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Kumon is a tutoring service that helps your child excel at math, reading, critical thinking, and other skills that can help them succeed in life.

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About Kumon

By HighYa Editorial Team

Updated on: Jun 25, 2020

In business more than 50 years with locations in 48 countries, Kumon is the largest after school math and reading program in the world.

At each of the Kumon’s franchise locations, instructors can help “accelerate your child’s learning” through their individualized, carefully planned instruction and disciplined, worksheet-based approach, which allow your child to progress at his or her own pace, regardless of academic level.

Starting from age 3 through high school, Kumon’s structured, proven self-learning math and reading programs claim to give your child “a lifetime of advantages,” including a pattern of academic success, a spark for critical thinking, and help to build their self confidence.

Many Kumon students study above their grade level, which the company claims can help them compete in today’s world.

Whether you’re looking to move your child beyond their current school curriculum, or to help them catch up, is Kumon a good choice? This review assesses the process and what it would look like for your child.

How Do Children Learn at Kumon?

At the core of Kumon’s methodology are their worksheets, which actively involve your child in the process, and which are “continually fine tuned to keep them relevant in the modern world.”

According to the company, their math program was developed from the top-down by asking: “What mathematical skills are necessary to study calculus,” while their reading program is intended to reinforce reasoning, interpretation, induction, and persuasion skills.

During the week, your child will be responsible for completing seven assignments (one per day), which take about 30 minutes each. Five of these assignments will be completed at home with your guidance, while the remaining two are completed at your local Kumon center.

Kumon's worksheets teach concepts in a logical way, so your child will have a solid grasp of the fundamentals before moving on to the next step.

Furthermore, Kumon’s materials are built to enhance what students learn in school, not replace it, so you’ll have the insights to know “if your child is struggling with lessons – or advancing ahead of grade level.” Remember this point, because we’ll come back to it shortly.

Does Kumon Help With Reading?

Kumon’s reading program is designed to help students of all ages and abilities conquer reading, from basic phonics to in-depth comprehension.

To do this, each student will work through a series of assignments in incremental progressions. For example, they’ll first learn to make sounds. Then, they’ll use sounds to form words by connecting words with familiar objects and reciting rhyming phrases.

Next, they’ll use words to form sentences. This is accomplished by studying simple phrases and basic sentences, identifying subjects and predicates, and learning to define words using context clues.

Now, your child will learn how to use sentences to form paragraphs.

They’ll start by creating compound and complex sentences, learning to understand the main and supporting ideas of statements, and developing a relationship between sentences in a paragraph, and also between paragraphs.

Finally, Kumon’s reading program will move into the summary and critique levels, where you child will sharpen their logical reasoning ability and learn how to apply information gathered from text.

This includes developing analysis skills and introducing story elements like plot, character, and descriptive language by exposing them to many different styles of writing.

Kumon’s Math Program

The Kumon Math Program was designed to help students studying at any level, from learning to count to calculus, regardless of their current abilities, age, or grade by asking the question: “What mathematical skills are necessary to study calculus?” As with Reading, each level within Kumon’s Math Program is designed to build on the previous level:

  • Ages 3-5 – Using engaging, colorful worksheets, your child will begin developing basic math skills like counting, writing numbers, and addition and subtraction. This with honing the fine motor skills necessary to write numbers, followed by number sequencing, developing mental calculation skills, and boosting critical thinking skills.

  • Ages 6-12 – At this point, your child will be introduced to more advanced math concepts like arithmetic, fractions, and decimals, including multiplication tables, single and multi-digit numbers, division, fractions, and ultimately, algebra.

  • Ages 13+ – Now, your child will learn advanced, high-school level math, from simple equations and quadratic equations, functions, and integrals, to differential equations. This will prepare them for calculus, college, and ultimately, their career.


How Much Does Kumon Cost?

Most Kumon educational centers are franchises, so they’re independently owned and operated and prices may vary. However, according to DetroitMommies, you should “expect to pay $95 – $125 per month, per subject, plus a $30 – $50 one-time registration fee.”

