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Old 03-24-2008, 08:02 AM
 
240 posts, read 945,033 times
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I am a teacher and many of my Asian Indian students attend the Kumon school in the evening. I am just curious as to whether it is a lack of confidence in the education they are getting in the public school, if it is to try to get ahead, or maybe some other reason.

Maybe someone can enlighten me. It clashes in some ways with our teaching so maybe if I can better understand the reasoning it will be easier to accept. This is not meant to create a racial dispute, I just would like to know what the appeal is.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:18 AM
 
Location: GA
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I am also a teacher, and I see my owns kids sometimes struggle with the methods used, especially for Math. I have had great success utilizing (to a degree) some of the Kumon methods when their school's curriculum has failed.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:18 AM
 
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Default Helps for math facts

I teach first grade, so we started math facts in January. I certainly see where it helps with the facts. Is it all facts in Kumon? I had to talk about slowing down when reading math word problems with the parents at one of our functions because the kids were all in a race when doing math rather than reading and re-reading the problems. That is where I see the conflict. When it comes to our NJ Ask test, I believe the kids have enough time. The questioning that is used is what confuses them. It is hard to try to get six and seven year olds to slow down when doing math problems.

Again, for math facts...it is a help! I think however, the facts are covered in regular schooling, is it necessary to attend another school for it? I like the kids to go out and play after school at this age. I feel sorry for them when it is all work work work.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
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My kids have attended Kumon and I feel the math program is better than the math offered in many U.S. schools. Kumon math focuses on drills, building skills incrementally, and solving problems using the most efficient method. This differs from many U.S. math programs (referred to as "fuzzy math") that focus less on drills, "loop" back and forth between topics, and focus on multiple calculation methods (rather than the 1 most efficient method). There are also some homeschool programs that are similar to the traditional Kumon method. However, I think many parents like the discipline and accountability of attending a Kumon center.

I would agree that I often have a "lack of confidence" in the math education in public school. The U.S. is not very competitive in math (as reflected by U.S. test scores and math teacher shortages). I also think that many of the published math curriculums (with the exception of Saxon Math) are substandard. I've realized I can't count on the schools to keep my kids highly challenged and accellerated in math. So, we use a combination of homechool math, Kumon materials, etc.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,749 posts, read 10,328,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bored2Day View Post
I teach first grade, so we started math facts in January. I certainly see where it helps with the facts. Is it all facts in Kumon? I had to talk about slowing down when reading math word problems with the parents at one of our functions because the kids were all in a race when doing math rather than reading and re-reading the problems. That is where I see the conflict. When it comes to our NJ Ask test, I believe the kids have enough time. The questioning that is used is what confuses them. It is hard to try to get six and seven year olds to slow down when doing math problems.

Again, for math facts...it is a help! I think however, the facts are covered in regular schooling, is it necessary to attend another school for it? I like the kids to go out and play after school at this age. I feel sorry for them when it is all work work work.
I agree there can be an issue with kids racing through problems to try to "beat the clock." However, the goal of Kumon is both speed and accuracy. You cannot progress to the next level until you have the accuracy down. I think most good mathmeticians have both high speed and high accuracy.

Believe it or not, my kids like doing math problems. They think it's fun. We are in a routine where they spend only about a half hour after school on extra math. My kids also play sports, do extracurriculars, and are outside playing every day (we probably have extra time because we don't watch TV or play video games).
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Boston
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Kumon is a way to help your kid get ahead and do well in math. In some cultures, going to school after-school is the norm. You could say that it reflects a lack of faith in the schools or you could say it reflects the way people value education. I will send my kids to kumon even though I teach TERC Investigations to my students. I think that it is great to teach kids to think mathematically, but speed and accuracy can help.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:31 PM
 
