I have learned to “write what I know.” As we prepare to enter another school year, one thing I know is that back-to-school supplies are expensive!  But as a parent and a teacher, I can tell you with confidence that shopping for school supplies doesn’t have to make parents, students, or teachers crazy if we all follow some simple guidelines.  Here’s my perspective:

1.  Shop the sales! I know, I cannot stand to think about school at the end of July, but that is when the sales start.  Stock up on paper, pencils, and folders. You know, no matter what grade or subject, you’ll need those.

2.  DO NOT buy what you DO NOT need!  Students, please don’t tell your parents you need those glitter pens, small staplers, colorful Post-it notes in all sizes, or fancy leather portfolios. Unless it’s on the school supply list from your school, you do not need any of these items! Parents: Don’t fall for it! Stick to the list from your child’s school.  Teachers: Don’t ask for what you won’t use in the classroom, either.  All those unneeded items just lead to clutter and chaos.

3.  If you don’t have a list, here’s a suggestion for standard supplies that WILL BE USED during the school year:

loose leaf paper (a LOT–you need it every day, maybe for every subject)

2 spiral notebooks (college or wide ruled, 70 sheets standard) for each subject

pencils (a LOT–students break them, lose them, give them to friends, and the school pencil sharpeners eat them up)

folders (2-pocket plain folders are standard)

reading and writing (and possibly science and math) notebooks (composition-type books work well for the most part)

small scissors, a pack of glue sticks, colored pencils (the 12-pack is plenty!)

2 large boxes of tissues (name brands not necessary)

2 rolls of paper towels (to help with cleaning the classroom, extras for washing hands before lunch, etc.)

This list of school supplies will get you started.  Seriously. If anything else is needed, parents, please help your student to buy the items, or ask your school for help. (Teachers don’t mind helping, when necessary and not perceived as wasteful or a way to take advantage  of them.)  Students, come to school ready with these basic items. Your teachers will love you, and you’ll be off to a great school year.  Teachers, remember our goal is to educate students. Think about the supplies you will really need, and create a thoughtful list for your families.

And of course, have a great school year!