Do Your Children Do Kumon?

Updated on April 26, 2015
J.N. asks from Lafayette Hill, PA
15 answers

My two younger kids do Kumon . They have been doing it for almost 1 year. My daughter is doing excellent. My son is doing really good. However they hate it. Yesterday my daughter started crying again about Kumon. My son complains practically every day . they have to do 2 packets for 5 days each week.We aren't stopping Kumon. Any suggestion how to make it a more positive experience.

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So What Happened?

It was my husbands idea. He knows I detest it as much as my kids. My son has some learning disabilities. We live in a very competive school district. This is why we do Kumon. I think long term is good. However I think today I am going to talk tobher to give my kids less packets.

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

Is this for home-schooling or in addition to school? Sorry, I'm a little lost on it.

My kids love to learn, but it has to be their thing. My youngest loves to pick up a book and read all day. My middle likes to play the reading games on the school-provided websites. My oldest likes to research. It has to be their style.

Honestly, if they are miserable and you aren't willing to take a break or look at other options, they will eventually stop doing so well. They will do enough to just get by. I highly recommend to look in to other options. Even just taking a break could make a world of difference.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

What ever happened to instilling a love of learning? Your post makes me so sad. I do understand how competitive our world has become. I teach AP English, but even so, I tell my students that knowledge is much more valuable than a grade. A love of learning will take a person so far in life.

I wish you would reconsider taking them out of the program. All day at school and then having to do more work in addition to any homework they may have just sounds brutal. Museums, cooking, daily life - those things offer all kinds of ways to increase learning without packets.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

not really. if they're hating it, and you're not willing to take a break or consider another approach, what is there to say?
there's not a curriculum out there, even the ones i adore, that i'm so wedded to that i'd grimly stick with it even when it was clearly making my kids hate the subject matter. we live in a world with a gazillion choices (including the choices to back off periodically and take a breather.)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I never understood why parents put kids in an intensive after-school academic program after a long day at school. I don't even understand the overall value of a "competitive school district." Depending on what they've emphasizing and what they're leaving out, you may be enhancing your children's experience or limiting it. So, for example, if everyone is focused on STEM but no one's doing any art and music, and if there's no down time for creative play, there's a big hole in the children's experience.

Your children hate it, you hate it, your kids are picking up on your frustration, and you and your husband disagree. You're not going to be successful at anything when you aren't on the same page.

I agree with Mamazita - if your husband came home from the office with 2 briefcases of stuff to complete in 5 days, he'd say how unfair and unbalanced it is. If you are a stay-at-home mom, how do you feel at the end of the regular day when you still have dinner, dishes, laundry, bath time and Kumon to supervise?

You've made it clear you aren't stopping the Kumon. So that's not up for debate here. What you have to do is give them more unstructured experiences in every other area. It has to non-analytical, not-writing, non-book oriented. They have to run around, play in the dirt, do something tactile and gross-motor, and big picture. They need to paint a bird house, dig an ant farm, collect leaves, go to the zoo or children's museum (just to explore, not to get a lesson), and listen to the bands in the Memorial Day or July 4th parade or attend a concert of some sort. You've got to exercise other parts of their brain by allowing them to experience, not just be instructed.

You and your husband should also investigate more about what college professors like - and despise - about their incoming students. There's a huge problem with higher education because too many kids are drilled in AP classes, but they cannot do any independent and critical thinking. So if you are intent on the Kumon being a part of their lives even though it is not working, please at least learn how to develop "the whole child" through other types of learning.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Oh boy, my sons did Kumon in lower school, and TO THIS DAY - at 20 and 17 - they STILL talk about how bad Kumon was if we happen to drive by there, etc. They generally don't whine about stuff so this is saying something.

IMHO Kumon is not a fit for certain learning styles. Personally, it would have been great for me (I need repetition, especially in math). And I'm a natural reader/visual processor/writer.

My kids learned more by doing, and hearing things audibly.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ETA: Per your SWH... You husband needs to understand that if he continues to push push push your children (and you) that he will eventually be resented by all of you. HE needs to hear the facts about this from someone other than you. Kumon just cares about the money they are making... not children.


How old are your children? Why do you have them in Kumon? Why are you so adamant about Kumon? "We aren't stopping Kumon".

In my area, we have Kumon and other places of business that run these programs. Kumon and places like them are interested in their bottom line, PROFIT and how many people they can sign up and keep in the program. It is a business.

