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Kumon Math vs Thinkster Math – a
Detailed Review

Blog Written by Caroline Mukisa, Founder,
& Ex-Kumon Instructor/Owner, London

Thinkstermath detailed review

Many parents come across Thinkster Math as they search for Kumon ® Math reviews. Both programs help students to improve their math skills, but there are a number of key differences. Many former Kumon families have switched their children over to Thinkster, so we’ve put together a detailed comparison guide to better highlight the differences between the Thinkster and Kumon programs.

Who uses Thinkster?

Thinkster Math is the perfect choice for families who want their children to build strong conceptual math skills. We are looking to build mathematician’s rather than arithmeticians. We do this by covering a broad math curriculum with a strong emphasis on word and logic problems. We support students of all abilities. 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 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 Maths, 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 measures are mastered.

Who uses Kumon?

Kumon is a more traditional math program which 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 onto algebra and beyond and who are happy to supplement their child’s problem-solving skills outside of the Kumon program.

Kumon is based on the Japanese method of learning math, with an emphasis on memorization and repetition. This can work well for students who respond well to rote learning and don’t need to understand math concepts in depth.

Kumon also works well for families who prefer a paper-based approach and who are able to take their children to a study center regularly.

Thinkster Math and Kumon Math compared:

Subscription Plans – Thinkster vs Kumon

Thinkstermath detailed review

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

During the Thinkster 1 week free trial, students take one or more skills assessment test to determine any gaps in their knowledge. There’s also the opportunity to speak to one of our academic advisors and have a demo of our shared whiteboard technology which is used for the one to one tutor sessions.

Kumon runs promotions at certain times of the year and in certain countries for a free trial period. An initial assessment is carried out which is used to determine the student’s starting point.

Kumon charge an initial registration fee in addition to the monthly subscription which gives access to a set number of Kumon worksheets and up to twice weekly center visits.

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

Worksheets – Thinkster vs Kumon:

Thinkstermath detailed review

Thinkster worksheets cover the whole math curriculum and include plenty of logic and word problems. These help students to gain a thorough knowledge of each topic as well as following closely the types of questions used in schools and on standardized tests.

Kumon starts with counting, moves to arithmetic and fractions and then on to algebra. By skipping non-core topics such as geometry, measures and data, and by using hardly any 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 respond well to digital resources. Kumon worksheets are paper based, allowing students to write both their working out and their solutions on the worksheets. Thinkster Math uses mainly digital worksheets. However, unlike the majority of digital math resources, students are able to write on these worksheets using a trackpad or use a stylus or their finger on a tablet.

Thinkster Math provides both instructional videos and a video library for students to watch examples prior to, during or after completing a worksheet. Kumon worksheets provide a brief example problem at the start of each sub-topic to help students get started on the topic.

Progression – Thinkster vs Kumon

Thinkstermath detailed review

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. Progression through the Kumon levels is usually relatively fast, since Kumon focuses only on those topics that are needed for algebra (e.g addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction, decimals). Other topics and skills such as solving word and logic problems would need to be supplemented outside the Kumon program.

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

Student and Parent Experience – Thinkster vs Kumon

Thinkstermath detailed review

Thinkster students have the ability to work on multiple topics at the same time. This helps them get used to the mixed topic approach of standardized tests, as well helping students to avoid feeling bored or overwhelmed with a single topic. Worksheets are automatically graded and worked teacher solutions and feedback are then sent within 24 hours. 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 is available from the dedicated tutor and regular conferences take place by phone or online to discuss student progress.

Kumon students generally attend a center twice a week to collect work and complete a worksheets. Kumon students work on one topic at a time, taking a test at the end of each level. Written feedback is usually given at this time. Often Kumon work needs to be marked by parents. Answer booklets are provided.

What our ex-Kumon families say about Thinkster:

Thinkster Math was started by 2 ex-Kumon parents who wanted to improve their children’s math learning experience. Since then, Kumon parents worldwide have switched to Thinkster, as a way 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.

Summary – Thinkster vs Kumon

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

Features and support are constantly changing! This analysis was accurate to the best of our knowledge as of January, 2018.

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7-Day Free Trial Includes

  • Free Skills assessment
  • Detailed 20+ page written report with areas of strengths and weaknesses identified along with a sample of ongoing progress report.
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    • Review your child’s performance in the skills assessment
    • Demo whiteboard tutoring session with your student
  • Access to 100,000+ worksheets and thousands of strategy videos from our world-class curriculum
  • Full access to the Thinkster Web and iPad apps
  • Full access to your own Parent Insights app to review your child’s progress anytime
  • Tailored instruction to your child’s learning needs including homework help and test prep
  • Daily grading and feedback from your dedicated tutor