School Supplies: Lessons Learned

Teresa Marchant

Today I walked past the “Back to School” aisle and it hit me that I will not need to buy school supplies for my children this year! My youngest graduated from high school in May and I will be in a different stage of life-I will be an empty nester. They really should call it the reflection era or things you wish you would have done differently. Because, it is really a better name for it because that’s the point I’m at now. These are the lessons I’ve learned from over the past two and half decades (now, that makes me feel old!)

Buy the name brands. Don’t go cheap. For example, there is definitely a difference with crayons. I tried to save a few bucks because I was buying school supplies for six kids! Crayola is hands down the leader in the crayon world.

Look for quality first. When you’re selecting a backpack or lunch box check out the material and determine how long it may last. I hated it when the zipper broke within a few months.  So I spent more money, but knew I would get two years out if it rather than two months. Yes, that is one thing my children hated–backpacks every other year! Jansport was always my go-to because they had a guarantee for life!

Label everything! It never failed that my kids would lose their jackets when the weather started shifting. A label maker is a game changer and can be purchased at office supply stores.

Buy early and stock up. The last few years I had put off buying school supplies out of spite. I didn’t want to face reality. When we eventually went shopping, we couldn’t find glue sticks!  We searched all over town until we found a few expensive packages. Remember, these deals won’t last long and  sometimes weeks after school these sales no longer exist!

Get the extras and let your child help. I used to go without my children and it cost me WAY less. Then when it was just my two youngest it was different. For example, I suggested that my daughter get  a cheap plastic pencil box. She wanted the one that matched her style. Finally I relented and my son picked out what he wanted, too. Why not?

It’s these little things our children and you will remember. Just like that, I remember the smell of erasers and paper which always makes me feel excited about going back to school, even as an educator!