Last summer, I bought a kit from Hands-On Equations to use as a fun supplement to Cullen's math curriculum, but never actually got very far into using it. He is taking enrichment classes this year through the Timothy Ministries at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, and I was excited to see that one of the available classes was Hands-On Equations using these same materials. So he gets to work in a small group with beginning algebra concepts and simple equations once a week, doing follow-up work and practice at home with me.
Cullen likes very much the logic of math, the assurance that if certain rules are followed, then the outcome is predictable. The visual and hands-on elements of these materials make it much easier to grasp the concepts of working with an unknown quantity, and keeping both sides of the equation balanced feels more like play with colorful little game pieces. The word "variable" can sound intimidating the first time you hear it, but it looks kind of cute and very non-threatening as a little blue game pawn.
I was really impressed with these teaching materials when I came across them earlier. Now that I see how well they work with a young mind, I am even more enamored. After two weeks, my nine-year old is solving equations that I was never exposed to until 7th grade.
The best part is he thinks it's fun!