I’m Saša, Director of OntaOnta.
I am an astrophysicist and a software engineer.
Most importantly, I am a parent.
This is my story.
I was fortunate to get a solid foundation in math, and develop a passion for it while attending the school where Nikola Tesla studied, in Karlovac, present-day Croatia. I see math as a beautiful, abstract subject filled with patterns organized in logical ways. I see the learning of math as a process of using previously acquired knowledge and expanding it in a spiraled pattern. Basics matter the most! Basics are bases.
Many families have their “thing,” be it camping, travelling, board games, or scuba diving; ours was always math. When my wife and I realized that our children were not being taught the basics of math at school, we began our search for an extracurricular program. We tried a number of different math tutoring centres, but none of them fit our parameters: an affordable, convenient and well-structured program.
We decided to take this matter into our own hands. We started making our own worksheets. One day my wife said “it would be great to have a website with all this material where all the lessons are organized and complete for teachers and parents to use”. I told her it was a crazy idea since it was an insane amount of work, but she prevailed, and OntaOnta was born.
Our vision is to be able to provide a high-quality affordable education to all children; a math program that can be taught in the school setting, or in the comfort of your home.
It was a long four-year journey filled with excitement, frustration, and tens of thousands of hours spent on coding and content-creation. All of this was done from our basement: it became my live-in office. I remember a time my daughter drew a picture of our family without me and when asked where I was, she responded, “Oh, he is working in the basement.”
We were lucky to find like-minded people who shared our vision, and our team grew. The people in the OntaOnta team have passed through different educational systems, in different countries, having emerged with different experiences – some good, and some bad – and ended up with different educational levels and professions. Some of us became educators, some started a family and have school-aged kids, and some are getting ready to become parents.
With the team having pulled together over the last year, OntaOnta is finally ready to be used. My wife’s crazy idea from four years ago finally became a reality!
Our core mission with OntaOnta is to deliver a fully integrated math-teaching and learning system to whomever may need it: students, teachers, and parents alike (homeschooling too!). We originally decided to focus on mathematics as we discovered a huge partition on this subject within our educational histories as well as in the present day; a subject so vital to STEM fields must be taught as effectively as possible. We began with focusing on just the kids in our small social circle, but quickly realized (through feedback and chance encounters) that our product is profoundly needed by not only school students, but also teachers, and parents in our region, and beyond.
Ultimately, OntaOnta has become the response to the growing need for easy, affordable, and equitable access to education that can help put an end to declining math scores (see an example in this article). Our material equips teachers and parents with a complete set of tools to help young people build strong foundations in mathematics and science. We aim to help combat academic struggle, and provide students with the confidence and knowledge they need to understand and compute numbers, and process given information, which are skills most useful both in class and in the real world.
In creating our courses, we focus on fundamental skills that students must grasp in order to understand relevant concepts. We strive to combine the old-school acumen of fundamental knowledge with new-school problem solving and inquiry techniques. Our lessons are designed to help learners become fluent in relevant courses and fields of study. We help students become confident and flexible learners, capable of applying critical and abstract thinking to whatever information they may encounter in academia and the real world.