School supply list is nearly impossible to complete

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

On Monday, Lori tacked a green neon piece of paper to the bulletin board in our laundry room.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

It’s longer than Ty’s Christmas list and more detailed than my honey-do list.

I was stunned when I started reading it.

It was filled with all the school supplies we need to purchase before he starts kindergarten next month. To give you an idea of its enormity, we must buy at least one of every item at Wal-Mart.

For many of you, buying school supplies has become a habit and a routine part of your July and August. For us, it’s our first year purchasing all the supplies needed for Ty to start school.

As I see the shelves filling up with supplies at Target, CVS and other stores, Lori says we need to go ahead and get them before they’re gone or we’ll be fighting other parents over the last box of Crayola washable markers (classic colors – not the thin ones, as our supply list warns) or glue sticks or Iron Man book bag.

And what the heck is a Pink Pearl eraser?

One thought is that we can wait to compare the sales at all the different retailers to buy the most for less, or we could go ahead and get the supply list completed before we’re making a midnight run to find things not crossed off our list.

Hopefully your tips will help school supply newcomers like us and other parents who are familiar with this annual rite but are looking to save money this year.

Are you already buying school supplies?

What are some of the best ways to save on them?

Do you wait or do you get it done weeks ahead of time?

Do schools ask parents to bring too many items?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

111 comments Add your comment

malleesmom

July 19th, 2011
3:19 am

I am already done (minus the three-ring binder). I purchase supplies as I see them on sale throughout the year. I abhor standing in some store aisle crammed full of frustrated parents with restless children searching for the last orange folder in the metro area :) I no longer fret over the “right” markers (or crayons, pencils, etc) as indicated on the list. The kids don’t care and will use the supplies regardless.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
5:58 am

Yes, the school supply list can be daunting. This is ( one reason) why I am in awe at people who have perhaps 6 children, How do they manage the school supply list? I am past that hurdle now with college expenses.

Re the eraser, I am pretty sure it is that rubbery kind that is just a bit bigger than a flash drive.
When children are learning to write, the eraser on the pencil does not last long.

Target typically has a GREAT sale in a week or two. Lugging all that stuff to school is another thing.

As a former Kinder teacher, I stuck to the list. There is usually a reason why the teacher wants certain things even though it may seem odd. Teachers tend to appreciate those who follow directions. I know I did. Kind of like leaving a list for your babysitter and when you get home he/she says, “Oh we did not follow the list…the kids did not care a bit! They were good with eating ice cream for dinner and playing in the street.”

It’s not like the teachers get a commission for recommending odd things to purchase just for the fun of it!

Also, some kids will bring everything they need and others will bring nothing and probably be using what your kid brought. It all starts when they are small.

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
6:03 am

Andy…thin markers do not last as long with little hands. When children are learning to recognize, select and read their color words it helps if they all have the same CLASSIC colors.

newblogger

July 19th, 2011
6:07 am

Please stick to the list and please get everything on it. As a teacher and a mom, I don’t want the children who did bring in everything to have to make up for the children whose parents didn’t or couldn’t get everything, so I buy it myself. I know a lot of teachers who do this. I really don’t mind buying it (I find the 10 and 25 cent sales and get off brands) but it would be nice to have less to buy. And no, we don’t get much money to spend on classroom supplies. You would be surprised at how fast crayons, pencils and glue sticks are used up. @MJG_Great job on the pink pearl eraser description! Pencil erasers disapper faster than you think and cap erasers are useless except for sticking them to foreheads and launching them across the room. There really is a reason for all the “odd” things on the list. We really will use everything on there…and more.

djm_NC

July 19th, 2011
6:46 am

there are some things i really miss now that my kids are grown..buying school supplies is definately not one of them. the reason for the list (as mjg pretty much said) is so everyone has the same thing-and the teachers know what works best for the kids. at my work place we do a different community service collection every three months-this period we are collecting money for the head start teachers to buy bookbags filled with supplies for the kids whose parents cant afford them. they will be filled with exactly what is on the list..each set of supplies the same. its amazing that even the little kids get into the ‘my stuff is better than your stuff’ attitude. but they do. best to stick to the list.

