When I was little, I learned to count on my fingers and toes and then in kindergarten we counted all sorts of objects. We learned to count not only by 1's but also by 2's, 5's, 10's, 20's, etc... We learned all the different ways to count to 100.
I know that they still do this in school because the little kids in our town love to share how they celebrated counting things on the 100th day of school.
Counting came in very handy when I was young and my father owned a restaurant and I got to run the cash register and had to count back change.
You are probably asking "Why is she telling me all of this?" Well, I'll tell you why.
I have recently decided that the only people who can count are those that are under the age of 10. I went to a grocery store which I shall not name, and my total was $57.56. I gave the cashier the following: 2-20's, 1-10's & 2-5's. The cashier looked at me with the blankest look I have ever seen and said the following "I'm not good at math."
Seriously, I couldn't make this crap up. I have a 5-year-old nephew who can figure out how much money I gave the clerk.
This is not the only time that I have dealt with financially challenged people. On more than one occasion I have been at a sporting event and have had to correct the high-school kid who has given me back more change than I was due and in two incidents I was given more money than I actually gave to begin with.
My problem is with the fact that a.) the cashier at the grocery store didn't even have to count me back change, his cash register would do it for him. He merely had to count the money that I had given him (It would have gone something like this: 20, 40, 50, 55, 60...ah, yes she gave me enough..right-0, lets put it now in the register.) b.) its not rocket science to count back change from a $2.50 hot dog.
It seems that once we let kids start using calculators in schools (and I agree they are easier and faster), the kids of today have started to forget how to count. I know that they can do it, its on that little building block that is now buried somewhere in the mess of all the other knowledge that we have piled on top of it. The question remains, how do we uncover that building block and show them that it is essential?