Math Fact Scholars (MFS) FAQs

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What is it? (overview)

It’s a “practice and timed test combo” for math fact, plus some word problems (problem solving). It’s owned by Diana D and she has run this program in the area for about 18+ years. Some people may compare it with Kumon, Mathnasium etc. I don’t have much knowledge on the latter. I do have a little knowledge on Kumon and I think MFS is probably not as much work as Kumon, while MFS also usually has more parents involvement. I vaguely recall we do have one kid switched from Kumon to MFS recently.

How does it work? (workbooks and timed tests)

The kids work on the workbooks at home, with the help from the grownups from time to time. Every Tuesday morning (if the school is in session), we have timed testing sessions between 8:15 and 8:45 am in the Spoede gym.

How can I order the workbooks for the kid(s)?

Here is web order form (You will need the SSA MTK credentials to log in). There is also financial assistance available through school counselors and SSA (the information is also on the web form).

We have an email box: also, if you like to text or call, my mobile phone number is 314 540 2721

Why we are getting the same workbooks (or duplicate workbooks)?

The workbooks for the blue ribbon/bronze medal level are the same, ditto for silver/gold medals. The bronze and gold level tests are 2 minutes long, blue ribbon and silver are 3 minutes. I think the Bronze has 18 problems; Silver and Gold have 36 problems. The blue ribbon has 10 problems: it goes from +1 to +10, -1 to -10. Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels all have a final exam (mixed numbers).

Also, Kindergartener and 1st grader usually start from Blue Ribbon, 2nd and 3rd grader start from Bronze level, and the 4th grader starts from Silver (I listed below as standalone question too, to make sure the message get crossed).

Note there are no duplicates in the trophy level workbooks. Btw, the trophy levels goes from Platinum, Fraction, Decimals and Percents.

Which medal level does my kid start?

Note this information is also in the SSA MTK website, the MFS web order form, as well as above. To reiterate here, K to 1st grader start from blue ribbon (addition and subtraction), 2nd and 3rd graders start from bronze medal (addition and subtraction), and 4th grader start from silver medal (multiplication and division). Please talk to us if you feel your kid needs to go faster or go slower.

How much time should a kid practice per day?

Again each kid is different. Typically it’s a good idea for a kid to do a few pages of practice on the workbook, and each page could take a few minutes to (up to) 15 minutes (including the time the parent take a look at the work, check the answers, explain if applicable). There is no need to compare the times a kid work on the workbooks with another kid. Personally I think a good learning habit will help the kid down the road: e.g., focus, don’t get distracted by the TikTok, reading and understand the instructions or a word problem, and so on. This will also help them when they move up grades.

Should I send my kids every Tuesday morning?

No, you don’t have to. You/your kid are welcome to join the testing sessions at any Tuesday morning when we have them, but this is not a necessary condition. Just come when your kid is ready and also when the time slot works for you/your family. One analogy if I may add, is in a baseball/software game, the batter only swings at the ball when he/she feels there is a good chance he/she can get a hit (home run, single, double and so on).

I do understand for some kids, there are some social interactions there as well – we are okay with that, as long as the kid doesn’t cause disturbance to other kids who are more serious. Sometimes we ask am unwilling kid to sit on the steps by the stage and wait for 8:35 am when their classroom is available.

What if I (or my kid) cannot make it to the Tuesday mornings’ tests? (I used Italics to hilight below)

I understand this could be a real issue for some parents, sometimes the mornings could be a bit hectic, with the morning rush for school or work. We still want to encourage our kids to work on the workbooks and if possible, do some timed tests.

If you are confident that your kids are doing the work at home, and you may give the kiddo a timed test too, just using the practice sheet on the workbooks. If you believe the kids can benefit from getting a medal or a trophy etc., please bring in the workbooks and highlight the testing sheet, and we can award the medal or trophy after verifications. In fact during pandemic because we could not have a large group gathering and test sessions, we did something similar.

My personal observation is most kids (and maybe parents too) would value the medal or trophy more than a toy or some other material rewards.

How can you (I, we) help?

Help the kiddos work on the workbooks at home. Talk to them, look at the workbooks from time to time. Encourage them. Better yet (not necessary, but always appreciated from an organizer’s point of view, believe it or not, I have been working as volunteers for 8+ years), please volunteer for the program. This is a program 99% run by the parents volunteers. We need volunteers to run the test: grading, manage the test box, help filing the test papers, to the backend work: processing the order, ordering the workbook and testing copies, reviewing the test papers, and recording them in the google spreadsheet that we publish etc.

I do understand many parents have busy work schedule and they may not join the test sessions. Again please help when you can: there are behind of the scenes work (see the backend work above). Also, I noticed many kids are happy to see their parents in school volunteering. If your work schedule doesn’t allow for in person volunteering, or other volunteering tasks, don’t worrywe will try to treat your kids just like how we treat our kids. Our only ask is please tell your kids we practice Spoede R. O. C. K. S. (Respect, Ownership, Cooperation, Kindness, and Safety) while we are in the gym.

What is the 1st test PDF file?

It’s the 1st test a kid is expected to work on at a particular morning. Again please don’t compare your kid with her/his friend.

Occasionally we have kids that skipped certain tests, due to various reasons. We try to ask them to make up the missing tests – it’s just a way to train their good leaning habit. Not sure take shortcuts etc. We also believe in this step by step approach. In the years I volunteers at the program, it appears to me the kids did the workbook, and not skipping the tests, are usually progressing better. Somewhat like the story/the race of the tortoise vs the rabbit.

What if my kid skipped a test or a few tests?

No worries, this is much less severe than say, we adults crossed a red light or stop sign without stopping. We will try to ask the kid to make up the test: even if we always awarded a medal. Our goal, again, is to not to punish someone, rather to help our kids to build a good learning habit (including doing things step by step and so on), as well as help them to get more comfortable with math, as well as help them get more confidence on math. Sometimes the right amount of confidence is a bit tricky.

Sometimes the mistake is caused by us, we could run out of testing paper for a specific test. We would tell the kid to move on to the next one if that’s the case. Or they can choose to pause there too.

Is Math Fact still relevant in today’s post Chatgpt world?

Yes I think so. Personally I think math is just a fundamental skills along with reading and writing, and math is closely associated with logical thinking, and it won’t be out of date in this TikTok / google search / Chatgpt world. Good old human intelligence will beat AI 🙂

Also, refer to this – All The Math We Need For Trading Stocks. My point is math is extremely important and useful for our daily lives, from personal finance to cooking (think about the recipe and ingredients), to career choices (more than engineering and sciences, for sure).

Our goal: help and encourage our kids to practice math, both in terms of the math fact, calculation, as well as problem solving. Hopefully they will get more comfortable and confident on math with this program (the practice and the timed tests). And all this will lay a good foundation when they move on to middle school, high school and beyond.

What if I have more questions?

We have an email box: also, if you like to text or call, my mobile phone number is 314 540 2721

Last but not least, I wrote about this last school year too, and I decided to start this post as more people (some new) asked me the FAQs above.

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