This summer, my son received sessions at Mathnasium at no charge in exchange for me sharing my honest thoughts about our experience. Check out the Mathnasium benefits we saw over the past two months.
Yesterday, my son had his first math test in school. I found out already that he got a 93% on it. I don’t normally talk about grades or test scores and the like anywhere, but this is an exception for a reason. While normally I feel this should be private and not adding competition amongst kids or creating pressure to succeed, the 93% is a notable achievement for a few reasons.
My son is in the gifted programs and has the raw ability to do well in classes, but he’s struggled throughout middle school, especially in math. While he “gets” the material in the moment, it hasn’t stuck, and that gets reflected in his grades. My husband and I have wondered whether he’d need to move down a level in math, but he continued to squeak by and qualify to stay. I don’t want my kid to just squeak by, He knows he’s not doing as well as he feels he “should” be, and that weighs on him, too.
All those considerations came into play as we enrolled him in summer math tutoring twice a week for almost two months at Mathnasium. Fall is crazy busy for us between cross country, lacrosse, tae kwon do, Scouts, and school and homework (that’s split amongst both kids – don’t panic!), but the lessons he learned seem to have stuck, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
While the 93% on his test may be the most tangible of the Mathnasium benefits we’ve seen, he gained far more than just that. Think you might want to sign up? Check out my first post sharing what you need to know about Mathnasium and why we chose to enroll.
Why get math tutoring? Four Mathnasium Benefits
The improved grades are what my husband cares most about. The school cares about that, too, as it’s the tangible evidence they can point to. They expect results, and I get it. The grades need to be there, especially with my son now in eighth grade and moving to high school where his grades will impact everything from college eligibility to scholarships and so much more.
I looked back over his test grades for last year – gotta love those online programs! – and not once did he score this high on a test. He had a 90% on a test, but nothing higher than that, including the review quiz given at the very start of last year. This test was on some conceptual math concepts new to him, and he still succeeded in taking what he learned this summer and applying it.. If this were the only of the Mathnasium benefits we saw, I’d be happy, but there’s more, too.
Better retention of material
I mentioned that my son often understands material when he’s “learning” it in school but then can’t remember the details when he gets home or has to apply it later. When he took his initial assessment test at Mathnasium, both my husband and I were shocked (and somewhat disappointed) to see the holes he had in his math understanding.
The time he spent with the tutors at Mathnasium allowed us to fill those identified holes that provide the foundation he needs to better succeed with new material. In those sessions, he mastered 13 different topics from the distributive property that comes up routinely to power of powers to algebraic vocabulary. Mathnasium allows him to go as quickly or as slowly as he needs to cover a particular topic, unlike his classroom with over 30 students that needs to move at a proscribed pace.
When we talk to him about the material, he visibly gets it more. He doesn’t forget it from day to day or session to session. Even though we went “just” twice a week, he didn’t backslide this summer and instead increased his knowledge. In my mind, strengthening that foundation was the first step to greater success in math moving forward.
Greater confidence in math skills
Honestly, as the parent of a child, his happiness is my greatest concern. When he feels like a failure because he doesn’t get it or he doesn’t believe that he can do something I know he can, it crushes my soul. I can see it in his mood and in his attitude toward math and other schoolwork. He goes into it waiting to get frustrated.
In elementary school, this was the kid who never showed his work because he did it all in his head. His first grade teacher started him on multiplication and division because he’d mastered the skills they planned to work on that year. As math got harder, he didn’t adjust and he began to think he just couldn’t do it.
His attitude has changed completely now. He doesn’t put off his math homework for the end. He doesn’t get frustrated and say he can’t do it. Instead, he woke up early Saturday morning and sat down to do his math homework before the rest of the family stirred. He now uses scratch paper to write down the steps of the problem, and he knows he can do it. That, to me, is the most priceless of all the Mathnasium benefits he could ever gain.
New study habits
My son’s study habits drove me batty. He insists he just knows it and plows right in to solving problems without ensuring he understands the material. That, of course, feeds into some of the issues I mentioned above. I’d told him until I was blue in the face that this didn’t work and wouldn’t work, but he refused to listen to me.
The tutors at Mathnasium reinforced a lot of what we tried to teach him before. The tutors insisted he write down the steps instead of doing math in his head. They required that he erase mistakes instead of writing over them. They broke down the material into chunks and then worked on the chunk, ensuring he mastered it before moving to the next set of problems.
When my son saw that this worked for him and that he learned more – and faster – using these methods, he started to embrace them. Maybe it had to come from someone not a parent, and maybe he had to see the results of enforced habits. Either way, Mathnasium opened that door to my son, and he continues to utilize this skillset.
When he works on homework, he immediately pulls out a piece of scratch paper and gets to work. He refers to the notes that he’s taken in class rather than trying to remember everything and then practicing incorrect methods and strategies. All that comes back to the fact that yesterday my son earned a 93% on his first math test of the year. He earned it, and he couldn’t be prouder.
Have you discovered Mathnasium benefits for your own child?
With summer ending, the hours for Mathnasium change. They now have Saturday hours from 9:30am to 1pm, in addition to times after school Monday through Thursday from 3pm to 7pm, as well as hours by special appointment on Friday.
Think you’re ready? Call the center in Palatine at (847) 496-4373 to schedule your assessment. You can also find them on Facebook. If you don’t live near Palatine, visit one of the 40+ Mathnasium Centers throughout Chicagoland near you to start your school year off right!