In a previous post April gave her thoughts on the financial toll of preparing for school. School supplies cost money for both parents and teachers.
I am not sure about your school system, but mine has moved to organizing school supplies through outside companies. It does mean it is easier to buy the equipment since the “school pack” supplies are already predetermined. It is also easier for teachers when most students have the same equipment. But there are also some problems.
The problems I have with the “school pack” system are that:
- Most of these packs are more expensive
- They are written up months before the end of school (sometimes by people not even teaching the class)
- It doesn’t encourage recycling and reusing
As I teacher, I like students to be organized at the beginning of the school year. I like them to have all the necessary equipment, and it certainly does not have to be brand new. I agree with April’s idea of creating a list of necessities and making all other supplies as optional. Here are some more ideas that may help.
Go through school supplies from last year. Work out which felt tip pens, pencils and exercise books you can use again. If a writing pad has barely been used then rip out the old school work and reuse it.
2. Make a School Supplies Closet
This is the same idea as a gift closet. During the year, every time you come across a bargain at the supermarkets on pens, highlighters or books put them in the cupboard. And at the end of the school year go through all your children’s school supplies and anything you can reuse you put in the cupboard. Then when your child complains that they need a new pair of scissors, or when you get the new supply list for the new school year, you can check this cupboard before heading to the shops.
3. Donate old supplies to your teacher at the end of the year
Some year levels have specific text books or equipment just for that grade. This could include dictionaries or atlases or even painting smocks. If you aren’t going to need them for a younger sibling, then you could think about donating it to the teacher or classroom. The teacher could then give it to a family or student who may be struggling to afford all the necessary equipment and supplies.
Teacher’s also feel the same financial burden as parents. Many teachers are also parents themselves, struggling to work out how to stretch the dollars. And most spend their own money on their classrooms for school supplies, posters and extra equipment. A National Education Association Survey conducted last year found that teachers spend on average $500 of their own money on school supplies.
My suggestion to all parents would be to be open to the school and teachers. If you can’t afford something then let them know. I would much rather know about this because then I could offer the family alternatives and also make sure that the student isn’t missing out.
image credit: http://s4.hubimg.com/u/3514255_f520.jpg
Ainslie Hunter is a proud mum, teacher of children with Learning Disabilities and Special Needs and blogger at Study Skills Mentor.
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