- Learner - Best Private Math Tutoring
- Best Brains - Good for Common Core Emphasis
- Kumon - Good for the Fundamentals
If your child has struggled with mathematics at some point during their academic career, know that they are not alone. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment, American students rank significantly below average in math comprehension. Of all the highest-achieving math students across the globe, from kindergarten through high school, only 8.8% are from the United States.
Students find math challenging for various reasons. Some find the abstract nature of the subject difficult to grasp, while others lack confidence in their abilities. Thankfully, there are numerous resources for struggling students. One of the most beneficial tools that students can turn to is math tutoring services.
In this article, we will examine three of the most popular math tutoring companies: Best Brains, Learner, and Kumon, and share why we believe Learner’s modern, personalized approach best meets the needs of students today. Learning more about the tutoring services’ benefits, cost, structure, and tutors will help you decide which platform will best help your child achieve their academic goals.
What is Kumon?
Toru Kumon founded the well-known tutoring service Kumon more than 65 years ago. He initially created this now-renowned platform to help his own son excel in his studies. Currently, there are more than 1,500 Kumon learning centers in the United States and more than 25,000 locations scattered across the globe. Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked Kumon as the #1 education franchise for 18 consecutive years.
Kumon offers both math and reading programs for kindergarten through high school-aged students. This platform revolves around a teaching style called the “Kumon method,” where students are given limited guidance so they can complete assignments on their own. Kumon designed this system to create an environment where every child has an equal opportunity to learn, regardless of age, school, or learning style.
- Established and structured curriculum
- Offers math and reading lessons
- Relatively affordable
- Offers in-person and virtual tutoring
- Relatively unqualified tutors
- Not designed for students who need one-on-one assistance
- Does not promote a deep understanding of mathematical concepts
Kumon is a renowned tutoring platform famous for its drills and repetitive math and reading exercises. This self-learning system creates an environment where every child has an equal opportunity to learn, regardless of age, school, or learning style.
What is Best Brains?
Launched in 2011, Best Brains offers small-group tutoring programs in math, English, and general knowledge for students aged 3 to 14. This decade-old platform also provides test prep for the SAT, ACT, and CogSAT, a math program called Abacus for students 7 and older, and a special needs program for students with learning differences. Best Brains is a newer, smaller tutoring franchise with only 150 in-person tutoring centers nationwide.
Contrary to Kumon, Best Brains takes pride in its non-repetitive approach to learning. The curriculum is unique to Best Brains and attempts to better align with the same concepts children learn in school. Best Brain’s primary mission is to help your child better understand math concepts, complete homework more efficiently, and achieve higher test scores and grades.
- Offers small group courses
- Offers classes in math, English, test prep, and other subjects
- Only hires board-certified teachers
- Most programs are not offered to high school students
- Fewer programs and less accessibility
Best Brain’s primary mission is to help your child better understand math concepts, complete homework more efficiently, and achieve higher test scores and grades. The curriculum is unique to Best Brains and was designed to align with the same concepts children learn in school.
What Is Learner?
Founded by passionate and experienced educators, Learner is relatively new to the math tutoring industry. However, it has quickly made a name for itself with its industry-leading satisfaction rates and innovative tutoring model, which is driven by its matching system, one-on-one lessons, and customized math curriculums.
Unlike the other two tutoring services in this round-up, Learner functions solely as an online tutoring platform. Each lesson takes place in a virtual classroom, which includes learning tools such as screen sharing, a whiteboard, and a recording device. These innovative features allow students to experience a highly interactive and engaging math tutoring experience with the best possible tutors from the comfort of their own homes.
- One-on-one, customized lessons
- Innovative learning tools
- Expert instructors strictly vetted
- Matching system
- Specializes in math but offers lessons in a wide variety of subjects
- Customer satisfaction guarantee
- Only offers online tutoring
- Does not provide pricing information upfront
Despite being relatively new to the tutoring world, Learner has quickly made a name for itself through its industry-leading satisfaction rates and tutoring model, which combines one-on-one math tutoring, customized lesson plans, and a student-tutor matching system.
Key Benefits Comparison
Every tutoring platform you encounter will offer different approaches to instruction as well as unique advantages. Here’s how Kumon, Best Brains, and Learner compare.
There are many benefits to the self-learning style known as the “Kumon Method.” The lack of hand-holding means that students are forced to solve problems on their own and consequently build confidence in their abilities. Kumon’s instructors believe that the more “ah-ha” moments a student experiences after independently solving a problem, the more they will believe they can solve similar problems in the future.
