For a child’s overall pattern of math education, where does Mathnasium fit in? Schools are the primary education provider; Mathnasium is a supplemental education provider. The distinction is that the primary provider issues grades, whereas Mathnasium does not. We affect their grades in a positive way but our role is to supplement what children are learning in school.
As a supplemental education provider, Mathnasium is structured as a Learning Center rather than as a tutorial service. A tutor’s job is to help a student get through the night’s homework and Friday’s test. Mathnasium does provide a degree of support in terms of homework and upcoming tests. Our primary role, however, as a Learning Center is to delve into the reasons why tonight’s homework is such a huge issue. Usually it is a series of knowledge gaps that students have incurred over the years that are contributing to or causing the homework hassle and the frustration and confusion.
Nearly every student we assess has some gaps. They are anywhere from six months to several years behind where they should be according to their grade level. These days, a lot of math teachers don’t have the time to even go through the entire syllabus for the year. For example, teachers in Algebra I courses who take time to remediate will spend a lot of that time covering Pre-Algebra skills, losing time to teach Algebra skills. Other teachers don’t take time to remediate. They teach the pure Algebra I class. In both situations, students who already have gaps in their learning wind up with even bigger gaps.
As a Learning Center, our role at Mathnasium is strategic: a long-term proposition. Our job is to ferret out those gaps and then supplement students’ education by filling in those gaps over time. This is why our assessment process is so rigorous and so important; it helps us pinpoint these gaps and provides us with a foundation on which we build the student’s individual program at Mathnasium.
It’s important to keep this long-term objective in mind. If we just worked on tonight’s homework, we might get through it and help the student come up with the answers but we wouldn’t be teaching these children anything in the long run. That is one distinction between a tutoring service and our role as a Learning Center. We are not here to parallel exactly what’s going on in school; we are here primarily to supplement it. Note that we provide time in each session to discuss students’ homework and help them to be prepared to finish the work at home.
It’s critical that parents understand Mathansium’s primary purpose as a Learning Center. Quite simply, we don’t offer a quick fix. In extreme cases, the student may be so far behind that it is not possible to salvage this year’s math grade. We must focus on getting the child caught up, sometimes at the expense of this year’s grade.
Ultimately, taking the long-term approach with our students will offer them the most benefit. At it’s very core, Mathnasium’s mission is to offer a lasting solutions to kids’ math problems. This is the place where kids come to solve their problems in math. It’s when we function as a learning center - not as a tutorial service - that we get a remarkable increase in student performance.
Our founder, Larry Martinek said, "Kids don't hate math. They hate feeling frustrated and intimidated by math." If your child is struggling with math or tells you they hate math, schedule a no risk assessment and let Mathnasium of El Segundo pinpoint what their gaps are. There is no cost upfront to you for this assessment. Call us today 310-616-3181