What is Kumon? - Student Resources

What is Kumon?

As you’re reading this right now, we assume you’ve already heard about Kumon. But what is Kumon exactly? How does the Kumon Program work? Let us explain.

Kumon is not a tutoring center, and the reason for that can be traced back to the origins of the company. The Kumon Method was developed by a parent, Toru Kumon, when he saw his own child struggling with math. As a high school math teacher, the easy thing to do would have been to tutor him – to help his son with the topic he was struggling with and then move on. Kumon, however, wanted more.

He knew that many of his own students struggled with calculation skills, and after some investigation, he realized this was also the case for his own son. This started his quest to help his son build strong math fundamentals that would support him throughout his academic journey, while also encouraging independent self-learning – which would serve him throughout his life. And so, the Kumon Method was born.

  1. Kumon Basics
  2. How Does it Work?
  3. What is Tutoring?
  4. What is the Kumon Method?
  5. Why the Differences Matter
  6. What Does a Typical Week at Kumon Look Like?
  7. What Else?

Kumon Basics 

First, the basics. No, Kumon isn’t tutoring. Kumon is the world’s largest after-school math and reading program. Kumon Students progress independently through a carefully crafted, worksheet-based math and reading curriculum. Regardless of their age, students move at their own pace, which means many children end up studying far beyond their school grade level. While Kumon Instructors are there to lesson plan, evaluate, and guide your child, students ultimately develop self-learning skills, learning primarily on their own.


 How Does it Work? 

The first step in any child’s Kumon journey is to take a placement test, which determines their starting point in the program. Your child’s starting point might seem a bit easy—don’t worry, it’s supposed to be! Students start at a comfortable level, which helps them learn how Kumon works, while building skills like focus and speed. It also ensures that there are no gaps in your child’s learning, as every skill builds on the one before. In order to master long division, for example, your child first needs to have strong subtraction and multiplication skills. Students then progress step-by-step through the program.


What is Tutoring?

Basically, tutoring is a short-term solution to a temporary problem. According to Merriam-Webster, tutor means, “to teach or guide usually individually in a special subject or for a particular purpose.” If your child is having a hard time with fractions or biology, you might seek out an individual who can help them with those specific lessons or subjects. This might be helpful in the moment, but it does nothing to address any underlying academic deficiencies. At Kumon, we know that you want more for your child than a quick fix with no lasting benefits.


What is the Kumon Method?

The Kumon Method is different. We take a holistic approach to education with long-term benefits in mind. The goal is for students to become independent, life-long learners. We assess each student and create an individualized learning plan based on student needs. Kumon Instructors continually reassess student progress and adjust each learning plan as needed.

At Kumon, we serve students who might have academic deficiencies and need help catching up. We also work with students who are looking for academic enrichment. So whether you are looking for reading remediation or a math program for gifted students, Kumon has the resources and expertise for the needs of each child.

Parents can enroll their child in Kumon’s Reading Program, Math Program or both. Students move through each program at their own pace. From counting to calculus – students work through our math program step by step, practicing each skill until they achieve mastery, moving on to the next building block and so on. The Kumon Reading Program takes students from letter sounds to advanced literature – again building a solid foundation before moving on to the next level. The countless reading program benefits include: improved comprehension, development of critical thinking skills, more insightful text analysis and much more.

We have found that while some parents might come to Kumon Learning Centers in search of help with an immediate academic need, they stay once those needs have been addressed because they see the long-term benefits for their child. Kumon helps them develop critical thinking skills, persistence and a mindset that allows them to learn new materials independently.


Why the Differences Matter

When considering educational support for your child, you are looking at an investment of both time and money. This is why it is important to understand the differences between what we offer at Kumon Learning Centers compared to tutoring centers. Since Kumon is not a quick fix, like tutoring, we are able to build ongoing relationships with our students and families. We are invested in your child’s success and enjoy celebrating their accomplishments. Education is a team sport, and we love being part of your winning strategy.

If you are paying for a service that will help your child academically, why not invest in something that will reap long-term benefits? Kumon does not focus on one topic or academic challenge. Instead, the Kumon Method gives your child a strong academic foundation that will allow them to achieve success in the classroom and beyond. Fostering a sense of independence, curiosity and a love for learning, we equip students with skills that will help them now, in future careers and with life in general. Kumon has helped millions of children worldwide, and we can help your child, too.



What Does a Typical Week at Kumon Look Like? 

Kumon was designed as a home-based program, and most of your child’s work will be completed at home. That’s because consistent daily study is the key to building skills and habits that stick. Just 15 to 30 minutes of work a day can go a long way! We recommend that students set a “Kumon Time” to do their work every day. After a few weeks, worksheets will just be another normal part of your child’s daily routine.

Students typically visit their center twice a week. Center visits allow the Instructor to observe their students, which helps them lesson plan and determine if the students are ready to move onto new concepts. It also allows the Instructor to provide guidance when necessary. One key to learning in the Kumon Program is making mistakes. Every worksheet is graded, and students must correct their mistakes until they achieve 100%. Evaluating how well a student can correct their mistakes is a major component of an Instructor’s lesson planning.


What Else? 

That’s pretty much it! Kumon is a simple program that has big results. The worksheets were designed specifically to allow your child to learn on their own, and have been refined constantly over the last 60 years to ensure that students can learn as smoothly as possible. Kumon Students improve not only their math and reading skills, but build confidence, focus, and determination. Perhaps more importantly, they learn how to learn, a skill that will last a lifetime!