Math Confidence Starts Here

Apr 18, 2023 | Midlothian

At Mathnasium, we give children the power to achieve excellence–in math and in life. This may seem like an exaggeration. After all, we’re only a math company. How can a team of math instructors, no matter how dedicated, make that much of a difference in students’ lives?

It all comes down to how we teach, and what we teach. We don’t teach memorization; we teach confidence. Bob Cunningham, EdM, writes that “When kids are confident and secure about who they are, they're more likely to have a growth mindset. That means they can motivate themselves to take on new challenges and cope with and learn from mistakes. They're also more likely to stand up for themselves and ask for help when they need it.” ( He also notes “many kids have trouble building and maintaining positive self-esteem, for lots of reasons. One common reason is when kids struggle in school.” An area students commonly struggle in…math.

Sites such as the Nation’s Report Card provide data on how many students are performing at or above their grade level in topics such as math and reading. Children who are shown over and over again that they’re not “succeeding” in math based on homework and tests are likely to have low confidence in this subject - but so are the kids in the 26-36% of students who are testing at or above grade level. Good grades don’t equal math confidence. If your child is achieving A’s but is stressing about their assignments, lacking self-motivation to explore further, or breaking down over small mistakes - that could be a sign that they lack confidence.

How Does Mathnasium Teach Confidence?

Liz Greene (Child Mind Institute) and Heidi Lynn Borst (The Washington Post) have identified the following as small ways to build confidence in kids:

  • Make time for play
  • Identify specific improvements
  • Provide children with small jobs that allow them to display their skills
  • Give them your attention
  • Let kids problem-solve on their own
  • Provide encouragement often
  • Express unconditional acceptance

Confidence Builder Mathnasium's Approach
Make time for play Mathnasium encourages students to explore math through a combination of mental, visual, verbal, tactile, and written techniques. We don’t look at math problems as a static thing present only on a test or worksheet, we teach students to play with numbers and develop number sense. We also leverage logic and puzzle based games throughout the year and during the summer!
Identify specific improvements The first thing any Mathnasium student does is take a Math Skills Assessment. This allows our team of math experts to identify any gaps in a student’s mathematical foundation, and to set a specific goal for improvement. Our assessments are completely free - and even if you don’t enroll you’ll still walk out of the appointment with a list of the math topics your student needs to focus on to become stronger.
Provide children with small jobs that allow them to display their skills Each Mathnasium student is equipped with a curriculum that is personalized based on their Math Skills assessment. Topics are broken down into small, achievable, pieces so students can develop mastery and celebrate successes often!
Give them your attention We teach in a 4:1 student to teacher ratio. This allows us to give each child the attention they need, without hovering unnecessarily.
Let kids problem solve on their own Mathnasium curriculum is built in a way that allows students to learn topics through a combination of instructor-led and self-driven instruction. Our instruction team is trained in the Socratic Method, which allows students to feel supported while still solving their own problems.
Provide encouragement often Through regular check-ins during their visit, rewards incentives, page goals, and other interactions, we constantly provide encouragement to our students. Our kids are rockstars!
Express unconditional acceptance If a student makes mistakes during their session, that’s okay - and they know that. All we ask is that students try their best, and we’ll handle the rest.


Contact your local Mathnasium Team to learn more!