For those of you who have not heard of Hands On Equations before, this is going to be one of those posts that is going to make you think Man, I wish I had learned math that way! for the rest of the day. I first heard about HOE on the blog Homeschool Ninjas. I have no affiliation with HOE whatsoever, and have dutifully shelled out my money like everyone else. Bruce(6.5) and I have only done one lesson so far, but I’m definitely thinking this was money well spent.
When our box of materials arrived from UPS, Bruce was of course curious about what was in the box. When he found out it was a math game, he immediately lost interest. Later that night when my husband was putting Jenna to bed, I told Bruce that he could eat a bowl of ice cream if he played the math game with me. He immediately agreed. Then, when we were getting the game set up I told him: “There’s good news, and bad news. The good news is that this game is really fun. The bad news is that we only get to play it for 27 nights.” That instantly peaked his interest! (I said 27 nights because there are initially just 27 lessons. Later on we will do the verbal problem solving book, but by then hopefully Bruce will be hooked.)
As soon as we started playing Bruce became super excited, because this is actually really fun. There is a lot of logic involved, as well as adding, subtracting, and basic division. Bruce kept hooting and hollering every time he got a problem right, and my husband had to come down and tell us to be quiet because we kept waking Jenna up!
I don’t know if you can tell from the ice cream picture, but the one mistake I made is that I did not have Bruce right down his answers correctly. We’ll have to fix that in the next lesson. I also should have been using the red die instead of the green die. It would have been better if I had the lesson plans in front of me, but I chose not to this time because I wanted Bruce to think of this as a game and not a math activity.
All through the activity I kept thinking to myself, I can’t believe I’m teaching algebra. The highest math level I have ever taught before was fight grade math in my 3rd/4th grade classroom. Although I got through college level Calculus in the 12th grade, I’m not a natural “mathy” person. But HOE seems really easy to teach and understand. It is the kind of math instruction that makes you think: Gee, if had learned algebra this way when I was little maybe I would be “mathy” person!
On a final note, I chose to purchase the basic kit and the verbal problems book. Beth from Homeschool Ninjas bought the package with the video instructions. I’m not sure if I chose the best combination of materials or not, but will keep you updated.