reading this I am not sure. On top of that, I have no idea what an alternative program would be where it is good and there is a minimum of the bad and no ugly. You are very thorough on Kumon but can you suggest anything else?

    • Caroline Mukisa on December 9, 2011

      Hi Crystal,
      I really like some of the online maths program. You can read/watch my review of Maths Whizz here and Ten Marks is a good budget option. Also check out my post next Tuesday where I’ll be featuring some other great online maths programs.

  • Really? on February 10, 2012

    I find it quite ridiculous when people mention how the Kumon instructors “are/or have not been teachers.” Most of the math is easy to a person who already knows it, so it’s irrelevant to bring that up. You don’t need a certified teacher to teach a 6-year-old what 2+2 is…

  • Jeff Radcliff on March 1, 2012

    Thank you for that great write-up. As a former employee of the corporate side of Kumon, I’d have to say it is a great program if you have a great Instructor. If you’re not lucky enough to have a great Instructor, I’d save my dollars. I do not support the company, but I do support the franchisees.

  • Paul B on March 20, 2012

    Great article. Been looking for ways to help improve the math skills in our family!
    Paul B recently posted..Air Is All Around You

  • sappy chillu on March 21, 2012

    i think that kumon is great. all my kids do the maths and english program. i think that it really helps them. the maths is far more beneficial the english.
    sappy chillu recently posted..The Secret Life of #mathchat – Who? What? Where?

  • PHIL on May 25, 2012

    Kumon is excellent. Repetition is key to any success; business or sport. Yes, its time consuming, yes its repetitive, but the results are worth it. Our 9 year old daughter has been enrolled in Kumon for 2 years adn she excels at math and reading.

  • Rob on May 30, 2012

    I’ve been a math teacher for the past 23 years and I’ve come across many students who have been to Kumon. Unfortunately the students I’ve met come out of Kumon knowing little to nothing about math. As has been mentioned, some centers will have magnificent results, but most don’t. There are many people who know their math. In fact there are many math teachers who know their math quite well, but it seems that there are few who can teach it and even fewer who make the students feel good about themselves when they make a mistake. If you want your kids to learn their math, you have to make sure you teach them. Make sure they know the multiplication tables before grade 6 level. You will be amazed at how easily they will pick up concepts like fractions and algebra. I say again, their are some good Kumon centers out there, but you may have to pay hundreds to find out if the one closest to you is one of them.

  • zhao ching on June 19, 2012

    The article is propaganda! There is nothing good to kumon! Although the work may be helpful, they give too much and there is no tolerance in slack! Kumon has these report cards given out every week and after a child is through with a work sheet the parent needs to correct it! By the time the packet is in it needs to be 100% correct. Also the price is too high! You pay close to 100 us dollars a month! That’s outrageous! Parents, hear me Kumon is not for your kid. Zhao Ching father of 2.

  • kumon refugee on June 23, 2012

    We just made the difficult decision to give one months notice to remove our kids from Kumon. They are rising 3rd and 5th grade and have both been doing it for 2 years. I must say – Kumon can be an excellent program with the right instructor. Our 5th grader was struggling with learning math facts 2 years ago and after much hard work (and tears) his grades really shot up so much that the teacher wanted to know our secret. After 2 years, he finally made it over “the D mountain” which is the huge sequence of long division problems. However, his teacher was extremely rigid and inflexible and made him repeat the sequence THREE times. I am talking about a 60+ sheet sequence three times… After the first time, he wasn’t doing it fast enough, so he repeated it a second time. We had a conference to discuss it – and missed one or two sessions after that, but his time was perfect – and she decided to have him repeat it again. To say that this was demoralizing to him was an understatement. All the while, his school studies had moved on way past long division… So literally, he was working on fractions and decimals at school, while at night he was repeating the same long division packets for Kumon. He was easily spending 4 – 5 X the time in homework for Kumon. Then, when he went to school, he wasn’t understanding the concepts they were teaching. All of his focus was getting through to Kumon. As a result, his grades dropped. This is one very negative thing about Kumon – it doesn’t follow the school system. So, if your kids class has moved on – guess what? Kumon hasn’t. So, in the end they will know the subject much better, but the grades won’t be reflective. This has happened to us twice in the program. I was sticking with it until my 8 year old daughter reached “the D mountain.” Our daughter is extremely advanced, well over grade level and she is nationally ranked in Kumon for her age. Last week the center director had her in there for over 2 hours. We finally pulled her out – and she said that while she was in there, she had asked to talk with us and the director refused to let her talk with us. She went to the bathroom crying because the director refused to let us see her. We were in the waiting room – we had no idea. She told us that she was trying to escape to call 911 because she felt like a prisoner there. After that, I emailed our center director and gave her notice.

