[Back to School Series]: 9 pocket folders, 1000 sheets loose leaf paper, 50 pencils.

The television commercial might say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but parents really fret it. Not because of the chaos that ensues when supply shopping, but because the lists are getting more and more ridiculous.

When I was a kid our school supply lists were pretty simple – pencils, scribblers, glue, rulers, crayons, pencil crayons, erasers, gym shoes, gym shorts, and a box of facial tissue. Of course as you passed on through the grade levels the lists were more specific – scientific calculator, geometry set, pencils, etc.

Now, school lists are getting plain ridiculous. Here’s an example of a list I found online for the upcoming school year:

  • 9 pocket folders – 3 red,  3 black, 3 yellow for each school subject
  • 6 single spiral notebooks – 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 blue  for each school subject
  • 48 pencils – sharpened (please bring all to school – Tricondera brand please)
  • 10 red pens
  • 10 black & blue pens (Bic, no gel)
  • 1000 sheets loose leaf
  • 4 boxes of facial tissue (please bring all first day, will collect and share)
  • 1 container Clorox wipes
  • 1 stick deodorant
  • 2 dry erase markers
  • box of large Ziploc bags
  • 8 glue sticks (no colored glue sticks please)
  • Texas Instruments T130X scientific calculator
  • Gym shoes – no black soles, no Heelies
  • Shoes for outdoor recess
  • Gym shorts
  • Paint shirt

Why have lists become so specific and so complicated? 1000 sheets of loose leafed paper? They typically come 100 sheets to a pack, so I need 10 of them and to bring them all the first day? 48 pencils? Are the students eating them for snacks? 4 boxes of facial tissue, to share? Now most students are required two by more than usual so they can share with the class. What? Now I have to buy school supplies for Bobby and Sally too? Sorry, they’re not my children. Specific colors for each school subject? Red for art, green for science, blue for math? Can children no longer read? How about one single color and write in big bold letters the subject on the front. Clorox wipes? Are we cleaning the classroom now? Did the custodial staff get fired over summer holidays? DEODORANT? What? I didn’t know that was a school supply list staple.

I think if university students were to design the list, we could save every parent money.

This is my list for this year: 3 – 5 subject notebooks (I don’t care if it’s name brand, but I do prefer 5 star, but that is just me), package of pencils, package of pens (red, blue, black), package of hi-liters, package of white out.

There simple enough. We carry around too much already that we need to downsize on what we can stuff in our backpacks. If I weren’t taking public transportation I would be taking my laptop with me instead of having paper notebooks.

I must say that I do love school supply shopping, it’s like a natural high. I love the smell of new notebooks, new textbooks, new pencils, the feel of a new bus pass in your hand. The exhilaration you feel walking down each aisle and looking at the rows and rows of different school supplies that are available.

Take it from us schools…. you don’t need a lot of crap to get through the entire year.