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Math Tutoring Program Opinions & Feedback


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My $0.02:

This is a widely-discussed topic in my face-to-face friendships.

I tutored math (Algebra 1 thru Fininte Problems) for 8 years while I was a HS, Undergrad & Masters student.  This experience left me with 2 firm conclusions:

#1 Long-term, consistent, incremental, and monitored tutoring is a slam dunk... but all 4 factors must be in place.  "Smart" is not a requisite.

#2 The "best practices" (in my experience only) I discovered over those yrs suggested that I should not try being father and tutor simultaneously given the dynamics of each job.

 

We use Kumon, but it's not best of breed... it's just easy and inexpensive.  I support the Kumon rubric, but acknowledge its weaknesses may make it a bad fit for some learners. 

Kumon is exactly as is often described - purely rote. Wash, Rinse, Repeat until you "get it."  Sorry, no word problems.  Logic? Not covered here.  

That said, I feel as though the reason people struggle so often with math is due to weakness in their core 4 skills of Add/Subt/Mult/Div, especially beyond single digits. Kumon is IMO excellent at building this base.  The need for nuance is real as you walk up the ladder in math, but w/o confidence in those core fundamentals you inevitably will be building on sand instead of stone.

YMMV widely.

 

 

Donbee - I've noticed for some time you have the Kumon symbol as your avatar on this site... Are you a franchisee?

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after my stint at Home teaching during the distant learning forced by CV after 3 years of class volunteering:

Based on a US grammar school the system is designed to reach the lowest denominator of learner or at least the bottom 3rd.  If you are the parent of any sort of over-achiever then what your child is really challenged by on a daily basis is boredom.

 

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14 hours ago, donbee said:

May be time to change that. Before I get hate mail. It was funny at a moment.

How far up have you gone (or your kids gone in Kumon)?

2 kids. Oldest is 13 and is 1 year away from completing the curriculum (doing trig now, will finish through Calculus 1). Second is 9 and on same track.

The only teaching I’ve done w/them has been making sure they finished their packets 5 days/week.  So for $1200 a year they basically handled prep, correction, and methodology. 

 

Edited by beatpoppa
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5 hours ago, beatpoppa said:

2 kids. Oldest is 13 and is 1 year away from completing the curriculum (doing trig now, will finish through Calculus 1). Second is 9 and on same track.

The only teaching I’ve done w/them has been making sure they finished their packets 5 days/week.  So for $1200 a year they basically handled prep, correction, and methodology. 

 

how do your kids handle being so far ahead of their peers in math class?

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19 minutes ago, $20 on joe vs dan said:

how do your kids handle being so far ahead of their peers in math class?

They attend a good Stem Charter. Kumon is about a semester to a year ahead so it tracks close enough not to mess things up.They get A's but have no illusions about being the smartest kids in their class. Personally, I'm not real big on ramming school down kids throat like I'm raising a show dog. This was more about letting them learn at their natural pace in a 12 month cycle that feeds them daily lessons and goes slow enough to stick.  

At the risk of sounding dogmatic, imo the reps matter most in acquisition, Like learning steps in dance school by dancing each day for 30 min.

Edited by beatpoppa
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29 minutes ago, beatpoppa said:

They attend a good Stem Charter. Kumon is about a semester to a year ahead so it tracks close enough not to mess things up.They get A's but have no illusions about being the smartest kids in their class. Personally, I'm not real big on ramming school down kids throat like I'm raising a show dog. This was more about letting them learn at their natural pace in a 12 month cycle that feeds them daily lessons and goes slow enough to stick.  

At the risk of sounding dogmatic, imo the reps matter most in acquisition, Like learning steps in dance school by dancing each day for 30 min.

I hear you about the importance of a 12-month cycle.

yeah the idea of a "summer vacation" is so archaic ...let's give all the kids 3 months to forget their schooling so we can all mutually take a step back after 2 steps forward.

How many here still need their kids to do farm-work in the harvesting season?

anyone? 

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Well, there is the summer clearance lego harvest...