8,231 posts, read 17,248,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eslteacher View Post
Kumon is a way to help your kid get ahead and do well in math. In some cultures, going to school after-school is the norm. You could say that it reflects a lack of faith in the schools or you could say it reflects the way people value education. I will send my kids to kumon even though I teach TERC Investigations to my students. I think that it is great to teach kids to think mathematically, but speed and accuracy can help.
I think it's much more important to teach kids to think 'outside the box', i.e., creatively. Math is important, but in my opinion, the jobs of the future (for better or worse) will be those who value communication, creativity, good writing and verbal expression. I think that Kumon is overkill.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
I think it's much more important to teach kids to think 'outside the box', i.e., creatively. Math is important, but in my opinion, the jobs of the future (for better or worse) will be those who value communication, creativity, good writing and verbal expression. I think that Kumon is overkill.
I disagree w/this. The lucrative, high-demand jobs of today and the future (engineering, computer, financial, etc.) require high math skills and there is a U.S. shortage in this area. Your child will have a HUGE advantage if they excel at math. IMO, U.S. schools focus the most resources on "communication, creativity, good writing and verbal expression" at the expense of math education. Yet, there is higher demand and salaries for workers with math backgrounds (e.g. engineers make more than writers, math teachers are in higher demand than English teachers, etc.).

Being good at math does not mean you can't think 'outside the box.' These are not mutually exclusive. You can be good at math AND communication AND writing AND creativity. That is the goal I have for my children. Many, many 21st century innovators had a very strong math background. For example, Steve Chen (founder of YouTube) attended the highly-selective Illinois Math Academy. So, I'll continue to keep my kids highly challenged in math as I feel this skill will make them better equipped for success.

p.s. I've heard this argument about "overkill" before from one of my neighbors. Her kids spend their extra "creative" time playing video games while mine are working on math problems.

Last edited by GoCUBS1; 03-25-2008 at 11:14 AM..
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:49 PM
 
8,231 posts, read 17,248,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCUBS1 View Post
I disagree w/this. The lucrative, high-demand jobs of today and the future (engineering, computer, financial, etc.) require high math skills and there is a U.S. shortage in this area. Your child will have a HUGE advantage if they excel at math. IMO, U.S. schools focus the most resources on "communication, creativity, good writing and verbal expression" at the expense of math education. Yet, there is higher demand and salaries for workers with math backgrounds (e.g. engineers make more than writers, math teachers are in higher demand than English teachers, etc.).

Being good at math does not mean you can't think 'outside the box.' These are not mutually exclusive. You can be good at math AND communication AND writing AND creativity. That is the goal I have for my children. Many, many 21st century innovators had a very strong math background. For example, Steve Chen (founder of YouTube) attended the highly-selective Illinois Math Academy. So, I'll continue to keep my kids highly challenged in math as I feel this skill will make them better equipped for success.

p.s. I've heard this argument about "overkill" before from one of my neighbors. Her kids spend their extra "creative" time playing video games while mine are working on math problems.
Well....I don't know if you're aware of the offshoring that's going on in the American high tech industry. American employers are importing cheaper labor from overseas. High tech companies claim they can't find Americans to work in engineering and computer science, but the fact is that they can't find them to work at the salaries they're offering. DH is a PhD in computer science, and our friends who have similar education (doctors, for example) make more than he does. Lawyers, who have much less education (especially math!) make more. So...tell me again why kids should spend their best years doing MORE math?? The higher salaried jobs are not in high tech. Of course math is important, but I don't think that doing lot of math as young kids, Kumon style, will guarantee academic success in school or economic success in adulthood. The well paying jobs of the future will be for creatives and managers. My kids don't spend hours on computer games...when they're not doing homework, they're busy with extracurricular school stuff. The last thing I'd want them to do afterschool is endless math fact drills.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:34 AM
 
11,642 posts, read 23,800,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
I think it's much more important to teach kids to think 'outside the box', i.e., creatively. Math is important, but in my opinion, the jobs of the future (for better or worse) will be those who value communication, creativity, good writing and verbal expression. I think that Kumon is overkill.
The really good jobs require students to be able to be BOTH good analysts and good communicators. I was an accounting manager at an investment bank for many years. My job was very heavy in the mathmatical analysis area. I NEEDED heavy duty math skills.

BUT-those heavy duty math skills were of no use to me if I was not able to tell someone what the numbers meant. Kids need BOTH good mathmatical and good writing/communication skills. It's not enough to just be able to write. It's also not enough for them to be good at math.

I think that if the school are so horrible that kids NEED to go to school after they go to school then parents need to re-evaluate their kids school situation.
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