Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Dozen No. 2's

I love, love, love the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil. I even have three of those cool black No. 2 pencils sharpened, in my desk drawer at work and every once in a while I sniff them. (Hey at least it’s not a Sharpie) I don’t even use a pencil, EVER. But something about that smell, brings me back to the days when I had a desk whose top opened into a little mini-world of books, colored erasers, pencils with butterflies on them and bookmarks with fancy tassels.
So when it comes time to go get the kids school supplies, you can imagine that I get a little excited. Sure, it DOES set me back about $300 in just supplies alone and that is really annoying –I could do away with some of the expensive items needed like a $70.00 calculator, headphones, and every style of dry erase marker, highlighter and colored pencil ever made, but yet, hardly every used.

I actually get offended when the list says PLAIN colored folders in green, red and yellow. I want them to get the folders with the cool plaid print, favorite sports team, or cute kitten on it.  (maybe I am trying to make up for making them buy their lunches every day??)

I also get offended when I go to the school supply aisle and I see a drill sergeant mother tossing supplies into the cart like grenades with her kids in tow who are trying to keep up, but drooling over the composition book that has a colored design. I want her to let her kids pick out what they like. Let them get the impractical lunch box, and the hot pink book bag. It might cost a few more dollars, but isn’t it worth the joy they will feel going to school? Do we really have to make school a dreaded experience?

I have had the kid’s school supplies since the weekend after we moved. I am the first one to get supplies as soon as they stock them in the store. Mostly because I am excited to buy them, but also because I want the less picked over selections. I hope this makes the slightest difference with my kids when they head off to school. I hope they look at their folders and notebooks and it brings them a little smile.

So I read an article today about cutting school supply costs that should have been titled: How to Suck all the Joy out of Going Back to School. They had the gall to suggest not taking your child with you at all. If I sent the hubby alone, my kids would have folders with The Punisher or NRA logos on them.

The article also says to buy Generic. Sure, I agree to buy some things generic, but come on, a crayon is just not crayon unless it’s Crayola. Trust me, we’ve tried that route.

My favorite suggestion was to buy a backpack that will last for many years. I don’t think my kids would appreciate being in the 8th grade with a Strawberry Shortcake backpack. I know, I know, they meant buy a GENERIC back pack that is meant to last for many years. And, my son’s backpack in solid black was expensive and it HAS lasted several years. But he had 4 different versions of Spiderman from K-3rd grade and he loved every single one of them. I can guarantee we spent the same money on the 4 cheap but fun ones as we did on the expensive long lasting one.

Call me crazy, but yes, I DO buy new crayons and paints and markers each year. First of all when those things come back at the end of the year, the germ factor alone makes me run for the nearest garbage can. I’m not a complete waster, we do add most of it to the art project box, but when it comes to going back to school a brand new box of crayons might be a bright spot in an otherwise yucky day.

I have an idea – Let’s work on cutting the Prices, not the Fun.


Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

I am with you 100%. I loved being able to let the kids pick out what pencil box they wanted, what book bag they wanted, etc. There were things on the list that were on there with no options, but if there was an option, i let them select it.

school has enough pressure; sending them to school with used or icky supplies doesn't need to be a part of it.

The Woven Moments said...

Just took my rising Kindergartner school supply shopping for the FIRST TIME yesterday.

I was totally more excited that she was. Totally.

Kimmie said...

Our teachers request that we NOT buy generic crayons. LOL

I buy my kids the list stuff....then my sister sends a stash of the fun stuff. :0)