Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love The Smell of New Crayons

Maddy's first day of school was last Friday, for two hours. Why two hours? Anyway, today was her first full day, complete with PTA membership money, Time for Kids subscription money, lunch money, and 7000 forms signed and filled out.

Last Friday she hauled her new backpack to school, crammed full of "supplies." I use the term "supplies" loosely, because every year the list gets longer and more ridiculous. Does she need permanent markers, thin and thick line? Dry erase markers? 10 reams of notebook paper? Two white washcloths? What the hell?

I get that teachers spend a lot of their own money on their room decorations and even supplies. I know that there are kids who can't afford their supplies. However, if the 10 reams of notebook paper are getting put into a community closet, and there are 24 kids, that's a lot of paper. Is there any left over from last year? Do we really need to send 10 reams on the first day?

So, being the rebel parent that I am, I don't send it all to school with them. I buy a lot of paper, pens, pencils, folders, crayons, glue sticks, etc., at the beginning of the school year, when prices are dirt cheap, and keep them at home. On the first day, she takes the minimum - one ream of paper, two pencils, two pens. That way, in three months when she needs something, we have it and I don't have to run to Wal-Mart at 9:30 at night, since that's the designated "oh I forgot to tell you" time in my house.

I remember taking crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, paper - you know, the basics. I never had to take colored pencils, dry erase markers, permanent markers, glue sticks, washcloths. (I need to ask her exactly why she's bathing at school). I don't mind sending paper towels and boxes of tissues with her, but still. Where exactly are my tax dollars going?

Yes, I know teachers are underpaid. Yes, I know taxes go for more than just school supplies. It just seems to get more and more absurd every year.

Was there something your child needed this year that made you say WTF? (Lynn, I'm looking at you and the orange folders!)

25 comments:

Cricky (Who Is More Than Just A Girl) said...

2 red folders, 2 yellow folders, 2 blue folders (all with prongs and pockets)
2 green folders with pockets only

Why can't they just say - 8 folders

And why in the hell can I not label my child's supplies? I get that glue and notebook paper might be shared but those neon colored eraser caps and green handled scissors that she picked out especially don't belong in another kids hands.

Nancy said...

Ah....high school with boys is great!! No new clothes asked for and only pencils, pens and notebooks....

Easy Peasy...

The grandkids on the other hand had to have Crayola Molding Clay in WHITE!! Isn't that an art class item...Do you even have art class in Kindergarten??

KBO said...

I didn't teach elementary school, so I can't 100% comment with certainty on why the lists are so ridiculous. But I do know that the pressure on elementary teachers are great, and having communal supplies are one way of completely and totally eliminating any drama involving supplies. If everything is the same and/or belongs to everyone, then there are no fights about what belongs to who and who has the best stuff. That's one fight they can get rid of from the get go.

And the specificity of folders might have to do with specific folders for specific subjects or activities. Any bit of organization that a teacher can do to help his/herself (or help the student stay organized), they're going to do it.

To me, doesn't seem worth bitching about. Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. It's a lot easier to start off as an ally to your child's teacher than an antagonist--and a lot better for your child.

But three types of markers? I can't get behind that.

KBO said...

"To me, it's not worth bitching about".

Whoops--I sounded bitchy. I just meant parents in general should pick their battles. Not that you specifically should quit bitching.

Aubrey said...

Anything other than the basic pens, pencils, crayons & paper is crazy to me! Like you, I pick up a few extras but I usually sent them on the first day. Not any more! Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

My daughter (in middle school) was supposed to have 100 sharpened, wood, made in USA pencils. She was also supposed to have crayons, colored pencils, thin markers, fat markers, four different colored hi-lighters, and five different colored dry erase markers.

Anonymous said...

My friends daughter had to supply post-its and paper clips. For KINDERGARTEN!!

Anonymous said...

1 container of Clorox wipes ... not generic, not Lysol, but the 4 dollar container of Clorox wipes. I don't even buy those for my own household.

Lynn said...

Ok this year I can't complain too much - the color "teal" was not used for 2-pocket folders with brads. And Walmart actually HAD enough of every color we needed (unlike the infamous orange year you're referring to!!!)

My beef is honestly more with the high school now. Why is there a $15 fee for gym? A required course? $30 for biology. $15 for Spanish. Almost every class had a fee - like college! Ahem. This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!!!

But I digress.

jil said...

My daughter who graduated from collage in Dec. asked me if we could go to Staples for old time sake and get school supplies, she always loved that trip and always talked me into getting more than she really needed,

Cheri and Jesse said...

Totally with you anonymous the 3 containers of Clorox wipes did it for me. I have two kids in the same grade, so that was SIX of those expensive freakin' wipes for me. I do get why they need to be specific and that I am probably buying for others that will not, but can't we please switch back to baby wipes!!!