mom3boys

July 19th, 2011
7:09 am

I am tired of kids w/ iPhones and $200 shoes not having school supplies. I told them last year if we did not have the same last name and if they didn’t appear on my tax return as a dependent, I would not be giving them school supplies. When we ran out of tissues, I said, “use your sleeve.” I am so mean…but I teach in a middle class school, and there’s no reason for this.

homeschooler

July 19th, 2011
7:47 am

Never had to deal with the school supply lists that are put out by public schools but I see them posted all over Walmart and think about how overwhelming it all must be. Still, I’m sure it is all necessary.

I will say that it made me crazy when my sister-in-law would spend days rounding up everything her kids need and it was very obvious to me (in South Cobb County) that she was buying for many more kids than hers. Her child obviously does not need 4 large boxes of tissues per year or 3 sets of Crayola markers. She was even told (as was mentioned above)that they put extras on the list because many don’t buy them. Wow! just another reason my children will never step foot in a government school. (not blaming the teachers here. They can’t very well buy for 30 kids).
My kids attend a “one day a week” school and also have a large list of supplies. But at least I know that they (and only they) will use them.

It is absolutely ridiculous that parents will not buy school supplies. I work with low income families and can assure you that they can afford pencils that cost a penny and folders that are 20cents. They just know that their kids will be “covered” and so they just don’t worry about it.

Kathy

July 19th, 2011
8:04 am

Andy……take the school supplies in on the night/day that you go to meet Ty’s teacher. DO NOT take them in the first day of school! Taking them on the “meet the teacher day” will give the teacher a chance to put them all away before school starts. As a Kindergarten teacher, I can tell you that teachers don’t like getting anything other than your child on the first day of school…..it is a CRAZY day! And I can echo the thoughts of newblogger…….STICK TO THE LIST! If it says to get Crayola crayons, don’t get Roseart, get Crayola. If it says get PLAIN folders, don’t get folders with puppies on them. Teachers LOVE it when you get exactly what is on the list.

mystery poster

July 19th, 2011
8:06 am

@Mom
Agreed. I once had a student tell me she couldn’t afford a $10 calculator, after coming into the room with 3 things from the snack machine. I told her all she would need to do was to bring food from home for a week instead of using the machine, and she would be able to buy a calculator. She gave me the most filthy look. Another time, I had a student call me out into the hall to tell me that he couldn’t afford a calculator. He had a brand new mp3 player around his neck (this was in the days when they were expensive).

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
8:07 am

@newblogger….sometimes I can get a few things right! :)

@mom3boys…I hear you loud and clear…I have mentioned this before and been shot down by some here.

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
8:09 am

Andy…Kathy knows all about this…you may need to e-mail her :)

Mrs. G

July 19th, 2011
8:14 am

The school supply lists these days are so much more comprehensive than they were when I was in elementary school (late 80s/early-mid 90s)! I remember that, for me, it was essentially a pencil box (remember the plastic ones? Do kids still use those?), pencils, an eraser, Elmer’s glue (which we liked to spread on the palms of our hands, let dry, and peel off during class…), crayons, markers, and scissors. Sometimes a little pencil sharpener, but usually there was one in the classroom to use. As I got older, a calculator was required (first the scientific calculator in middle school and then the graphing calculator for high school math). I was absolutely amazed when my brother started kindergarten (in ‘05; oddly, the year that I graduated from college…I’m sure that my mom never anticipated that she would have one kid graduating from college and then be starting all over again that fall!) and I saw his supply list. It was long. And, obviously, expensive. I guess that parents are having to provide more now that the schools’ budgets have been cut so much and they can’t afford to provide the things that they provided when we were younger (Kleenex being one example…my mom told me that every child in my brother’s class has to bring in boxes of Kleenex for the classroom; we always had industrial, sandpaper-like tissues provided by the school).

April

July 19th, 2011
8:17 am

@MJG – I love the babysitter list comparison – so true.