However, it is preferred that the students learn the way the teachers at the schools teach. The teachers also grade according to how they teach as well. Students are required to show work.

MANY teachers tutor on the side and it is the preferred method of tutoring for our district which is one of the highest rated districts in the country. This one on one tutoring is proven successful because the teacher and student connect with each other. There are no packets of worksheets to do daily.. that is crazy and will burn any child out.

Don't you think you would burn out if someone made you do something day in and day out that you hate? Is Kumon being used as some sort of punishment? Power trip? Tiger mom?

I've been subbing 14 years and I have been around many teachers who dislike the program because it is just worksheet packets. Children need to learn the steps to solve problems, not just work on worksheets.

I would hope that you would allow your children to take a break. NO child needs to be in a situation like this 24/7. EVERY child needs a break to play and be a child.

If you beat academics in them daily without letting up then they will begin to resent Kumon (and whatever else you push) and resent you in the long run.

If you balance Kumon which you say you are unwilling to do, please at least allow them to back off a bit and allow your children to be children, not robots. Let them have some fun!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It's a paper pushing 'tutoring' agency. You pay them to give you worksheets that you will do with them at home. I tried it. I saw the scam and stopped. I am a teacher. I have had students go to Kumon. I have never seen progress. I always highly encourage the parents to remove them from that program.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Speaking as a person whose mom made her do Kumon math, don't do it!!! I did not help me one bit. I am terrible at math. And my mom, still to this day (more than 20 years later), regrets making me do it. She thinks Kumon was actually detrimental to my ability to do better in math classes because Kumon is all about memorization through repetition. It helps with doing simple arithmetic in your head (at least for elementary level), but it doesn't help with analyzing a math problem for the more complex math classes your kids will be taking once they hit junior high. Memorization through repetition will not help them understand the important concepts in algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. And it won't help with word problems and such that require more than simple computations. I went up to calculus, but most people in my high school and college has also regardless of their majors/career goals...Kumon had no part in it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ADDED: Saw you SWH addition. I think your husband needs a reality check and could benefit from a frank talk with your kids' teachers, or one teacher that he might respect. Sometimes people need to hear from a third party professional (not from a spouse) that something is a bad idea and needs reconsideration.....We also are in a very, very competitive public school district, lots of competition to get into specialized public school for math and science, lots of parents jockeying to get kids into gifted programs, etc. And lots of Kumon and other tutoring. But also a lot of burned-out kids. If your kids NEED academic help outside school that's one thing, but if your husband is pushing this just so they are going to "get ahead" of peers for slots in certain programs, get into certain schools etc.--it's not worth the burnout. If your son has learning disabilities, how does Kumon help other than with repetition?

If three of you --mom and two kids-- hate this, and he's the only one in favor, why don't the rest of you get any say in it??

ORIGINAL: Kumon is infamous for the homework packets and for taking up a lot of time outside the actual time kids spend IN the Kumon facility. Back when my daughter was in elementary school, we knew several families where the parents pushed Kumon and the kids all hated the work at home aspect -- not going to Kumon itself, the daily homework that had to be done on top of their school homework. All those families dumped Kumon before elementary school was over, especially as the school homework was increasing as the kids got older.

My daughter has gone to Mathnasium instead during summers only -- zero homework, everything is done at their site with tutoring right there AS the kids do the work. She has benefited a lot from that teaching model and enjoys going, in part because she can work intensely while there but doesn't have to do daily worksheets.

I am not sure why you're determined to continue Kumon if both your children--even though they are doing well at the academic aspect--actually cry and complain that much after an entire year of doing it.

If they are also in school (or being homeschooled by you), Kumon would be like an additional school for them--especially with work five days a week on top of other homework that must be done for school. If this is supplemental to school or homeschool, can you be objective enough to step back and ask why you're having them do it and what the goals are (are you possibly using it as their main instruction in certain subjects, if you're homeschooling? Or were they having problems with certain subjects in school/homeschool and this began as a way to help them work through those issues, etc.)?

I know the question is "how to make it a more positive experience" but if the Kumon model is not right for them, reconsidering it altogether might be solution. If you are determined to keep them there no matter what, a reward system might--just might--help somewhat. Yes, that's "parenting by bribery" as a friend of mine puts it, but unless you want to hear crying and complaints all the time, you might have to find another way to motivate them to do Kumon. But I'd really reconsider doing it at all unless there is a solid reason such as supplementing poor instruction at school or helping them over an academic hump where they don't understand some concepts.

