Skip to main content

West Valley City Journal

Local Mathnasium center offers after-school math help for kids

May 01, 2019 02:54PM ● By Justin Adams

Mathnasium in West Jordan has instructors who help kids learn and have fun. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

For students who struggle with math, it can feel like each day in school is a losing battle. Molly Molenaar, the owner and director of Mathnasium of West Jordan/Taylorsville, has a lot of sympathy for kids who feel like they don’t understand math at school and also for their parents.  

“Kids come to us pretty beaten down because they don't understand why they can't keep up in class. Parents are exhausted from fighting with their kids to get the homework done. At Mathnasium, we start with a free assessment about where the child’s math gaps are,” Molenaar said. 

The information from that assessment is for the student to keep, whether or not they enroll. For students who enroll at Mathnasium, a world-wide educational franchise developed over 35 years ago, it is a step on the path towards confidence and proficiency. 

After the assessment, instructors create an individualized learning plan. “We create a custom binder for each child, and provide all the materials needed: pencils, scratch paper, etc. Kids come in, check in, grab their binder with their specific learning plan and find a seat. Students stay for 60 to 90 minutes based on age. Their time is divided between their Mathnasium learning plan and any homework they brought with them,” said Molenaar. “And parents are welcome to stay, but they don’t have to.”

But what about those kids who “just don’t like math?” Mathnasium developers believed that a student's dislike of math stemmed from the frustration and embarrassment of not understanding it. In other words, it was a learned behavior that could be unlearned. 

“Becoming confident and proficient in math takes time and commitment just like practicing to become a better soccer player or piano player,” Molenaar said. 

Instructors at Mathnasium are professionals. “Our instructors are university students majoring in math or math related fields, current math teachers and college professors. One of our instructors is passionate about helping kids prepare for the ACT and we have developed a program for the math portion of it,” Molenaar said. 

Molenaar believes in Mathnasium’s role in the community. “We specialize in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. We break down math concepts into baby steps and reteach the concepts that, for whatever reason, they missed at earlier stages of their education,” said Molenaar.

In addition, entire schools can get involved with Mathnasium. “We want to partner with schools, teachers and PTAs as much as we can as a helpful resource. We are also starting to have math nights at local elementary schools as part of STEM fairs,” Molenaar said. “We have a Mathnasium STEM night planned at a school in January.”

For those families who make the commitment to progress, Mathnasium is there to support them, whether it’s for a student who is behind or one who is doing well and wants to get ahead. “A student who is one to two years behind in math can jump a grade level every six months if they come in at least twice a week. Most of our kids stay with us at least six months and many stay up to two years,” Molenaar said. 

She adds that she wants families to be able to afford the help. “We don't require a contract and we offer discounts,” Molenaar said. “We don't offer a quick fix; we aren't in the business of putting a Band-Aid on the problem. We want to see kids succeed.”  

Mathnasium of West Jordan/Taylorsville is located at 6357 S. Redwood Rd. (in the same complex as Great Harvest Bread Co.)  For more information, or to meet with a Mathnasium instructor for a free assessment, call Molly at (801) 904-2584 or send her an email at [email protected].