    Math supplementation is one thing – but this experience was quite another. We had been paying $220/month for this “treatment.” I have decided to order the workbooks from amazon and manage the supplementation at home without having to go get abused by a center.

    At the end of the day, our kids need to be motivated by the desire to learn, and not motivated by someone of Asian or Indian descent standing over them with a ruler in one hand and pointing a finger at them with the other.

    • ConfusedFromElsewhere on August 22, 2013

      You lost me in your last paragraph. What does the instructor’s ethnic origin have to do with it? Would it have been okay if the instructor had looked like one of your parents?

  • KD on August 20, 2012

    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.

  • Will on August 22, 2012

    THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE: I MADE A REGISTRATION FOR MY 7 YEARS OLD SON ON MONDAY (5/7/2012 @ 79-43 Metropolitan Ave, Middle Village, NY 11379) AND I WAS GOING TO PAY THE OTHER FEE AND ONE MOTHN PAYMENT ON FRIDAY (5/11/12) WHICH WAS THE DAY A PICKED TO MY SON TO START THE PROGRAM. SO, FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY I SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL MY FRIENDS ABOUT THE PROGRAM COZ I WAS VERY EXCITED FOR MY SON. AND BECAUSE OF THAT I HEARED AWFULL REVIEWS ABOUT THIS PLACE INCLUDING ONE MOTHER WHO WORKS ON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. I DIDN’T HEAR NOT EVEN ONE GOOD REVIEW ABOUT THIS PLACE. SO I DECIDED NOT TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE PROGRAM. I MADE A $ 50 REGISTRATION FEE ON THIS PLACE AND I WAS TOTALLY AWARE ABOUT THE NON REFUNDABLE REGISTRATION POLICY. HOWEVER, I JUST WOULD LIKE TO ADVICE FOR ANY PARENTS OUT THERE TO BE 100% SURE BEFORE ENROOL YOUR CHILD ON KUMON PROGRAM. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND ASK FRIENDS BEFORE ENROOLLING. I LEARNED THAT IS NOT WORTH IT BECAUSE WHO REALLY DOES THE “JOB” ARE THE PARENTS. BESIDES, I RATHER PAY A LITTLE BE MORE FOR A TUTOR WHO WILL BE FACE TO FACE WITH MY SON (IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO ME).
    ALSO, I’M TRULY BEEING HONEST WITH THIS REVIEW AND I MUST TO SAY THAT ALL THRU I DIDN’T TRY THE PROGRAM MYSELF DUE TO BAD REVIEWS AND EXPERIENCES ABOUT THE PROGRAM. IT’S WAS MY CHOICE NOT TO MOVE FORWARD.

  • Vonna on August 30, 2012

    Hello Caroline, My son currently attends a Kumon center in Coral Springs,FL. Overall I’m happy with his Instructor/Teachers & the work he receives.
    My son was in the 6th grade at his time of enrollment so far its been about 6months.
    He’s in the Montessori Magnet program at school which leaves with a large work load. In addition to Kumon.

    I enrolled him in Kumon b/c he was having trouble with his algebra work in school.

    I’m glad he likes Kumon.
    Secondly, I dont have to stay on top of him inorder to complete his assigments,he understands the concept of time management quite well; However I’m really contemplating removing him form the course b/c the tuition is alot I pay 130.00 per month just for Math not mention I’m a single mom. I was wondering if Kumon centers offer any type of tuition assistance programs that you are aware of?

