Why Mathnasium?

Apr 15, 2018 | West Lexington

by Tim Scifres


Why did you start Mathnasium?...I have heard this question many times and thought about it for countless hours over the past several years.  I am a believer in knowing why I am doing things and then figuring out what needs to be done and how to do it.  People who really understand their “why” are focused on a cause, have a passion, and are on a mission.  People can find an incredible sense of contentment and success in their hearts when they can be focused on their “why”.


My “why” starts with two great passions in my life.  One comes with the nearly 20 years of teaching high school math and a constant desire to see that moment when a student has their “aha” moment and understands a concept they have been struggling through.  I also dearly love my wife, Jessica, and my two daughters, Flora and Lilyana.  I am rarely not thinking of how I can best provide for my three amazing girls!  These two passions are my “why” for nearly everything I do every single day.  Imagine my excitement after hearing advertisements for Mathnasium on satellite radio and realizing I could pursue both of these passions at the same time!   


Little did I know how much my “why” was going to transform during this journey.  The more I became familiar with Mathnasium and the way they are focused on seeing kids learn that math can make sense, the more I became convinced this is the best math curriculum I have ever seen.  My “why” adjusted to include a deep conviction that so many kids could benefit from the confidence and the knowledge coming to Mathnasium could give them.  I always believed math could make sense to kids, but Mathnasium provided me an avenue to see kids from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds learn that math does make sense.


Since opening the center and meeting so many new students my two original “why’s” are transforming to a point where the possibilities to provide for my family, and to a certain extent the math we are teaching in our center are actually becoming secondary to “why” our Mathnasium is open. I believe our Mathnasium is open because…kids need to have a positive experience with something that has been a source of anxiety in their lives and their homes even more than they need to learn how to solve an equation.  Kids need to have a safe place where mistakes are celebrated as learning opportunities even more than they need to learn long division.  Kids need a stress-free environment where they can take a deep breath, relax, and be able to focus their energies and attentions on learning to flourish.  Kids who are best equipped to learn math are confident, comfortable, relaxed kids who feel safe, affirmed and have a freedom to make mistakes.  Cultivating this place of learning and refuge for our students is never far from my mind.


A couple of student stories stick out in my mind as a perfect picture of “why” our Mathnasium is open.  One is a student we have spotlighted on our website and Facebook page, Alex.   Alex came to Mathnasium dealing with anxieties about math that were affecting other areas of his life and turning activities that once were fun and relaxing into struggles.  As Alex’s mom told us, “He is a totally different kid, he is confident, he is relaxed, we don’t see all of that frustration anymore. They (Mathnasium) gave him so much confidence just by showing him a new way to think about math and it works.”  Sure, Alex has learned and improved his math skills over time, which is thrilling to me.  However, what truly quickens my heart is hearing Alex’s mom describe his confidence soaring to a point where he can relax and enjoy other aspects of his life.  He can be a kid and just have fun without worrying over his math homework or a math test that is coming up. 


Another student who has reshaped my “why” for opening Mathnasium was brought to my attention by a call from their grandmother recently.  This grandmother called our center to share some background on her grandchild and to share her thanks for what she has seen.  She passed along that her grandchild has never been involved in extracurricular school activities or other activities outside of school, until she began coming to Mathnasium.  After attending Mathnasium, her grandchild is now involved in several activities, including participating on a team at school.  This grandmother was so thankful to have seen the growth, maturity and new-found confidence her grandchild is displaying.  Wow...how powerful is that testimony?  And yes, that is just a piece of dust that got into my eye!


My “why” each day is overwhelmingly focused on doing everything in my power to provide a sanctuary for our kids to come and enjoy themselves while they transform their minds into becoming life-long learners and critical thinkers.  My “why” is to provide a place where kids can transform themselves into confident kids who can be relaxed enough to think their way through whatever challenges and obstacles they encounter.  My “why” is to provide a place that can serve and meet needs of families in the Lexington area to help take away frustration and anxieties due to math not making sense. 


If Mathnasium sounds like a place that can serve you and your kids by helping math make sense, please give us a call at (859) 219-0001 or visit our website.  We have year-round programs and summer programs that can will be tailored to meeting specific needs your child currently has in their math journey.  It would truly be our honor to get to know you and your family!