The beginning of the school year always feels far more like the start of a new year than Jan. 1. There’s the bittersweet ending of summer, the change in temperatures and the excitement of new notebooks, pencils and pens. Really, what other simple joy is there than a new, pure white eraser, a box of new markers, or (gasp) cracking open a new notebook and starting to write on the first page?
My excitement is dulled, however, with the back to school lists. Really, I want to know what my kids need for supplies in the upcoming months, but I would rather have a list of supplies the kids will truly need, rather than what seems like a made-up list.
This year, two of the more unbelievable items on my son’s list included 48 HB pencils and a box of plastic bags with a zipper.
With class sizes up to 30 children, that means the teacher will be collecting 1,440 pencils on Tuesday morning. There are about 195 school days a year, so that means each child will have 7.4 pencils a day at their disposal!
Conversely, the Grade 2 list doesn’t even have pencils on it.
And I’m extremely curious to know what 30 Grade 3 children are going to do with a box of Ziplock bags this year.
I know there are kids who arrive at school on the first day who don’t know the joys of new school supplies and I am happy to help them experience this same excitement. But if that’s the case, tell me.
Equally annoying is the need to request specific brands of school supplies. There is always a note pointing out that after years of testing, the mentioned brands have proven to be the best, but why is one type of marker or crayon recommended in one grade and another brand the next year?
I suspect the teachers aren’t aware of the lists, haven’t been kept up-to-date on changes or brand recommendations and just make the best with whatever arrives on the first day of school.
Perhaps it’s time they give the lists a quick review, just to make sure they really do make the grade.