School Supplies

Oh, where has summer gone?! It’s August already and that can only mean one thing…school starts soon!!!! I can’t believe summer has gone so fast, but I am very excited to get back to a normal routine. What I don’t look forward to is school shopping. It’s just a pain. Between having to get the supplies, new clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, ect.,  you end up spending a small fortune to send your kid to school!

We have a group at school called P.I.E (partners in education) and I think it’s like the PTA.  A couple of years ago they started a program that has your child’s school supplies sent directly to school in time for the open house night. Everything your child needs is packaged neatly in a box and waiting on your child’s desk when they walk into the room. The order sheets come home sometime in April and you send your check in and worry no more about school supplies! I have yet to do this! As great as it sounds, I just haven’t. My daughter likes to shop for the supplies and pick out her own colors, folders, notebooks, ect and I love to get that stuff on sale. I also wasn’t convinced that it was the cheapest option so I saved the order forms from last spring to compare prices after we went shopping.

The day I decided to school shop was also the day I had to shop for party stuff for Christopher’s birthday. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but when I saw the supplies out July 5th I figured I’d better not wait too long. Normally I don’t think twice about supplies until August, but last year when I went everything was so picked over that it wasn’t fun. Who can think about school over July 4th holiday?!! Crazy people, that’s who!!

So, as we stand in WalMart looking over both the kid’s lists, another thing slaps me silly. The amount of stuff they need! And it’s not just stuff for themselves! You know that the dry erase markers aren’t for personal use or the sharpies or the giant bottles of glue! Heaven’s no! I realize that teachers buy a lot of their own supplies, but it seems to be getting ridiculous what you’re expected to supply to the public schools. Don’t even get me started on snack time! How about I send a snack to school with MY child for MY child and everyone else do the same!!!!

I don’t remember school supply shopping being this complicated when I was little! Anyway, after we got home I added up what each of the kids’ supplies cost me and compared it to the P.I.E. orders. For my kindergartener, I saved $4 buying things myself. For my 5th grader, I saved $12 buying it myself and she got just what she wanted. People may say, “Oh, but the gas it cost you to go there makes it even” blah blah blah. I’m going to the store whether it’s for the supplies or groceries so for me that argument doesn’t work. I also like knowing how much I’m paying for each item so I don’t pay lots of $$$ for a notebook for example. I also like knowing that everything on my list is checked off and they will for sure have it on the 1st day of school.  What I don’t like is having to think about things before I’m ready!

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19 Responses to School Supplies

  1. Laura says:

    Oh, I’m soooo ready for school to start! I love Fall, so I’m also ready for the heat of summer to go away. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and the pool and everything, but I also like the structure that the school year affords. And jeans weather!

    We get off pretty easy, I think, with school supplies. Our teachers give us two lists – one is the required supplies that Josh will use for himself, and the other is the class “wish list”. You can buy one item or all of the items on the “wish list” – or you can buy none. It’s up to you. But those are the items that will be shared amongst the entire class.

    Of course, I don’t have as big an issue with buying this stuff, because it’s a private (Catholic) school. We also have a rockin’ PTO (of which I’m a member, thankyouverymuch) that holds two fundraisers a year – a craft bazaar in the fall, and a silent auction/dinner in the Spring. Between the two, we pull in around $30K (although this year’s Spring Fling brought in close to that all by itself! Woot!) That money goes to purchase things like computers, playground equipment, etc., for the school. We also give each teacher a cut of it for use in the classrooms as they see fit.

    I don’t do a lot of “school clothes” buying for Josh. Instead, I watch for sales year-round and get stuff then. I also have a set of clothes set aside as “school clothes” – collared shirts, nice shorts/jeans, separate shoes – that I insist that he wear. That cuts down on the wear and tear on the clothes, since he only wears them for school.

    • Sue says:

      Our PIE people do fundraisers too (I’ve thought about joining, just never have) and the school supplies are a fundraiser. I just found that out the other day from one of my girlfriends, but I still don’t think I’ll do it. I’d rather just write them a check then pay $1 for a notebook when I know I could get it for 10 cents!

  2. SKL says:

    Since my kids go to “school” year round, and they’re 3, I don’t have much to do to prepare for fall. Mainly just buy some size 4 pant suits and long-sleeve shirts. Could use some socks, too.

    My fall planning centers more around my kid’s birthday, Halloween, and Christmas, at this point.

