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News from Mathnasium of Glendale

Overcoming the Challenges of Teaching Math in Pandemic Pods

Aug 3, 2020

By Chloe, Instructor

As the school year approaches and with the threat of COVID still lingering, a lot of parents are choosing a direct solution: pandemic pods (or pandemic learning pods, micro-schools, or home learning pods), where a teacher or tutor teaches a small group of children. Whether you’re choosing the pandemic pod route because you’re foregoing traditional schooling this year, or because you’d like it to supplement your child’s learning, this solution is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to math education.

Unlike other subjects, math knowledge can’t be learned in separate chunks. The knowledge builds upon itself, and every skill you learn is utilized in future problems. If you didn’t fully understand something in chapter one, chapter two isn’t going to make any sense (and chapter ten is going to feel like reading a foreign language).

One of the lessons I learned after teaching math for a few years is that it doesn’t matter if two kids are in the same grade, or even the same class—although no fault of their own, their understanding of math concepts might be completely different. It only takes one missing piece of foundational knowledge to cause learning delays that may be difficult to identify—especially with 2-5 more kids, each with their own unique learning styles and foundational knowledge.

So… what can you do? Below, we’ve offered three possible solutions.


  1. Utilize Math Learning Software @Home

    There are quite a few resources out there for children who enjoy learning through games or activities. Whether you need to brush up on the fundamentals or explore brand new mathematical concepts, developers are constantly pushing new boundaries when it comes to methods of teaching our kids.

    If you plan to utilize a learning software, make sure you do your research to find out whether or not the program has been successful in improving math skills (outside of just the developer’s claims). Check reviews online, and then check to see if the kids in your learning pod would be interested in that particular style of game.

    NOTE: If this is the route you’re taking, also make sure that the software allows for multiple user profiles so that each student can learn at their own pace.        

  2. Set Aside Time to Work With Children Individually           mom and child

    If your schedule allows, build it in a way that creates time for each student to work on math individually and work at their own pace. Check in with them so that you can assess areas of difficulty, and then adjust your teaching style to match the learning style of each student. The most important thing is assessing whether learning is happening, which means tracking growth in individual math skills on top of the assignments or “lesson of the week.”                                                 

  3. Enlist in a Learning Center Math tutor

    Math learning centers like Mathnasium offer alternatives to at-home teaching. Each center offers its own advantages, so do your research and find the center that fits your learning needs. Mathnasium, for example, offers completely individualized learning plans for each student, along with frequent skill assessments to track progress and learning. (Schedule a free math skills assessment here!)


As we enter the 2020 school season, it’s important to know your options. Whatever method you utilize to ensure your children are receiving the best possible math education, stay safe, and good luck!