Kumon has emerged as one of the most popular tutoring centers over the past two decades. In addition to catering to children struggling in math, Kumon is an option for parents who want to expose their kids to accelerated math. Proficient and gifted students at some schools don’t have access to a higher level math; commercial tutoring centers such as Kumon have stepped forward to bridge this gap.
However, Kumon isn’t for every child or every family. If accelerated math is the goal, Kumon’s approach, often reliant upon repetition, can be less effective for some students—even good students—who might get discouraged or bored when they come across a concept they don’t understand right away. Students are given homework to do between sessions, which parents are obliged to grade. Then there’s the cost: Kumon’s tutoring can run several hundred dollars a month, which can quickly add up if your child isn’t grasping the math right away. With these potential drawbacks, parents understandably may seek alternatives, four of which are described here:
Other Commercial Tutoring Centers
Kumon isn’t the only commercial tutor in the game; others may take a different approach to accelerated math that better suits your child. But the cost is still an issue—the franchise has to pay rent & utilities after all—and the lack of convenience can be tough on families who must try to fit appointments into their busy schedules and fight traffic to get to the center.
The Internet is full of free websites offering math lessons and activities. Though many of these sites are informative, they don’t provide any interactive instruction beyond what you see on the webpage or in the video. And for accelerated math, in which new concepts are continually introduced, this lack of interaction might not provide a proper assessment of whether your child is actually learning the skills.
Hiring a private tutor for one-on-one, personalized instruction is a good option, but finding a qualified, energetic instructor who is skilled at working with grade-schoolers can be tricky. Cost is a factor as well, but some parents think a private tutor is worth the expense in order to get a more personalized approach than they would find at a commercial tutoring center.
Online Math Tutoring Programs
The digital age has spawned online math programs and even tutoring programs that are accessed on an iPad—technology children are likely familiar with and enjoy. These innovative programs help students who are struggling as well as those ready for accelerated math. Instruction is personalized to the child, whose progress is tracked and evaluated by qualified teachers. Such programs don’t cost as much as Kumon and are easily adaptable to families’ busy schedules. This route is quickly becoming a viable, popular alternative for parents.
What options have you considered for accelerated math?