By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Gyms offer memberships to keep your body fit. Mathnasium offers memberships to keep your math skills fit. Mathnasium has been expanding across the United States for the last 18 years since first opening in California. Northborough welcomed the newest franchise in Massachusetts on Jan. 6 at 10010-G Shops Way.
“The overall mission is to change the way kids think about math,” said franchise owner Pete Nelson. “The Mathnasium Method builds confidence and teaches math to every kid individually.”
Online virtual math sessions are being offered to offer support of skills, help with homework, and structure while at home until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. After that, students have the option to return for in-center instruction or continue with the Mathnasium@home approach.
Currently, the Northborough location has six tutors on staff who instruct students one on one. Tutors rotate in a team-teaching approach, which brings different voices and energy to the instruction.
The monthly membership offers students in grades 2-12 the ability to return during the week as often as needed on a drop-in basis. Each workout session concentrates on general skills, test preparation and homework support in a fun, interactive format.
Initially, each student is assessed to get a sense of the current skill level and to identify the areas of strength and the areas where there may be gaps that need to be strengthened. A customized learning plan is created.
“It depends on what’s best for them,” said Nelson.
At the elementary level the focus is on numerical fluency, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills.
“It’s not about memorization,” said Nelson. “It’s about understanding the problem and having the ability and strategies to solve it. Struggling kids experience frustration and lose confidence. We build on skills and help them feel good about math, feel confident and get better at it. It’s done in a fun, relaxing environment with the focus on skill improvement.”
Fractions, decimals, percentages and word problems are highlighted at the middle school level and the high school focus is on algebra, geometry, a mix of ACT and SAT test prep, and keeping up with homework.
“In addition to math instruction and homework support, every session is kid friendly and includes games and activities to keep interest high,” said Nelson. “The whole team of tutors are behind the students. There is a lot of communication with families and teachers, if requested.”
Mathnasium is able to provide a deeper challenge for those students who may want to explore various topics deeper, and will also work with students over the summer to keep math skills strong and prepare for the next grade level.
Owning the franchise brings Nelson back to his original roots. He is a former high school math teacher. The tutors on staff have backgrounds in math and every instructor has experience as a tutor or teacher. Each participates in a six week Mathnasium training program.
Nelson wants students to know that math can be fun!
An official ribbon cutting for the new location will be later in the spring when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.