Friday, October 10, 2008

Kumon, I bid thee adieu...

I'm really fed up of being the bad guy!
From the kids' point of view.
I want to have fun with the girls, not spend a good part of the 180 minutes that I get with them every evening asking them to "do this and that", or "NOT do this or that"!

The bad act from me starts soon after we get home and sit on the table to have their milk and snack. They longingly look at my neighbor's yard, which is a direct view from our dining room. My neighbor's daughter, M, and a couple of other new kids in the block are having fun playing in their swing or simply running around...while two little girls of this working mom are scurrying their snack down, and getting ready to start homework.

To ease my guilt, I can't help but wonder, "Didn't I just pick up T1 from her after-school care, where she spent close to 2 hours playing, even had some gymnastics lessons-which she LOVES!
Didn't I pick up T2 from the huge play-ground in her pre-school"?

Here's the problem - we have the whole thing reversed! Fun first, get home tired, THEN complete HW.

OK!! Here's our schedule -

5.00 - pick up kids and reach home
5.00-5.30 - quick wash-up, feed em a snack (start cooking dinner).
5.30-6.45 - Kumon and homework and music/keyboard practice.
6.45-7.30 - Dinner
7.30-8.00 - Brush, wash-up, read and get ready for bed.

As you can see, there is really no minute to spare. And most days, with the two of them goofing around and having fun (???) in between this schedule, bedtime ends up getting pushed to almost 8.30pm.
What difference will 30 minutes do, you ask?? It shows the next morning!! That's what. If they are in bed by 8.00, they are both well-rested and wake up by themselves or with little help. Else, it's a tough chore, esply with T2.

We're basically over-worked every single day and try as we may, there are hardly any real fun-family-moments! And did I add the cooking, cleaning, and a broken dishwasher that we haven't had the time to replace?

So What's gonna give?

Plan A: Kumon Reading!
Plan B: Kumon Math AND Reading!

As far as I know, NO Plan A has ever worked. So I'm not even going to try.

So, as of 15 minutes ago, Pup and I have agreed to stick to Plan B.
It's happening next week.
After tomorrow's Kumon Ceremony!
After she gets a Trophy each for Math and Reading.
For being ahead of her Grade Level.
For working SO DARN hard every single day, with complaints or without.
For putting on a bright happy face to make it less of a deal.
For talking to her mind (or brain as she says) and making it come around and cheer up when she's not willing to do Kumon.
For doing all of this because she blindly trusts us.

Freedom from Kumon!! Just saying it makes me feel de-stressed.
I think she deserves this freedom! We can do more fun things and still learn some math along the way.

And maybe she can even step out on a weekday to play with her our neighbor M.


asaaan said...

No wonder you dont have time to blog :)
I am not a huge fan of Kumon. I think the more you push a child, the more it seems studying/doing hw becomes like a chore. Plus I cannot afford it for all 4 kids. *wink*

That said, we do have a very structure routine in our house. Get home from school, Snack,HM, playground/shower/ dinner/sleep.

How old are your kids?
My oldest is 9 and the 2nd one is 6(the boys just turned 4 and 2.) Never did Kumon or anything and yet the oldest is in Talented and Gifted programme at her school and the 2nd one is reading at slightly above what her teacher expects her..(she is in 1st, teachers wants kids at B,she is C level) I sound like such a bragging mom dont I?

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

:) (U got it, girl! Precisely why i've been blogging much)!!

The original reason for having started Kumon was to give me (and Pup) some discipline to sit down with T1 regularly...
I've tried reducing the Kumon load AND the number of days, but it's still the same story.
If I reduce any further, it wouldn't justify paying close to $200 (for math and reading) a month...
There are certain aspects of Kumon that I like, but they are not great enough to have to "endure" this for the rest of the kids' school age.
And yes, it IS expensive too :)

The email has been sent to the Kumon teacher.

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

@Asaan: Congrats to your girls for doing so well! Hey, that's our prerogative - To Brag :)

M said...

Hi gnd,
I came here thru CeeKay. I read that you have already started math wizard just wanted to know how it is & how different it is from kumon(I have friends whose kids go to kumon so I know about Kumon a little bit). I have a kindergartner at home. Right now, she doesn't go to any classes. She is doing good at school but she is not into any routine. Doesn't sit for her hw or studies...which is why I thought putting her in some classes might help her to set into a routine otherwise I am not for these classes.
Asaan, Congratulations on your kids doing so well. If possible, pls give your two cents on how to achieve that without sending kids to any classes.


