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

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


July 19th, 2011
8:46 pm

Government School – Nice to see another poster with some common sense. Don’t sweat the comments of Fayette Teacher. Those who feed off the socialist system can come up with every possible justification as to why theft isn’t immoral when its being done for their kids or their job, or whatever, but is somehow immoral when done for things they don’t benefit from.

My parents paid for the useless LA Unified in California AND paid for a great Montessori, another private school, and finally a Catholic High School (wasn’t Catholic, but no way in hell was I going to the government prisons).

You know, the socailist argument would go over a lot better if society was ACTUALLY benefitting from the government endoctrination centers – but it is not. It may be a nice prison/daycare facility that keeps kids off the streets and out of trouble, but it isn’t actually educating them, isn’t teaching them enough to even function in college or basic jobs (without remedial re-education), and is systematically destroying their individuality, their sense of self-worth, their knowledge of freedom and liberty, their innate distrust of authority, and every other good thing that I am sure Thomas Jefferson had hoped publically-funded education might bring to the masses. Funny how he had the common sense to realize that a piece of paper was never going to constrain the government. Why he thought that the power of educational monopoly wouldn’t be abused for government benefit is beyond me.

Somehow people actually think that parents will give a damn about their kids education when someone else is essentially picking up the majority if not the entire bill. And these same people also think that you can tinker around the edges of the failed system and achieve change. And these are the folks whose kids are going to be running this country some day. And these are the folks who claim to educate kids in the government system. We’re doomed.

No name used

July 20th, 2011
8:59 am

I don’t mind the supply list as far as the things the kids will use. I DESPISE the practice of dictating brands. Have you noticed they are always the most expensive brands? Then when you can’t afford the brand, but get the supply in a cheaper brand, the child is upset because she is convinced (prior experience?) that the teacher is going to be mad at them about it. I have 4, 2 of which are still in high school. I was never able to afford all the name brands, and truthfully, cheap scissors work as well as Fiskars for cutting paper. Fabric, no, paper yes.

My personal peeve is the teacher that requires vast projects that all have to have computer printed images and won’t accept the drawn or cut out images or a neatly handwritten paper because “COLLEGES require computer generation”. Hello they are not in college. Ink is expensive. The sheer amount of ink used in pictures is enormous. Why can something not be done in neat handwriting on a pre college level?

My kids had a Spanish teacher last year that assigned projects.Ok. fine, but all of them cost money. One was go out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner with your friends and order in Spanish. One was make a music video!! Hello- those are not teaching Spanish.My favorite…sponsor a needy child in a Hispanic nation..Now, how is that teaching Spanish? When I asked the teacher about it, she said it was about Spanish culture, not just the language. Oh, one more thing-they had to paint a ceiling tile that the teacher would keep. On the rubric, it point blank said that if it was not pretty enough, it would not be given credit. ERRRHHHH. This woman lives across from my MIL and it is all I can do to not go yell at her.

Government School

July 20th, 2011
9:51 am

@ Realist

Our third President also stated:

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The wolves need to be taken down and liberty needs to ring again!!!


July 20th, 2011
10:47 am

There is one Cobb elem. school where the 2nd grade teachers are asking for:

New or gently-used: football, soccer ball, playground ball, frisbee, jump ropes

reward trinkets ($1 store items are perfect), assorted band-aids, sidewalk chalk, back-up class snacks (i.e. boxes of animal crackers, granola bars, cereal bars, etc.)


Super Dad

July 20th, 2011
11:20 am

granola bars!!! I’m calling the Nut Allergy Gestapo on that school.


July 20th, 2011
3:52 pm

grits1am…If I knew where this school was, I would gladly donate. Any tips?
I once sent a box of books to a poorer school, where the teacher was just starting out. I paid the shipping charges too. Glad to help!


July 20th, 2011
5:35 pm

motherjanegoose – the school is not a poorer school, and interestingly enough now only one teacher has all the items I listed still on their blog. I have been to events in the gym and other parts of the school and the school has plenty of balls, jump ropes, etc. What I really do not understand is the need for all this extra stuff when it is readily available in the school.

Cobb MS Teacher

July 20th, 2011
6:20 pm

@grits1am – I’m guessing the balls, chalks, and other things may be for recess – the PE department’s supplies aren’t used for recess – they’re used for PE. Most teachers aren’t going to use either their school’s or personal classroom budget for those things, I would imagine. I don’t see anything wrong with asking for used stuff like that – I gladly donated a ton of my kids’ old stuff when they grew out of it. Seemed a shame to throw it away.

Reward trinkets are generally used for “Treasure Chests” a common tool for behavior managment at the elementary level. Kids earn tokens for a trip to the treasure chest, usually by going above and beyond either behaviorally or academically. As a MS teacher, I don’t use that type of things, but I used to help stock my children’s teacher’s TCs when they were in elementary. Whether that type of token economy is a good idea or not is a topic for another day, lol.

Band-aids are not generally supplied by the school – the teacher could possibly use some classroom money to purchase, but most end up buying their own if parents don’t supply them.

I’m sure the back-up snacks are for the kids that forgot or simply didn’t bring snacks, We have been constantly reminded in my Cobb school for the last couple years about the economy, and not to assume that because a child has a certain address, that things are all right at home. We’ve been told to be careful what we ask for, and to keep the economy in mind as we make our supply lists. At the same time, we have had our pay cut and our classroom budgets slashed. As I’ve heard so often the last two years, “Welcome to the New Normal.”


July 20th, 2011
8:21 pm

July 21st, 2011
9:11 am

For HoneyFern, you bring yourself and a laptop if you have one. That’s it. Everything else is included. Makes everyone’s life easier! :)


July 24th, 2011
10:52 am

As a K teacher, I DO NOT share supplies, unless it is tissues, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc. Last year, I had one or two kids using their broken crayons from September through May. Some of them only had two colors left by the end of September! If you are unable to take care of your items, you certainly will not be given the chance to break someone else’s things!

They each have a plastic pencil box and their glue, crayons, etc. go in there. I only give them what they need. For example, they get their whole box of 24 crayons, and about 3 pencils in the box. They get scissors (if they can handle it) and one glue stick. All their other items go in a large ziplock bag, labeled with their name, in my closet. When they need more supplies, I get it out of their bag. If they run out, I politely ask Mom for more. If she can’t buy it, oh well. I have extra crayons (used for many years so they are not the best and newest) and extra glue and pencils that the child can borrow if needed, but it goes back on my shelf at the end of the lesson.

Also, I agree with the posters who said buy what is on the list. Crayola is much better than Roseart or Target brand. They last a lot longer. Elmer’s is much better glue than Wal-Mart. We try and make our list as simple and short as possible. We know parents are strapped for cash right now!