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Why Hate Math? Learn to Love it in Bedford-Stuyvesant

The family-owned education business opened their first location in September of last year with the goal of helping struggling students learn mathematics in a fun and inviting atmosphere.
Why Hate Math? is a tutoring center in Bedford Stuyvesant that makes learning math fun for children.

Math can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, especially in young kids. Oftentimes, that fear and uneasiness turns into animosity towards the very science that governs the laws of this universe.

Enter Why Hate Math?, a mathematics education company geared towards teaching math in a way that eases the stress of learning it. Started by Candace Shaw, Melinda Shaw-Brookins and Nanika Shaw-Brown, three sisters born in Brooklyn and raised in Atlanta, WHM teaches in a way that builds students up and fosters appreciation for mathematics.     

“We want to approach math in a way that’s not scary for them and focus on increasing confidence and allow them to be able to know they can do it,” said Candace Shaw in an interview with BK Reader.

“We pull out the best part of you in terms of your math and your education, we strengthen that and it usually pours out in different ways.”

The family-owned business began online during the pandemic with Shaw as the head tutor. In 2021, the Shaws opened up their home for students to come and learn in person. With a growing clientele, the sisters opened up their lab on 304 Tompkins Ave. in Bedford Stuyvesant in September. 

The name came upon Shaw during a tutoring session with a student who threw their hands up in the air yelling, “I hate math!” Candace thought to herself, ‘Why hate math?’ and looked into why this was happening to many children.

“This is what I was doing when I was younger and I loved it and had so much fun doing it. So, we created a space that kids can now come and have that same feeling,” said Shaw.

The sisters built the WHM lab, equipped with a smartboard, whiteboards and an open space concept, with both the children and parents in mind. 

“I like the open space plan because one thing as parents, we’re always concerned about safety,” said William DuBose, father of seventh grader Sienna who is a current member at WHM. “Having everybody out there working together, I really like that vibe and it adds to the community type of space.”

Sienna came to WHM last year after struggling with math. After a couple months in the lab, she turned a failing grade into an A. Now, she’s enrolled in the newly implemented ELA program as WHM ventures into new subjects. 

The Shaws also hold community events, including yoga and meditation sessions for their students, and group classes on math topics. They also advise eight schools on their math curriculum.   

“Having two black women mentors, and having people from the neighborhood in a safe space where everybody comes together and is in the space working on the same thing, it’s wonderful,” said DuBose. 

A membership plan that covers one to two weekly sessions cost $300 and $500 per month. There are sibling discounts, referral and loyalty programs offered as well.

A Why Hate Math? scholarship fund will be established in January 2025 to help students in need of tutoring whose families can’t afford it. 

Second and third locations are on the horizon for WHM and eventually their very own educational institution as their success continues. 

“We envision having a school and creating some X-Men and pulling out the strengths of the students and really showing their superpowers and allowing them to reach their highest potential,” said Melinda Shaw-Brookins. 

Shenal Tissera

About the Author: Shenal Tissera

Shenal Tissera is a Staten Island-born freelance writer.
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