What? I need to buy how many packs of pencils?!
“Back to school – already?” is what I have quoted day after day for weeks. Stores have been stocked with school needs since the last week of June. “It’s too soon!” is what I said to myself as I was walking around Target during the first week of July.
When I returned home from being shocked by the back to school hustle, I began to read through my daughter’s school supply list. The list consists of the common supplies needed for class, but what shocked me were the quantities being requested. My daughter is going to 1st grade — and EIGHT spiral notebooks are needed. Why so many? As a parent, my mind can’t even get past how she’ll even be able to carry all those notebooks on the first day. What on earth will the notebooks be used for?
Then, I come to the next item on the list: 24 glue sticks! By this point, I’m freaking out!! “What? 24 glue sticks? Do the kids eat them? I can only spend so much from the budget.” These questions rolled over and over in my head. Then I read the quantity of pencils – 10 packages! “What?” These questions I had and comments I made sound funny but are realistic in many parents’ minds when it comes to buying school supplies.
I’m the type of parent that prepares ahead of time, which means I bought my daughter’s school supplies weeks before. No, I don’t wait for certain sales (due to the fact I’m not a fan of large crowds). As a parent, I have to use my better judgment on budget and the needs of my 1st grader.
Here is my plan of action for buying school supplies.
I don’t buy the amount that is requested all at once. Instead, I split the amount by half. This school year the amount of pencils is 10 packages of 12. Well, I don’t buy the 10. Instead I bought two packages of 24 pencils. I can just imagine having ten boxes of pencils stuffed into her backpack. Elmer’s glue must be used quite often – 24 glue sticks— so, again, I only purchased half.
How on earth is my kid supposed to take everything on her first day? This momma has to budget and look out for the well being of her daughter.
I’m not just a momma that had to purchase school supplies but I’m also a teacher hoping that each child brings in their supplies to at least begin the first six weeks.
Let’s talk logistics.
Many administrators approve the high quantities of supplies the teachers request for each grade level. I’m not saying that it’s too much for the year or that it’s not used in the classroom— it’s simply about where I’m going to store everything. This is basically from me knowing each year that I will have stacks of supplies on top of the students’ cubbies. Yes, the students use everything, but not all at once. Pencils, glue sticks, notebooks and crayons are the most used items throughout the school year.
As a teacher, I know that the students will indeed go through these items like cake. As a teacher, I still need to think like a parent needing to purchase the requested items. The parents don’t need this type of worry on the first day of school. Their focus needs to be on their children. Basically, buying everything on the list is quite eccentric— and that’s coming from me, a teacher.
What I’m trying to say is to buy what you can for the first two days.
The students don’t need everything right away. There is so much going on that day; it’s filled with back-to-back activities. Yes, we need the tissue, the hand sanitizer, and the Ziploc baggies, but not all at the same time. There is time to get everything together and brought into school. Parents come in on the first day explaining they couldn’t get everything. I simply reply, “That’s okay. Send the supplies before the end of the week.” This gives the parents a bit of breathing room.
I can only imagine the stress and worry some parents go through if they have more than two school-aged children. If their child needs, say, another notebook for the second semester, then I send a note home explaining what is needed. In January, I send out a second supply list for those that need another item or if we need something more for the classroom, such as tissues.
Mommies and teachers, relax. Begin the first day of school with ease. Remember, our children are a reflection of our own emotions.