Too many school supplies?

Summer is almost over. It’s time to get ready for the new school year which means to buy school supplies. 

My daughter is going  to be a 5th grader this fall. There are about 20 items on her school supply list. Among them are: 

  • 10 single subject spiral bound notebooks
  • 10-12 colored pens 
  • 4 dozen #2 sharpened pencils 
  • etc. 

Since my son started school in 2003, I have to deal with school supplies. My impression has always been that schools ask for too many supplies. It seems excessive. When kids have too much, more than they need, they become wasteful. 

I don’t know how many used notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, etc. I have at home. My kids bring them home at the end of the school year. Some of the notebooks are like new, or used only a few pages. Pen and pencils are still fine to use, but they are abandoned. When a new school year comes, we have to buy everything new again. 

No, I don’t have any problems buying school supplies. They are dirty cheap. In fact, they are literally cheaper than dirt. You can buy notebooks, papers, pens and pencils for pennies when they are on sale in August.  

But I do have a problem with wasteful behavior.  

How can a student use 4 dozens of pencils in one school year? Kids learn nothing but wasteful behavior when they have too much. 

Two years ago, my son helped a kindergarten teacher do cleanup on the last day of school. When he came home, he brought several packs of colored pencils and markers. They were practically new. He said the teacher was giving or throwing supplies away. I was surprised. Why didn’t the teacher return the supplies to students? 

For people who can’t afford school supplies, here is a tip. Visit your kid’s school on the last day of school, you can find lots of supplies in the trash. 

I didn’t make this up, I actually read the tip somewhere. 

Every year, my kids ask me to buy them new backpacks, because “everyone gets a new backpack and new supplies.”  

My son has used his current backpack for at least three years. It is still in good shape. I keep telling him: “You don’t need a new one, just because everyone else gets a new one.” 

It bothers me. Not that I can’t afford a new backpack once a year, but I don’t want to buy a new one while the old one is still in good shape. 

I don’t know how long I can hold my ground. 

When I was in school, things were simple. I didn’t have any school supply list. My parents definitely didn’t buy me a new backpack every year. I don’t remember, but it’s safe to say, I probably used the same one for several years. I probably just had a couple of pencils and a bag to carry books and notebooks. I used everything till there was nothing left or totally worn out. We had no extra half used notebooks and pencils in the house. 

I do remember once I had to stay in line for a long time to buy new erasers that were not the plain kind and just came on market. I was so excited to get a new eraser that looked pretty with some design on it.  

Nowadays, we have so much extra in everything, from school supplies to clothing, shoes and food. No wonder every house is so cluttered.  

And I don’t think school age kids in the US will ever get excited to get a new eraser. The bar is much higher now.    

A lot of waste is going on in our society, not only in our schools, but also in our offices and in our own homes. 

That’s a concern for me.