I agree with the others who said get what is on the list. Unless you have a brand new teacher, the teacher has refined this list over several years and knows exactly what the kids need and knows why one brand of crayons or size of folder is better than the others. Also, my own kids’ lists have gotten shorter and less specific as they have gotten older.

I also know some teachers who take all the supplies and put them in a “community box” for everyone to use. I do not agree with this and have never done it myself, but it is fairly common. This means that the kids whose parents did not buy them supplies do not get left out. It also means that if you spent extra to get Ty the pencils with the footballs or the eraser shaped like batman he may never even get to use those things.

In the elementary grades at our school, we have the option to pre-pay for a box of supplies that is delivered before school starts and is on the kids desk the first day of school. I love it because I do not have to search for the certain things. Some parents do not like it – they think it costs more. I really don’t see that it is more expensive, plus when you add in time, gas, and aggravation I think you come out ahead by pre-paying. Some others may have this option, too.

Becky

July 19th, 2011
8:43 am

When my 2 were in kindergarten, I bought everything that was on their list..Spent about $300.00..Three months after they were in that school, they moved and I was told that nothing could be returned because it was all dumped into one bucket and shared..WTF??

I don’t mind buying the stuff that my two need and I don’t mind helping out kids that need help, but I am not going to buy stuff for kids that are driven to school in a new Merceds, Lexus or Rangerover..If you can afford a $60 thousand vehicle, you can afford $75.00 for school supplies..Especially since your kids are already eating breakfast and lunch on my dime..

I buy things all year long and I usually do send in most of what the teacher puts on the list..I do not send it all in at once..I let the kids take a few things the first week of school and I tell the teacher that they will bring in more as needed during the year..

If they do a class project, I will send in only what my two are going to use..Couple of years ago, they did a tie dye T-shirt..I sent in 2 pkgs. to each class, then my two took in their own shirt..When the boy came home with his shirt, it was about 2 sizes to small..When I said something to the teacher, she was like, oh, so and so didn’t bring in a shirt, so I gave him K’s..Oh H3LL freaking no…

  

July 19th, 2011
8:46 am

I am so mean…but I teach in a middle class school, and there’s no reason for this.

You’re not mean, and I admire you for not taking that crap. Good for you!

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 19th, 2011
8:50 am

I am sick and tired apathetic/lazy parents and/or students expecting others to take up the slack since they think they can just shrug off their responsibility to purchase & bring proper supplies.

It reminds me of an art teacher I had in a college class.

He use to rant about how so many “students” would whine and cry about supposedly not having any money and wouldn’t get their supplies, but yet not one of them had to work at a real job and when he would go outside he’d see a parking lot full of new cars.

He was right!!

MomOf2Girls

July 19th, 2011
8:55 am

I agree as well about buying the brands / colors / etc the teacher requests. There are some brands that work much better than others (Elmer’s glue sticks work – Office Depot ones, not so well). Teachers often use color coding to make instructions easier (”pull out your blue folders so we can work on xyz”). There is almost always a good reason for buying that specific item versus the one that looks similar, but isn’t.

Another thing that I do is label (almost) EVERYTHING. By this, I mean writing names in Sharpie on every item from folders to markers (each marker) to erasers. The only things I don’t label are pens and pencils. I do this because there is inevitably a sticky-fingered child who will “borrow” something when your child isn’t looking. As others have said, I’m not paying for someone else’s kid’s supplies. Putting a name on things makes it easier for the item to be positively identified as my child’s, and for the appropriator to be positively identified as a child to keep an eye on.

JJ

July 19th, 2011
8:58 am

I never fretted. I bought what I could, and sent it in when it was easy. I didn’t send in EVERYTHING the first day of school. That’s just silly. Kleenex, paper towels, and hand sanitizer do not need to be stuffed into the backpack the very first day. We staggered it……

Don’t make your kids lug everything to school the first day. Remember, they are getting adjusted and settled, and it takes a week or two. Send stuff in on a daily basis. By the end of the week, it will all be there.

homeschooler

July 19th, 2011
8:59 am

In my area (South Cobb Co.) most of the teachers use the “everything is used for everybody” method. Meaning, the parents I know buy for their kids and those whose parents would rather spend money on cigarettes and lottery tickets. Yet another reason why my kids don’t go to government schools. (not blaming the teachers. They can’t buy for everyone).
My children go to a hybrid school (one day a week). They have an extensive list but at least I know that what I buy is used by them and only them.

