It’s amazing when you can see a real change in your child. When they conquer something by bursting right through a wall that was frustrating them. That’s what our son Harry has done in the last few months with his reading and writing.
I am also happy to share with you that one of the contributing factors was Harry’s time spent at Kumon, an after school math and reading program. For those following the journey, you know that we were approached by Kumon to try out their service for six months in exchange for an honest review on the blog.
As I mentioned before, it was perfect timing because in October of last year, Harry was struggling and getting more and more frustrated by the day. He was falling behind in class and stressing himself out over it. Young kids should not be stressing about such things.
Before even starting Kumon, we met with Harry’s Grade One teacher and worked out a plan for him to get extra help at school and what we could do at home. TLC for reading and writing was coming from all fronts. That’s why it was perfect that Kumon came calling when it did.
Between extra help at school and the daily structure that Kumon provided, I can proudly say that now Harry is a little bookworm. His reading and writing is back to where his teacher wants it to be and we are very impressed with how far he has come from the kid who would cry at the table because he was stuck.
We realize it was a perfect storm of extra help and hard work from Harry. I am not saying it was all Kumon by any stretch. But it certainly helped a lot.
So what did Kumon do for Harry that helped him make a break through?
If there is one thing I will always applaud Kumon for, it would be the structure behind it. It creates almost an addiction. Our lives were consumed by Kumon for six months. Every day (mostly) there was a book to do or a class to attend. That includes weekends. There was no getting away from it and the funny thing was, Harry did not run from it. He looked forward to it. He was excited to do the books every day (mostly). Every Tuesday and Thursday one of us would rush him over to the centre for his 30 minutes of review and one on one time. It made dinners rushed, bed times rushed and left us not looking forward to those nights, but it was for the good of Harry’s learning.
Every day there was at least one booklet to do. Each took about 15 minutes. Our routine was after dinner. Which for Harry meant giving up play time with his brother and a night that felt much shorter. From the time they get home from school, everything went fast. Dinner usually was pancakes or left over pizza right before bed. But we made it work. We were seeing the results in front of our eyes.
First I don’t want to make it sound like he is not getting what he needs from school and his teacher. We really like his teacher. But there are 20 plus kids in a class, all with different needs and learning speeds. That is why we liked Kumon. It was a quiet space where there was one on one attention. The first session we had they showed him how to properly hold a pencil. Who knew right? The booklets are challenging but easy for a child to figure out on their own. So when they finish and you confirm all is good, they are getting recognition from mom and dad. It wasn’t long where we were only keeping Harry company as he did the books on his own. We did have to step in and make sure he was not getting too cocky now and then. Double checking work to makes sure it was right. But we saw the confidence grow in him. He stop questioning and just started doing. Kumon had a big part of that.
Other parents always talking about that clicking moment when a kid figures the reading out. We did not see that until all of the extra help started. It was probably several weeks into Kumon when we heard the click. Harry was reading words that I had no idea he knew. He was starting to love reading and books. He would take books to bed and you would hear him flipping pages for 30 minutes. Now I don’t think he was truly reading it like a book, but he was damn well trying now that he had this new super power. It was a proud moment as a parent to see that love of learning finally kick in. Even his teacher noticed it and said he was a hungry kid for knowledge.
My Final Take
I will be honest, we got to experience Kumon in exchange for blog posts and brand awareness. I am not 100% sure if we would pay for the service otherwise. Maybe we would have looked into it if Harry continued to struggle. A lot of parents have great things to say. But what I will say is, from sitting in the crowded waiting room two nights a week with other parents, there are a lot of kids out there fast tracking when it comes to reading and math. I am talking kids as young as three. You get to see the kids come out all proud and happy at what they accomplished. You get to see the kids glow as they show their parents how many stickers they got. You get to see the kids light up when they see their name on the Kumon wall. It’s all good.
So yes, it’s another cost in the monthly budget. But I can 100% say it worked for our son.We are not worried about him getting ahead, it will happen organically. His battles will be focus, not understanding. But for Harry, it brought him up to speed at a critical age for laying the base for learning. If a young kid does not enjoy learning, they most likely will struggle. Harry is now on par with his peers. That’s all we wanted.
Kumon made it possible, and we will be forever grateful to the folks at the Roncesvalles Centre for giving us the opportunity. Who knows, we may go back. Charlie keeps saying he wants to do Kumon one day because his big brother did it.
This is just our take on Kumon. It’s not for everyone. But if you have a child that needs an extra hand with reading or writing, I would seriously consider Kumon. At least look into it before you move on.
As we have said many times in our house, Kumon was cool mon. Even if the toes get caught in the frame.
This review is the final post for our time using Kumon. I was provided the service for free in exchange for writing about our experience. The opinions mentioned are my own.