A more specific look at the pricing structure is as follows:

  • Enrollment is month-to-month, no long-term commitment required
  • Tuition is $175 per month for one class/subject.
  • For students enrolled in two subjects, tuition is $320 per month.
  • A one-time registration fee is $50 and $30 materials fee per student
  • $175 refundable security deposit per student
  • Tuition is due before the beginning of the month
  • If you want to cancel, you must notify the center 15 days before the beginning of next month.

After enrollment, your child will take a no-cost assessment to determine their best starting point. As mentioned above, upon beginning, this includes all worksheet-based assignments, as well as 2 weekly visits to your neighborhood Kumon center, where your child will complete their assignments.

Regarding these visits, we contacted Kumon customer support to obtain additional information and learned that your child will spend about 30 minutes in class (roughly the same amount of time it will take them to complete assignments at home).

This time can vary though, depending on your child’s progress, whether or not they have any problems that need to be addressed, questions answered, etc., which is the primary purpose of these visits.

What Is Kumon+?

Every complete month your child attends Kumon, they can earn points that can be traded in for different rewards, such as microscopes and art tools, games and sports equipment, and even the ability to make a charitable donation to a worthy cause.

All students’ points are displayed on their personalized home page, along with their complete rewards catalog.

Are Parents & Students Happy with Kumon’s Instruction?

It seems that reviewers either love or loathe Kumon, with little middle ground.

For example, many of the parents interviewed in this 2011 NY Times article seemed pleased with their child’s progress at Kumon. However, most of the professionals quoted in the article questioned the programs’ real world usefulness.

The author specifically stated, “Research suggests that there is little benefit from this kind of tutoring; that young children learn just as much about math, if not more, fitting mixing bowls together on the kitchen floor.”

Similarly, Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, was quoted as saying, “The best you can say is that they’re useless.”

Donald Sauter, a former Kumon franchisee whose contract wasn’t renewed after he claims he attempted to raise concerns about the coursework, seems to think there are many more cons than pros. Specifically, he thinks the company has an “unreasonable” approach to math:

“Above the arithmetic levels, there is hardly any correspondence between Kumon levels and school grades. For example, Kumon puts calculus before trigonometry. But that's not the reason your child will never reach trigonometry; Kumon is almost certain to weed him out long before calculus. It does this with ridiculously complicated work in polynomial factorization; in maxima and minima of every sort of function to come down the pike; and wrestling with inequalities of those functions.

… speaking from the point of view of someone who loved math and was a physics and math major in college, I found much of it very painful and of very questionable value. It's no mystery that there are long- and well-established Kumon centers that have never had a math program completer.”

To this extent, MathInsider.com claims that Kumon isn’t “the answer to all maths problems but it’s not a rip-off or scam either.” In other words, while your child could very well experience progress, it’s important that you keep your expectations realistic and understand that:

  • Teachers may not be “qualified” to teach math (and different ones will have different personalities),
  • There is a lot of rote memorization involved, and
  • There’s very often a difference between the methods taught at Kumon and what your child might learn at school.

Finally, from a company perspective, Kumon North America, based out of Teaneck, NJ, had an A- Better Business Bureau rating at the time of our research.

Although there were only three closed complaints, the company failed to respond to all of them. However, none referenced the company specifically—only individual branches.

Is Kumon a Good Tutoring Program?

Kumon has been in business for well over half a century, most centers are independently owned and operated by franchisees, and you’ll find supportive Kumon reviews wherever you click online.

Just like any other legitimate business, though—especially one that focuses on learning—what works well for one child might may not for another.

For example, based on much of the professional feedback we read during our research, it appears Kumon takes a repetition and drill-oriented approach to learning; especially math.

Students might repeat the same equation dozens of times before moving on, with as little explanation as possible. On top of this, students are frequently expected to complete highly challenging timed tests in order to qualify for higher levels.

Given these points, if your child prefers to have someone provide a detailed explanation of the concept behind the equation they’re working on, if they require diversity in order to remain engaged, or they don’t perform well during timed drills, Kumon’s learning style may not be their (or your) cup of tea.

On the other hand, thousands of parents swear by what their children have accomplished through Kumon’s learning centers, and claim that they’re often light years ahead of their peers.

Also, as with any other purchase, remember to explore all your options. In addition to Kumon, there are other nationwide tutoring and after-school centers like Sylvan, online-only programs, and even options available through many school districts.

