Learning Pods in Ontario or Mathnasium?

Aug 7, 2020 | Meadowvale

Author: Kyle Tan
Title: Executive Director, Mathnasium of Meadowvale


Amidst these trying times where the world continues to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, there is a growing trend with parents forming a small group with other like-minded parents for their children to continue their education to minimize the risk of being infected by the virus.

To learn more about what pandemic learning pods are, read the article from Global News - Canadian parents are setting up ‘pandemic pods’ during coronavirus: what are they?

How effective are learning pods and how is Mathnasium better?

It is certainly unfair to pass a judgment on learning pods given that the idea is relatively young. However, we do know that a learning pod is: 

  • Usually facilitated by an Ontario Certified Teacher at a rented space or a family's home
  • Parents contribute to providing the required equipment and technology for the teacher
  • A group session, generally more than 2 students to keep the cost low. 
  • Cost varies - can be cheap or can cost $400 or $500 per month per student, especially if it is rented space. 
  • The teacher or facilitator is responsible for teaching all subjects (English, Maths, Science, etc.) or to ensure that the children in the group are doing work.

Just like in a classroom setting, the certified teacher will have to develop a lesson plan that will be suitable for the group. The plan will have to be aligned to the grade level of the group, assuming all the children in the group are in the same grade level. Otherwise, a lesson plan will be required for each student in the group which will just contribute more work for the teacher, resulting in a higher cost for the parent.

The disadvantage of a mini classroom setting is that the pace of the materials taught in the class will be relative to the average level of understanding within the group and the number of topics to teach versus time left for the academic year. If your child has been struggling in Math or starts to struggle, chances are he/she may not get adequate attention for him/her to understand the concept. This will inadvertently encourage your child to just memorize the steps to complete the question. We all know the pros and cons of memorization. If we have been facing excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and emails at work, I highly doubt many of us can easily recall the quadratic formula or use it to calculate the rate of a falling ball from the net. 

How Mathnasium works

At Mathnasium, every new or returning student will have to take our assessment so that their learning plan can be customized at the point where Math made sense to them. If we identify a Grade 6 student with knowledge gaps at the Grade 4 Math level, we will be focusing on those Grade 4 topics. It is similar to building a brick wall with cracks and holes in the foundation, while the builder continues to stack more layers of bricks at the top. The wall will eventually collapse if the holes are not filled up.

The other advantages of Mathnasium over learning pods are:

  1. We have a system in place to assess, monitor and develop your child individually.
  2. Thousands of materials with more than 39 years of research readily available. We do not have to spend time researching online for materials or to produce ad-hoc questions.
  3. Your child will receive a 1 on 1 instruction whenever he/she needs help in explanation or struggles with a question.
  4. All of my instructors at Mathnasium of Meadowvale are not just vetted on their math skills, but also on their ability to communicate and engage with the student. We certainly do not need an astrophysicist to give a lecture on how important Math is to Grade 2 or 6 students. These students will more likely respond when the instructor shares a common interest with them. (Fortnite, Hockey, popular Tik Tok videos, best place for ice cream, etc.
  5. We are fully aware of how each Math topic in each grade level contributes to your child's success in Grade 9 and onwards. For example, the ability to reason in groups will help set the foundation for multiplication, division, problem-solving, and even factoring a quadratic equation in grade 10. 
  6. and lastly, we make math fun with math games, monthly team points, and an attractive rewards cabinet! Why choose boring and repetitive work when you can develop your child's math interest and math skills at the same time?

If you wish to learn more about Mathnasium and if we can help your child, I to invite you to schedule a no-obligation assessment. While your child attempts the assessment, we will walk you through our methods, the program, and what you can expect from us. At the end of the session, we will review the results with you even if you wish to keep your options open. We do not believe in pressure sales.

Mathnasium of Meadowvale now offers both online and in-centre instructions. You will have to option the choice whether to have the assessment online or at the centre.

To Schedule Your Child's Risk-Free Assessment