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2012-08-20

Back to School 2012 - School Supplies

Well Folks, it's that time of year again: BACK TO SCHOOL! 

Are you dreading it? The preparations, clothes shopping, searching for supplies, routine changes, jitters.....

Well never fear! Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be easing our family into the routine for the coming year, and will be posting my ideas and findings here, in the hopes that it may help you guys as well! (Feel better now? ;-)

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First up: School Supplies


School supply shopping can be overwhelming at times: All the choices, and how the heck do you know what the kids really need? Some thoughts:
  • Check last year's report card for a school supply list. If there wasn't one, or if you have a kindergartner, go to the school's website and see if they have supply list posted by grade (many do). If you don't know your school's website, visit the ESDNL School Directory page here to link to the site. 
  • Did you set aside leftovers from last year? If so, check them against the list and re-use what you can, either as at-school or as homework supplies.
  • OK, obviously, you are going to look through the flyers to find the best pricing on what you need. Stock up on essentials as prices are best this time of year - I find pencil sharpeners, erasers, and pencils get lost and/or need to be replenished frequently. You will often have to replace glue sticks and crayons/leads mid year (the teacher will often send home a note indicating your child is low), so have a few extras of those on hand as well, to avoid a more expensive trip to Shopper's in January ;-) 
  • For the most part, I find that the supply list estimates for exercise books are accurate. If your child is in elementary, you could get some extras if you like, as they can always be used the following year, but once the kids hit Junior High, the type of exercise book per subject/teacher can be more specific, so wait to find out what they need...
  • Purchase an extra pack of loose leaf and a pack of plain paper - they never go astray for studying or homework (yes, even if the kids are in primary :-)
  • One thing I always avoid over-stocking on: duo-tangs. I find these are very teacher specific. Some teachers want all the one colour, some don't care, and some want 9 duo-tangs, each a different, specific colour (and not all of them easy to find I might add! I'm not bitter... really, I'm not ;-)! I tend to get the list, stick to it, and at most, buy one or two extra for reports/assignments. 
  • Let the kids get in on the action, and create a bit of anticipation, by letting them pick out lunch boxes, pencil cases, scissors, rulers and book bags that appeal to them instead of standard-issue versions. After all, where else can they show their personality in the classroom these days? ;-)
  • Lots of teachers have treasure boxes to award positive behaviours in  the classroom and would be happy to accept donations. If you spot a great deal on a cute eraser, funky notebook or pretty pen, pick it up and send it in to him/her a few days after classes have begun (they'll be setting up and organising the classroom the first few days, so I wouldn't send it in the first week). 
  • On that note, don't be tempted to hold off on school supply shopping until after the first day of school. While it is true your child may not need that notebook or duo-tang day one, the teacher will be trying to set-up and organise the classroom and it will be easier for them if all supplies are sent in right off the bat. 
  • Last but not least, don't forget many families are less fortunate and find back to school shopping a challenge. You can help by: 
    • buying a duplicate set of supplies and dropping it off at the school office or with the guidance counsellor on the first day
    • going to bellaliant.ca/backpacks and donating to Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids initiative. This generous program is in its 10th year and has provided over 20,000 backpacks filled with school essential to kids in need thus far! This year, they aim to fill an additional 6500 backpacks - help them out by donating to the cause online! 

What do you find works for you? Feel free to share :-)

Good luck!



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