View Full Version : Kumon - anyone tried it?

June 9th, 2015, 13:54
Hey all,

Has anyone tried the Japanese language course from Kumon? How is it? I'm thinking of giving it a go but finding reviews online is proving a little difficult.

June 19th, 2015, 08:30
I'm just going to try it myself. I'll report my findings in due course.

July 23rd, 2015, 15:03
So I've started Kumon! It's pretty good so far, I got 100 worksheets to do with a CD and I really feel like I am learning! If anyone has any questions about it please ask me.

July 23rd, 2015, 20:05
Do they start from the beginning? How do they decide where to start you at?

July 24th, 2015, 08:52
They send you a placement test. You can start from scratch if you tell them you're an absolute beginner when you apply.
I feel like I was placed pretty well!

August 18th, 2015, 09:10
It looks like the OP has already started the program, but I will give my two cents for anyone else who is curious about it.

I was looking for a tutor for math since my Calculus abilities sucked in high school (and continues to suck to this day). My dad heard about Kumon through a friend, so we stopped by our local center and signed up after taking a placement test. Since I was interested in learning Japanese anyway, I signed up for that too. As the OP stated, you take a placement test to see where you should continue your lessons. If you have absolutely no knowledge of Japanese (and I mean, if you can't write hiragana or a little katakana and kanji and you only know how to say a couple of phrases from watching anime) then you should start from scratch.

You start off by learning the writing system (hiragana, then katakana, and then overlapped kanji characters while learning katakana). You also learn lots of vocabulary words so you can learn to recognize the basic idea of a story that they have you read. I was always given an interactive lesson for my writing and then a story for reading comprehension. Sometimes I would ask for more stories or more sheets to do because I felt like I could take on more, but my case might have been special and perhaps other tutors might not let you progress as quickly as my tutors did.

There were two older Japanese ladies who tutored at the center. One did most of the tutoring but spoke only a little bit of English. The other one was the manager and helped every now and then, but they also had two young college women who took care of the basic Japanese lessons (and the math and English lessons if you sign up for them). Overall, I spent at least a year in the program and maybe another semester while I started taking Japanese classes at my university. I have to say it definitely gave me an edge to have mastered the basic writing systems as well as the ability to write and read kanji characters and recognize vocabulary words. If you want to learn the grammatical system though, it's best to pick up a textbook to teach you that because they won't teach you that in Kumon. They have you approach the language as if you are a child learning a language for the first time. Therefore, you don't fall into the trap of constantly relying on your native language to translate the second language. The activities are set up so you can try to learn it naturally, if that makes sense. If you don't have the patience for it though, then I wouldn't recommend it because you take a test at the end of each major lesson, and if you don't pass, you have to review it again until you've mastered it.

September 11th, 2015, 10:09
So I'm doing a correspondence version of the course because there are no centres available near me.

I'm actually learning a lot of grammar and I've been able to use it quite confidently in conversation, basically because you have to repeat every point so many times before you move on. The grammar explanations are easy to understand.

I have skype lessons a few times a month with a tutor and that's also been really helpful.

I would definitely recommend trying it out for a month.