The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Mac's Abacus Basic Set Review by Jacquelin CaffeyRay Herrmann
When young children are learning to count and to add they typically use a dot counting method. You know the one… 1+3=4 but a child will make 1 dot then add 3 more dots to the page. Then they will proceed to count the total number of dots altogether. Math doesn’t have to frighten you. From learning to count or to complete high level math functions it doesn’t have to be scary when you have a great learning tool to help you like Mac’s Abacus.
Mac’s Abacus is the brainchild of Ray Herrmann and his granddaughter, MacKenna or Mac for short. As a 5-year-old she was learning how to count and did the typical dot drawing/counting sequence to find the answers to problems. Ray knew there had to be a better way and brainstormed how to make the process easier for her. He knew that if she could see the dots, she could group them and then count them as well. So he set out to make her an Abacus that counts up to 9999 and he also included an instruction book as well.
The Abacus is built of the highest quality wood with bead that are designed to slide easily, yet stay in place when not in use. Each of the beads has special fingers molded into the bead that allows it to move when needed yet stay put when not. Under normal care and usage, the beads can be moved over 200,000 times so it is recommended that you store it upright or laying it on a flat surface and keep it out of the toybox. Once a bead has lost its gripping fingers it cannot be restored or replaced.
The Teaching Guide is a spiral bound book that Is filled with 300 full color lessons that include over 60 lessons examples. The guide does a tremendous job of teaching first counting skills, addition, subtraction, time, length, money, and the Decimal System. Instructions for getting started are through and explain everything you as the teacher need to do to help the child understand the concept. Handy legend strips for use with the corresponding lesson pictures can be found in the back of the work. Simply cut them out and tape them over the standard engraved legend already on the abacus.
I found this abacus especially helpful for my younger two children, aged 7 and 2. My 2-year-old is just learning to associate numbers and objects together and this gave him a visual that he needed. After getting over the fact that it is not a toy, he was happy to use it during school time for counting. My 7-year-old was able to work through the lessons also. I love how it also gave her a visual of beginning addition and subtraction. She is a hands-on learning and this abacus suits her well. Whenever we are doing math, you can find Mac’s Abacus at the table in use.
-Product review by Jacquelin Caffey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2017