Should Kids Use a Calculator for Math Homework? Well, It Depends On... by Heather Bragg
To use a calculator or not to use a calculator? Yes, that is the question many parents ask. As a learning specialist, here is the guideline I use to determine “yay” or “nay” on the Texas Instrument of choice:
If the whole point of the math assignment is to work on computation, then your child should use his or her brain, not a calculator. However, if the assignment has complicated problems and computation is just one of many steps needed to solve the problem, using a calculator is a good idea. Your child’s brain will be freed up to tackle the more complex aspects of the assignment. But here are a few things to watch for and ask yourself:
- When doing homework, does my child reach for a calculator right away?
- Does he depend on a multiplication chart?
- Does she refuse to spell a word without using spellcheck or Google?
Most of us were not allowed to use resources like calculators when we were in school. More recently, schools and teachers are letting students use tools often. This leniency makes us parents nervous, afraid that our children will become dependent on these things. We don’t want them using something as a “crutch.” However, there are times when using a tool or resource can help boost learning and target your child's concentration toward the most important part of the assignment or lesson.