For many years, Sheela Singh spent her days researching cancer at M.D. Anderson and her evenings helping children master reading and math at Kumon. This past April, she quit her day job and took over as the owner and operator of the Kingwood Kumon. Singh has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biotechnology and believes strongly in the enrichment program offered by Kumon.
“The Kumon program helps enhance student’s learning abilities, boost confidence and develop work skills,” said Singh. “We help kids succeed in school and even stay ahead in school. We aim for competency at least three grade levels above their current grade in school. We help younger students master reading and older kids with building a proper foundation to excel in math. It’s a self-journey, learning after-school program. It’s not a tutoring service; we don’t bring classwork from school into the program. We have our own learning system and program.”
Students can begin at Kumon as early as age 3 and as late as 12th grade in high school.
“We do a baseline assessment test when a child first joins us, to see what stage they are in and which level to begin with. We start working at a level that’s comfortable depending on their current skills and develop from there. The program is catered differently to each student, determined by the placement test,” said Singh.
For reading, the program levels begin with word-building and move on to sentence building, paragraph building, then comprehension and critique. For math, the program levels begin with counting, then move on to number writing exercises, multiplication, operations with fractions, and eventually pre-algebra, algebra I and algebra II.
“We have more children who come to us for reading in their younger years, and math in middle school and high school years,” Singh said. “Sometimes a student does not have a proper foundation for math and they struggle in middle school with fractions and algebra. After the placement test, we typically start kids in the math program at a lower level to build up their foundation and confidence. Once they get it, they tend to move fast through our levels, because they know what they are doing. The Kumon method of learning really simplifies math. Problems are broken down and are easier to solve and understand than in school. For example, for fractions, we start with small numbers and try to solve and work up to larger and more difficult fractions.”
At each session (two per week), the student works on Kumon-provided instruction materials with an instructor ratio that differs by age. At very young ages, the ratio of student-to-teacher is one-to-one. As the students grow older, the ratio goes up, from one teacher to two students at age 5 or 6, to eventually one teacher for a small group of students. At older (high school) ages, the student completes the Kumon assignments individually, but can ask the class teacher for assistance whenever needed.
“After assignments are completed, we grade them to check their level of accomplishment. We also give them homework to bring back,” said Singh.
The Kumon location has been open for six years. Singh took over the center in April of 2018. A certified Kumon instructor, she completed a one-year training program to enable her to take over the Kingwood Kumon. Many of the staff at Kumon are retired teachers.
With respect to fees, Singh said students can attend for $140 per month per subject, plus a registration and material fee. Students attend Kumon twice a week for 30 minutes per subject. Classes are offered on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3 and 7 p.m. Kumon is located at 4003 Rustic Woods Dr. For more information, call 281-570-4340.