## Do you know what calculator your homeschooler really needs? Read on for my expert advice on how to choose the right calculator.

Many years ago I found myself in a situation where my son needed a calculator for his Pre-Calculus and AP Statistics classes. His AP Stats teacher insisted that a TI-84 Plus calculator was necessary for the course. Wanting to be a supportive parent, I decided to purchase the TI-84 for him, which cost around $120, and took back his TI-83 calculator.

Initially, I had doubts about whether the TI-84 was truly needed, considering that the TI-83 was already powerful enough to handle the course material. However, I trusted my son’s math teacher, who assured me that she would be utilizing the unique functions of the TI-84 to enhance the course.

Despite knowing that my son could have managed AP Stats perfectly well with the TI-83, I believed that investing in the TI-84 was the right choice for his education. This decision was based on my faith in his teacher’s expertise and her intention to utilize the calculator’s additional features to enrich the learning experience.

If you’re uncertain about which calculator your homeschooler requires for math, I understand the confusion. Allow me to provide you with a few simple guidelines that might assist you in making the right choice.

### Scientific Calculator – Casio FX300, for example:

**Price range**: Starts from $10 and varies.

**Description**: This calculator includes all basic functions, trigonometry functions, and logarithmic functions. However, it does not have a screen for graphing functions.

**Courses**: Suitable for all math through Pre-Algebra and most of Algebra 1.

### Graphing Calculator – TI-83, for example:

**Price range**: Starts from $70 and varies.

**Description**: This calculator offers all basic functions and numerous advanced functions, many of which may not be used. It has the capability to graph functions and run basic programs, similar to a computer.

**Courses**: While not essential for Algebra 1, a graphing calculator can be highly valuable. However, for Algebra 2, it becomes a real necessity.

### Advanced Graphing Calculators – TI-84, for example:

**Price range**: Starts from $90 and varies.

**Description**: This calculator encompasses all the features of a basic graphing calculator, but with additional powerful capabilities. It can factor polynomials, run advanced programs, and can connect to a computer.

**Courses**: These calculators may be necessary for AP Math courses and are essential for college students majoring in engineering or science.

### Final Thoughts:

As you navigate homeschooling in math, it’s important to provide your child with a suitable calculator that aligns with their level of mathematical study. While more advanced calculators can last throughout their education, including college, it’s crucial to make wise purchasing decisions.

Remember, you don’t necessarily need the most powerful and extravagant calculator for your child to excel in math.

Ultimately, the most important calculator we possess is the one between the ears. So, alongside the calculator, make sure to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills to help them excel in math. You’ve got this!