The richer kids got themselves "electronic calculators" but the rest of us were using slide rules.
I lost count on how many time I burned my fingers while assembling the chips on breadboards on the many DIY "PC" kits I purchased (mail-order style) from ads that I got from "Popular Mechanics".
Uh, what? Your family couldn't afford a $50 calculator but you had "many" "DIY PC kits"? Like the $995 SOL-20, or a $400 "cheapie" like an MITS Altair or IMSAI 8080? Sorry, not buying the bullshit.
When I was in HS in the late '70s we had a teletype with an acoustic coupler modem that connected to a district computer center running an HP2000. I still have a printout of the BASIC code for the football and drag race programs we played with, but by the time I was a junior we had a TRS-80 model I at home so I pretty much gave up on the school's system. Taught myself BASIC, then saved my allowance to buy a Z-80 assembler (on cassette tape!) and learned that. Then I went to college and my first class was on punched cards. Kind of a letdown...