Customer Reviews

2.7 Stars out of 25 Reviews
5 Star:36% 4 Star:0% 3 Star:8% 2 Star:8% 1 Star:48%
36% Recommend This Company
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Posted on Jun 12, 2017


By Agnieszka Upton, Niles, IL, Verified Reviewer

My daughter Angelina is in fifth grade, and she has been going to Kumon center for math and reading for one year and a couple of months. She was getting a U in math for the past two years, but after going to Niles Kumon center, Angelina gave me her report card with a C in math. It is amazing to see the progress that Kumon has shown me within a year.

This center is awesome. Dr. B and the entire staff in the center has saved my daughter's life. Not only has it shown her the structure of doing work every day, it gave her confidence about school and showed her that she can't give up. It's the most amazing center I have seen. We love it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 4 People Have Voted

Posted on Aug 15, 2017

Excellent program

By Mel Smith, Chicago, Illinois, Verified Reviewer

The Kumon Program, led by Mr. Ahme at the Hyde Park, Chicago location is one of the most key elements to my child's success.

I am very impressed! The program was instrumental and key in positioning my child for advance in studies and acceleration in the education environment. The diversity, locale, challenge and other key attributes, encourages the child to not only in academics but leadership, core values, discipline and other cornerstones for future aptitudes. I am very pleased.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Mar 23, 2018

Great, helpful program!

By Khushi, New York, Verified Reviewer

I am a current student at Kumon, and I'm a high-school freshman (9th grade). I've been attending since I was 3 years old. Yes, I've been attending Kumon for 12 years.

I have to admit, I've had plenty of moments where I absolutely hated Kumon. Loathed it, even. I used to cry and sob every time I had to do long division. I hated it, but I knew it would help. Many people talk about how it hasn't helped their child at all but there are many factors we must take into account.

Firstly, the time matters. When you've been attending Kumon for a longer period of time, it tends to help you more. Most parents who have had children attending Kumon had their children enrolled for anywhere from anywhere from a few months to about 2 years. I can understand why this wouldn't help, your child hasn't been in the program for very long. However, I've been attending for 12 years and counting, and I honestly can't begin to explain how much it has helped me. In elementary school, I always had phenomenal grades because I had already learned most of the material from Kumon. What we were learning in school was basically a review.

All throughout elementary and middle school, and even high school now, Kumon's impact on my education has been obvious. Kumon helps so much, with all levels of math. For example, in algebra, I already knew the majority of what I was being taught, and I was able to help my friends with their schoolwork when they didn't understand it. Just last week, in my current math class (geometry), we were factoring to solve a problem that involved algebra, and my friend was having trouble factoring a polynomial where a was not equal to one. I taught him the cross method (a relatively simple method taught in Kumon to factor) and he understood immediately!

Kumon has also prepared me for future courses. Currently in math, we are learning geometry. Although Kumon doesn't really touch upon geometry as much, I am still able to use my algebra skills to help me (I finished all of Algebra I and Algebra II by the end of 6th grade). Recently, I finished pre-calculus and am now doing Trigonometry. After Trigonometry, I will move onto Calculus and will learn through AP Calculus. I cannot even begin to explain how much this will help my grades in school, especially since schoolwork after 9th grade has a huge impact on college. Doing well only increases your chances of going to a great college, and Kumon is the right way to go!

I do admit, I used to hate Kumon with all my heart. I used to beg my mother to quit. But in recent years, I've found myself thanking her and my instructor for keeping me in Kumon. It honestly helped so much. And while we're on the topic of instructors, many people have had bad interactions with their instructors, but this is not necessarily all instructors. An instructor depends entirely on them, it isn't Kumon's fault if they're not very nice. For me, I have a great instructor. She's basically become family now, us having known her for 12 years. She always explained my math and reading to me very well when I didn't understand, and she always made sure I completely understood before moving me on to a new topic.

I always feel at home at Kumon, and over the summer, I am welcome to volunteer there to help with the younger kids and the kids whose coursework I've already mastered. My instructor is a great woman, and I always discuss my current grades with her. I keep her updated on everything happening at school whenever I go to the Kumon center (twice a week) and she always provides me with great advice. Her, my mother and myself have the rest of my education planned out, up to and including college! I am so grateful to have such a great instructor.

