Feb 9, 2018 | West Lexington

by Tim Scifres


Winter has been harsh here in Lexington, KY and many other places across the country.  The cold, snow, ice and rain have made for a few unplanned days out of school and some scary heating bills.  I was struck by something I saw the other day while driving around town; there are a lot more potholes dotting the roads than were present just a few short weeks ago!  Winter has definitely taken a toll on our roads already. 

What kinds of thoughts and emotions do all these potholes bring to your mind?  I have a few pothole thoughts, I am spending more time and energy having to look out for the next pothole that needs to be dodged.  I am being forced to slow down at times to navigate around these ever-appearing holes in the road.  It is just more difficult, more time consuming, more energy intensive, and more frustrating for me to drive when the road is dotted with potholes.  I sometimes find myself wishing I could have taken another route in search of smoother roads.  I also remember some of the potholes I didn’t see and the immediate thoughts knowing I had just damaged my car.  Thoughts of dirt roads that have been washed out and are more pothole than road come into my mind as well.  Potholes just plain and simple make driving more challenging and more difficult. 

For the past several years I have been thinking about potholes in my high school math classroom and in my Mathnasium Learning Center.  I see students daily who are lacking some prerequisite skills (the “potholes”) that are needed to complete the math work sitting in front of them.  I see students in an algebra 1 class trying to solve equations, but they get slowed down because they are lacking basic multiplication or division skills.  I see students in a geometry class who get sidetracked on problems dealing with ratios (fractions) because the very sight of a fraction brings feelings of anxiety.  I see students in calculus classes who are struggling mightily with the class because they are lacking in some basic algebra skills, not because they don’t understand the calculus concepts.  All of these students I am picturing are capable of excelling in their current math class, but are getting stopped by these “potholes” of missing skills.  They are dealing with the same frustration, stress and anger we deal with trying to drive down a street filled with potholes.  I see the complete lack of confidence in their faces each and every day.  I see students who need a way to fill in some of these math potholes.  They just need some help in smoothing out their math road, which can help students see that they can actually enjoy and succeed at math!  I have gone from heartbreak to joy in seeing students make this transition. 

Our mission at Mathnasium is to make math make sense to kids.  Another way to translate this mission is Mathnasium is here to help our students fill in their math potholes and build a smooth ride through math class!  That is the reason why we exist and are here.  We approach this mission each and everyday by giving our students more strategies and tools to put in their toolbox so they can think their way through the math that is set before them.  Also, in order to specifically meet the needs of each of our students we customize our plan to help each student.  Every plan we put in place is built solely for your student, with their needs as our driving force.  The only reason for our doors to be open is to help your student smooth their math journey every day we are fortunate enough to spend some time with them.

As a math teacher and a Mathnasium owner, I can think of very few things in my life that are as fulfilling as seeing a child transition from walking into my classroon or our Center with trepidation and hopelessness on their face to students walking confidently and boldly into the same classroom or the same Center with a smile on their face.  Is there anything better than seeing a child who knows they have a smooth road ahead because they have confidence in their abilities to think their way through the hills and obstacles they will come across? 

We would be truly honored to help your student fill in some of the math potholes they may be dodging in their math class.  If you have any questions about how Mathnasium can help meet your child’s math needs and smooth the road they are traveling on their math journey, please feel free to call us at (859) 219-0001 or you can contact us through our website at mathnasium.com/westlexinton.  We would love the opportunity to serve you and your child.  I hope to meet you soon!