    • Caroline Mukisa on August 30, 2012

      Hi Vonna, You’d need to ask your Kumon centre about financial aid. When I was an instructor in the UK it was up to each instructor if they wanted to offer a discount (which would come out of the instructors pocket, not out of Kumon’s profits)
      Have you looked at any online math programs? They are a lot more affordable and because you’re not ferrying your child to a centre each week, there’s more time (and money) to do other activities. Search Maths Insider for my posts on online math programs and another post titled “If Your Child Hates Kumon Try This”
      Kumon is only really worth doing if you stick with it for at least 1-2 years, so make sure you look at other options to see if it is the best option for your child in the medium term.

  • Vonna on August 30, 2012

    Continuation>> Kumon is a good program and has helped his math grades they went form C’s to B+’s but know he is in the 7th grade and has a good understanding of Math. So know he wants to learn Karate. Decisions Deceisions I guess I have decide between his Kumon and Karate if no help is offered to parents for tuition.

  • Vonna on August 30, 2012

    Please Help!

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  • ricky on November 23, 2012

    I was so glad to see this review and I think I will stop searching Kumon center for my kid.
    I was trying to locate a Kumon center in Vaughan Ontario. After i called the center located i maple. Nobody called me back after I left 2 voice message. Then I tried to call Kumon Canada, I was asked to leave a message.
    What kind of business are they running? Seems a lot of not qualified/professional people.

  • TX-Parent on December 8, 2012

    We have 2 boys which love school and are lucky enough to have things come easy. Kumon has kept them challenged when school does not. I agree there is not as much time spent on theory as a normal math class so we have to explain a few things on the side and they see the topics get repeated in school anyway. After two years in Kumon we have a happy fifth grader doing algebra and third grader working their way through fraction addition/subtraction. And we never have to pull out a calculator during shopping when they are along. Not much I can complain about. :-)

  • Judy Boyes on January 9, 2013

    I agree completely! I had my daughters in Kumon for years, and though I have to admit it was good for them, now that I’m tutoring I can see so many advantages to having one-on-one instruction by highly qualified teachers.

  • Schools 'N More on February 22, 2013

    My son has been going to Kumon for the last 2 years and seems to have really gained from it especially in terms of having a daily routine of sitting down to do the work. It also helps that the center we go to is pretty pragmatic in terms of moving kids to the next level when they think they’re ready instead of making them repeat material they already know. Having said that, I don’t think Kumon is the only option out there today. The Kumon method doesn’t work with all kids and I know people who also seem happy with other programs such as Aloha and Singapore Math. We actually did a comparison of some of the math programs in terms of method, time commitment etc. Here’s the link if interested – http://www.schoolsnmore.com/articles/article/53-what-s-the-right-formula-a-look-at-kumon-aloha-singapore-math-and-vedic-math

  • Catherine Reynolds on May 27, 2013

    Kumon instructors are not regulated by the government????

  • Mommy on June 13, 2013

    I have heard of how great Kumon is, where the syllabus teaches consistency and repetition. I decided to teach my daughter (started Kumon workbooks at the age of 2.5) by myself, since I think I can handle the syllabus. I don’t think Kumon center is truly required, because I have heard that the instructors are there only to guide. I see alot of improvement in my daughter’s math where by at the age of 3 she can write upto 120 numbers. She goes to a daycare, and the teachers were surprised by her academic achievement. I like the idea where Kumon workbooks can help a child progress in their own time and space, and become excellent at the subject. Alot of the things my daughter learn from Kumon workbooks become second nature when she applies that knowledge in school. I buy varieties of Kumon workbooks (not just math).

  • R Chan on June 28, 2013

    My sister has been a Kumon instructor for many years now. I have partly financed her center and helped her build and assist her in runing her center for many years since the passing away of her husband, my brother-in-law. The income from the center has helped her raise her family single-handedly and put her kids through college.