To end, I want to say that yes, Kumon will be a lot of tears, and it will be very annoying and irritating and children will hate it (trust me, I went through it myself), but in the end, it has helped me and is continuing to help me so much more than me and my mother originally bargained for. I truly mean it when I say Kumon is worth it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 23 People Have Voted

Posted on Jun 13, 2018


By Angela C., Mississauga, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I took my kids aged 6 and 8 to Kumon several years ago. What I can say about the program is that you get what you put into it. Wile my younger daughter (a non-reader at the time, routinely confusing the alphabet) quickly started reading (took her 9 months), with the older child in the Math program, it took her a few years to advance to the algebra section and onward. She is in high school now, and the clarity of the basics and confidence she developed through the program helped her tremendously. Now as coursework comes at her quickly and in large volume, Math is a subject she does not need to worry about and sails through it easily. I am glad for the time, effort and money we invested earlier on.

It is a commitment, support your kids through it - you'll be glad you did.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 5 People Have Voted

Posted on Sep 19, 2018

The experience was addictive

By Ema G., Brooklyn, NY, Verified Reviewer

My child has been attending Kumon at the Bay Ridge center and I can easily say that this program is worth every penny. My son started at the beginning of first grade and his reading level was barely a C, and he is not even 100% coveted when it comes to homework, but he can read a level J now. I am very pleased with this learning center, and it has become addictive and hard for us to leave it. Thanks to these wonderful teachers.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 6 People Have Voted

Posted on Sep 18, 2018

Very pleased

By Naira S., Boca Raton, FL, Verified Reviewer

As an ex-Kumon student, I absolutely recommend the program. Kumon just gave me that extra confidence that I needed to succeed in math. Now my daughter goes to and in less than 9 months in the reading program she already improved 100% and calls the homework from school too easy. I am happy for my experience and sad that some people did not get to have the same.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 8 People Have Voted

Posted on Oct 23, 2018

Great method

By Valentina P., North Miami, FL, Verified Reviewer

My husband discovered this method of learning 6 years ago. My older son started the program in math when he was 4 years old and the program worked very good, and the kids learn to do the work by himself day by day. After more than 5 years I can observe that this is a method of consistency that requires discipline, little time and we parents have to correct the work at home, make the kids use to keep working on vacation and weekends, also the adult need to drive the kids to the center two times a week. Kumon helps the kids to focus, they notice their own improvements in time and when they go to class at school. Kumon keeps the kids motivated.

We also made our youngest son start when he was 4 years old.

I don’t see Kumon like a tutoring system because I believe that if they start before kindergarten, the kid is used to do this little work every day before they start the school homework. This method, in my opinion, is a long-term program to improve the kids' capacity of learning.

I hope you like it too!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 5 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 15, 2019

Great program!

By Geetha V., King of Prussia, PA, Verified Reviewer

This program helped a lot to my son. He improved his skills (writing/reading). We started this program when he is in Pre-K. And still, he continues. I would recommend this program for all students. Great learning.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on May 16, 2019

Feed back

By Daniel M., Nashville, TN, Verified Reviewer

It has been a couple of months since my son started attending Kumon. He started with the reading program. He improved very significantly his understanding of the articles he read and reflected of a significant improvement in his school performance. He initially hated to do the homework but later on, he developed the habit of doing his homework regularly and with no reminder from his parents. Seeing his improved performance in reading, he started the math class. The teachers are very dedicated and diligent in their work and I would say that this is the high-value service I ever found for my child. I recommend all parents to consider this as an important gift to their children.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Apr 25, 2018

Child's low self-esteem

By Sarah Thabet, Virginia, Verified Reviewer

My child's confidence and creativity deteriorated throughout this program because they put a lot of pressure on my child and he wasn't treated well. The way they treat those children is unprofessional. It was in a robotic matter and made them feel worthless. I truly think if they treat their students well, this program would surpass. In my preference, I would not like to break my child's character by putting them in this program.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 38 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 6, 2020

Helpful but stressful.

By Chris .., Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I will admit, they have helped me progress with my math level which helped me with the school. However, I hate that they don't give you a single day off. Not even Christmas! They think we will forget everything in one day or something! We don't have memory loss. Please change this. I always get so angry!

Length of Use: 2+ years

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons


I progressed super fast

So stressful

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted
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