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
9:04 am

@ Black and White…college kids….jobs? What? Mine have them but it is not common in our area.
However, a neighbor’s son who was Valedictorian in our HS two years ago and will be in his 3rd year at Ga Tech told me he has 3 part time jobs this summer. I am more than impressed! He was laying sod with his Dad when I spoke with him ( that is not one of his jobs).

Lori

July 19th, 2011
9:14 am

I always stick to the list because I know that the teachers have a reason for everything on it. I do get confused sometimes. Like this year, my son’s list said “tacky glue” for the art room. I wasn’t sure what that was, since there was no name brand called that. I assumed they meant that rubber glue stuff, so I hope I’m right!! But the one that baffled me the most this year was a role of packing tape. Really?? What are they using packing tape for? But the rest of the stuff was standard and actually I got off pretty light this year for 2nd grade compared to last year. I only had to buy 1 box of crayons and markers as opposed to last year’s 3 boxes! Needed lots of pencils, but they are cheap.

Techmom

July 19th, 2011
9:31 am

Once they get to middle and high school it isn’t so bad. I still buy a pack of markers and colored pencils b/c inevitably there will be a project that requires it but for now, all he really needs are a couple of three-ring binders (NOT one for every class like some teachers ask for), dividers, a couple of spiral notebooks, lots of notebook paper and pencils and pens.

They still ask for paper towels, tissue and hand sanitizer but I don’t send that in the first day- I usually wait until after fall break. I also tell all of his teachers that if they ever run out of anything to let me know and I’ll be happy to help replenish the supply (and let a couple of other parents know as well). BUT the boy goes to a private school so it’s never an issue to tell a couple of other moms, “hey, they’re running low on paper towels in the science lab, do you mind putting 5 bucks in the pot and I’ll pick up a big package of paper towels?” I don’t like paying tuition but to be in an environment where everyone (or close to it) takes responsibility for their own kid, sure does make my life a lot easier.

By the way, my recommendation on school supplies is to go buy them now. Target will give you your money back on anything that goes on sale in the next two weeks so even if you buy something and it goes on sale next week, simply take your receipt to customer service and they’ll refund the difference. Then you don’t have to worry about not getting everything or facing the outrageous crowds.

Sam

July 19th, 2011
9:32 am

You can always reuse the items year after year. I can’t tell you how many supplies/folders/clean paper I see thrown in the trash can every May. Kids expect to get all brand new stuff for the school year. Maybe you can set a precedent in your house where supplies are expected to be reused. Then next year your shopping list won’t be so long!

Also, know that when your kids get to high school, markers and things (yes, even paper because students do come to school without paper) are purchased by the teacher, from their personal money.

Techmom

July 19th, 2011
9:32 am

@Lori Tacky Glue can be found in the craft section. It’s usually in a bronze/brown bottle. I’m a little surprised they’re asking for that though- seems odd.

Sam

July 19th, 2011
9:36 am

@momof3boys When we run out of tissues in my classroom, I go and get a roll of (unused) toilet paper from the bathroom. If the kids ask why we don’t have tissues, I tell them I can’t afford to buy them tissues, but they’re welcome to bring them in if they don’t want to use the TP. It usually inspires one or two of them to bring in a few boxes.

vsmom

July 19th, 2011
9:41 am

@Lori–”tacky glue” is a craft glue, it used to come in a brown bottle with a gold lid…you may have to try Michael’s or JoAnn to find it.

My best school supply story is that when V was in about 2nd grade an office supply store had pencils for 2 cents/box…my DH bought so many boxes of pencils that we still haven’t had to buy them, she’s going into 10th grade and I don’t think we will need to buy them ever again :). I also bought a whole case of spiral notebooks that year, I think we just used the last of them.

