Back on Track (One Quadratic Equation at a Time)

You might have heard the collective groan that went up across Fayette County back in August 2007.

It was coming from many of Fayette’s parents and their school-age children as they faced the real-world outcomes of the Georgia Department of Education’s decision to implement a new system of teaching math.

Under the new system, referred to as a math “integrated curriculum,” algebra, geometry and statistics are no longer taught as individual subjects.  Instead, elements of each are brought into a single math class.

With abstract math concepts being taught at earlier ages, elementary students were suddenly learning complex geometry, and older students were being taught concepts that were previously taught in much later grades, such as Algebra II concepts—which had traditionally been taught to older high school students—now being taught to all 9th graders.  The middle schoolers were given a series of workbooks instead of textbooks, a move that increased the confusion for some parents and kids.

With the curriculum and format changing so drastically, many parents—even those who’d considered themselves pretty good at math—were unable to assist their children and feeling frustrated. As Kevin Thoman, owner of Peachtree City’s Mathnasium Learning Center, explains, “It was difficult for many of the kids who were usually good in math, and the kids who were already struggling with math were now struggling even worse.”

Luckily, the certified instructors at Mathnasium were ready to help.  While Mathnasium has a standard curriculum in place they’ve used successfully for the past thirty years, Thoman and his instructors quickly adapted to the new integrated curriculum. “It was great, because we were able to help students on two levels.  We’d assist them with the immediate homework problems they were struggling with—what we call short-term issues—and we taught them the concepts and fundamentals that would help them in the long term as well.”

Thoman, a longtime Peachtree City resident and Georgia Tech graduate, found that his extensive involvement with Fayette schools as a tutor and partner in education was a tremendous asset. “Because I had been helping Fayette students with homework and CRCT practice, and I already had good working relationships with the schools’ counselors, teachers, and principals,” he explains. After the integrated curriculum was implemented, Thoman’s close relationship to the schools enabled him to get the most effective results for struggling students. “We’re all on the same page,” he says. “The schools understand what we’re doing, we understand what they’re doing, and everyone benefits.”

As for the parents who turned to Mathnasium for help, you might have heard their sighs of relief.


Mathnasium of Peachtree City

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Mathnasium has helped hundreds of students in the area further develop their math skills and increase their grades and confidence. Whether it is homework help, foundational support, or standardized test preparation (SAT, ACT, or CRCT), Mathnasium has a program in place to give students the support they require to excel in the classroom.

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