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Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set Review by Latonya Moore

Henry Borenson, Ed.D.
Borenson and Associates, Inc
P. O. Box 3328
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18106

The Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is a mathematics system which teaches students how to do algebraic equations using a simple yet effective method.  I teach both of my daughters who are ages 8 and 11.  I have learned by observing and engaging with them that they each have their own unique strength and weaknesses as it relates to mathematics.  While one is quick to recognize solutions for word problems, the other has an easier time building her mathematics foundation by learning her facts and tried and true math rules.  They each approach math differently.

Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is the first math program which we have been able to use together.  Often learners must work at their particular level because of skill requirements. The only requirement for this program is to be proficient in adding and subtracting.  Hands-On Equations has three skill levels.  All learners should begin at Level 1 to gain understanding of the method.  Level 1 consists of seven lessons therefore it shouldn’t take a long to move forward to the next level if the student quickly grasps the concept.  Although I am proficient at solving algebraic equations, I found Hands-On Equations enlightening because it caused me to see the solving of algebraic equations differently.  Henry Borenson, Ed.D. made it simple therefore even my 8 year old daughter who is apprehensive of larger multiplication facts was also able to solve for the unknown.  Level 1 teaches the students to see the unknown as the same number throughout the equation.  For example, if the equation is 2+2x=8+x the learner is taught to see it as 2+x+x=8+x and recognize that all of the unknowns must be the same.  In the beginning lessons, the learners use the guessing method so they would simply plug in an integer until they find one that makes the equation true meaning both sides are equal.  In this equation the solutions for x is 6. The problem would look like this 2+6+6=8+6 which is 14=14.

The program includes all three levels instruction guides, a student kit which includes pawns, cubes, and a laminated balance scale, DVD instruction for all three levels, classwork sheets which are reproducible, answer key, and Hands-On Equations Verbal Problems Introductory Workbook. The entire program is completed in 26 lessons which can be completed at the student’s pace. The student kit provides the hands on aspect to the approach.  The pawns and cubes are used to illustrate the equation.  The pawns symbolize the x while the number cubes represent the numbers.  The equation is then placed on the laminated scale which represents equality and reminds the learner that the purpose of solving the equation is to balance the scale.   Hands-On Equation isn’t a complete math curriculum, but it does provide sufficient instruction in teaching solving algebraic equations using a different approach outside of the standard.  By the end of lesson 26 students should be able to solve equations such as 2(2x+3)+x=2x+12 and equations using negative notation such as 20-3(-x)+(-4)=2(-x)+6.

Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is a good program to have in your math arsenal particularly for students who need to “see” math.  It makes it easier and less threatening, and even I, someone who is proficient and a certified math teacher, enjoy learning this method with my daughters.  In my opinion, the DVD instruction is mandatory, especially if you have not attended one of the seminars to understand this method.  Henry Borenson, Ed.D. goes through each lesson step by step which helps if you are stuck doing math one way or if you aren’t comfortable teaching math.

-Product review by Latonya Moore, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2016