In some ways, Kumon’s learning center setup, with one instructor and numerous students in a single room, mimics a traditional classroom environment. If students have a question or struggle with a particularly difficult math problem, they must ask for help in front of a group of peers. One of the reasons students fall behind in math class is that they are too embarrassed to admit when they don’t understand something. Kumon tries to help students get in the habit of asking for help, a practice that will help them succeed for the rest of their academic careers and beyond.
Lastly, Kumon boasts a solid success rate. According to its website, Kumon students’ skills were over a year ahead of the national average. Kumon math students also tend to score 5.27 points higher on the math SAT section on average.
Best Brains Benefits
One of the most significant benefits of Best Brains’ program is that students receive instruction in small group courses that align with the Common Core standards. This structure means that the weekly content students learn likely aligns with their school's curriculum.
The small group classes usually have five students for every instructor, who is a board-certified teacher. While this is less personalized and interactive than private math tutoring, students nonetheless receive more individual attention than they would in a traditional classroom setting.
Parents have had relatively positive things to say about the Best Brains tutoring service. In Best Brains’ end-of-year survey in 2020, 96% of parents reported improvement on their child’s report cards. In addition, over 90% of parents reported that their children participated more in class and felt more confident in their mathematical abilities.
There are many ways students benefit from Learner’s online tutoring platform, but the three most significant advantages are its one-on-one format, customized lesson plans, and student-tutor matching system.
Private tutoring grants students the undivided attention of their teacher. This allows instructors to adjust their pace according to student progress, slowing down or speeding up when necessary and making time for questions and clarifying concepts.
Private tutors can also provide students with immediate feedback. This allows students to adjust their approach instantly, leading to faster progress and increased confidence. And when studies show a direct correlation between confidence and academic success, this level of encouragement and communication could not be more essential.
Learner strongly prioritizes giving tutors the opportunity to create customized curriculums for their students. Each student will have a different foundation in every subject depending on what they have learned in school and where their natural skills lie. Private tutoring allows instructors to cater each lesson plan to their student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles, skipping over the content they are already familiar with and honing in on the areas that need the most improvement.
Lastly, Learner’s built-in matching system means that every student is matched with a complementary tutor in Learner’s expert network. A compatible student-tutor pairing fosters a safe learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, and opening up about issues they are having, among other things.
Tutoring Services Comparison
We’ve included an analysis of the different tutoring services of Kumon, Best Brains, and Learner so that you can go in knowing exactly what to expect.
Kumon Tutoring Service
After taking a short placement test, instructors assign students to a starting class of worksheets. Students are typically placed in a slightly lower starting class to build confidence and become familiar with the worksheet format. Only after a student has mastered a particular subject will they move on to the next worksheet class.
For example, students must complete 200 worksheets on basic addition before progressing to the subtraction level. While this structure encourages focused concentration and mastering basic math skills, some parents worry that this approach doesn’t result in a deep understanding of problem-solving.
Students are seated in a large classroom with one administrator and a number of “helpers.” Students usually attend two weekly sessions at their local Kumon center and are expected to complete homework daily. This requirement means that Kumon’s style of instruction involves more parental support than other tutoring programs, as parents must oversee and grade homework sheets. Therefore, if you already struggle to find time to help your child with their math homework from school, Kumon may not be the right fit for you.
Best Brains Tutoring Service
In contrast, Best Brains distinguishes itself from Kumon by emphasizing its “non-repetitive” interactive teaching methods. Classes are held once a week, either online or in person. Best Brains does not offer private tutoring; instead, students are placed in a group class of no more than five people.
In each weekly small group instruction session, teachers focus on one concept, and students are assigned a homework packet to complete. These homework assignments reinforce the concepts taught in the lesson and allow the Best Brains team to ensure that students understand and retain that content.
Best Brains requires minimal involvement from parents and families. Parents might need to encourage their children to do their daily homework assignments, but they are not responsible for grading or checking their work. Best Brains expects students to dedicate 10 minutes per subject daily to complete homework assignments on time. Every week, students will receive a weekly report in their “Progress Book,” which parents must review and sign off on.
Learner’s Tutoring Service
Every new Learner student begins by taking a 3-minute online survey. The information disclosed in this survey provides Learner’s matching specialists with the insight they need to pair students with complementary tutors in their network. These pairings are based on factors such as schedule, subject-matter expertise, personality, learning style, teaching philosophy, and more.
It typically takes Learner’s team 72 hours to match students with a tutor. Once they have been assigned an instructor, students can book their first lesson. Then, tutors will assess and evaluate a student's current foundation in a subject, honing in on their learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. This information allows tutors to build out a customized curriculum perfectly catered to the student.
