Why I Happily Buy All the School Supplies

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The new school year is right around the corner. If your social media feeds aren’t yet filled with posts about why people are or are not buying their kids’ school supplies, they will soon. You have probably already read the posts that argue for buying school supplies because teachers are already poorly paid and shouldn’t be stuck with having to buy the supplies themselves. While I agree completely with this argument, I want to add my own spin to the buy or don’t buy debate.

Four (more) reasons why I’ll happily buy every single item on my children’s school supply lists:

  1. Elementary school classrooms have a vortex where glue sticks go, similar to the vortex in your house where socks go.

If your child is in elementary school, the supply list probably asks for something like six glue sticks. On the first day of school, the glue will arrive, and some corner of the classroom will sport a pile of glue sticks that is more accurately described as Mt. Gluemore.

Long before Christmas, every single stick of that glue will be gone. Between actual glue usage, accidental throwing away of the glue, drying out of the glue because the kids forget the lids, and the vortex that swallows dozens of glue sticks at a time, there will be nothing left.

I hear parents say they won’t send in the number of pencils, glue, erasers, and so on because there’s no way their kid will use that much. I, however, am the opposite; I send every single item on the list. My children go through inordinate quantities of yogurt tubes and paper towels at home, and I have no reason to suspect that they don’t behave in the same manner at school.

  1. Yes I even buy the odd items on the list because I don’t want to be the teacher.

School supply lists are quite different than when I was in school, and I often hear parents declare that they will not send in an item if they think it’s unnecessary. I buy every that my children’s teachers request, whether I understand how the item is going to be used or not.

My reasoning for this is simple. I am not the teacher. Some gracious soul is going to teach my children to read, write, do math, and not be socially deviant. This person is going to do this for hours a day, five days a week, whereas I pull my hair out trying to help with 20 minutes of homework. Until the day that I decide I am going to teach my children myself, I will honor every request that the teachers make. The person willing to care for my child every single day is clearly a saint, and buying supplies that help teachers accomplish the job of making my children productive citizens is the absolute least I can do.

  1. Public education in the United States is a pretty sweet deal

Say what you want about public schools putting too much emphasis on standardized testing (I agree) and not enough emphasis on physical activity (I think so too), but if you opt to use the public school system in the Untied States you are getting a pretty sweet deal. Public schools in the United States welcome every single child, and they educate every single child for free. Public schools accommodate every single child regardless of academic ability. Public schools even offer free transportation and subsidized meals.

My children do go to public school, and I recognize how fortunate I am to not have to pay for their education. Free public education is a mainstay of American society, but many countries around the world do not provide such for their citizens. As long as I take advantage of my children’s completely free education, I am going buy their school supplies. I am already getting a pretty sweet deal, so why not?

  1. I buy my children’s school supplies because my children are my responsibility.

I saved the most important reason for last. I am a mother, and I made a choice to bring children into this world. Until they are grown, my children are my responsibility. As long as I am financially able to do so, I will buy their school supplies, uniforms, backpacks, lunch boxes, and anything else they need. I’ll also be thankful for having the means to do so, and I’ll send along extras for the children whose parents aren’t fortunate enough to do the same.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Melanie!! I LOVE this!! As an educator I just want you to know how appreciative I am to read your words. I remember starting my first year in the classroom 10 years ago and spending over $1,000 to make sure it looked as good as the veteran teachers classrooms. I didn’t want my students to miss out simply because I was the new kid on the block. At the time there were no reimbursements and you could only write off $250 on your taxes. I was so fortunate to have incredible parents that year who gave generously whenever I needed extra supplies. With that said, any teacher who gets you as parent is seriously lucky! Thanks for the support!

  2. Great article as a parent its important to buy your kids the school supplies they need to succeed in school and as you said kids school supplies is the responsibility of the parent so as long as you don’t have any issues paying for them you should always do so as its not the responsibility of the school or the teachers to pay for it. In regard to the teachers many of them are already underpaid and have limited budgets so it would be unfair make them pay for school supplies. A good website I would recommend you check out to find school supplies at affordable prices is Discount School Supplies: http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/

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