I do buy throughout the entire year to avoid the crush, but now that we’re in HS I think the specifics will become less (except for the TI-84 graphing calculator).

HB

July 19th, 2011
9:51 am

Is it less expensive to buy bulk supplies of notebooks, pencils, folders, etc? It feels like an awful lot of money is being spent per child at CVS and Wal-Mart. I wonder if the PTA or groups of parents were able to arrange some sort of coop if everyone would come out better by buying in bulk together and then paying their share of the discounted cost.

mystery poster

July 19th, 2011
9:53 am

@VS Mom
Check ebay for the TI84. Many college kids sell them back once they’re done with them.

JJ

July 19th, 2011
9:57 am

I had to buy that TI84 calculator – $120 when my daughter was in high school. But, 4 years later, she is still using it, in college. So I have gotten my money’s worth…..

jarvis

July 19th, 2011
10:01 am

Teachers, remember to save the receipts for anything you spend out of your own pocket. It’s 100% tax deductible.

Becky

July 19th, 2011
10:08 am

@MomOf2Girls..I marked everything with a sharpie when my two were in kindergarten, the teacher marked it out..Now my two are in the third grade, so they will be able to keep up with their own stuff..

@Black and White..Too funny..I know someone that has a daughter that is a junior in college and she can’t work because it takes away from her study time..Really, she has 2 classes a day, three days per week..Yet, she has time to call her Mom about 8-10 times a day, every day..

vsmom

July 19th, 2011
10:25 am

We actually got her 2 TI-Inspire(sp) from e-bay, one came with the TI-84 faceplate conversion. We chose this version as it is the one that can be used with the probes to do chemistry and physics labs if necessary and it was still much, much cheaper than the TI-84.

@JJ–I still use the calculator I bought when I started graduate school 20+ years ago and somewhere still have the one I bought when I started undergrad several years b/4 that…they are a great deterrant to my students wanting to borrow one as they are not anywhere near as idiot proof as today’s calculators…OTOH, I can’t use their TI-84’s worth a darn…but if a college chemistry student can’t use a calculator they’ve supposedly been using since the 10th grade, there’s a bigger problem afloat (different story, different day, perhaps a different blog).

Techmom

July 19th, 2011
10:32 am

@JJ, my son has been using my TI-83 which I bought in 9th grade in 1993. I used it for HS, college and then my dad used it in college before he gave it back. As far as computers have come, calculators really haven’t changed much.

Andy Johnston

July 19th, 2011
10:37 am

Great comments and suggestions so far. I think I’ll be heading to the store this week to avoid the rush. To me, it seems schools are asking parents to buy a lot more stuff these days than when I was in elementary school in the ’70s. Is that true?

Angie

July 19th, 2011
10:48 am

I personally think that some of the school supply lists have gotten out of hand. I understand the needs for SCHOOL SUPPLIES – (pencils, paper, etc.)But why do I have to supply reams of paper, ink cartridges. Yes, these items were on the list. I purchase all the items on the list because if my child needs a tissue or santizier, I want him to have access to it. I really think that they can be scaled down some, too. Ok, what will he need baby wipes for and he’s in the 2nd grade? There is a sink in the classroom and we supply hand soap and paper towels. Why do I have to buy 4 boxes of Ziploc bags (gallon & quart)? Oh, sorry I forget – this isn’t the vent section!! :)

Cindy

July 19th, 2011
10:49 am

I couldn’t find 4 packs of Crayola Twistable Crayons in the basic 8 colors. I had to find them on ebay. It was the cheapest place because all other supply stores charged 10 s/h. We found a 10 color pack but the basic eight was no where. Plus, I could buy a regular 24 count of crayons for $0.25 versus 3.19/pack.

Tonya C.

July 19th, 2011
10:54 am

@jarvis:

Only if you itemize. If you don’t, you get a measly $250.

To the subject of the original post:

This year I start over with elementary again. I now refuse to oversupply at the start of the year. I will send in what I know my daughter can use from the list, and will re-up every 60 days. Sorry. Not providing for those that seem to have better ways of spending their money than providing their kids with supplies.

