It is that time of year, Back to School! This year my kiddos had an extra long summer thanks to our cross country move and are ready to go back to school. I wonder how long that is going to last.

With back to school comes school supplies and that is where my gripe is. I have no problem buying school supplies for my 4 children at all. I have no problem sending in extra stuff that teachers may need. I have no problem helping out friends of my kids. What I do have a problem with is how ridiculous some school supply lists have become.

I know teachers are underpaid. Once upon a time I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I still think I do, low pay and all. I know teachers pay for a lot of things out of pocket from classroom supplies to lunch for students here and there.  Guess what though this is true of other professions as well like my husband’s.  Yes, the Army doesn’t supply everything a soldier needs to train or deploy. I won’t even begin with some of the ridiculous things you would think his employer would provide but couldn’t because of budget constraints.

I can only guess that maybe these long school supply lists are due to budget cuts but i’m not sure. My children’s school district in El Paso put a budget cap on how much in supplies that they could request. Now that i’m in North Carolina there are no such caps and despite spreading out my shopping and price matching I am going broke shopping for supplies. My daughter’s list is the worst. Seriously 16 glue sticks, 4 packs of computer paper, 4 boxes of tissues, 8 tennis balls etc.  I can only guess those tennis balls are to put on the chair legs which in my opinion is not a necessity. It is a nice to have not a need to have. I can understand my son’s needing scientific calculators and even thumb drives. But tennis balls, clothespins, 4 boxes of tissues each child. What happened to one box per child and if more were needed asking for more? Doing something common sense like that is not only much easier on parent’s budgets but it saves room in your classroom. Seriously where are you going to store 4 boxes per student in your class and the paper towels, computer paper. Please don’t tell me this is done because it is communal supplies because some kids cannot afford school supplies. What is going to happen when one day parents have had enough and say no i’m not buying it.

I think some teachers have forgotten about who the parents of the children they teach are. They are people just like them doing their best to get by and do the best for their children too.  Most of us are not rich with unlimited resources. We don’t have someone helping us out. Yes, we know school supplies are needed every year but we don’t know what is going to be on that list typically until a month or so before school starts. It doesn’t help that so many items on school supply lists today are not actually school supplies. So you can only stock up so much in advance and then try to spread it out so it is not such a financial shock.

So I am going to ask the teachers out there please carefully review your school supply lists. Make sure things are classroom needs and not things that are wants because they would be nice to have. Maybe try out a classroom wish list for all of those things that are the nice to have’s like tennis balls for the chairs. The parents of your students would be thankful just like their wallets would be.

IMG_3610Part of my kiddos school supplies

2 Comments on Back to School Supplies Woes

  1. I have the opposite problem! Our school district has decided schools and teachers are not allowed to tell you what you “must” buy for your child. They can helpfully suggest some items after school has started, but they can’t ask you to provide anything. Which means I don’t know if I’m actually buying or sending what my child needs! I’d hate for her to not have something she’ll be using, just as much as I don’t want to buy things she won’t need…but if I wait until school has started to guess what supplies she might need that school year all of the back to school sales are over! Ugh!

    • I would definitely go for at least the basics in that case. Kids always need pencils, notebook paper, crayons and things like that. If the end up not needing it for school it is likely something they may need at home to do homework.
      It is a frustrating issue either way!

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