Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by user

Are you looking to help your child in math? A math tutor can help your child grasp math concepts they do not understand. If Kumon® and Thinkster are two program choices you are considering, check out how they compare. Both Kumon and Thinkster math programs are designed to help students improve their math skills, but parents should note several differences when deciding on a math tutor.

Not every child thrives under the same learning method, so we’ve compiled a detailed comparison guide highlighting the differences between the Kumon and Thinkster programs.

In This Guide – A Review of Kumon and Thinkster Math Programs

This guide will give you a comprehensive resource for comparing the Kumon program to Thinkster.

We will provide full outlines of these learning services and compare them based on various metrics. This guide will help you make the difficult choice of selecting an educational program for your child.

Who uses Thinkster?

Thinkster is perfect for families who want their children to build strong conceptual mathematics skills. We are looking to build mathematicians rather than arithmeticians. We do this by covering a broad math curriculum with a strong emphasis on word and logic problems.

Students can either fill in gaps in their math knowledge and/or extend their math knowledge beyond grade level. Our combination of digital worksheets and one-on-one whiteboard tutoring sessions with trained math coaches provides a personalized approach for young mathematicians of all levels.

The AI technology behind our digital worksheets helps tutors track student mistakes and deliver a study plan to improve each student’s learning outcomes. Our expert tutors then use the coaching sessions to support students’ Thinkster work, school homework, or test prep.

Our world-class curriculum, based on the US curriculum and Singapore Math, supports young mathematicians by ensuring they understand each math concept and can work beyond the standard algorithms by answering word and logic problems related to each topic. Furthermore, we also make sure important math topics such as geometry, data handling, and measurement are mastered.

Thinkster: Key Advantage

Many parents choose Thinkster because the service takes a personalized approach to their child. Thinkster uses assessments and planning to address each child’s weaknesses and fill in these gaps with conceptual skills.

Thinkster believes that teaching students the conceptual skills surrounding mathematics will give them the foundation to adapt to different problems as they arise.

Who uses Kumon?

Kumon is a more traditional math program that accelerates students through the math curriculum by focusing on arithmetic and standard algorithms. Kumon is a good option for families who want their children to concentrate on calculation skills and move quickly to algebra and beyond. 

Students engage in Kumon math practice for approximately 30 minutes each day. They participate in classes at a Kumon Center twice per week and complete assignments independently at home on the remaining five days of the week. Kumon’s model offers in-person study, tablet and virtual.

Kumon: Key Advantage

Kumon’s curriculum is designed to allow students to progress at their own pace. This individualized approach helps each student to develop their skills based on their personal learning speed and ability. The Kumon method focuses on building a strong foundation in math and reading. This ensures that students have a solid understanding of basic concepts before moving on to more advanced topics. Kumon emphasizes self-learning, encouraging students to solve problems independently. This helps to develop critical thinking skills and the ability to tackle new challenges without constant guidance.

Thinkster Math and Kumon compared

Subscription Plans – Thinkster vs Kumon

Different families will have different priorities when it comes to supporting their children’s math learning, so let’s dig deeper and compare the features that Kumon and Thinkster offer!

At the start of their Thinkster membership, students take one or more skills assessment tests to determine any gaps in their knowledge.

At Kumon, an initial assessment is carried out to determine the student’s starting point.

Kumon sometimes charges an initial registration fee in addition to the monthly fee. They do run specials at certain times of year, so you should check with your local center for more information! The monthly fee gives access to Kumon worksheets and up to twice-weekly center visits. A quick look into Kumon prices shows that parents typically spend an average of about $130 per subject per child. Kumon costs may change from center to center as they are independently owned.

Thinkster has no registration fee and offers a range of subscription plans, including unlimited digital worksheets with and without one-on-one tutor sessions. Families can easily switch between subscription plans and aren’t locked into a particular one.

Worksheets – Thinkster vs Kumon

Thinkster worksheets cover the entire math curriculum and include many logic and word problems. These help students thoroughly understand each topic and closely follow the types of questions used in schools and on standardized tests. They learn critical thinking skills to supplement their foundational skills, which allows them to adapt to new problems as they present themselves.  

Kumon starts with counting, moves to arithmetic and fractions, and then on to algebra. By not focusing on non-core topics such as geometry, measurement and data, and limited logic and word problems, Kumon students are able to reach algebra at a relatively early stage.

As one former Kumon instructor turned Thinkster instructor told us,  “What’s the point of knowing algebra when you won’t be doing it at school for another five years? With Thinkster, I can build a student’s foundational skills while addressing school topics.”

This generation of students responds well to digital resources. Kumon workbooks are mainly paper-based, allowing kids to write their problem-solving methods and solutions on the worksheets. They also have launched a “Kumon Connect” app at some participating centers. You can find a participating center on their website by looking for the “Tablet Study Available” image.

Thinkster uses digital math worksheets, and students can write on these worksheets using a trackpad, a stylus, or their fingers on a tablet. Students can also access the app on a computer, laptop, or phone!

Thinkster provides video tutorials and a video library for students to watch examples before, during, or after completing a worksheet. Kumon worksheets provide a brief example problem at the start of each subtopic to help students get started on the topic.


Progression – Thinkster vs Kumon

Kumon assesses students’ initial starting point. Students then move linearly through the Kumon program, working on one skill at a time. Tests are given at the end of each Kumon level.

Thinkster tutors initially assign worksheets to fill gaps in students’ knowledge, including any weaknesses in solving word and logic problems. Once these gaps are filled, work is assigned to move students to grade level and beyond while checking that students still master previous concepts. Tests are given at the end of each topic and the end of each grade level. At times, tests are given before starting a new topic to see what the student already knows so they can focus on trickier parts of the topic.  Worksheets can also be assigned to support school homework and test prep.