7 hours ago, beatpoppa said:

2 kids. Oldest is 13 and is 1 year away from completing the curriculum (doing trig now, will finish through Calculus 1). Second is 9 and on same track.

The only teaching I’ve done w/them has been making sure they finished their packets 5 days/week.  So for $1200 a year they basically handled prep, correction, and methodology. 

 

Nice, they're doing solid. $1200 a year is dirt cheap per child. 
Florida averages $1680-1800/subj.
Still cheaper than a private tutor or most of the competition (Sylvan, Mathnasium, Huntington)

Edited by donbee
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4 minutes ago, donbee said:

Nice, they're doing solid. $1200 a year is dirt cheap per child. 
Florida averages $1680-1800/subj.
Still cheaper than a private tutor or most of the competition (Sylvan, Mathnasium, Huntington)

Keep them safe, heathy, educated.  The rest - including paying for college - is on them.  Hopefully this helps. Time will tell.

 

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My problem with common core is the lack of practice and repetition. Rote practice works for everyone and most everything. Most people don’t like it, but the same child that hates practicing math may grind through hours in a video game or on a court or in a field. If you want to achieve a high level of competency in anything, it takes practice.
Our culture demands a high level of quality, but does little to recognize what it costs to get it. Even a cleaning lady only gets good at her job from doing it over and over again.
“Fake it ‘til you make it” should be our national motto. It’s the way we run our schools; graduating unprepared children. Allowing them to move up when they don’t deserve, or worse when they’re not ready to.

Kumon is good for a few things.
For remedial students, it allows them to go back and fill in gaps. Kumon is concept based, rather than grade or age based. Students move up due to the merit of their own work, not their age or grade.
Problem is, students who are behind often don’t have the study skills/habits necessary to succeed, and/or the support at home to provide accountability. Kumon provides the opportunity to build those skills and habits, but can only do so much. Opportunity to succeed is not the same as succeeding.

For students with the support at home, Kumon allows a child to reach their full potential. Double edged sword, some children don’t have as much potential as others. But even for children with lower IQs, the study skills and habits, focus and concentration, and General knowledge gained from daily study will often help them develop the work ethic and “grit” needed to succeed.

Kumon’s grand goal is to develop children into independent learners, not number crunchers. Though there’s a lot of that at the basic level. But developing a child to be an independent learner takes years, especially when elementary school teachers tend to train children to be dependent learners. But it takes a competent Kumon instructor too. And it takes parents’ dedication.

My story, my daughter is pretty smart, she has a “gifted” IQ, and she has accomplished a lot, academically, in her 10 years of life. But we started her studies early, she was a natural reader and interested in books, she’s been doing Kumon formally since around 5. She has accomplished a lot, but she had to work hard every step of the way.
Kumon helped develop the grit she needed to reach the goals we set out for her. And now that she’s entering 6th grade, she is well prepared for anything they throw at her.

Kumon worked differently for my son. He’s 8, and has been ranked in the top 20 in the nation in math for a few years now. I expect him to be in the top 10 by the end of the year. We started him earlier because his big sister was doing it. Because of Kumon, we were able to identify early on that he was gifted. Years before the schools would’ve had a hint. So we’ve been able to optimize, tapping into his full potential early on. He’s years ahead of his peers in experience, a decade ahead of them in comprehension (literally). Kumon is designed for students like him, and implemented on kids like my daughter.

No, they don’t get beat up or shunned for being nerds. My son is quite popular and athletic. He plays soccer and basketball (not well) and piano. Was going to get his black belt in tae kwon do at the end of March, but covid. Lots of coding, lego and these days... Minecraft.
My daughter is quite beautiful, does piano, violin, art, archery and a green belt in tkd. We tried some sports with her, but she’s a girly girl. Though she enjoys swimming and a little tennis.
We can do all of this because they study a little bit every day.

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1 hour ago, donbee said:

We can do all of this because they study a little bit every day.

Not to go all Hakagure here, but this understanding truly can be extended to many things.

Well done, sir.

Edited by beatpoppa
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