10 Reasons Why Former Kumon Math Teachers Choose to Work with Thinkster

Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by Thinkster

Personalized math problems and real-time feedback are just a few of the many reasons former Kumon® math tutors are making the switch.

Many parents choose learning center-based approaches, but former Kumon program instructors say it may not be the most effective way to help your child focus on increasing their math skills in and out of the classroom.

In fact, recent shifts show more tutors and parents are moving to online tutoring apps.

The results? More personalized tutoring for children, live-time feedback for parents, and added flexibility for tutors to update the curriculum based on each child‘s math skill level and needs.

We wanted to dig a little deeper and find the most commonly-cited reasons why tutors are moving from in-classroom to online tutoring programs. So, we scoured countless Kumon reviews in order to see what tutors had to say.

Why Math Tutors Love Working with Thinkster Math

To begin, online tutor apps combine the benefits of artificial intelligence, personalized lesson plans, and immediate feedback in order to give students in the K-8 grade range real-time tools they need to learn better and succeed in a modern world.

1. Students work better when they practice remotely with added help – really!

Having an unlimited amount of Kumon math worksheets or a workbook available does allow students to practice whenever they have time and wherever they are. But this does not mean that their learning is also better.  What happens when students get stuck while solving math problems remotely?  They need to rely on their parents or older siblings to help them with their math problems.  When they don’t get this help, they really get frustrated – a lot.

Every Thinkster math worksheet comes with video tutorials that provide solutions to sample problems similar to the ones in the math worksheet.  These video tutorials also provide multiple strategies to solve a math problem, thus improving student learning outcomes significantly.

Video Tutorial

Also, Thinkster’s math worksheets can be accessed online by selecting the ones you want, downloading them for offline access, and then taking it with you wherever you go –  in the car, on the way to school, or at soccer practice.

Tutors said they noticed students were spending more time on building their math skills when they didn’t have to sit in a learning center and could practice in the comfort of their own home without being frustrated and not knowing how to solve math problems. Plus, the familiar setting helps children feel more relaxed and receptive to learning.

2. It makes learning feel more like a game

Tutors and parents both understand the struggle of motivating kids to learn and practice math. And tutoring quickly becomes a waste of time and money if your child isn’t engaged or excited to be there.

One of the top reasons former Kumon tutors said they love math tutoring apps like Thinkster is because it turns math practice into a fun game.

Students are awarded points, badges, and other surprises for accomplishing goals, like correctly solving new math problems.

These points show up on their Thinkster leaderboard, creating some healthy competition and interaction with other Thinkster students.

Plus, your points can even be redeemed for gift cards to stores like Target and Amazon. This gamification incentivizes learning in a fun way that encourages children to continue practicing their math skills.


3. Tutors can design a personalized curriculum based on your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses

Classroom-based teachers and tutors must follow a general curriculum based on grade levels, not accounting for each child’s specific learning needs and math abilities.

However, online math tutoring programs using apps like Thinkster’s are based on individualized learning and leave room for customization.

As soon as a child is signed up to learn in our math tutoring program, they take a skills assessment. Each child is matched with a dedicated Thinkster Math tutor.

Proficiency Matrix

Tutors said they enjoy being able to map out a custom improvement plan for each student based on their weaknesses and strengths. They can also track their learning progress each week with the Proficiency Matrix and customize the worksheets to make the learning process very engaging for each student.  This makes sure that students get timely help as and when they need it, thus maximizing and accelerating learning outcomes consistently.

4. Tutors can focus on mastery, not memorization, with the Singapore Math Method

Why are manhole covers round?

Manhole Example

By moving away from generalized drill-based worksheets that simply reinforce memorization and repetition, tutors said they help a student reach true understanding and mastery of a concept.

This idea of mastery over memorization is the core principle behind the Singapore Math Method used by Thinkster tutors.

Whereas a Kumon instructor complies with the curriculum requirements and their own internal curriculum established that hasn’t changed much since 1958, Thinkster tutors dig deep to help students understand the “why” of how math works.

Of course, unlike Kumon, our tutors also cover the standard math curriculum that includes arithmetic, measurement, geometry, word problems, and more. However, their focus isn’t just on getting your child to memorize the problem-solving methods but to make sure that they have a deeper understanding of the core concepts.

This mastery-focused method of learning is adapted from classrooms in Singapore, where students consistently rank high in international math assessments. They are taught math with visual instruction methods that develop analytical and critical reasoning skills. (So, when your child is working on school homework and has a math problem to solve… will they panic or throw a fit? Absolutely not! Our math program builds math skills and student confidence to tackle these types of problems!)

That means, in addition to increasing their math knowledge, your child will also learn valuable life skills that will transcend into every aspect of their academic and personal lives.