How do their school teachers feel about Kumon, if they're in a school?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

To answer your question.
Not only no..but HECK NO!

My kids veg out in front of the tv, play outside and participate in extra curricular activities after school. We don't "do school" after school. They have enough homework!!

I don't know how you can make extra school work more fun for your young kids. When kids start crying about learning then you need to pull back. Jan, the kids are not enjoying it. Find them activities that they will enjoy and thrive doing. Not a worksheet pushing company.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

A friend's daughter was struggling in school so they put her in Kumon and it seemed to help. But I know a family who sends their kids for years now and one son in my daughter's class doesn't seem to do any better. And their older son in middle school is getting some pretty bad grades I recently heard and of course thought "huh, with all that Kumon?" So I really wonder if it's worth it. I think the way schools are teaching math now is great and more than sufficient so we haven't seen the need. At least let your kids cut back...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I agree with you to tell the lady you want fewer packets.

My kids did Kumon but couldn't stand the timed part of being there. I told the lady that I didn't want them timed. It took some of the pressure off. That's another idea for you if you need more ideas.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

What is it that they hate about Kumon? The pressure? The teachers? The homework (assuming it is homework)? Something else? Is it possible for you to go and observe what it's like when they are there?

My daughter goes to Sylvan, and loves it. Well, I wouldn't say loves, but she never complains about going and admits that it is helping. And when she has a tough assignment or project, she does say that she looks forward to receiving help there. There is never homework, everything she does is done there. And she has liked every teacher she's had.

Maybe check out some of the other similar programs in your area (Mathnasium, Tutoring Club, etc.) to see how they differ. If you are really unwilling to consider stopping Kumon, I would schedule a conference and express your concerns. My daughter is in the study skills class along with help in Math an Science. Part of the study skills thing was learning how to set up a planner and a study place at home, which is not a problem at all for my daughter. I let them know I didn't want to spend her time or money going through this. They were totally flexible and removed that part of her program. There have been other areas in which we asked for some flexibility, and they were more than happy to give it to us. They continually state that this is her program, and we should advocate for what is helpful to her.

So if you are wanting to stay, schedule a conference and let them know your kids are stressed about x, y, and z and how can you work together to make things better. If they are adamant that this is how it has to be, that's a red flag. I get having a basic framework that they feel works, but there needs to be some flexibility- every kids is different.

I disagree with those saying it's just a business. If they don't get results and have happy parents and kids, no one would recommend them and they would be out of business. Yes, they operate on a profit, but I do believe they want to help the kids- especially the teachers there.

Please talk with them about what they've noticed and about what your concerns are, and begin a conversation about a way to make things better. If they are unwilling, I would totally bail. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Maybe giving them prizes each week or some other incentives for finishing their packets?

For what it's worth, I've asked my kids teachers about Kumon because it seemed like so many families around us were doing it. None of their teachers ever endorsed it because they said that Kumon didn't teach kids to think deeply about the problems. The kids just tried to get through the packets.

Instead of Kumon, what about getting a tutor to sit with them each week and work on things that are giving them trouble? They may respond better to this and I can't believe the pricing would be that much different.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

My daughter has been in Kumon for 3 years now. I must admit, there is no love.

She started with reading only, due to a slight reading challenge which is now corrected. She picked up math because it was becoming a challenge, however, no issues. When it comes to her school work, she is pretty self sufficient. If she needs help, it is usually more attention she wants. Perhaps a sit with me while I do my work type thing. She is capable of all A's. She has done it, this last semester, she has become unorganized and turned in some papers late. That sadly resulted in a grade reduction. So I am working on organization with her.

We did have the timers removed. When we have a busy week, we just do what we can or if we know in advance, we ask the teacher to give her a break.

When she was struggling, I tried to buy books and help her at home, but we werent consistant. I am horrible at that, so I don't mind taking her to Kumon. I guess it is not for everyone, but I really believe she has good grades because of Kumon, so it stays.

Hopefully the kids don't figure out to make origami out of their packets.

And yes, my daughter goes to concerts, festivals, plays sports, watches movies with friends, and goes to parties. She actually is beginning to understand the mathmatics behing angels, aim, and timing with playing hockey. The math will only continue to get harder.

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