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Does anyone have a child/grandchild who has Kumon additional tutoring

(22 Posts)
HurdyGurdy Fri 17-Dec-21 19:01:24

My 10 year old granddaughter really struggles with maths and to a lesser extent, English (handwriting is a major problem).

We started her at Kumon Tutoring about four months ago, and honestly, I'm not sure what we're paying for. She goes to the centre one day a week, and spends less than 30 minutes there each time. She gets maths and English workbooks to do at home, and she has to do one of each every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day.

She was getting very stressed over the initial set of books, which were 10 pages each, so she was reduced to just five pages of each a day.

But I can't see any improvement in her ability. My main gripe though is that there's no kind of 1:1 tuition on the day that she's at the centre. She said that the workers just walk around and you have to put your hand up if you need help. But for a child like her, the last thing she wants to do is draw attention to herself by asking for help.

I've looked online for reviews, and they are very mixed, so I thought I'd ask here and see if anyone has good, bad, or indifferent opinions.

I would say that I pay £60 per month per subject. There is another tutoring service in the town, which only teaches very small groups and seems to be personal tuition at the centre (still only once a week) rather than teachers walking around and waiting to be asked to help. However, they charge £150 per subject, per month, so considerably more than Kumon, so it is something to be considered carefully .

BBbevan Fri 17-Dec-21 19:09:43

My GD did quite a while ago for maths. She could add up with her eyes closed. Not now though.

GagaJo Fri 17-Dec-21 19:10:21

I would advise 121 tutoring. Of course, due to covid, finding an in person tutor may be hard.

I'm a 121 tutor, and what you get with that is work that is planned specifically with your child's individual needs in mind. However, it doesn't come cheap if you want a fully qualified, experienced teacher. I would say a minimum of £35 an hour.

You MIGHT be lucky enough to find an experienced teaching assistant OR a trainee teacher.

The site I occasionally use is (I own no shares/get no commission in this company BTW). If I were in your shoes, I would select the area she needs the most help in and invest in 121 tutoring.

Forsythia Fri 17-Dec-21 19:13:51

Yes I agree with the poster who said 1:1 tutoring. Much better for the child, better value for money and you will see improvement much sooner. I also recommend First Tutors.

Bluefox Fri 17-Dec-21 19:35:44

Many years ago my younger son did Kumon maths, he absolutely hated it! It was simply too negative an experience for him for it to be of any help. We got him one to one tuition instead. He went on to gain an A* in his maths GCSE. Incidentally he had issues with English too and we subsequently found out he was severely dyslexic. It might be worth getting your granddaughter tested.

Hetty58 Fri 17-Dec-21 19:40:52

A fellow student at university was a 'tutor' with Kumon. He said that it's not real tutoring, just a 'poor man's version'. He appreciated the pay but wasn't qualified to do it.

tattynan Fri 17-Dec-21 19:56:44

Talk to her class teacher who might know of a good 1to1 tutor.

Peasblossom Fri 17-Dec-21 20:11:54

I think Kumon works for those who understand Maths and whose parents want them “accelerated” for one reason or another. A lot of it repetitive and rote, with some speed “tricks’ like when you’re multiplying by 9 the figures go up one side and down the other eg
36 etc
Which is fine if you understand why but just another thing to try and memorise if you don’t.

I did some tutoring of a friend’s grandchild who had got in a right muddle with it.

I agree that the best thing is to find someone who can peel back to what your GC is finding difficult and then help her individual needs.

With Maths understanding is the key.

HurdyGurdy Fri 17-Dec-21 20:16:53

Thank you everyone. I think you've just reinforced what I was thinking. Kumon may suit some, but I really don't think it's right for my granddaughter.

The other tutoring company that we know of in our town is made up of local teachers, and we're fairly certain that her favourite teacher from lower school is one of them. She would be thrilled to have him as tutor. They also offer private tuition for £35 per hour.

I think it will be money well spent, and will definitely be looking to change from Kumon in the new year.

We just weren't sure if we hadn't given Kumon long enough, and were being impatient. I really don't think that's the case though.

Thank you smile

TerriBull Fri 17-Dec-21 20:17:02

I tried it out with one of mine years ago, the problem was the Kumon programme took him right back to such an elementary stage which he'd passed a long before and was fully conversant with. He soon became dispirited because it didn't really help with the areas he was struggling with. The centre we went to was almost opposite the junior school a number of pupils from the school went there, surprisingly some of them from private schools, so they were paying twice shock My son gave up on it as did some of his peers, I found it too onerous trying to get him to do Kumon's homework along with the school's. All in all I didn't find it a lot of help. I agree, private tutoring tailored to the individual child, is far more beneficial.

trisher Fri 17-Dec-21 20:38:09

I agree with everyone else get a tutor for her, but I think you should also talk to her class teacher about her problems. With maths there are some excellent catch up programmes which identify the child's specific difficulties and work towards rectifying them. The class teacher may already be aware of the difficulties she is having and will help you and any tutor to focus on them.
I'd also suggest asking for a dyslexia assessment.

Nannytopsy Fri 17-Dec-21 20:50:09

Lots of my pupils have done Kumon which is based on highly repetitive, frequent exercises. One to one tutoring is better. What part of the country are you in?

