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Monday, August 24, 2015

A Review of Kumon's Reading Program

Anders did the first 3 units (300 pages) of the Kumon reading program and I want to toss them so… here are the things I noted about the program:

1. I found it disturbing that concepts are just tossed out there in a pretty disconnected way. For example, the first 12 words introduced are: fish, cat, mouse, dog, sun, cloud, car, house, corn, tree, cake, and apple. Why not do all foods? Or start with the family--mom, dad, brother, sister, baby, dog? Or all animals? Disconnection is not how the human brain learns best.

2. I don't like it that corn and cake are in the first twelve words. Throughout the Kumon program there is quite a bit of pictures of candy, hot dogs, french fries, pizza--lots and lots of junk food. Super annoying.

3. I find it strange that the words "mom" and "dad" are not among the first 50 words the kids are introduced to. It makes me buy-in to the school-is-trying-to-destroy-the-family conspiracy.

4. I find it strange that among the first 50 words are the words "king" and "queen," depicted as black people but dressed as a European king and queen would have been dressed long ago. Again with the disconnect. If we are trying to teach our children about life… why are these concepts being introduced in this confusing false-to-life way?

5. Among the first 160 people depicted in the pictures there are 92 males and 68 females. There were 142 dark skinned people and 18 fair skinned people. There were no blond women and only one blond man and he was in the background of a picture featuring a dark skinned person. Not understanding the social agenda here.

*Level 3A: "I drink grape juice." Is one of the sentences they must learn. We changed it to "I don't drink grape juice." We also changed "I eat my cereal with a spoon" to "I don't eat cereal."

I don't care for the Kumon reading program at all and don't care enough to look into this more. The first thousand people would be more significant as a mini-study--perhaps it all equals out or reflects the true distribution of people in the world. No idea. Either way, the Hooked on Phonics program is far better (Anders prefers it as well) so that is what we will use from now on!

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