Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kumon Lobby Girl No More =(

Chloe has struggled in school since 1st grade.  Part of it was due to an eye tracking problem (, but I know that the other part was because we were all going through a lot of changes at the time.   We did a year of eye exercises with Dr. Damon White in Edmond and it fixed her double vision and other tracking issues. By third grade, she was on an IEP and she really struggled in class with math and reading comprehension.  After a conference with her third grade teacher, I goggled "tutoring programs in Edmond" the first hit was Sylvan (which turned out to be very expensive) and the second hit was "Kumon".

I called Kumon and took Chloe in for testing and signed her up.  At first I was confused because it was not a place she could take her current work and get help.  I quickly learned that it was a program that was based in teaching children to be independent learners. They started Chloe off with 1st grade work and we discovered she had a lot of gaps in her learning from back in 1st grade in both math and reading.  Every Tuesday and Thursday she went to Kumon for one hour and the other days we did Kumon packets at home. After a month of Chloe being in Kumon and I could see her confidence rising and understood the long term effects that Kumon could have. I really wanted to enroll Allie because she was about to start 1st grade but I knew I could not swing $450 for both of them to attend each month. I was taking a class at the time called "Christian Family Finance" with Kent Hartmen at OC and I remember him talking about asking people about exchanging time or work for services when you could not afford something or if you had a talent you thought someone could use. So, I got up my courage and asked the owner if she ever did exchange work for tuition.  She asked that I set up an interview and I filled out a application and attached my resume. It went well and she graciously let me clean, pull work, run errands, transcribe, and organize. I was still in school at the time so I knew I could not work a lot but I could work while they were there doing their Kumon.  Then when I graduated in December of 2009 the owner asked if I could be the "Lobby Girl" (Answer phones, billing, scanning, convince and teach parents how to grade their child's Kumon, make sure no child dials 911 on the phone in the lobby, listen to kids about their day, their dreams and goals, laugh at all the funny things the kids say, learn about the different cultures the kids at Kumon represent and assist parents in their questions and concerns) on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-7 and the girls could stay with me while I worked and do their Kumon, homework, "help out", and hang out until I was finished at 7:00 p.m.  I loved working in the lobby (most days) and I learned so much from the wonderful owner about business, computer programs, being a boss, accountability and compassion, and how to be a better mom. However, with Chloe going to middle school next year and they fact that Tuesday and Thursday we would leave the house at 7 and not get back until 7:45, and that the girls could not participate in sports, or participate in school activities I made the tough decision to step down as the "lobby girl". I will miss it sooo much but I am happy that the owner has agreed to let me go back to working the hour the girls are there and occasionally when there is something needing done.  I really do not know where my girls would be without Kumon.  Chloe is now almost caught up to grade level but more importantly she is an independent learner. She will look at a problem and work really hard to solve it by looking at an example or using what she knows to figure out what she does not know.  Allie has never struggled in school and is working above grade level at school. She just started reading Island of the Blue Dolphins this week and she hasn’t even started third grade.

They love their Kumon family and it has been great for them to also have little jobs like sharpening pencils and stocking the Kumon store.  I hope they learned beyond the math and reading that Kumon is an amazing opportunity to help them in life and that the sacrifice of our Tuesday and Thursdays for a year and a half  has been for their future and success in life. 

This was taken at Chloe's 1st Kumon Awards
This was taken the begining of June 2011 Allie worked really hard on this test!

Lesson Learned: Do not be afraid to ask, the worst thing someone could say is no.
This is one of my favorite Kumon kids Mr. Clay Baynes!
There is not a day he has come in that he has not made me smile!

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to get caught up on reading the blogs I'm following so I'm a little behind. But, this is a really wonderful post and it's so great what you've done for your girls. This (and your other posts) is so inspiring! Just wanted to let you know.