As you may know, Harry, our oldest, is going to Kumon twice a week to accelerate his reading skills. Through the blog, I was contacted by Kumon to give the program a try and to share my thoughts on the experience.
Well, we are a few weeks in and I would say we are seeing good progress so far. As I mentioned before, it’s all about structure, routine and repetition. You don’t spend a lot of time doing it, but you do daily for 10-20 minutes.
Here is how our Kumon schedule works.
- Sunday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.
- Monday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
- Tuesday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
- Wednesday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
- Thursday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
- Friday: You guessed it. Harry does a booklet after dinner.
- Saturday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.
Each booklet takes about 10 or 15 minutes depending on Harry’s energy level. Sometimes it is hard in the week, because we are all pretty tired by 7 pm. It is certainly one of the struggles, but so far there have been no issues.
As you can see from that schedule, it does not take a lot of time each day, but it is constant. For us, if it were any longer, it would be hard to fit into a full work week. One thing that helps us out is that the centre is only a five-minute drive away. It can make dinner time a little crazy, but to this point, we have managed.
The feedback we have received from the instructors has been good. They have noticed an improvement in tracing and reading the words on the page. We have noticed that as well. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish memory reading from actual reading. We learned that they do change-up the wording on the booklets just to avoid this. I thought that was smart.
Whenever I go to the centre, I don’t feel as bad because I see many other parents doing the same thing. Sacrificing what is easy, to give their kids a leg up when it comes to reading. Their are parents in the waiting room with two or three other kids. They are all waiting for their brother or sister to do their work. I think that’s a lot of dedication. Becoming stronger at reading is worth it for everyone.
I have taken Charlie once and it was okay. We waited and entertained ourselves. Thankfully it’s only 30 minutes, otherwise it could get a little crazy.
What I still believe is the best part of the program is that Harry still loves it. Every day he asks, when are we doing Kumon, are we going to Kumon today etc. Only once was he not interested in completing a booklet and that was because he was just so tired.
For the younger kids, you are supposed to sit with them and help if needed. But the whole idea is that they do most of the work on their own. Harry is pretty good at reading and writing everything on his own, so we really just sit their for company at this point. For Harry it’s all about focusing, as I am sure it is for a lot of kids. Kumon helps build a repetition to help that focus. All the booklets are the same style and structure. But the content changes each time. It creates comfort for the kids as well. They don’t have to figure out the process and can just work on the letters for that day.
The two sessions a week at the centre is really to check and evaluate progress and then plan the next set of booklets. We are also excited to get reports which as I understand, are sent out monthly. This is what Katie and I are most interested in. Seeing reports that show progress, what needs working on and where Harry is going. I find that is lacking with public school. We honestly don’t know much about Harry’s day-to-day improvements in the classroom. There seems to only be feedback when something is not progressing as the teacher wants it to. Getting feedback twice a week and a report sent to you is well worth the investment in a program like Kumon.
I will check back in closer to Christmas where I expect Harry to have taken some big steps. This kid is so excited to read on his own. I also want to do a few videos so you can hear Harry’s take on what he thinks of Kumon.
I just want to be up front by saying even though the Kumon services are being provided to my son in exchange for my writing, the opinions expressed here are still my own and won’t be swayed.