It often makes me wonder how and when our back to school list was created. Who created it and does anyone ever really look at it again? Or, do they just keep adding to it. Never taking anything off. I HATE the back to school list. Not dislike it, HATE IT! I honestly think most of it is a waste of time, effort and money. Fortunately, I can afford these goofy school supplies but I often wonder about families who watch every penny. And have four kids. And are asked to buy freakish amounts of school supplies – for public school.
Here are my top pet peeves on my school list. I was going to scan and post the list, but I do like this school so I won’t. You will have to trust me that I’m not exaggerating. Really, I’m not! Even if it looks like it.
How many pencils does a child need??? Dear teachers, just because my child doesn’t bring a pencil to class, doesn’t mean that we haven’t bought a million. It means he forgot it. Or lost it. Please don’t add more pencils to the list. OK, a million pencils may be an exaggeration. We are actually asked to buy 7 DOZEN pencils. For one child! Let me do the math for you. That’s 84 pencils. Then if you take a music class, you need to bring another 4-6, depending on the class. So, lets use six pencils – that’s 90 pencils. For one school year. For each middle school kid. Yes, for the last couple of years I’ve bought them. Then, the the kids announce they really, really NEED mechanical pencils. What the heck do I do with the 180 pencils (two kids)?? Or my neighbors who have four kids – 360 pencils. Oh, and they are all supposed to be SHARPENED!! Don’t get me started on that. I’m the dummy that has sharpened them. Do you know how long that takes? I’m not a happy mommy after that.
PENS – specifically the purple and green ones.
I have had two kids attend a total of 3 years in middle school (7th & 8th grades in our school) so far. We are asked to bring green and purple pens. Here is a fun activity to do. Try to find green and purple pens that don’t cost a fortune (since we don’t really know why we need them). It has usually taken me an average of 3 stores to find them. Then I’m in a really bad mood because I have better, more important things to do other than buy purple and green pens. I hate having my time wasted! And, when you ask the kids why they were needed, they don’t know. But, I found them! Good luck to any of you who wait until the end of August to try to find them. I search the school supplies as soon as they come out for these.
Each child is supposed to bring three boxes of facial tissues. There are about 75 kids per grade in our school. So, that’s 225 boxes of tissues per grade. The reality is, if my kids are sniffly, they bring tissues in their pockets. I know they do because I find them in my washing machine and in the dryer. But, that’s another issue. I do think it’s great that tissues are available but, really, I cannot fathom 225 BOXES of tissues being used.
Every year I am tempted to just not buy this stuff. But, there is a statement that says, “Note: some general supplies will be collect by homeroom teachers and used throughout the year.” There is no differentiation as to which supplies are collected and which ones are personal. Soooooo, which supplies are we supposed to label with our kids’ name?? Which school supplies are we donating to the black hole of school supplies?? I don’t want the teacher to think I’m cheap so yes, I dutifully buy my five packs of paper (per kid) just in case it gets collected in the general school supply pile. Really???? Have you ever seen how my kids take notes? I have boys. I’m sure one pack is enough. Maybe even one pack each.
BUT, here is the best part. So you buy all these school supplies. You know there is no way your kids can use them BUT they don’t come back at the end of the school year. All those pencils and all that paper. And the green and purple pens. Where the heck does it go? Let me tell you what happens at our school! At the end of the year, the teachers collect any unused supplies that the students would like to donate to underprivileged schools. Please know that I think I’m a charitable person and I do support donating to charities. HOWEVER, I would like to choose how much and who to donate items to. Because of this end of year donation, I have even less of an idea as to what school supplies my kids actually need and use. Hmmmm how many of the 90 pencils actually got used and how many were donated?? And you parents who were unaware of this, your child is donating generously. They have a choice of donating or lugging 500 lbs of unused school supplies home. Ummmmm, guess what option they are choosing.
As for the 5,000 glue sticks that go in the common bucket in the younger grades, I honestly don’t know what happens to those. Snack time perhaps? I know those are a big beef with younger grade parents. And, of course, you have to buy the BIG glue sticks. The ones that are harder to find and more expensive. Actually, I think the local stores have figured this one out and are finally stocking the large glue sticks.
I scanned the younger grade lists. Check out this part of the supply list that I copied and pasted from the 5th grade list:
Heavy duty cloth pencil case large enough to fit the following items and fit in desk:
1 red pen
3 dozen pencils (will store and use as needed)
1 Extra fine tip Sharpie
1 fine tip Sharpie
1 4 pack colored highlighters
2 sets of 24 colored pencils (1 for art)
1 7” scissors
1 compass (math)
1 Pearl pink eraser
++ 1 Math template (purchase at school, send $6.00)
++ 1 calculator (can purchase at school)
2 large glue sticks
2 large boxes of Kleenex
1 transparent tape
1 pack of Post-It notes
1 set of 3” x 5” index cards
deck of cards
That’s a really big pencil case that needs to fit two large boxes of Kleenex! And it needs to fit into the desk. Good luck finding that!
Check out this binder needed for third grade: “1 All plastic, sturdy, flexible binder W/O CARDBOARD SPINE,
11⁄2”, NO TRAPPER KEEPERS”. Don’t buy the binders that are on sale, buy this specific binder and you will never know why. And, why do all the kids have to buy only CRAYOLA brand supplies in third grade? Personally, I like the brand that costs $0.25 per pack of crayons at Target. But, I guess the Mom that buys that brand and sends her third grader in with that will be considered cheap! And then you need 2 container wet wipes-NOT BABY WIPES. Is it because if the third graders use baby wipes they smell good?
One of my pet peeves has actually been taken off the list. But, since I’m ranting, let me share with you the scissors I’ve personally supplied for the art class. Previous years required an extra pair of scissors for the art class. I personally have provided 12 pairs of scissors for art class. I’m glad they have enough now. You’re welcome.
What are your pet peeves on your school supply list? Am I crazy to be upset over this? What would be a better way? Please let me know what you think. I’m actually so curious that I am going to have a draw for a $10.00 Starbuck’s gift card. To get into the draw, all you need to do is comment on this blog post and/or share it. You can comment either on Facebook or actually on this blog. Please share on Facebook. I’m really curious what others think! The first day of school is almost here! Hope all the kids have a wonderful first day (and don’t lose all their pencils)!
****Congratulations to Leanna for winning the $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate in a blind draw made up of those commenting on this blog post and on the associated Facebook post.****Google+