Michelle said...

School- gaaah!!
My son in the 2nd grade..

some basic stuff then the add on stuff:

An art bag - clear pastic front.
What the hell is an art bag? Not a pencil box, and art bag. We never found it.

Markers for the teacher
10 sticks of glue (DEAR GOD 10-really?).
2 packages of baby wipes
1 lg bottle of GermX
2 boxes of crayons
1 box of colored pencils (then why have the crayons?)

I get the heeb-jeebz this time of year. It should not be this stressful.

A Buns Life said...

We had to have LARGE glue sticks...Those are freaking expensive. When did kids stop using real glue?

ygirl01 said...

In defense of the 4th grade ( and my newly appointed student teacher status) I'd say that all of that stuff gets used (I saw several things on the list that made me say "WTF" to my cooperating teacher) Deck of Cards?? Hellooo?? Are we running a classroom or poker table? But, I completely understand your frustration, and when I become a full fledged teacher, I'm bringing back regular glue :) Love ya,

Jennifer said...

I have two, a Junior and one in 2nd. My 2nd grader had to have highlighters, thin permanent markers, dry erase markers, loose leaf paper, spiral notebook and a composition notebook, 2 boxes of crayons, washable crayola markers, colored pencils (sharpened, where the hell did the pencil sharpener go?), clorox wipes, baby wipes, napkins, paper towels, germex, and the normal stuff, but we had to have the LARGE glue sticks and regular glue.

The Junior had to have a scientific calculator, dry erase (2 per class, she has 6 classes) markers, colored , glue and a box of for EACH class.

I spent about 50.00 for both kids, maybe more.

Jennifer said...

Oh I forgogt to add, all our stuff goes to a community box, last year I swear I supplied the whole 1st grade with crayons and glue sticks. The teacher kept sending notes home they needed crayons and I would send 4 boxes each time. It must have sent 16 boxes to school.

Beth said...

For students in high school, even though it might be a public school, all of the supplies that are needed in a class like chemistry cost money. The gas it takes to drive with a student driver is expensive. That's why there are extra fees associated with those classes. I am stumped about the extra costs for PE and Spanish though. I teach high school and I can't tell you how much $$$ I spend each year on tissues for my classroom. I wish I could require that each student bring in a box of those! Our school supplies the dry erase markers though and thank God, because in math class (which is what I teach), we are at the board basically every day. A public education is still the best bang you are ever gonna get for your buck though.

Cindy said...

Oh boy...those were the days - folders, glue sticks, scissors, backpacks. Just wait...high school brings things like $100 graphing calculators!!!

Marrdy said...

She has to take a ream of paper? That one has never been asked for here yet. What is the deal with all this?

Gail said...

When my 21 year old was in elementary school in Georgia, one of the "suggested" supplies was always "zip lock bags". Sizes and amounts varied from year to year. But in some grades, boys brought gallon size and girls were to bring quart size. Two boxes of tissues were always on the list. Eventually I worked in that same elementary school and another one, I can attest that teachers spend a lot of their own money for supplies. I was in the technology department, and I spent some of what little money I made for lots of things. As for those tissues boxes... I'd e-mail the teachers at the beginning of the year: K-1, bring a box of tissues to "this" lab, 2-3 bring a box to "that" lab, and 4-5 bring a box to the media center. And all 3 places would run out before the year was 1/2 over. So I agree with kbo.. Give 'em a break folks.

Kim said...

Just let me say I'm not bashing the teachers at all - I know they spend a lot of their own money on supplies and decorating. I think some of the supplies are a bit strange, but as someone pointed out, dry-erase markers were for board work. I had no idea.

I still want to know what the washcloths are for.

Simply AnonyMom said...

Our school district requires you to either (1) bring the whole list to their open house the week before school starts or (2) the cash equivalent on first day. They even have a list for Preschool (which is larger than Kindergarten)

I am a daily reader. I do not know if you know me, so I hope this is not awkward. Anyway, I gave you an award:

http://simplyanonymom.blogspot.com/2008/08/and-award-goes-to.html

Hootie Mac said...

A school box with a handle. My sister and I were at the point of being medicated looking for a stinkin' schoolbox with a handle.

I was at the point of just using superglue and making a fake handle but she found some kind of project box at Hobby Lobby with a stinkin' handle so we got those. $4.99 a piece!

mysecondjournal said...

Drew's mom did all the buying this year, we did last year...but it's totally different in Catholic school.
We used to have a supply closet in grade school, I loved the smell of the lead pencils and erasurs..yes I'm strange.

Terra said...

Why do children need markers? When I was a kid, I wasn't allowed within 50 feet of a marker unless my mother / grandmother / aunt / etc. was within snatching distance!!!