As you can see, Thinkster takes a tailored approach to identify gaps in knowledge before moving a child through a lesson plan. By finding where each student needs individual help, Thinkster can ensure they build proper foundational knowledge before moving to each new subject.

Student and Parent Experience – Thinkster vs Kumon

Thinkster students can work on multiple topics at the same time. This helps them get used to the mixed-topic approach of standardized tests and avoid feeling bored or overwhelmed by a single topic. Worksheets are automatically graded, and teacher solutions and feedback are available.

Thinkster’s expert tutors add new worksheets to the student account, tailoring these new assignments to previous progress, tests, and requests from students and parents. Individual help and guidance are available from the dedicated tutor and regular conferences take place by phone or online to discuss student progress.

At Kumon, instructors regularly assess your child’s development by grading and reviewing worksheets. This allows them to adjust lesson plans as needed.

Kumon students generally attend a center twice a week to collect work and complete worksheets. A quick ‘Kumon near me’ search on Google will show that the nearest center could be a few miles down the road or in the next town. Some parents drive over thirty minutes to reach the nearest Kumon learning center – especially if they live in rural areas! Kumon does offer a digital platform with Kumon Connect and virtual learning opportunities.

In regards to assignments, Kumon students work from their learning plan and take a test at the end of each level. Written feedback is usually given at this time.

The Bottom Line: How Do I Decide Between Thinkster and Kumon?

When presented with a comprehensive comparison based on many factors, it can be difficult to evaluate what is important and decide. Any choice for your child’s education is a difficult one, and forming decision-making criteria is important.

We recommend you make this decision based on your child’s learning style. The most important part of choosing a math teacher is finding one that plays to your child’s strengths. All children learn in their own unique way, and a great teacher will be able to identify that and work with the child toward success.

Kumon might be the right choice if your child does well with a self-learning approach.

Thinkster provides a personalized approach with one-on-one tutoring available. It starts with worksheets identifying gaps in your child’s knowledge and then provides the resources to help close those gaps. The learning plan is catered toward what your child needs help with, and the focus is on ensuring that they understand conceptual skills.

We think these are the main factors for considering which style of after-school math program will be most appropriate for your child. At the end of the day, an effective learning program can cater the lesson to a student’s strengths. So, using our comprehensive comparison guide, we recommend choosing the program that best addresses your child’s weaknesses by playing to their strengths.

Bonus: What are the Different Learning Styles for Children?

Of course, to properly choose a learning program that meets your child’s needs, you should be aware of how your child prefers to learn. This way, a program can be catered to your needs.

Although learning is often described broadly, 4 categories are generally accepted as the 4 main learning “styles.” Of course, people tend to be a mix of both, and every student is unique in their learning style. But understanding these styles can get you on the path to a better understanding of how to cater to your own child’s learning needs:

Visual Learning: Visual learners prefer to learn topics by seeing and visualizing the information. Pictures, charts, and diagrams might aid these learners.

Auditory Learning: Auditory learners like to hear information. These learners will also discuss the information to further their understanding. If your child likes to hear explanations and ask questions, they might be an auditory learner.

Reading/Writing Learning: These learners understand concepts best when given a chance to write down what they have learned or read and sort the information independently.

Kinesthetic Learning: These are hands-on learners. They like to experience the concepts they learn and want the chance to interact. If possible, they like to see an example of a concept in action to understand how it works.

This is a basic guide to these four learning styles. Of course, no one will neatly fit into either category. But to better understand your child’s learning process, it would help to be aware of these concepts so that you can identify them as they arise. This way, you can pick a learning program that meets their needs!

Reviews: What Former Kumon families say about Thinkster

Thinkster Math was started by two ex-Kumon parents who wanted to improve their children’s math learning experience.

Since then, Kumon parents worldwide have switched to Thinkster to help their children improve and broaden their math skills while building a love of the subject. Read the Kumon vs Thinkster reviews below:


‘Our child had become increasingly frustrated by the rote method employed by Kumon to build confidence. After looking for alternatives to Kumon Math instruction I came across Tabtor since renamed as Thinkster Math. We gave Thinkster a try and her enjoyment of math, and progress, returned. I think it is important to acknowledge that with both Thinkster and Kumon, progress is somewhat dependent upon the individual math coach. That said, the Thinkster system requires the coach to review and provide comment on each unit completed by our child. Further, the weekly coaching sessions are an actual coaching experience, not just time spent in a coaching center where the coaches are proctoring a study session.’ Steven G


“Thinkster has been so amazing. The focus is on math but our son has improved in all subjects because he has gained so much confidence from figuring out how to study properly. It’s also so convenient to do the worksheets on an ipad at home and to do the tutoring sessions on our own time rather than the store hours of a tutoring place like Kumon.” Michelle K


Read more Thinkster Math reviews on the Verified Reviews website.

You can check out Kumon reviews from third-party sites here and here.

Summary – Thinkster vs. Kumon

Both Kumon and Thinkster help improve students’ math skills. We hope this post has given you an overview of both programs and will help you decide which program will suit you and your family.

If you’re ready to learn more about Thinkster, discover our philosophy and how our math tutors can spark thinking in your child. Your child can become a Thinkster at any time! Join throughout the school year or if you are looking to incorporate a summer math program into your child’s routine.

7 Day Free Trial Thinkster Math Tutoring


Features and support are constantly changing! This analysis was accurate to the best of our knowledge as of January 2024. 

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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