The Son and the Calculator

Once upon a time, a very responsible mom and a very responsible dad were trying to raise a very irresponsible son and hoping that no one lost their mind in the process!

Chad was in the 7th grade and because of some kind of test scores, he was placed in an advanced algebra class. A requirement for the class was a TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator.


For those who do not know about the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator, I think they’re the most stolen item in the world! I was a volunteer at the middle school and I knew how often those things were stolen! My thinking was that if the school wanted each kid to have one, they should have provided them . . nailed to a huge board and then glued to a cinder block! But the school didn’t think my idea was a good one (it wasn’t the first or the last idea I had that they didn’t like!) so we spent about $125 on the required calculator and within a few weeks, it had been stolen. This particular one was left in the classroom at lunch and the teacher told the students to leave their stuff in there — he was locking the door. Then he forgot to lock the door so the school replaced that one.

The second one lasted a few months and then it was stolen. Now it was time for a heart to heart talk between Vince and Chad about responsibility. Judy went to the basement to sew because mom doesn’t like when Vince and Chad have man to man talks!

By now, the year was almost over and Chad managed with a plain Jane scientific calculator, which would probably have been fine for the entire year!

In high school, he was in another Algebra class which required a TI-83 plus graphing calculator. As I recall, we got that one on sale and it was around $100. It didn’t make it through the entire semester before it was stolen. Part of that man to man/heart to heart talk Vince and Chad had included this language or something real close – We’ll buy one more but if something happens to that one, you’re on your own! You’ll buy the next one! Understand? Yes, sir!

That one made it as long as it was needed in high school I suppose. At least I know we didn’t buy another one. Chad may have replaced it himself but if he did, I didn’t know about it and since he didn’t ask me for money, I doubt he replaced it.

Now he’s in math class in college and he needs a TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator. Where’s the old one? Hmmmm, Ummmmm, I think Jared has it. Jared lives in Owensboro, Kentucky. We’ve been gone from there for over a year. And, Chad isn’t sure if Jared has it. So, yesterday while in Joplin, Chad bought yet another TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator, which according to my numbers, is the 5th TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator that has been purchased for Chad or on Chad’s behalf.

The questions that keep running through my mind are:

  • How did I get through high school and college without ever hearing about a TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator? I do still have my slide rule if that counts.
  • How did Vince get through high school, college and two Master’s Degrees without needing a TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator?
  • How many TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculators will it take to get Chad from middle school algebra through college graduation?

Before you ask, I do own Texas Instruments stock (TXN) but I think someone may need to be buying more TI products! 🙂


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    Marianne says

    Good gosh, I guess I should thank my lucky stars that my daughter’s not “lost” hers. Funny story.

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    I remember hearing about that–our class did a bulk order on the TI-81’s–so we got them for about $60. Mom could only buy it once (b/c there were multiple children who needed them) so I still have it–and I still love to use it. I think they were stolen so much b/c you could program a basic blackjack game into them and then play that when you were bored.

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    June Piper-Brandon says

    Now just think, you only have Chad. I have Cassandra who needed a TI83 calculator and lost it or it got stolen, then I had Kristen who needed a TI83 calculator and she had to buy a new one and lost it and got another and lost it and got another and who knows what happened to it. Then came Ryan who needed a TI83 calculator and it got stolen and got another and his backpack ended up in lost and found forever and had to get another TI83 (then it showed up at the end of the year with the TI83) and then who knows. Then came Lyle who also needed at TI83 and I sold that one on ebay last year. Now comes Liam, he’s only in 4th grade so he doesn’t need a TI-83 yet, but I know that day is coming. But, Liam needs an alpha-smart because he’s dyslexic and nobody can read what he writes and it takes forever. But, thank goodness we’ve moved counties and the school provides him with an alphasmart and it will follow him through high school or until he needs a laptop. I think I was at 7 or was that 8 TI=83’s!! I don’t own Texas Instruments shares, yet – maybe I should.

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    Karen (Misiz C) says

    Yep…. we’ve been through a few TI-83’s too. My son was the one who had a hard time keeping track of them. After the first one disappeared, I had him etch his name into the plastic of the next one. That actually paid off. We were able to retrieve that one when it sprouted legs and walked off. ;c) The last one is still with us. My youngest daughter is using it this year. Knock on wood it makes it through the year.

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    Well my Samantha has had her TI83 for 2 yesrs now and I just saw it tonight on the computer table so it hasn’t been stolen yet (knock on wood). I am with you though, I think the schools should be providing these caluculators if the kids are required to use them. It drives me bonkers that the teachers arbitrarily decide that parents need to spend hundreds of dollars every year on these school supplies. I swear, back to school has become more expensive than Christmas! Luckily I only have one child to buy for though!

    I sure hope Chad manages to keep track of his newest TI83! Good Luck!

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    Amy says

    Chad may have replaced it himself but if he did, I didn’t know about it and since he didn’t ask me for money, I doubt he replaced it.

    maybe he found (borrowed someone elses & forgot to return) the one he lost (was stolen)… You’ve got to wonder where they all get off to…

    I taught middle school science & we “needed” (becasue kids don’t know basic mathematics anymore) basic caluclators. The ones that were supplied were also “borrowed.” So even if the middles school or high school provided them, short of having them attached to the building they probably would not be around when they were needed…

    Call me jaded…

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    With my son, it was bicycles. Turn around for two seconds and it was gone. I think we bought at least 7 throughout his childhood.

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    kate says

    We bought one too. And then a year later the price was 2/3 of what we paid! And something that makes me even crazier… the kids (at least in our schools) aren’t learning the math. They’re learning which buttons to push on the calculator and have no clue what math they are actually doing. This from frustrated mom who helped them….mom could do the math and the kid knew what buttons to push.

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    Hahaha, I think we have the same story! I have learned that I can buy them a LOT cheaper from Ebay. This must be where all the stolen ones end up!!