Early Education     K-12    

For the love of numbers

Grade school children learn university skills

You would expect a former IBMer to love math, but when you meet Irvin Miller, Ph.D.  you realize he not only loves math, but he wants you and your kids to love it too.

“Once you realize that everything we do fits a pattern then you see the role math plays in  your life,” say Miller. “After all, math is about organization and structure which allows us to absorb huge amounts of information.”

Miller is the director of the Math & Physics Exploration in Poughkeepsie which he founded four years ago. He considers himself a renegade. “As I developed the idea to create a local math and physics museum, I approached my town supervisor who told me to talk with the owners of Reiger Homes,” says Miller. “They had a model home in Lagrange which they made available for this project.” Right now he runs the Exploration museum with volunteer assistance.

Common Core creates common problems

The new Common Core Standards are causing increased frustration for parents as they try to help their children with math and science homework.  According to Miller, “Parents are made to feel inadequate because they are not familiar with new techniques and technology for teaching when in fact they can become their child’s best teacher.

Miller feels so strongly about the role of parents in teaching math that he created a 15 minute video, which he posted on YouTube, called the Heart of Addition. (Search for Irvin Miller, Heart of Addition for the YouTube video.) According to Miller, if you give him 15 minutes he will teach you how to teach your children computational skills that will offer a strong math foundation.

Register for a tutoring session or visit the museum

Miller and the volunteers at the Math & Physics Exploration are successfully helping children develop their math and science skills. They tutor children ages 4 to 29. They also teach parents how to help their children with math and science at home. “We make math fun and comprehensible with limited distraction from technology and games,” says Miller. “Our program gets so sophisticated that we teach fifth grade children how to take square roots and raise numbers to a decimal power.”  The group does not charge for their services.


Dr. Miller makes adding fun!

Parents bring their children to Miller and the center for two reasons: either their child is having trouble with math or is so advanced that he is not being challenged in school. Patience Komen, mother of two, from Lagrangeville, has a child on each end of the spectrum.  Her oldest child, Teshley, 11, already loved math and needed a challenge; her youngest child, Natalia, 7, didn’t like math and wasn’t very studious. Komen brought them both to the center because she was worried about her daughters’ scholastic future.

Parents are drawn to this specialized program

“Dr. Miller is great,” says Komen. Her children love the center, too. Miller has helped her youngest to progress with math. Now she is now a grade and a half ahead.” Mom says that Teshley is already working on college-level math.

Now Komen feels more empowered as a parent to help her daughters with math. That’s because the center provides all parents with a complete set of instructions and materials for working with their child at home. “Dr. Miller helped me help my daughters,” says Komen. “I watch how he goes through the process and then use those techniques at home.”

Kim Wahl, mother of two, from Carmel, brought both her sons to the center because she wanted them challenged. They have attended the program since December 2011. Wahl says that each week, Dr, Miller reviews homework assignments, notes achievements or weaknesses, and discusses the following week. “My sons and I find Dr. Miller’s methods of teaching to be inspirational” says Wahl. “He writes songs, has interactive math quiz games, offers terrific parent print-outs with stopwatch-timed homework plus wonderful books and short stories.”


For more information:  

See lessons at itmeansmath.com. Select math lessons. 

Visit the Exploration website: mathphysicsexplore.org.

Use search words “Irvin Miller” to view 19 instructional videos

Math & Physics Exploration, 1054 Freedom Plains Road (Route 55), Poughkeepsie. 845-452-4862.

Merlyn Akhtar loves living on a horse farm in Lagrange with her son, Aldrin(3), and their new kitten, Ava.