The smell of 24 newly sharpened pencils is in the air – it must be time for Back to School supply shopping.
It’s an emotional and expensive time of year for parents. Their babies are taking another step towards adulthood – entering a new grade and sometimes even a new school – be it kindergarten, middle school, high school or college.
Don’t forget the added pressure of registration fees, bus passes and so many other expenses flying at parents from all directions.
Add to the todos a complicated list of required school supplies and you have the makings of hurricane mama spinning through the aisles at Target.
Over the years I’ve heard a lot of parents complain about the number of pencils or glue sticks needed or size or materials of notebooks and folders. The question is always WHY? Why so many glue sticks? Why a SAFE-T 12″ View-Thru flexible Inch/CM ruler?
Here’s an example of a real school supply list I found online:
- 2 Boxes Facial Tissues, 160 count box
- 1 Ruler – SAFE-T, 12″, View-Thru, flexible, Inch/CM
- 1 Calculator, Texas Instrument TI-108
- 2 Notebook Filler Paper – Wide ruled, 150 pages, 8×10.5
- 1 Scissors – Fiskars for Kids, 5″ pointed tip
- 1 Notebook – Composition book, Mead, 100 pages, wide ruled (black and white)
- 2 Glue stick, washable school glue (1.4 oz.)
- 1 Pencil case – Zipper, Mesh pocket, 3 ring for binder
- 9 Folders – 2 pocket, with fasteners, plastic, no paper – 2 yellow, 2 blue, 2 green, 2 red, 1 purple
- 1 Markers – Crayola, 8 color pack, thin line (classic colors)
- 2 Pen – BIC Round Stic, ballpoint, medium point, single (blue)
- 4 Pen – BIC Round Stic, ballpoint, medium point, single (red)
- 1 Index Cards – Ruled, 3×5, 100 count
- 1 Protractor – SAFE-T “View-Thru,” 6″, clear
- 2 Dry Erase Markers-Expo Low-Odor, 4 bold colors with chisel tip, and eraser
No wonder parents are losing it.
Those plastic, pocketed, 3-prong folders in specific colors are usually the items that drive me to the edge of sanity. How many stores do I have to visit before I can find 1 purple, plastic folder, with prongs and pockets?
Parents have a vision of teachers compiling these lists as they wring their hands and cackle about the torture their new parents suffer in August.
A recent post on People I Want to Punch in the Face vowed tongue-in-cheek revenge on a merciless teacher’s school supply list. The author claims it is a joke, but all parents understand the emotion, stress and general frustrating truth behind it. We’ve all been there.
Teachers can’t possibly choose the 8-crayon packet ($3.99) because they know the 24-crayon pack will be on sale for $0.25 just to spite parents and make them pay more.
Anytime I’ve talked to a teacher about the unattainable treasure on the supply list, they have a suggestion or a replacement. They don’t hold those lists to the letter – the 24 pack of crayons is usually just fine.
Teachers are also facing the stress of pulling together their classrooms and collecting supplies they need but may not have the budget.
Parents stop stressing and complaining over the supply lists. Work with your teacher and compromise. Stop taking the list as the end all vex from teachers to parents. They don’t intend it, I promise.
If you are a teacher, share your thoughts and processes for creating the supply lists. Do you have a say in it? Does the school or ultimately the district that develops these lists? How strict are you with exact supplies?
If you are a parent, share your frustrations and let our teachers know what you are facing out there in the school supply jungle.
Let’s stop complaining and start working as a team.
We are all in this together.
While you do that, I’ll be out hunting down low odor Expo chisel-tipped markers…
Susan Wells is a mom of two girls who are growing up way too fast. She is the Marketing Manager and Blog Editor for Steve Spangler Science. In past lives, Susan has been a social media manager, web developer, web content manager, online news writer, photographer, classical and jazz bass player and live sound technician.