Review of Mathnasium: A Gym For Your Child’s Brain
My youngest son had a tough year in school. This kid has always excelled at everything he does, but for whatever reason this year he got off track. It’s scary as a parent seeing that first failing grade on a report card, especially if you are doing the best you can. We had meeting after meeting with teachers, counselors, and the principal, and while he would turn things around for a little while it just wasn’t enough. We finally decided we would have to hire a math tutor.
If you’ve ever tried to find a math tutor for an elementary schooler you know how difficult that process can be. Then a friend who works as an elementary school teacher mentioned something I’d heard of several times but was skeptical of: Mathnasium. We decided to give it a try.
In Louisville there are two Mathnasium locations: Middletown and St. Matthews. We started off for two months at the Middletown location, taking him three or four times a week. At first he was super stoked- they have punch cards and give out prizes! And then it happened: the newness wore off and we were right back where we started. He was staring at his paper, playing with his pencil, and generally refusing to do anything. I took a deep breath as the center coordinator came out to talk to me.
Much to my surprise she was coming out to discuss strategies to keep things interesting for him. If he started to get distracted or bored she would have him get a drink from the water fountain. She would dial the difficulty level back a little because maybe they did too much too fast. She would come up with an additional reward to keep him motivated. She would not, however, give up on him. You have no idea what a relief it is to have the support of a dedicated educator like that!
In school the teacher is responsible for 24 or more kids. They can’t always take all the time one student needs because of the sheer numbers of the thing. At one time or another your child will likely need a little extra help.
For the summer we have switched to the St. Matthews location because it is closer for us and the traffic is better. One of the things they are doing to keep things fun for the kids over the summer is to break for 30 minutes of board games twice a day. This breaks up the monotony of studying and makes attending math tutoring in the summertime seem a lot less unfair and un-fun.
Probably the coolest thing about Mathnasium is that it is a membership-based system, like a gym. You can go whenever you want and there are no set appointments for a flat monthly fee after the assessment fee. This flexibility is a genius setup for families like ours with two working parents because it’s one less thing to cram into your already crazy schedule.
When you are getting started you will make an appointment to have your child assessed. After the assessment you will receive a paper about where your child is on grade level and where he or she is falling behind. They will then tailor their approach to close the particular skills gap your child has.
Hours for the St. Matthews location are Monday-Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The hours for the Middletown location are Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Though hours may have changed since the last time I looked – call for details.) Call (502) 409-MATH (6284) to book an appointment for an assessment.
Mathnasium is just a piece of the puzzle for my family, but I am very glad to have this resource available. We aren’t quite caught up yet and there’s still tons of work to do on other fronts, but Mathnasium helped my son finish the school year strong. We are hopeful that we are preventing the summer backslide by continuing to attend, and we hope to start off the next school year stronger than ever!
By Guest Contributor: Maggie