By in Parenting

My Kid Needs What For School!

Did you see that list? The one of all the school supplies your seven year old needs to succeed in school this year? Can you believe it! Actually, maybe yes, and maybe no.

Kids do need more than the backpack, binder, and number 2 pencils that were standard a generation ago, but if your children attend a public school, they can't actually require you to purchase supplies for them.

So, what's a parent to do?

Elementary School: Many supplies lists today include supplies to go to a general classroom pool. If you can afford to get them, please do, because the teacher will really appreciate it. If any kind of electronics or accessories are requested, ask the teacher why they are needed and base your decision on the answer. An important note here, is that if specific brands are requested, do your best to get them. Back to school sales usually make them pretty affordable.

Middle School or Junior High: All, or nearly all, of the supplies you purchase will be used only by your own child. If you are a super nice parent, you might consider sending a pack of paper or pencils, or a box of tissues to each of your child's teachers as well. It will be truly appreciated. More than likely, some electronic devices will be requested at this level, but many school districts have programs in place to assist families who may be strapped for cash. It's worth looking into.

High School: Honestly, it's time to trust your child's judgment. It is perfectly okay, however, to put them on a budget and expect them to stick to it. If they insist that they need more than your budget allows, then it's time to get confirmation from the teacher who is expecting the pricey supplies.

One final note: If you can afford it, get one more of everything than you think you will need, now while back to school sales are making everything so affordable. You'll be glad you did come February.

Image Credit » by geralt

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Kasman wrote on July 12, 2015, 10:43 AM

It seems that with each generation the list of essential supplies gets longer! I remember going to school with just a couple of pencils.

Shellyann36 wrote on July 12, 2015, 10:12 PM

My son starts kindergarten this year. I remember the lists being long from when my older boys were in school. I doubt that they have gotten shorter. In fact I am certain they are way longer now. I need to go to Walmart and get the list. Normally they have all of the county schools and their lists at the Walmart in our county. I think hubby is going to be very shocked at how much Lil Keith will need.

Ruby3881 wrote on July 22, 2015, 12:08 AM

You are obviously quite knowledgeable about the school supply situation! This is great advice for parents at all stages of the game.

I am curious when you say, "if your children attend a public school, they can't actually require you to purchase supplies for them." My understanding is that the laws vary o this point from one jurisdiction to another, and that most now allow for schools to charge a nominal fee for printing and consumables like workbooks. They are also within their rights to charge additional fees for special activities (athletics, art/music, wood shop, etc.)

Ruby3881 wrote on July 22, 2015, 12:18 AM

I went to a school that supplied all the basics, including pencils and paper. We were given a strong cardboard pencil box at the beginning of each year, and then the teachers would pass out pencils, erasers, scissors and glue. In the early primary years we were given fat wax crayons, as well. We had a single notebook for each subject - no loose papers, binders, duotangs, etc. We supplied a 6'inch ruler and a red pencil for underlining. The school supplied a 12" ruler for those times when it was needed. Later, we were asked to buy a set of 8 coloured pencils, and a geometry set,

There were no calculators permitted in the classroom, and we never needed tissues, copy paper, tennis balls to cover chair and desk legs, ear buds, highlighters, pens, white out, or anything else.

Every teacher taught the same work habits, every teacher used the same supplies. There was never any waste (you should see all the barely used stuff that comes home now!) And a significant number of the kids in our school were learning above grade level. I suspect that the simplicity of the teaching approach contributed more than a little to the fact that many students advanced so fast. No distractions, no silliness, and the teachers were just - well, solid.

LeaPea2417 wrote on December 23, 2015, 6:10 PM

It does seem that each year the school list gets more complicated and expensive. It is a good thing by kids are now old enough and not in the school system anymore.

Last Edited: December 23, 2015, 6:10 PM