Learning skills before they are taught in school.
It seemed like an ordinary day for 2nd grader Ryan when he went into class and his teacher gave him a test. Unknown to him, the test he was given was for the 2nd Grade Continental Mathematics League. It was not until Ryan got his test results back and went home that he was surprised with a certificate that congratulated him for winning 3rd place in a math competition he was not even aware he participated in!
Ryan and his younger sister Mia have been enrolled in Math Genie since the Spring of 2019. Originally, mom started them off in our Reading and Writing program and later joined our Math program as well. Being an immigrant, she was surprised that the schools here were not teaching as much as she expected. Her goal was to get him help, prevent him from falling behind in school, and then get him ahead.
Right now we are seeing that kids are falling 1-2 years behind in school because of the pandemic. What is amazing is that Ryan is doing just the opposite and is learning things months before they are even covered in school! Ryan used to tell his mom that he hated math, but now mom has seen such a change where Ryan now says he loves math class. He is getting A’s on his tests, he is confident in class, and is ahead of his peers where when they are struggling to learn a new concept, it is just a review for Ryan because he learned it at Math Genie 4 months prior. Even during the pandemic and switch to online learning, Ryan continued to sprint ahead in school when other kids were struggling and falling behind.
We interviewed Ryan and his mom and the following is a lightly edited transcript.
Thank you for coming Ryan, what is this?
Ryan: it is the certificate from the Mathematics league I won at my school, I got third place.
What was it? Can you describe it to me?
Ryan: So first my teacher gave me a test, I thought it was just a normal test. So when I was done with the test, I got my test scores, came home, and I got this certificate that says Continental Mathematics League that this certifies that Ryan a student at Clark Mills School has participated in the 2nd grade mathematics competition with distinction and that I got third place.
Mom, I want to ask you, how was Ryan before he came to Math Genie?
Mom: Well he did start very young, so we started him off with reading and writing and then we moved on to math because we wanted that extra help so he wasn't lagging behind or anything.
When you signed up, what were you looking for?
Mom: I didn’t want him to lag behind in class
How has your experience been since you enrolled?
Mom: Very good
What do you think are the high and low points?
Mom: Well I like the fact that you guys are in a small little nook (physical location of building). High points are that you guys were very accommodating during the pandemic. The fact that we are still able to have classes and do virtual was very helpful because school wasn’t really school during this whole situation.
This is pretty amazing because what has happened is during the pandemic all the new kids we are getting they are 1-2 years behind. The older they are, it is worse. What happens is either you are learning or you are falling behind. It is not like the students stay where they are.
Can you talk to me about his study habits, his work ethics, how he feels about math and reading?
Mom: He loves math. He used to say I hate math but now he is saying he loves math. He has been getting 95-100s on all his exams in every single topic and he was just telling me that all the other kids are struggling. What he is doing in school right now is actually old because he learned it here about 3-4 months ago. It surprised me that all he was doing in school was multiplication, like is this it? This is what you were doing the whole school? The only way he doesn’t get that is if he doesn't concentrate. He knows the material, he is way ahead and he was telling me that kids are struggling with distributive property.
Ryan: I think distributive property is really easy for me.
What else, how do you compare yourself with other kids in your class?
Ryan: So I do know division and I actually don’t know long division that well but I am still practicing doing it.
Are the students interested in the class?
Ryan: They haven’t started on it
So you would say you know more than they do?
Mom, what would you say where you want to see him in the long run? What is your dream or goal?
Mom: My dream is for him to be a doctor or specialist, something where he is using his brain.
Ryan, is this something you want too? Why doctor? Why medicine?
Ryan: Yes! I would get a chance to learn about the human body and I actually get to help people. If a person has a problem I can learn about it and help them with it.
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