    In my humble opinion, the relationship between the company and the franchisees has always been good. The company has been instructor friendly until certain misguided individuals like you Nicole Smith set up the IAKF and misled my sister among other franchisees.

    My sister, as with many of her fellow instructors has been constantly bombarded with factually incorrect and false information from the IAKF for many years. Unfortunately, if she speaks up against the IAKF in instructor circles she is admonished by elements of the IAKF within the area. I have advised my sister to stay away from this association. I truly believe that education of the students at her center is of primary focus. However, IAKF representatives within the area keep harassing her to arrange an activist meeting at her center. Even Area Managers of Kumon have informed us that the IAKF is a rogue organization that has been spreading lies and misinformation only to increase their membership. From my sister’s interaction with fellow instructors, rumors have come to her attention that the IAKF and its leadership aka Nicole Smith and an instructor from Minneapolis, Houston and New Jersey who are vocal militant members have been using membership dues for personal gain.

    Recently, I read an article
    where Robert Lichtenstein, corporate counsel for Kumon North America, based in Teaneck, New Jersey, calls the IAKF a “rogue” organization, and questions whether it has more than a handful of members. Kudos to Robert for rightly categorizing this organization and its leadership as “ROGUES.” The IAKF has brought nothing but shame and bad publicity to all Kumon instructors like my sister and has created a confrontational relationship with the franchisor. Thanks for listening. Xie Xie!!

  • Student on September 8, 2013

    I am a student in Kumon. To tell you the truth at first I despised it. Now I am in 6th grade taking GEM(which I believe is because of Kumon and it is a program which you do advanced math). I find GEM very easy because I already did almost all the curriculum that they are going to teach. I wasn’t surprised when I got a 96% on my pretest for the year only disappointed that I got a question wrong. I wasn’t like this a year ago and I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Kumon. However people with different thinking styles cannot see the beneficial side of Kumon. I am used to working hard because I had to learn english when I came from India when I was 5 , but some people didn’t have to face a big problem so working hard will be new for them. Your review can tell many people if Kumon is right for them or not. I was looking to se if Kumon is right for my 5 yr. old brother or not and it definitely is.

  • Someone on March 29, 2014

    Kumon Sucks. I was enrolled 3 years ago by my parents because the 2 week free trial was over. Before, when i was level B, i thought it was quite easy even though I’m doing 10 pages everyday. Then things started to get tougher. Too much repeats, Too much pages. I am now level J and it is just so hard. I sometimes can’t do my homework because I must also do my projects in school. These days, I am told that I’ll do 2 hours per week but my teacher does not want me to go so i spend 3 hours. I also do 30 pages a week compared to the recommended pages per week which is 21. Worse, I just don’t know what to do. I ask my teacher and all he gives me is a book with the solution and he doesn’t care if I get it or not. The prizes they give every bow and then aren’t worth it, they’re just cheap plastic toys that break instantly in a touch. And every year, everyone who is advanced to what the school teaches, they give a medal. But that is totally not worth the time, money and effort done. So my life in Kumon is really really hard. Please, anyone reading this note: DO NOT GET YOUR’E CHILD INTO KUMON. That 2 week free trial? Its just a trap to get customers in their multi-million dollar business. My parents don’t want me out of Kumon and they regularly get mad every now and then because I can’t do my homework. Sometimes, I even think that Kumon leads my grades down because Kumon only teaches what to do and not how to do it. And it also gets me down because the stress it gives me is very very bad. I just hope that the readers out there don’t get their children into Kumon. It will ruin and change them until they either quit or finish after around 5 years

  • Alice on May 15, 2014

    Kumon for my children was a very bad experience, almost as close as you can get to child abuse at the Kumon Math & Reading tutoring center. I would like to warn any parent who is thinking about Kumon to first read the reviews about Kumon. I should have read the online reviews before buring $3300 on Kumon:

    http://www.pissedconsumer.com

    The Kumon Math & Reading tutoring centers need to be investigated by Child Protective Services arrest the owners of the Kumon tutoring centers. It is a scam and the people who tutor at the centers are thieves and abusive people. STAY AWAY FROM KUMON.

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