Calculators in school – When is it OK?

Many teachers encourage kids to use calculators at school rather than working out the arithmetic. Others insist that children do the math, that they memorize arithmetic facts and review them often.

So who’s right?

Obviously, kids need to learn basic skills, and kids also need to learn to use the new technology that’s available. So both sides are right.

All children need to be able to do basic arithmetic in case they don’t have a calculator or aren’t permitted to use one. Also, they need to be able to know enough arithmetic that if they make a mistake using a calculator, they’ll know the answer is impossible and that they should check their work.

But, even more important, children will find algebra and advanced math much easier if they know basic arithmetic facts.

Parents and teachers can encourage kids to use calculators part or even most of the time, but children still need to know the basics without depending on a calculator.

Let us know what your child’s school is encouraging. Are they learning arithmetic or depending on calculators.  We’d love to know what you think.

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