    I’m looking forward to milder weather. And although we’re having fun with having so much to do during the summer, I’m kind of looking forward to being a little closer to home as the weather gets yucky. It’s exhausting to try to do a bunch of stuff within 2 hours every evening. Plus, I want to spend some time with the indoor stuff that we have neglected in favor of fresh air and sunshine all summer.

  3. Joy says:

    This won’t come as too much of a shock to anyone but I LOVED back to school shopping. Not so much for the clothes but for the dang “office supplies.” Just the thought of the smell of a brand new box of crayons is like heaven……..

    I do think that PIE idea is really a good one for people not like me and who hate to do it. On the other hand, my kids loved picking out their own stuff, don’t most kids? Is all the stuff they get the same or do some kids have a variety? Because if everyone had blue notebooks and Trinity had Justin Beeber on hers, doesn’t that cause problems?? Seriously, I wonder about that. It’s almost like some kids wearing a uniform and some not.

    I guess not everyone likes to prepare in the same way I do. I can remember my kids packing and repacking their new backpacks with all their new goodies inside and marking their names on everything. They had a lot of fun doing that.

    As far as supplying the classroom with stuff, we never had to do that. Just like the afternoon or morning snack. We really did just send one each day for just our child. It just seems so much easier that way. If someone is allergic, you don’t have to worry about it nor does every other child in the classroom have to suffer for it. That to me is just the easy way to do it.

    I also really like the routine of fall and what “going back to school” seems to signify. I like routine and I like patterns that don’t change much. I like watching the school bus go by and I like going to school events. I just think back to school time is fun.

  4. Nikki says:

    Gosh darn it, I had a long comment and accidentally hit my mouse, and back paged.

    Anyways…they make it easy in my opinion, they ask for a lot but everything is pretty cheap. I got notebooks for 15 cents, he needs 7 so I can handle that! The most expensive will probably be the protractor and compass, I haven’t checked for those yet. And the $16 they want for a scientific calculator. He also wants a Twins backpack, my mom told him she’d buy that. I was going to make him use last years, it’s still in perfect condition.

    We’re really excited about this year. His teacher, first male one he’s had, is now teaching 5th grade this year. He wanted him again, and he got him! It was the best thing for Bailey having him as his teacher. Until last year, he was the class clown, the one that just wanted to make everyone laugh. And although he still like to see people laugh, he pays attention in class! I think maybe the women teachers were TOO easy on him. Bailey admitted he was strict, and he even yelled at times, but he really likes him and wanted him again.

    I have the first week of school off for vacation. Not my choice, and I never would have planned that. I’ll be all alone that whole week, and it’s probably the worst week for me out of the entire year. So we’ll see!

  5. mssc54 says:

    Every year I swear I’m going to keep a journal about how much money our children’s free education costs but I never do.

    We just spent just about $150.00 on school supplies for our first and third graders. Additionally we have to send a check for $45 EACH for classroom supplies!

    Don’t even get me started on fund raisers either!!

    • Joy says:

      LOL!! That’s right. You’re the fund raiser lover.

    • Laura says:

      That’s why I’m so thankful that our school’s PTO does those two big fundraisers. They truly are big, and take a lot of work (and teamwork) on the part of the parents, BUT…

      It allows us to NOT require the kids to do a single fundraiser for school-related things. The kids still do fundraisers, but they are at the kids’ discretion. Typical fundraisers include:

      – monthly bake sales by the middle-school kids (6,7,8th grades) to raise money for our “sister parish” (a church in Haiti), and for Heifer International

      – ticket sales for the school play (also by the mid-schoolers) to raise money for their class trip

      – occasional car washes, candy sales, etc., to also raise money for their portion of the class trip or other projects they wish to do (they usually do a service-related fundraiser, as opposed to item sales, which are rampant, and don’t generate nearly the money or the exposure that service does)

      We find that people are MUCH more willing to buy services/things from the kids when they know that the money is truly going to the kids or to a charity, and not to buy supplies that are supposed to be purchased with tuition money. (or tax dollars, if ours was a public school) They also are more willing to buy when they know that this is the only time they’re going to be asked… they’re not going to be hit up next week to buy something else, with the money going to the same school slush fund.

