Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kumon

I just read an old article about Brian's experience working at a Kumon center: "Educating Ali". Basically, while inside the Kumon machine, he found a child who needed a little focused one-on-one attention and gave it to him.

I think it makes the basic point that with a little special help, many children's education can be greatly improved.

It struck a different cord with me. It was while sitting in a Kumon Center that I decided to launch myself as an entrepreneur. I was there with my 6 year old son and was very impressed by how crowded the waiting room was. Parents were lining up in droves for Kumon. I looked Kumon up in the almanac and found it was the single largest franchise in the US (in terms of number of centers).

A Kumon Jr. session for my son consisted of him sitting at a low table with 3-4 other kids and filling out simple worksheets while a para-professional watched and encouraged them. Then, the kids were given a large number of worksheets to fill out at home with the parents during the week along with a reading book.

For this, we were paying $250/month. There was nothing magic about the worksheets. They looked identical to the free ones on the net or the ones that you can get in a 200 page book for $4.99 at a discount store.

I asked myself why were all these parents paying so much for so simple a product. After considering a few possibilities (we were all dumb...?), I concluded that the answer was that it's not the worksheets per se, it's the fact that the kids get the right worksheet at the right time along with a motivational system that makes it valuable and effective. It was when I realized that and I looked at all these parents lining up for help. And I thought about all that driving and parking and followup by us parents at home that I decided to make the plunge and start Time4Learning.com.

For a little more info on the Kumon philosophy, here's a quote from Brian's blog...

Regular school maths usually seems to involve the children working through only a few rather hard problems. Kumon makes them do many more much easier ones. Instead of hoping that they get, say, about half to two thirds of their stuff right, Kumon says they must get nearly everything right. At the heart of the Kumon method is the difference between a child painfully working out that seven plus six equals, er, thirteen? (anxious glance at face of teacher), and knowing with real certainty that seven plus six equals thirteen, with no doubts or hesitations. The usual educational emphasis is on "understanding". The Kumon literature talks of "mastery".
Each child does a clutch of sums selected for him or her personally (there is no everyone-in-the-class-does-the-same-stuff rule) each day, which are supposed to take about twenty minutes to complete.


Or, as Time4Learning.com puts in (quoting from a page comparing Time4Learning & Kumon)

It provides a service for children and parents alike, based on the philosophy of repetition and self-motivated learning. This after-school program works primarily toward enrichment and a mastery of the basics through a standardized approach of workbook completion. The Kumon workbooks consist of several pages of sequential math or reading content. Students complete one workbook while at the Kumon Center. In addition, students are required to complete a workbook at home each day they are not in attendance (including weekends). Workbooks range from two pages a day to twenty pages a day, requiring a degree of parental supervision.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with you. I am enrolled in Kumon, and i severly dislike it. I REALLY hate doing it. I want to do a different tutor.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous above:

why is it that makes you dislike kumon? what do you think would help you learn then?

Anonymous said...

Everyone has different feel and impression to everything. There is only one thing that makes it works to all ..... ACCEPTANCE and the WILL to do it. Without this, learning is a nightmare ... in all respect!


In light....

Will said...

weel today i realized thatkumon is fun I used to really hate it, but now i think I like it

Tim said...

I go there too and I am always stressed out when I go there and they give me too much work and to will do you really like it or have you just been gowing there sooo much that you now can stand it

Mark and Lulu said...

We homeschool and so the kids are with me most of the time. Kumon time gives us a little "break" from each other (them in the classroom and me in the waiting room reading a magazine uninterrupted). The most important thing though is that even if they sometimes whine, they tell me that they enjoy it and they are learning something.

gianna said...

I really hate kumon....but my parents wont let me quit. It doesn't even help me and like i need help so im looking for something online that u dnt have to pay for to help[ me do the kumon problems

Kendal Mccants said...

i am new to this and i realy need some help with my sujcts and my eog test is next week i really need something to help me at least get 3s

Hamza Irfan said...

I Love Kumon Its Helping Alot.