Back to School Supplies

I leisurely perused the Sunday paper today, and I was confronted by ads for back to school supplies from every major retailer you can imagine. There are some great deals out there. Here’s my pet peeve, though. How do I know what to get? No, really. Most schools don’t publish their lists. I cannot comprehend why a school would bother to have a web site and not use it for something as basic as communicating with parents about school supplies.

Most supply lists are very specific. I can buy my kindergartner a pack of 24 Rose Art crayons for 5¢, but what if her teacher wants her to have those fat crayons? There are all kinds of deals out there, but I would be angry if I took advantage of them and wasted money on supplies that teachers don’t want or had to go back and buy a bunch of stuff I wasn’t counting on.

Many schools publish lists to local department and grocery stores, which is very helpful, but for some reason, this seems to stop at middle school level. I have a seventh grader, and I don’t know what she’ll need. Her school’s website is more attractive and contains more information than the local elementary school site, but again, no school supply lists.

Georgia has an annual sales tax holiday for school supplies. This year, it will take place from August 3-6. My daughters don’t start back to school until August 14. School supply lists are not available for me to take advantage of this sales tax holiday.

I am almost certain that her teachers must know what supplies they plan to require. I already know. I know every year. The problem is, students of mine don’t know what they need for my class. They don’t know that they are going to be in my class. I don’t know who my daughters’ teachers will be. I don’t know that it would be possible in their case to ask schools to provide me with that information. They are likely still registering and creating schedules up until the week before school. It’s a bit simpler at my school, because we are still small enough at this point that we only have one teacher teaching every section. There is, for instance, only one college prep American literature course, only one Honors British literature course, and so on. As long as students know what section they will be in, they have a fairly good idea of which teacher (among the three of us) they will have.

I suppose what I will do this year in order to take advantage of sales and the sales tax holiday is buy supplies before I get the lists, but it bothers me. I can get what I think teachers will want and basic supplies that my kids will need, but I run the risk of getting the wrong thing or not getting something they need.

3 thoughts on “Back to School Supplies”

  1. My school actually comes up with grade-level supply lists. Each kindergartener has the same list so you can buy supplies even before you receive your assignment. My grade-level team sometimes has a hard time agreeing on what we want in our classrooms but this idea works really well for our school. If there is something that only one teachers wants (pencil boxes!) but others don't, the principal will usuallys spring for a class set.

  2. I often wish I could contact parents and students before the school year begins, esp since I usually teach 9th grade but alas, I usually don't have a concrete schedule until the first day of school! It shouldn't be that difficult, but I guess working in an large, urban high school makes it difficult due to the transitory nature of the population…not just students moving around but students having many options to choose from, in terms of what school they attend and the possibility that their placement could change anytime.

  3. Man, I know how you feel. I never even PUBLISH those supply lists. The "school" does.. and I have enuf Kleenex to break backs.. Trust me; I know… I move them every year when they change my CR for whatever reason… LOL… about 354 boxes at last count… (afterall, every kid shld bring 2 boxes of Kleenex to guarantee a good education, eh?)

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