    • Joy says:

      I never minded the fundraisers that involved things people really can use and do use. I remember my boys used to sell this super nice wrapping paper and it sold like crazy. It was also right in October so you’d get it and then when Christmas came, you had the paper. It was also really nice paper. I’d love to be able to buy that again.

      They also sold frozen pizza’s the year they went to Wolf Ridge Environmental Center as a way of shaving off the price of the week long trip. Those pizza’s were really good.

      What I hate now is all the junk the kids sell. The frozen cookie dough and crappy products. Who needs more cookies? I like a certain amount of junk but for a school to sell it seems really tacky when they talk about eating better and then have the kids sell cookie dough. Kinda sends a mixed message.

      • Laura says:

        What really irked me was when my niece and nephew were in school – it seemed like they were doing fundraisers every month. I didn’t much mind it when it was for something – a band trip, for example, or a trip to an invitational outside the regular sports schedule. But when the girl’s soccer team was doing fundraiser after fundraiser so they could buy new goals? I don’t think so! That’s supposed to be in the athletic department’s budget. But this particular school (and many others, I suspect) divided their budget thusly: Football, whatever else needs stuff after Football is fully outfitted.

        THAT’S what irks me about fundraisers for schools. That, and all the crap. I agree on that one, Joy. I do remember that wrapping paper – I also remember when the price of it went through the roof, and the amount you got turned pathetic. It was like $5 for one sheet. It was ridiculous.

  6. Nikki says:

    I don’t mind sending a box of snacks for the whole class if that’s what they ask for. Especially after last year. One day Bailey came home and asked if I could send two snacks to school with him. There was one boy, that clearly didn’t have a lot of money and lived only with his dad. He never had a snack, and Bailey felt bad and always shared his with him. After that I just sent Bailey to school with a box of crackers. He shared with only him. It would last for that week. I figure $3 for a week of snacks for 2 boys is fine. I don’t mind, and I’m thankful Bailey is thoughtful.

    • mssc54 says:

      Nikki, I will be the first to give a child anything they NEED that I am able to provide.

      The thing that bothers me is that we have to send money for supplies after we have already bought our supplies. I understand that there are some people who may be unable to buy everything they need for their child’s education. HOWEVER, there are also those parents who EXPECT others to pick up the slack for them while they sit at home talking on their cell phones with their cable tv on in the background, a cigarette burning in the ashtray and cold beer in the refrigerator. Don’t spend all “your money” on your indulgences and expect me to cough up more of my money that I’ve earned for MY family.

      End rant. 🙂

  7. Just a Mom says:

    I opted for the pre-packaged option this year for my youngest. It was $50 and everything should be there for her today when we have meet the teacher. She was a little bummed out about not shopping for school supplies but this made my life sooo much easier. We did have to buy a new lunchbox and a new backpack which she got to pick out. I kid you not her new backpack is a rolling carry on suitcase and we are not really sure if it’s going to be big enough for all her books! My oldest daughter is in High School so we won’t know what she needs for supplies until she has classes the 1st day.
    As for school clothes my youngest goes to a Catholic school and since see is now in the Junior High part of it we had to buy all new uniforms. I think her new uniforms cost about $150 this year. That gets her through the week with me washing clothes midweek! I took my oldest daughter shopping for school clothes this morning and we got away with only spending $85. I was very impressed with her shopping this year.

  8. starlaschat says:

    I think shopping or having it done for you is a personal preference. I think it’s fun to pick out colors and having the kids get excited about school is probably a good thing. But the other way is nice to for time reasons.

    I like te orange sides and peach header. Funny I’m wearing the same color shirt so it’s funny as I look down at my hands typing I see the same color orange on my sleves. All this Fall talk and going back to school, I guess I’m ready for the Season change. A little sad because Navar has to drive across town at least an hour each way on good roads to his new job. Life seems to be always changing.

  9. SKL says:

    I agree that the costs of public school seem to be never-ending. It would never cost that much for the kids to do the exact same work at home. What are they doing with all those boxes of tissues, etc.? I guess I could go on all day about that . . . .

    Never had to wear uniforms. My next-door neighbor did, and it turned me off uniforms for life. They had these ridiculously short skirts for the girls. How could you be comfortable in that, whether you’re horsing around on the way to/from school, sitting at your desk, stooping over to pick something up, walking up the stairs . . . yuck. I know some schools have decent uniforms, but if they don’t, you’re stuck with whatever they have. But I can see how it’s easier to stock school clothes that way.

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