Monday, August 3, 2009

Teacher Knows best: School Supply List

I am blessed to live next to a elementary school teacher who loves my kids and we love her!! She has multiple education degrees and is the first person I run to when I am worried about speech, development or anything learning related!! She has agreed to write a weekly post for me on some common concerns involving little ones and just great tips! If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed, please e-mail me at

Back to School Shopping

As a teacher, seeing school supplies out in stores brings two feelings:
1) dread that my summer is coming to an end and
2) excitement that I get to start a new school year with new students, new expectations, and new crayons (I can’t help it, I love new crayons). So today, here’s some Frequently Asked Questions about school supplies…

Q: How do I know what my child needs?

A: The good old school supply list. You can find one for your child’s school and grade usually in stores, but the best place is the school website. Make sure you have the right grade level and teacher.

Q: This list is pretty long. Does my child really need all this?

A: Yes. These supplies have to last all year, so we ask for more than one glue stick and box of pencils because your child will use them. We also find it’s cheaper for parents to buy them on sale in August instead of at regular price in January.

Q: Why do some teacher’s want names on supplies and others don’t?

A: The reasons vary. Some teachers do community supplies and some have every student keep their own. Some want to have everyone label folders the same way so that it’s easier to organize. It depends on the teacher and how the classroom is run.

Q: How can I save money on school supplies?

A: One way I’ve heard of is to shop in high quantity. If you have access to a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, go shopping there and split the supplies and the cost with another family. Many school PTOs offer pre-packaged supplies. These are often cheaper than hunting down all the supplies yourself because the PTO will buy en mass and pass the savings onto you. You also know that the supplies are exactly what the teacher is asking for. Fair warning: my school PTO offers this program but from a company and the boxes do not include everything needed, there are still some things to buy for specific teachers. Many schools have the PTO put together bags and are able to include everything.

Q: What supplies should I have at home for homework?

A: Extra pencils, colored pencils or crayons, scissors, glue stick, ruler, and notebook paper. Either use leftovers from last year or buy two this year and reserve them for homework use only. Keep everything together in a school box or pouch to cut down on the chance of not being able to find the scissors.

Q: Anything else I should get?

A: Enough pencils to get to the moon and back – you’d be surprised how many we go through, it’s like a pencil monster comes and eats them every night. Keep a stash at home so when your kiddos come home and say “I need more pencils!” you’re ahead of the game. Also tissues and hand soap - we try to keep the kids, especially the little guys, from killing an entire forest every time they sneeze, but in the name of cleanliness and not spreading germs, we use a lot of these supplies.