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Since I just posted Back To School – Surrender To Supermom, I thought I would share our back to school list for 3 kids. I go a little crazy every year when I see the list and even more so when I combine them for easier shopping.
I think the thing that always makes me craziest is the dry erase markers and “community” supplies in elementary. The dry erase markers are not for my kids to use and they aren’t cheap. They are for the teachers to use on the white boards. Do I blame the teachers for adding them to the list? No. If the school isn’t supplying the markers for them to use, they shouldn’t have to pay for them. They don’t make enough as it is. The school should supply the markers, simple enough. My parents didn’t supply them their chalk, the school did. I wouldn’t buy them if I wasn’t worried that the teachers would then have to take the money out of their pocket to buy them.
If I buy pencils, crayons, markers, etc for my child to use, I expect MY child to use them. I don’t want them dumped in a bucket for every other child because their parents didn’t buy them. I want MY kids to use what I bought for THEM and I will replenish as needed. I can feel for parents who have trouble stretching the dollars, but I don’t have a lot of money either. I am buying supplies for 3 kids, backpacks for 4, and clothes for the oldest 3, and we budget all summer for August so that we are able to get them what they need. It isn’t easy and things are usually really tight for the next few months as we try to budget for Christmas after putting out close to $1000 on everything we need for them in August. (I’ve spent $800 so far on school supplies, backpacks, clothes, 3 pairs of dance shoes for Alyce (tap –new color cuz she is moving up a level, ballet –her old doesn’t fit anymore, and hip hop – she is adding a new class this fall), and a pair of shoes for Nano. I still have soccer cleats to buy for the boys, the whole uniform to buy for Nano, and possibly a new jersey and shin guards for Jordan, plus something to wear to hip hop class for Jordan, and if I can swing it somehow, I’d like to get Alyce a pair of bootie shorts or a new tutu to go over the new burgundy leotards (found those on Ebay new for $6 each) she needs for the level she is moving up to. The girls still need dress and tennis shoes, Nano needs his new school clothes (he doesn’t go back until after labor day), and Jordan’s dad gave me money to go towards his new tennis shoes).
My husband is a waiter (until he and his boss finally decide on the restaurant they are going into business together on) supporting a family of 6, I’m a SAHM blogger. When I say it’s tight, it’s tight, but we budget, scrimp on everything, and save to make sure the kids have at the very least the supplies they need. I search for coupons to use on top of sales to maximize our savings. (I spent $370 at Justice on the 2 girls and came home with over $800 in clothes.) This is the only time of year they all get brand new clothes. The rest of the year I thrift store shop unless I find an awesome sale that I can’t pass up, which is rare. (I am the best thrift store shopper, I can smell at the name brands that everyone else is wearing the minute I walk in the store and buy my kids everything in their size. I can remember what it was like not being able to dress like everyone else. It sucked. My parents worked so hard to get us what we needed, but when you are a teenage girl and everyone else is wearing Guess jeans and you’re not, and you get made fun of for it, it hurts. So, while it is materialistic, I do what I can to make my kids feel like they fit in. I remember how that felt so well.)
So yes, community supplies tick me off. Please don’t think I’m heartless, if someone truly can’t afford it, I would be happy to get an anonymous list and help purchase supplies for a child. I would actually feel really good about helping out someone that way. I would be happy to keep it up all year long for that child.
Part of the fun of going back to school was the special pens, colorful pencils, cool folders, fun notebooks, etc. I can’t buy my elementary kids any of that because they don’t get to use what I buy.
The other thing that irritates me about community supplies is that I saw how much was left over at the end of the year. I volunteer for the teachers every week. I get in the storage areas to find the things I need for the work I am assigned. Twenty boxes of baggies left over does not make me happy about buying 3 more boxes of baggies the next fall.
Don’t let me get started on the boxes of tissue again. Three boxes needed for each 8th grader? 300-ish 8th graders in the middle school we are in – 900 boxes for the year. Where are they going to store that much Kleenex? FYI – the 7th graders at the same school only need 2 each as do the 6th graders. I guess the 8th graders are planning on being sicker than the other grades this year.
Part of me wants to say screw it, but I know if I want to say that, there are other parents who actually will say it (who could blame them?), and then there won’t be enough kleenex to go around when whatever outbreak the 8th grade teachers are preparing for happens. It’ll be all my fault cuz I didn’t want to supply 3 boxes of kleenex. (BTW, Alyce only needs 1 box of tissue and who has runnier noses than 1st graders??? Kat needs 2 boxes for 4th grade.)
FTR – my 14 year old better find his scientific calculator I HAD to buy for him last year that he never used because I am not buying another one this year. I already had to replace his flash drive he lost.
There’s my vent. I don’t vent very often on my blog anymore, so I feel I’m entitled to go off every once in awhile.
What is on your kids’ lists that is driving you bug wacky and making it so you can’t see straight while going down the school supply aisles at the store? There has to be something. I cannot be the only one who gets irritated when she starts writing out that list.
Have a great day.