Is Thinkster Math a Real Alternative to Kumon?

MATHS INSIDERS blog (3)

Each month thousands of people come to the Maths Insider blog looking for unbiased information about Kumon. When it comes to math tuition, Kumon have cornered the market for center based tuition, but if the high cost and the mixed reviews from parents and teachers alike have you searching for an effective alternative, then Thinkster Math could be exactly what you’re looking for.

About Thinkster Math

Thinkster Math is an online program which, like Kumon, offers an individualized K -Grade 8 math program, except using digital worksheets and video tutorials. One of the major added benefits of Thinkster Math is that a real life math tutor not only checks over your child’s work, but provides feedback to you weekly about their progress. The Thinkster Math content is aligned to the Common Core which all states in the USA use in their math programs. It’s also based on the Singapore Math program which is one of the world’s most respected math program. There are also worksheets tailored for the UK and  Australian curricula.

Tutor feedback tight shot


I tested the Thinkster Math program for 2 weeks with my 6 and 12 years olds. Initially I was cynical, as to how Thinkster Math would be any different from the thousands of math apps available, but my kids are used to being guinea pigs for testing out new math programs, and the fact that they could do their work on an iPad while slouching around the house really appealed to them.

How Thinkster Math worked out

After signing up and my kids doing their diagnostic tests, a welcome email from my kids Thinkster Math tutor landed in my inbox giving me some insightful feedback on their tests and inviting me to connect on Skype to discuss my kids study plans. Cool! Throughout the trial any questions I had about Thinkster Math and my kids work were answered quickly and efficiently. It was obvious that my kids Thinkster Math tutor was personally overseeing their work and making adjustments to their study plan when needed. [edit: The Thinkster Math program now also offers one-to one coaching sessions with experienced math coaches]

Product-shot-with-tutor-comment

Being a busy mom, I didn’t read all the detailed instructions on how to use Thinkster Math, but the simple interface on the iPad made it easy for my kids to work it out for themselves. I was worried that the lack of game play and avatars that many online math programs and apps have, would be a turn-off for my kids, but there are a few unexpectedly simple things that my kids liked about Thinkster Math: 

  • they seemed satisfied with the simple audio and big tick that announced a correct answer,

  • they loved the second chance they got if they got the answer wrong first time and the chance to go back and try questions they’d missed out.

  • they appreciated the immediate feedback that the app gave at the end of the worksheet,

  • they liked the personal feedback from the tutor the next day after she’d reviewed the work,

  • my 6 year old also loved the detailed breakdown of how long it took to answer each question, looking to see his fastest time! 

My kids didn’t use this, but there’s the ability to “flag” a question so that they can get more detailed feedback and help on that particular question.

Active-Replay-Technology 

Other things we liked about Thinkster Math

Our Thinkster Math tutor spotted that although he’d got all the questions correct, my older son had used an over-long method, and suggested he watched the video tutorial before the next worksheet. Also she could see that my younger one did know his number sequences, even though he got the last few wrong, because he wanted to go out to play and just typed random numbers to get the worksheet finished! The things that make Thinkster Math a good alternative the Kumon are:

  • No marking your kids work, the system does it

  • The clear video tutorials that your child can watch if they want

  • It’s half the price of Kumon

  • No traveling to a center (Yay!)

  • Thinkster Math covers the whole math curriculum including problem solving. Math is more than just arithmetic and algebra

  • The flexibility to discuss and change the study plan

  • A real math tutor to guide your child through the program, way cheaper than the $30+ per hour for a private tutor and $80 per hour at a specialized learning center

  • A system that tracks the speed of work to show your child’s confidence level for every question, just as teacher observes students in class

  • The individualized but flexible study plan based on your child’s actual work as well as on their results

 

Proficiency-Matrix

Thinkster Math free trial

Thinkster Math offers a 1 week trial, which is definitely worth checking out if you have a 5 – 14 year old. Over that 1 week period you’d get a pretty good idea whether Thinkster Math would suit your child’s learning style. After the free trial Thinkster Math plans start from $60 but Thinkster Math are offering Maths Insider readers a 10% a month discount on their subscription for the first 3 months. To grab your free trial and 10% discount for 3 months, click here 


Enjoy!

Disclosure: After writing this Thinkster Math review, I was invited to join the Thinkster Math team as a part time instructor. (I might even be your child’s Thinkster Math instructor if you sign up from Europe) After seeing behind the scenes of the Thinkster Math system I’m even more impressed, but I’ll still be continuing to share plenty of other cool math ideas and resources here on Maths Insider!  

Click here to grab your FREE 13 page sampler of The Ultimate Kumon Review

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.

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8 thoughts on “Is Thinkster Math a Real Alternative to Kumon?

  1. Kumon is misunderstood, and frankly, that falls on Kumon. But, I have had my kid there for a while. It’s not so much a math or reading program as it is a learning program. It teaches basic skills typical of excellent learning–discipline, structure, focus and so forth. It does it through what i find to be a very effective and well researched math and reading program. The friends that I have had who started and quit Kumon did so because they just did not have the desire to advance their kids that I have. They want it to somehow be entertainment, which learning can be sometimes, but getting good at multiplying is just a function of practice. And, there is a reason why the schools are filled with kids at varying grade levels, some want to be good and are willing to do what it takes to be good, and some are happy with average grades and less time dedicated to being better. It is not Kumon’s fault that parents enroll thinking that the program is somehow going to instill a value that must come from the parents. So, to each his/her own.

  2. Hi, We are interested for our 7 yr old grand-daughter but we are Canadian, Ontario is the province. Will it fit our curriculum ?
    Thx

  3. Do you have something similar for high school kids? Our daughter has struggled with Maths and i am looking for a program that could assist her during school holidays mainly to catch up on the gaps she has for grades 7 and below and then also continue assisting her as she progresses to High school in grades 8 to 12.

  4. Hi… I am Vinay. I am in UK. My son will turn 5 in over a 3 months. He knows the numbers till 200. He can count numbers and we have introduced addition to him but it is tough for him to understand him what is addition.

    Will tabtor be useful to him?

    Regards,
    Vinay.