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(Since my Reviews page is a bit full, I will start posting them here. That way, each review will be available as a separate page, also.)

  A Personal Experience Perspective 

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that my 11-year-old grandson has mild Aspergers and is a right-brained learner. He seems to learn best with visual and hands-on material. He also has developed a strong dislike of mathematics because he can’t memorize math facts, no matter how many times we try with different approaches and materials. I finally decided to just move on and trust that he would pick up more of them as he used them. Besides, he understands concepts and can always use a math chart or a calculator. Actually, he often uses other tricks to figure it out.

I have also read comments saying that many children like him actually do better with higher mathematics than with arithmetic. So in the hopes of convincing him that he is not bad at mathematics, I decided to try “Hands-On Equations” (HOE) and jump right into an introduction to algebra.

We started this past summer and are finishing the third, and last, level now. It worked magic! He now likes doing math and even asks if we can do it before other subjects. He is doing well with it, too.

The program includes a DVD, which we tried in the beginning, but he did not like it, so we stopped using it. However, he loves the use of the flat “scale”, which teaches the concept of equality and reinforces the idea that “legal moves” must be performed on both sides to keep the equation balanced. The two-colored markers for unknowns and numbered cubes for positive and negative numbers have helped him to quickly visualize solutions. Sometimes he simply tells me the solution and I have to go through the steps, or ask him to “explain it” to me so I can check him.

The lessons are short and illustrated in color in the book, then a class worksheet is provided for each lesson, with review problems included. The word problems are numerous and he is working word problems that a few moths ago would have totally confused him. I think he is ready to zip through pre-algebra, at least.

Oh, yes, he usually is able to do the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division required in his head, one way or another. Those he has trouble with are just minor problems, not failure experiences anymore.  And his math confidence is restored! (Perfectionism is good in math, but not the effect it can have on self-confidence and attitude towards math.) I highly recommend “Hands-On Equations”!

 Check out the website here. Or see it on Amazon.com.

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