Both Cuemath and Kumon are after-school Math programs. However, the approach that these programs take to teach math varies quite a lot. The level of topic-level customization also varies significantly.
Kumon – learn math by repeated practice
Kumon is a math program for 3 to 16-year-old children. Kumon focusses on helping children practice math problems extensively. Children are assigned worksheets in every class and are expected to solve them independently. A teacher-facilitator is present to help children if they have questions.
Fundamentally, Kumon’s philosophy – called the Kumon Method – is to assign extensive practice on each question type. This means children solve hundreds of questions of the same type. In Kumon, students don’t start with the topics they are doing in school. Kumon has its own way of determining which topic to start with and this may not match the school syllabus. Typically, students start off on a topic in which they can score 100%. Then through repeated practice, the students gradually move ahead.
A teacher is present and gives relevant inputs to the student so that questions are solved correctly. It is often the case that students are doing very different topics in school compared to a Kumon class. Interestingly, the Kumon Method does not commit to covering all topics of the school syllabus.
Thus as a parent, if your objective is to drill-type practice without any need to match the curriculum with school, then Kumon will work for you.
Cuemath – learn math by reasoning
Cuemath is a math program for children aged 5 to 16. Cuemath focuses on building a strong math foundation and helping children learn conceptually instead of through memorization or drills. Cuemath focuses on all math concepts that children learn at school. Children learn by solving problems that require them to reason and figure things out.
At the core of the Cuemath learning philosophy is the Cuemath Method. A core principle of this method is learning by reasoning. Cuemath helps children develop their ability to analyze and solve complex problems through reasoning. Another core principle is conceptual learning by introducing every math concept either via an activity or through pictorial models.
Then, Cuemath teachers help students by not giving the answers away. Instead, they cue the answer by asking leading questions, giving hints so that students discover concepts. All students work on their own learning resources allowing them to speed up or slow down based on their comfort with the topic. Along with this focus on the basics of concepts, students also get sufficient practice to ensure they solve questions efficiently.
Apart from this, students are assigned skill-building exercises on the tab in each class. They are also assigned a math and logic puzzle at the end of every class.
As a parent, if your objective is a strong math foundation across all topics that are in sync with the school syllabus, then the Cuemath program is a better choice.
Kumon vs Cuemath – Summary
Practise is necessary for mastering math topics. However, the practice should be just one part of a broader learning experience. Practice without conceptual clarity leads to students memorizing steps and procedures. While this may show positive effects in the short term, it will create problems in the later years due to the basics being weak.
Instead of repeated practice, students must experience math concepts through activities and other reasoning based questions. Practise comes after this foundation is set. A math program won’t be effective if it focuses on only one of these two aspects.
Also, staying in sync with the school has massive advantages. If an after-school program effectively complements topics from school, the student benefits more. Kumon does not stay in sync with the school. It has a strict progression of its own. On the other hand, though Cuemath has its own learning resources like workbooks and tabs, each teacher creates a customized learning plan that stays in sync with the school syllabus.
This is where a program like Cuemath is more helpful and will help prepare students for the future.
Comparison of Kumon vs Cuemath:
|Age group||3 to 16-year-olds||5 to 16-year-olds|
|Math topics covered||Most topics that schools cover, but not all.||All topics covered by school.|
|In sync with school||No||Yes|
|Batch sizes||Can get as large as a school class||6 students per batch|
|Math learning aids||No||Abacus, Base-10 blocks, Fraction shapes, Pattern blocks, Geo solids, and 10 more.|
|Aptitude exercises||No||Yes, every class|
|Math and logic puzzles||No||Yes, every class|
|Core philosophy||Repeated practice on similar questions helps build mastery.||Learn by reasoning and build a solid math foundation. Know the reason behind the steps.|