My first grader can't go to school today. Her principal told me that seventy-seven children were absent yesterday from the same virus. They don't want my daughter to come back today. Kelsey's at the office being office-schooled. We are doing math problems this morning. I dropped by her school to pick up some homework. Funny, when I showed her the pages of math problems - she squealed with glee. "I love these daddy!"
Right now I wish that I had an abacus so she could do her calculating. Back when I was a kid, we called them calculators. It wasn't until I was in junior high until I saw someone with a Texas Instrument pocket calculator. Actually the pocket calculators of the early seventies were the size of a Yugo. They were not only too big for pockets, but had a hefty price tag as well. Nevertheless, we were very grateful for the arrival of the pocket calculator, no matter the size, because it could answer our math problems for us. I was amazed at the time that the teacher would allow students to use them. It was like telling us that it was okay to cheat.
So the first time I ever heard the term calculator was in first grade. There in the right corner of the class room was a large oak frame with beads on it. It was a very intimidating piece of equipment that towered above us all. I remember the teacher gathering us around the abacus and showing us how to add and subtract with it. I also remember her teaching us how to discern between ones, tens, hundreds and thousands with it.
Standing next to my little math newcomer this morning - I am wishing I had an abacus.
The Late Christmas Present
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