Entries in abacus (1)

Wednesday
Mar032010

ancient chinese secret

June29 has been taking an abacus class for fun. Emphasis on fun. The class kinda fell into my lap and we showed up having zero expectations. As it turns out, he loves it. Best of all, he's learning math.

I believe that the Chinese figured out the secret of teaching math to kids with the abacus. Created 5000 years ago and taught in schools all over the world (except here), it's a simple tool with a simple function that solves the most complicated equations. My 5-year-old is able to calculate 4-3+2-3 faster than I can think it. Then again, that's not saying much. I suck at math. As the offspring of math whizzes, it's embarrassing. I know for sure that if I had an abacus when I was five, I'd be a different person. Not saying I'd be a better person, but I would've had an easier time in high school.

I believe that if I took an abacus to his kindergarten class and showed the kids how to use it during my volunteer hour, they'd all want one just so they could fiddle with those wooden beads. A tool in disguise as a toy. What they wouldn't realize is that by fiddling with those beads, they'd begin to learn the skill of basic mental math - adding and subtracting in their heads. No fingers to count. No dots to draw. Just numbers to call out.

I used to say that my math skills are equal to a five year old's. Now, I can't even say that.