Anonymous said...

am not for kumon too, as u know :) maybe i will start for s1/s2 if i start seeing their grades being bad in math..
as long as u do something useful in that extra time u have or any time with kids for that matter, i feel like it can never go wrong.. in any area for that matter - music, art, sports, reading, or just chatting with them even... every useful minute spent with them will have its fruits in some form..

noon said...

Hey GND - I have not been regularly checking all my fav blogs. Nice to read this post - nice update on how your every day - evenings at least is. Wow - right now I am not working - but I can imagine how hectic it is going to be with two kids when they are five plus. How old are the kids - hope I didn't ask you this before.
I assume 6 and 4 or something like that?
My SIL also put her son in Kumon - he is age 6 - she said the kumon reading helped him get going but now she has stopped both - she is getting too tired herself trying to get him to do kumon plus his regular homework!
Here, KB is only three yrs old. But B says no way for Kumon. I am not sure how I will feel when I actually have to make the decision - but as of now I feel that way too. Too much money on things he can learn at home. As of now my general idea for classes is that it should be something they can only learn from an outside teacher - like piano or soccer...but other friends of mine who take their kids to Kumon - they say it is because it gives their kids some structure and helps them sit and do some math exercises. Not sure...
My cousin did mathwizard for a while and also abacus for a while. Abacus seems to be latest craze in her town.
Phew - am not looking forward to all these decisions!

Preethi said...

I started Cheeky on Kumon last year.. not regular classes but I got he workbooks and trained him at home.. but now there is school and soccer and he is still a 4 year old goofing around all the time.. so I don't stick to any schedule.. I decided against Kumon for different reasons and have got him Scholastic workbooks for now.. but we don't have a strict routine.. as long as he has some focused time every day.. doing something that is enriching his mind.. I let it go.. and I know what you mean by pushing bed time around.. I hate that too.. but my brat keeps pushing it!!
Your little girl does deserve a trophy.. congratulate her for being such a good trooper on my behalf@!

asaaan said...

@M.. Maybe I will do a blog post on this when I get time..

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

@M: Hi, thanks for stopping by!Think I'll do a separate post comparing Math Wizard and Kumon (from what I know so far).
Most of these classes I think are more for us parents to get some discipline. If we pay, we make sure it gets done...As long as it doesn't get stressful for the parents or the kids.
@sis-U: Don't you ever start Kumon!! S1 and S2 are extremely talented and smart girls, you know that!! But if you ever wanna do something, go for MathWizard.
@noon-Me neither...which is why everytime you see comments from me, it's for 2-3 posts at one go!
Yes, T1 and T2 are 6 (almost 7) and 4.
From my experience, I can say your SIL made a smart decision too (wink, wink). It really was crazy the past month.
My initial feeling was NO Kumon, no WAY! But seeing that I never spent any time with her, I decided to start. The first few months were awesome, and we had a great time. Then came addition, subtraction, a mix of addition and subtraction, and STRESS. The past year has been for the most part a -ve experience.
And, undoubtedly too much money too...
Abacus recently started in our area, and we did the orientation. T1 loved it. But I am totally not for it cos of the 2 hour commitment every week, and the instruction that goes with it...I thought it will confuse the kids more to be taught by 3 different kinds of people - parents, school, Abacus. Although, I love the overall idea of how Abacus works. I think you can get an Abacus kit online and teach at home.
I agree - I loathe making these decisions too!!
Noon, You have NO idea how much you are teaching your son with your "Story-time"! His comprehension skills will grow exponentially, trust me!!
@Preethi - I totally am for what you're doing. It deosn't have to be totally structured...As long as you think you're making some progress, I guess...Like my sis pointed out in an earlier comment, any time you spend with the kids is worth it. It doesn't have to be all academic. They need time to goof around. Mine are prolly forgetting what goofing around means :(
Yes, She does deserve the trophy, doesn't she?? I'll brag about it very soon - a bday post is coming up...
@asaaan: Yes, you should do that!! Will look forward to it.

M said...

Hi gnd & asaaan,
Thanks for your responses. I will look forward to your posts.


DotThoughts said...

oh i am soo glad you bid adieu to kumon. really. its too taxing, imho. and what reading ahead a grade level really achieve in the long run. I started reading books at a ripe old age of 8 and never looked back. We all blossom in our own ways. Best not to push too hard. what happened to the dishwasher?

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

@Dottie, Frankly...I still have mixed feelings! It's not just about being a grade level ahead. Anyways, will do a separate post on pros and cons of it soon.
The dishwasher just won't work :(
We couldn't detect any clogs...and I'm logged into Consumer Reports right now trying to look for their ratings...