RJ

July 19th, 2011
10:54 am

@Jarvis, only up to $250, unless that amount has been increased.

I don’t buy from the middle and high school lists. I find that each teacher has their own requirements, so I wait to get what they require. I don’t like that in elementary the supplies are shared. Parents need to be responsible for their own kids supplies.

Tonya C.

July 19th, 2011
10:55 am

@Angie:

If it’s any consolation, my husband is a teacher and I STILL think the lists are completely out of hand.

malleesmom

July 19th, 2011
11:04 am

Becky – your first post hit the nail on the head. I don’t mind helping out. I will not support everyone else. I am not a fan of the group supplies concept. In kindergarten there’s really no way around it. I mark everything possible with my children’s name so they can use the supplies we purchased. I too do not send everything in on meet the teacher day or the first day of school. Keep in mind that 1) this list is expected to cover the entire year. It’s the same concept as food. See a full plate, eat a full plate. See limited portions, one rations their supplies and uses them wisely. We had plenty left over at the end of this year which meant I bought less for August. 2) in our school the list is not teacher generated. It is generated at the grade (usually grade chair) level. It is a general list. I have no problem sending in a few things at the beginning and then replenishing as the child or teacher asks for it. I am on our PTA. I sub at our school and volunteer weekly. Point being, I am a huge supporter of my school and am not being ugly or miserly.

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
11:22 am

Andy, yes I think they ask for more things. When mine were in K, I do not remember anyone having hand sanitizer…was it even available 12 plus years ago? Just like most schools do not have chalkboards anymore, things have gotten different as far as what each school gets used to.

@ Angie…I never sent in reams of paper or cartridges when mine were in elementary school but they did not have computers in their classrooms then. I did send both of mine to college with a lap top and did not have one when I went to college…we never used them then as they were the kinds that took up an entire room.

FYI. I have a TI-86 calculator sitting right here on the desk with me. We found it when we were cleaning out the basement. One of our kids left their calculator in their locker the night before the SAT test ( I think it was my son) and Dad went and got another one as there was no way to get into the school and get it. The test was at another school. To be fair, I was out of town for our daughter’s test and both she and her Dad forgot to set their alarms and she missed it…no things are not perfect around here for sure.

Anyway, does anyone use this model now? My daughter told me NO but maybe someone would be interested in it?

Becky

July 19th, 2011
11:22 am

@malleesmom..Thanks..I didn’t mean to be so high up on my soap box, this is just something that really gets on my nerves..I know what its like to not have everything that the other kids have, I’ve been there..Thats why I don’t have a problem helping out if needed..BTW, if your childs name is really mallee, I love that name..

Question to the teachers on here..Why is it that I’m always hearing that teachers have to buy with their own money, so you need to buy for your child, yet I spoke with the teachers for my 2 at least 2-3 times per week last year and I was always asking them if the kids needed anything brought in and they always told me no…Was I just lucky with 2 really good teachers or did I miss something?

MomOf2Girls

July 19th, 2011
11:28 am

@Becky, sorry to hear that. I’ve heard stories about public schools being run like a commune but haven’t personally experienced it. We go to private, so it wasn’t a question of communal supplies, it was a tracking mechanism. Was it a private school or public?

@Andy, another thing to know is that you need to have supplies at home as well. What you need depends on your kids, but you’ll quickly get a feel for it.

I have a couple of suggestions that have helped us to stay organized:

1. Set aside a storage area for school supplies. We have a shelving unit set up in a little nook. I have plastic shoeboxes to store the supplies, and each is labeled. It is very quick and easy to find what you need.

2. For each child, I have a modular caddy that has a lid and handle. This caddy contains all of the supplies they will need for a homework session (again, depends on the age what will be in it, but basics include pens, pencils, erasures, white out, tape, colored pencils, etc.). If the homework location needs to change for some reason, such as working on the computer versus the table, or going to a friend’s house to do homework, the caddy goes along too.

Good luck, and take a deep breath!