BlueBelle Fri 17-Dec-21 20:56:04

Excuse me, but the bad handwriting made me think could your granddaughter be dyslexic and/or has dyscalculia could be well worth a test to discount or prove because there is now a lot of recognition and help if this were the case

GagaJo Fri 17-Dec-21 21:14:17

IF there is a possibility dyslexia is a problem, try contacting the British Dyslexia Association. In addition to testing (which I recommend - had my DD tested) they have a list of tutors trained to work with students with dyslexia / discalculia etc.

NanKate Fri 17-Dec-21 21:32:03

If you want to encourage your granddaughter to read more and enjoy English look up the books by the Publisher Barrington Stoke. They have books for reluctant readers as well as children with dyslexia. She may have dyspraxia which affects hand/eye coordination.

Best of luck.

HurdyGurdy Sat 18-Dec-21 11:04:33

Again, thank you.

I think 1:1 tutoring will be the best method for her, so will be looking to this next year.

She reads very well, so not sure if dyslexia is a factor. She certainly ticks a lot of the boxes for dyspraxia though.

Franbern Sun 19-Dec-21 09:30:34

I can remember my daughter looking into this for her daughter. Many of her class mates were attending Kumon. My daughter decided it was too expensive and did not seem to be very effective. She used an on-line programme instead, which cost a great deal less and seemed more geared to individuals. Yes, did mean she had to supervise this.

Her daughter stayed well abreast of those class mates attending Kumon and actually learned to enjoy maths through this programme. She managed a 6 for her GCSE's.

The only time she had any other tutoring was in her final year of GCSE's for science. As she had been placed in Set 2 at her school, and there was only ONE science teacher who taught Set 1, she was running into problems.

My daughter was insistent that she wanted a 1-1 tutor, but needed (A) to be female and (B) once who was currently actually teaching GCSE science in a school - so really understood and knew the current syllabus. She found such a person and did a once a week trip to her house (the lady had young children). Just over two terms and her daughter managed a good 6 in this subject, so was very worth while

Shelflife Sun 19-Dec-21 10:11:29

My grandson was signed up for kumon maths when he was 11, he is now 15 ( still struggles with maths) he absolutely hated it ! Spent his time ‘ working ‘ on a computer with ‘ teacher ‘ walking round waiting for a child to raise their arm and ask for help. Of course my GS did’nt do that!! There was no relationship built between the teachers and my GS. He was not a confident boy and the last thing he would have done was ask for help. An utter waste of time and money. GCSE’ s looming , don’t think maths will be a high scorer . He has been having 1.1 tutoring but still struggles with numbers. His parents of course hope for a pass - but know in the grand scheme of things that it’s not the be all and end all! I feel sure he will be ok in life and who knows , he may surprise us! Also know there are many ways ‘ to skin a cat ‘ He is a happy and has grown into a lovely young man so we are very proud of him regardless of a maths GCSE! Kumon maths was certainly unhelpful.

Witzend Sun 19-Dec-21 10:23:47

Not maths, but we employed a one to one tutor for a dd who was struggling with A level Economics. Well worth it - a few sessions were sufficient.

Many years ago same dd was approached in the town centre by someone promoting Kumon maths. At the time I was pretty livid that the person had got dd (then pre GCSE stage) to give them our phone number, so I then had sales calls.

I declined to sign up, and did sometimes wonder whether I should have gone ahead, so good to read hear of it not helping much, if at all.

BlueBelle Sun 19-Dec-21 10:27:03

Hurdygurdy there is also dyscalculia you don’t have to have dyslexia and discalculus it can be one or the other its just when you said she’s a messy writer and although she’s a good reader does she enjoy reading, can she catch and throw a ball is she clumsy bumps into things etc There are lots of little clues that need checking other than just thinking a child is bad at a subject hope you get some answers

Glad your grandsons doing well Shelflife i have a granddaughter now at Uni and doing very well her school refused to pay for a test for her as she ‘was not a failing student’ her mum paid and she was 98% dyslexic

Nannarose Sun 19-Dec-21 13:28:18

I write from health rather than an education perspective, but I am aware that Kumon can be quite unhelpful.
Broadly speaking (of course there are exceptions) it doesn't work for children with any of the specific learning disorders as it's just 'more of the same'.
I'm not up to date, but I imagine that it is especially difficult for teachers to spot some of the signs of these at the moment.
As a nan, you have to be guided by the parents, but I wonder if saving your money for a few months for an educational psychologist's assessment would be more worthwhile (theoretically available through school for free, so worth asking, but often difficult to access at the best of times).
This would give you, and her teachers / private tutors, a good idea of what is going on with her and enable help to be better tailored.

To add: a common situation I came across was kids who 'weren't doing well at school' who would be sent to Kumon, continue to struggle (and sometimes get worse) as no-one had sorted out what was really going on.
I know Kumon works for some, but my overall impression was that it didn't help kids with difficulties, was unnecessary for most kids, so as someone has said, only really worked for kids who were being 'accelerated' for some reason.

Hetty58 Sun 19-Dec-21 13:35:33

Nannarose ''accelerated' for some reason' really worries me as I've found it can cause problems when they're bored later on.

If they need to catch up, then (real) tutoring helps, of course. If they're doing well anyway, why not spend the time on something else, like following their own interests..