Knowhow-Now Article

Calculators are used in public schools. Calculators can be used in a homeschool. Calculators are neither evil nor a God-given right. Calculators are a tool that can help students do math faster, much like a computer will help students write faster. Calculators can’t really teach math concepts anymore than a computer can teach a student to write, but they can be a great tool.

When students are very young, the emphasis is on learning how to understand math. Once those concepts are understood, and the student is working in pre-algebra or algebra, calculator use is important.

Without a calculator it can be impossible do complete a home high school math assignment within a reasonable amount of time. Even with a calculator, high school math lessons can take one or two hours to complete, so calculator usage is important.

Calculators are used and encouraged on the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. A student familiar and comfortable with calculators will score better on those tests than a student who rarely uses a calculator.

Public schools will often have a policy on calculator use. Read the Gadsden City Schools policy: “The broad range of mathematical topics addressed in this document, the problem-solving focus of the mathematics program, and the development of mathematical concepts in a hands-on environment demand that technology use be an integral part of the K-12 program. *Calculators are appropriate for exploratory purposes in Grades K-3 and should be used for problem solving in Grades 4-8. Calculators should be used on a regular basis in all courses and assessments in Grades 9-12."Computer use should be integrated with content topics as appropriate."

It is appropriate to use calculators for math at the homeschool middle school and home high school level.

About the Author:

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, helps parents homeschool for high school and is a leading internet home school resource helping parents homeschool to college. You can find Lee online at and can email her at [email protected]

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