DB

July 19th, 2011
11:29 am

Our school (private) just sent a bill for supplies for the elementary classes — they bought in bulk, and when the kids walked in on the first day, each desk had their supplies in a nice little pile on their desk. No running around, the teachers had exactly what they wanted — it was nice, and I never had the sense that I was being price-gouged.

We started buying our own supplies in middle and high school — not so bad. We actually enjoyed back-to-school shopping — I guess we’re odd. :-) My biggest challenge was purchasing the books frugally, but by the time my kids hit college, they were pros at researching ISBN numbers on the internet, knew which websites were consistently lower, and how to group books to take advantage of free or low-cost shipping (i.e., yes, the paperback is $4.95 here, and $3.50 there, but if I get the $4.95 with the free shipping batch, I don’t have to pay $3.00 shipping on the $3.50 book . . . that sort of thing.)

DB

July 19th, 2011
11:33 am

@MJG: “They were the kinds that took up an entire room” ROFL!!!!! That describes it perfectly! How many of us can remember lugging boxes of keypunch cards and making burnt offerings to the Gods of the Computer Science Building, hoping that the cards would go through properly and your program wouldn’t crash?!

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
11:39 am

@ DB…oh yeah, my husband’s brother worked with computers as soon as he got out of college.
That must have been in 1981? We visited him at his job and the whole room was humming!
I took a computer class in maybe 1988 and there were so many things you needed to memorize that seemed useless to me ( plus I was teaching and had a baby) that I dropped out. Things are sure different now!

Cobb MS Teacher

July 19th, 2011
11:42 am

Great topic! I know that when I compare my being in school (70s/80s), my kids’ being in school (90s/00s), and my time teaching (since 2001), I have definitely seen a difference in supply lists at all levels. Part of it is due to changes in teaching strategies – there are a lot more “activities to facilitate learning” that require the use of lots of color, glue, construction paper, etc – I’m thinking of things like “interactive notebooks” and “foldables.” At the same time, we’ve seen a real decrease in classroom funding – bad economy and “no new taxes” mentality have meant less for the classroom budget and teacher’s wallet. I know for me personally, I have seen my classroom and subject area budget cut a lot the last 5 years. Believe it or not, if you are being asked to supply reams of paper and printer ink, it’s because your school is trying to save money on those things (mine does not do that, but I have had parents send in reams of paper, and let me tell you, I get very excited, lol).

@Sam’s 9:32 – I know what you mean about good stuff being thrown away! My professional kids know that during locker clean-out in May, I will take almost anything (not the moldy sandwich stuck in the back – I draw the line at that). They give me pens, pencils, markers, glues, scissors, and binders – not to mention lots of paper. Doing that every year has really helped me keep my class costs down – I have the “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers” bin full of supplies for those that need them. And to your 9:36 about the TP – I do the same thing!! Only my kids don’t seem to care…

@Angie 10:48 – hand wipes are used to clean tables as well as hands – sometimes it’s easier and faster to give everyone a wipe than wait for everyone to take a turn at the sink. Ziplocs are used for a multitude of things such as sorting and storing (and I save and reuse mine if they’re in decent shape – the same with plastic spoons and cups, although they’re not for eating, they are great for mixing). As I said before, you’re probably being asked to supply those things because of budget cuts – teachers used to either buy with their own money or with classroom money.

Becky

July 19th, 2011
11:44 am

@MomOf2Girls..It was a public school in the North Ga. area..Really soured me on buying school supplies for a while..Thank goodness the school that they are in now is sooo much better..

One other thing that I would add to your supply list Andy, is a pencil sharpner..I can’t tell you how many times, I would hear, I can’t do my homework because my pencil isn’t sharpened..So keep one of those handy at home also..

DB

July 19th, 2011
11:44 am

@MJG: I thought I had died and gone to heaven when my dorm installed a remote card reader and a terminal in our basement — NO MORE TREKS TO THE COMP SCI BUILDING AT 2 AM!!! YAY!! My honors research had five boxes of keypunch cards (500 to a box . . . ) those suckers were HEAVY! Now, my cell phone has more computing power than those room-sized behemoths did!!