Every lesson takes place in a virtual classroom equipped with video, audio, screen sharing, file sharing, and an interactive whiteboard, which allows students and tutors to collaborate on homework problems and test questions. Each lesson is recorded for safety purposes, but these recordings also double as study tools that students can use when they need a content refresher.
If you are dissatisfied with your learning experience for any reason, students and parents can reach out to the Learner Team for support. Learner will match you with a new tutor for free and give you a refund for your first lesson.
When you’re researching different tutoring platforms, it’s critical that the instructors working with your child are vetted for expertise and credentials. Find out how these companies decide which tutors they hire.
Kumon classes typically have one administrator and a handful of “helpers,” who are typically high school and college students. It’s important to remember that Kumon functions under a self-learning system. Because of this, it's less important for the "tutors" to have teaching credentials or knowledge of the subject matter since their main job is supervising and answering questions when needed, not teaching math.
In addition, even though Kumon offers its services to middle and high school students, most of the children who participate are elementary school students. Therefore, high school and college students will likely be able to help with basic math and reading questions involving concepts like addition and subtraction.
Best Brains Tutors
On the other hand, all of Best Brains’ instructors are board-certified at the state and national levels. According to Best Brains’ website, the company only hires board-certified educators to ensure their instructors have years of real-world experience and the knowledge required to teach students what they need to succeed at school. Best Brains’ also claims that each instructor receives training to assess students' educational needs.
It’s important to note that students work with the same instructors every week at Best Brains. This consistency allows teachers to monitor student progress and ensure their problem areas are continually addressed.
Similar to Best Brains, Learner students are matched with the same long-term tutor who they work with for the duration of their time with this service. Learner strives to match students with complementary instructors so strong student-tutor relationships can be fostered over time.
Every tutor at Learner is rigorously vetted through interviews and background checks. Each tutor must also conduct mock tutoring sessions in front of a panel to ensure that they possess subject-matter expertise and exemplary teaching skills, including being patient, motivating, empathetic, communicative, and enthusiastic with their students.
All of Learner’s tutors have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university and several years of teaching experience in the subject they specialize in. Only 5% of applicants are accepted into Learner’s network, so you can be sure you’re working with only the best possible instructors.
Depending on your budget, you may struggle to balance long-term help for your child against the cost of tutoring. See how the prices of each platform compare below to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money.
Kumon costs will depend on the location of your learning center and the subject matter your child is studying. Kumon typically charges students $100 to $200 per month. If your child is in high school or learning more advanced material, or if they participate in Kumon’s reading math programs, they may be charged a higher rate.
These fees cover two weekly sessions at a Kumon center and the homework worksheets that students are given to complete at home.
Best Brains Cost
One of the downsides of Best Brains’ is that it is difficult to determine the program’s cost from the information provided online. According to some sources, prices differ from location to location. On average, rates are $250 per month for students to take classes in all core subjects.
According to the Best Brains’ website, students are not locked into any long-term packages with this tutoring program, and payments are made monthly.
Like many online tutoring services, Learner charges students by the hour. Tutoring rates start at $60 per hour, but each tutor’s rate differs depending on their education, teaching experience, and certifications. Prices also vary depending on the package students sign up for and the intensity of the tutoring program. If you reach out to Learner’s team, they can help you find a package that fits within your tutoring budget.
The customer satisfaction guarantee covers the $25 introductory trial that each student receives. If students are dissatisfied with their first session, they will receive a full refund and be matched with a new tutor for free.
Why Choose Learner
Even though Kumon and Best Brains are well-known tutoring services with established track records, neither can compare with Learner's model, which combines complementary student-tutor matching with private tutoring and customized curriculums.
The core of Learner’s mission is a commitment to personalized education, and our model revolves around unlocking a student’s full academic potential. Every step of the Learner experience is customized to meet a student’s needs, from matching each student with a tutor who aligns with their learning style, personality, and educational background to creating a curriculum that aligns with their subject matter strengths and weaknesses.
Even though Learner tutoring is a fully virtual experience, that doesn’t make it any less engaging and interactive. Our platform leverages online learning tools such as interactive whiteboards and screen sharing to create an immersive environment that sparks curiosity, cultivates critical thinking, and nurtures a deep understanding of mathematics the same way an in-person classroom would.
With numerous math tutoring platforms on the market, choosing the one that best supports your child's education can be challenging. But with high-quality tutors, personalized lesson plans, affordable prices, and a customer satisfaction guarantee, Learner meets all of the key criteria for the best arithmetic program to help your child excel in math.
Learner has the added bonus of also being an online tutoring platform designed with the modern world in mind. Not only is online tutoring more convenient and affordable for families, but it also gives you easy access to experts from all across the country. If you’re ready to help your child realize their full potential, take Learner’s quiz to match with a private math tutor today!