Jul 11, 2012

Back to School Supply Shopping

This is my second year of this, and it still sends me into the fetal position once I see the list.  The list is, by all standards, excessive, and exhaustive.  Even if I had a lot of money, I still think this list would make me feel like my wallet was getting raped, and I was watching it in slow motion.  Seeing as, you can't do this list quickly, and it takes some practice to get it right.  I learned from my mistakes last year.  And the other parents who were numbly filling their carts with crap that seemed unnecessary for a proper education.

So, lets start with the most abused item.   The glues stick.  The kindergarten teachers have obviously decided that this quantity is appropriate, as the same number was on the list last year when I did this list for my oldest.  I think twenty four glues sticks per child is excessive.  It seems asinine that one child could potentially go through even half of that for a ten month period.  I think they are using them for snack. Or just to see how trainable the parents are.  If they do in fact buy everything on the list, and all twenty four glue sticks, then they can probably talk that parent into being room mom, or some other torturous job.  (PS, I was co-room mom, and I don't know that the teacher ever shared that information with the other mom, therefore, I had the title but no say in anything because she had older children and more knowledge.)  All that being said, I bought everything, plus the donation items.

Donation Items--- These are items that the teachers request, decided on per each grade level, that is obviously not in the budget, yet is greatly needed, and would otherwise come out of the teacher's pocket if we did not supply them.  So, for my kindergartner, it was tissues, gallon zip lock baggies, highlighters (why does a kindergartner need a highlighter when I have spent the past year telling her she may not touch them until she gets in middle school when she actually needs to highlight things?)  sanitizing wipes, reams of colored copy paper, etc.  My son, the first grader, needed sandwich sized baggies, the other items, and some random items that apparently the first grade teachers deemed necessary in order to conduct class each day.  Again, I jumped to supply the teachers, as I feel like they are grossly underpaid and are really the people I like to suck up to in order to have my child treated well.  They generally don't care for me, but I'm not in their class five days a week for educational purposes, so they merely have to tolerate my presence and appreciate the heck out of my offspring.

The shopping list is actually slightly off balance, as I feel like a mere four boxes of twenty four crayons is not enough to counterbalance the sheer quantity of glue sticks.  By first grade, the glue stick supply goes down to twelve per student, and even at that, I feel like the teachers are snickering behind our backs.  Only one pallet of watercolors are requested, and that also shocks me.  I think I used water colors daily in kindergarten, however, I only went for half days, and by the end of kindergarten I had learned all my letters and did a Letter Person Parade.  (My daughter could have taught me the alphabet by the time she was two and a half years old.  Yeah, I know... she is doing fractions and not in kindergarten for another few weeks.  Whatever. But can also probably calculate and tell you that not even she goes through 2.4 glue sticks in a ten month period.

The folders... that was a tricky one, and I remembered this year.  If it asks for pronged plastic folders, they will be labeled as such.  If not, pay attention to which ones you are picking up.  Pencils- number 2.  Although, I have yet to find a number 1, or even a number 3, so you can't really screw this one up.  The pink erasers come in sets of 2 or six.  IF your teacher asks for a number that is not one of those, I say send in half an eraser and tell them to go f... never mind.  Just buy it.  After you bought the 24 glue sticks, don't make a big deal of this one.  But the dry erase markers.. that one ticked me off the most since they use this computer screen thing and if that is broken, they just cancel school.  (I might be wrong about that, but from my one hour a week in classroom during centers when I would see the computer thing not cooperate, I think the teacher would take that time to drink.)  No, that's not right either.  I think they just sent the kids on to whatever center they thought was correct, and made frantic calls to I.T. and then sniffed glue sticks.  Wait, that's not right either...

The backpacks confused me.  They had some with wheels, yet every school listing I saw explicitly stated "No wheeled backpacks."  Not sure who is buying these, but they have a limited market since the schools won't allow them.  I also saw some mesh type bag backpacks.  That seemed ridiculous, since rain will totally screw up the contents of the backpack, and we wouldn't want our precious glue sticks getting damp before their time.  However, Chaz picked out a really cool backpack.  Neither child was getting a lunch box as we have old ones that still work fine, but Charlie found an all black backpack with all sorts of pockets, and his comes with an all black lunchbox that attaches to the front of the backpack with clips.  (I don't know how to describe the clips, but they are easy for little fingers to do.)  I took iron on letters and put his monogram on the backpack, then took his radKIDS patch and put that on the center of his lunchbox.  One of a kind and he was so excited with the outcome of them both.  I am not smart enough to know how to attach pictures, but if you wait a year or two, I bet Shay will teach me.   Charlie's backpack cost $13.88.  Not bad.  It even came with a plastic ruler, eraser, pencil and a notepad, and I pulled those out and let him play with them today.  It's the little stuff folks....

Pencil cases are preferred, and boxes may or may not be allowed.  However, I am fairly certain that no teacher is requested the Hannah Montana microphone shaped box or the base ball bat style one I saw either.  Ours specified the pencil pouch, and I was quick to let the migits chose their colors, and then once I got them home, I quickly put their names on them.  I know that much of the supplies are communal, however, I want my kids to have their say in color.  (I'll indulge my migits when I feel appropriate.)  Colored pencil pouch- appropriate.  Extra microphone pencil case for home in case our real microphones stop working, not so much Shay- sorry.  I think Shay is going to be a wedding singer, but worse.  (Chick loves to sing, but she can't carry a tune.  She so gets that from me.  But, to be fair about this, I gave her the awesomely bronzing skin that doesn't require sunblock.  She can thank me later for that.)

There were other things, like colored pencils in first grade, only one liquid glue bottle, etc., but those seemed more normal, hence, I didn't feel motivated to break those items down for you.  I hope this entry is useful in your back to school supply list shopping!  I just remembered that on our school's website, prior to school starting, there was a pre-packaged bundle of all the supplies you would need that you could just send a check in for and they would handle it through the school for a limited number of families.  That just takes all the sport out of this annual event, and I think might even lessen my twitch.  (I wish I had remembered this a tad earlier than now.)  Happy hunting! Start now, as it will be a mess to fighting over those darn glue sticks the week before school starts!

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