HIGH POINT — When Chris Hofer and his family moved from New Jersey to the Triad a decade ago, he figured his children would do well in school, particularly in math.
“I learned my kids had just missed out on math, and that really bothered me to the core,” said Hofer, who taught the subject for 14 years. “They struggled. They were really behind their peers, and that was an eye opener.”
He turned to Mathnasium, a national network of learning centers that works with students “from second grade through calculus,” he said.
He bought the Greensboro franchise in 2009 and recently opened a High Point Mathnasium at the Palladium shopping center.
Mathnasium has grown to more than 700 locations worldwide, based on a model founded by a teacher in California named Larry Martinek, who devised a teaching method that seeks to hone students’ underlying skills, rather than rely on memorization and repetition.
“We teach children math in a way that makes sense to them. Math is about focus. In our age of growing technology, we're losing the ability to focus,” Hofer said. “They come for one-hour sessions eight to 10 times a month. School is going so quickly and teachers are being asked to do more with less time and more students.”
Hofer employs 12 tutors between the High Point and Greensboro sites, primarily college and graduate students. They work with public, private, charter and homeschooled students in small groups, he said.
“We're a supplemental education program. We work with school systems. We’re not in any way competition,” he said.
The goal is to fill in students’ “learning gaps,” rather than simply helping them with their homework or prepare for upcoming tests.
“The schools have to move at a certain pace whether students have comprehension or not,” Hofer said. “I get to stop and make sure each student has complete understanding.”
He said it can take a few months for some students to develop the skill sets that allow them to get over their fear of math.
“Most students come in and don’t think they can do it, but once you get that tiny spark and they get the confidence they need, they figure out they can do math,” said Assistant Director Angie Moore.
The cost of Mathnasium’s services includes a “lifetime assessment” fee of $150 and a registration charge of $49 for all students.
A 12-month membership costs $265 per month, while a six-month membership is $285 per month. Hofer said month-to-month service is available at a rate of $305.
Mathnasium of Greensboro is located at 1604 Highwoods Blvd. The phone number is 336-855-5558
Mathnasium of High Point is located at 5872 Samet Drive, Suite 127. The phone number is 336-882-0378.
- BY PAT KIMBROUGH ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
The High Point Enterprise