The students just grab onto it because it makes sense to them. I don’t exaggerate. Every day a teacher was coming into my office and saying, ‘Oh my god, the kids are getting this.’ The kids are just so excited about it. When the teachers see the kids excited, the teachers really put effort into it. They see that it’s really having an impact,” said Robin Martin, Principal of a Honolulu school using the Singapore Math Method in its K-6 curriculum.

Thinkster tutors said they genuinely enjoy getting to help their students develop these reasoning skills, something former teachers and tutors never mentioned in their Kumon reviews.

5. Active Replay Technology (ART) lets tutors ‘see’ what students are thinking

At some point, every parent and tutor has probably wished they could get inside their child’s head to understand why they’re making mistakes or not connecting with the material.

Fortunately, modern app technology helps solve this problem.

Active Replay Technology

When your child completes their desktop, laptop, or tablet-based in-app worksheets, Thinkster’s Active Replay Technology records all their movements.

As a child works through a problem, their tutor is able to see how they arrived at their solution and exactly how much time they spent on each step. Tutors then provide daily feedback from watching your child work – not just by grading final answers.

Our Thinkster Math tutor noticed that, although he’d got all the questions correct, my older son had used an overly-long method of solving it. [The tutor then] suggested he watch the video tutorial before the next worksheet. She could see that my youngest did know his number sequences,” said one Thinkster parent to Maths Insider.

6. Students receive immediate feedback

Just imagine being able to help your child correct and understand their math problems the moment they are finished, instead of having to wait a week or until their next tutoring session.

That’s exactly what our tutors can do! This was definitely one of the key differences from Kumon’s math programs.

Our curriculum relies on instruction at the point of learning, which means students receive feedback as they’re learning the material rather than after their tutor corrects their work at a later date.

Tutors have pointed out that when a child is “in the zone” they are more receptive to help and less inclined to repeat bad habits.

7. Students play an active part in their learning and build more confidence

Instead of waiting for their next session to receive help or complete exercises, Thinkster math students are able to – and encouraged – take math practice into their own hands.

After completing their math worksheets, students can view  ART videos for each problem they solved.  This helps them understand where and why they made mistakes and how to avoid these mistakes without having someone “tell” them what areas of improvement they need to focus on.  

Our tutors have said they can really see a child’s confidence grow over time because they begin to solve more math problems on their own. Confident students are also more likely to tackle harder problems and will spend more time working on a problem that originally had them stumped.

8. It’s easier for parents to be a part of their child’s learning

Parents love the accessibility of Thinkster’s companion parent insights app, which allows them to monitor their child’s progress in real-time, without ever having to contact an instructor or support.

Parents are able to easily communicate with tutors using text messages, write emails, or even make a quick phone call directly from the parent app. Parents also get notifications about their child’s daily worksheet submissions,  updates to their 30-day objectives, their learning progress as well as specific messages from their tutor via push notifications on the app.

Plus, they can use the Roadmap feature at any time to view their child’s past progress and upcoming curriculum for the next 30 days. This includes:

  • Test and worksheet scores
  • Time spent working on each math problem
  • Answer accuracy
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Feedback from their math tutor

Parents also reported that they didn’t feel that Kumon math teachers were within reach but that they are constantly able to connect with Thinkster tutors via call, text, or email at any time.

9. It provides more value for families

No one likes to see cost get in the way of allowing children to learn, which is why our parents and students love all of the extra benefits available to them on our technology-enabled tutoring program.

In addition to your child’s initial and periodic skills assessments, unlimited math worksheets, daily grading, and regular feedback from your dedicated tutor, children also receive homework help, one-on-one online coaching sessions, and test prep assistance.

While Kumon tutoring can start as high as $125 to $150 per month Thinkster plans begin at just $18/month for all of these services.

This allows more parents and students to get access to high-quality personalized math tutoring and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills that are needed for future success.

10. Everyone can skip the drive

A final benefit for everyone involved is simply not having to drive to a Kumon center or other learning center after school.

We all know how busy life can be. Even everyday things like traffic, after-school activities, and sick days could cause a child to miss their traditional classroom tutoring session. This causes them to fall behind and potentially miss out on an important opportunity to master a concept.

However, when the tutoring experience is completely online, you and your child will never have to drive to a math tutoring session. You get a rich and superior learning experience with a 100% online program anytime with Thinkster Math.

And trust us, former Kumon math teachers said they’d prefer to skip the drive, too!


See What Math Tutors Already Know and Try Thinkster for Today

Thinkster is a math tutoring program that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning along with dedicated tutors to visualize how students are thinking as they work through math problems.

If you’ve tried Kumon math, give our unique combination of personalized curriculum based on Singapore Math and one-on-one online tutoring a shot.

Let your child take a guided tour of Thinkster Math now and see how they like it. After you watch our approach in action, we know you’ll want to get started with Thinkster Math right away!

Note:  Kumon®  is a registered trademark of Kumon North America, Inc. Thinkster Math is in no way affiliated to the same.

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