Last week, sister number two told us that her daughter, who happens to be my niece, has been working with younglings at the school on regrouping. Well, that delighted sister number one and me. We thought it was wonderful that teachers and aides are helping the students reset their thoughts and feelings when they experience a setback.

Indeed, as an adult of an advanced age, I know that sometimes when I hit the proverbial bump in the road professionally or personally, I take a breath and regroup. Younglings need to do the same as well.

Wait. What? That’s not what regrouping means vis-à-vis elementary school?

Oh, it appears regrouping is another term for new math.

That’s cool, too.

Indeed, as an adult of an advanced age, I have passing knowledge of this new-ish regrouping math and it makes sense to me. From my limited understanding, the name regrouping comes from the process of making groups of 10 when adding or subtracting numbers that are at least two digits.

The reason it makes sense to me is because that’s how I performed addition as a wee lass.

Yes, dear readers, I was ahead of my time.

Now, maybe my kind of regrouping wasn’t technically correct, but it sort of worked for me. Here’s how I did a math problem. Let’s say it was 23+44. I saw it as 20+40 (10s)=60 and then 3+4=7; 60+7=67.

I’m not sure if that’s how they teach regrouping, but that’s how I taught it to myself.

I’m also not sure if that’s how I performed subtraction, but that’s also the general idea of how I did multiplication.

Wait. What’s that? How did I do long division? I didn’t.

Thankfully, somewhere along the way, I discovered a little gadget called a calculator, but I still math the old-fashioned way when I must. You might want to sit down for this, but I can also do fractions and percentages. In fact, I can do them much better than I can do long division, which I repeat, I do not do.

As calculators became more available, teachers cautioned us not to become dependent on them because … reasons. Seriously, were aliens going to confiscate all the calculators and take them back to their home galaxy? I know teachers wanted us to be able to math without help from a machine, but calculators were right there. They still are.

Teachers also scolded us for counting with our fingers because … reasons. This one never made sense to me. Were all of us going to lose our fingers in accidents? What’s the harm in letting a kid honestly arrive at the answer anyway he or she can?

Anyway, a few months ago, my great-niece (emphasis on great), gave me a math worksheet to complete. (I got a perfect score without using a calculator!) As she graded my work, I saw that she was counting on her fingers. I learned that younglings today are allowed to do so.

That’s progress, people!

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.