The ABC’s of Math Education

There’s been more addition than subtraction recently at Mathnasium, Decatur’s premier math-only learning center. Last May they doubled their space from 1,000 to more than 2,000 square feet to accommodate the increasing demand for their highly successful math instruction program. “The demand for the program has been on the rise, so we felt it would be better to have the extra space to accommodate our growth,” explains Sam Younis, center owner. “Decatur is such an incredible community with people from so many different backgrounds, but everyone here seems to place a strong emphasis on education. I feel fortunate to be located in such a dynamic community where we can serve as a hub for anyone who wants their kids to appreciate math.”

If you have a student in grades 1-12, here are a few things that Younis wants you to know about Mathnasium:

A. Any and all kids can benefit from extra math lessons.
Mathnasium isn’t just a place for kids who are struggling in math. “It’s a place for any young student who wants to gain confidence and achieve mastery in math—even straight-A students,” Younis explains. For students who are already succeeding in math, we can challenge them to expand on their current knowledge or work beyond grade level on new concepts when appropriate.

B. Math is a basic life skill, not just an academic necessity.
“Our goal is to make math make sense to kids. We aim to help kids develop strong critical thinking skills and number sense—and hopefully have some fun along the way! I think kids respond well to Mathnasium because they appreciate the dignity that they are given as learners. We address them face-to-face and challenge them to reach answers through Socratic questioning, not just drilling and rote memorization,” Younis confirms.
While a private tutor might be able to help a student squeak by on a homework assignment or test, Mathnasium aims to dig much deeper to provide a more lasting solution. Younis says“We find that kids who start off saying that they hate math or are ‘not a math person’ often become our most notable ‘mathletes.’ Once they are given the tools they need to succeed, they often change their perspective about math and school pretty radically.”

C. Customized lessons are key to student success.
Mathnasium instructors help kids in grades 1-12 understand math by teaching the way that makes sense to them. First, they use a unique assessment process to determine (with great accuracy) exactly what each child knows and what they need to learn. Next, they design a customized learning plan for teaching the concepts the student needs to master. “We are able to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses so that we can design a customized learning plan that will fill in any gaps in their math foundation while simultaneously providing the homework help and coaching that they need,” Younis explains.
The student-to-teacher ratios at Mathnasium are about 3 to 1, ensuring that each student gets the individualized attention they require to succeed. “The Mathnasium Method and its attendant teaching style and curriculum elements are the product of decades of research in math education, so we feel very confident in using it to help a wide variety of kids,” Younis concludes.

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