School Supply Lists for Back-to-School

It is back-to-school season and I am constantly dumbfounded and amazed at some of the required school supply lists that schools give. The elementary school lists seem to be the most problematic for me. My own son graduated from school a while back and my granddaughters are not old enough for school just yet but I still keep on these things.

When I was a little kid I remember we need basics on our back-t0-school lists: pencils, crayons, notebooks, folders, scissors, glue, school box. That list alone, even for today, can be bought easily for less than $10 at most.

At some point they started adding things like boxes of tissue and cleaning wipes. Still, if you ask for just one of each it is not a lot of money.

Then they started adding thin markers, thick markers, colored pencils, highlighters, stand alone erasers, plastic bags, dry erase markers, dry marker erasers, thumb drives, headphones, paints, highlighter markers, ink pens, and so much more.


I say that not only because I think it is way too many supplies, but also because the couple of years my son was in public school we had issues with the items on the list. The biggest issue is that he did not end up using some of it at all. The next issue was that the supplies were “pooled” together and when they needed something, even as simple as a pencil, they were supposed to go grab one out of the container for the class. My son does have some special needs and this was a big issue for him so he was allowed to keep a few things, like pencils, in his desk, but then they ended up being stolen from his desk.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Now I realize that school districts have been hit hard economically in a number of ways. They do not have the budget apparently to buy basic supplies that are used in classrooms. Teachers have always been known to buy classroom supplies out of their own pocket, which I appreciate, but they still were able to get basic supplies before when schools purchased materials. The pay rate of each administrator has become outrageous over the past decade and many of the jobs are redundant. A very real cost issue is for the increase in budget regarding special needs kids. Again, my son fell into this group. However, parents still have to fight hard to get those services.

Now on with some actual lists from this school year…

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

This list comes from Sara of SensiblySara who says what really bugs her is that they ask for GIANT glue sticks which are like $3 each but she can buy a dozen regular size for $3 which is far more glue for the same price.

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

And here is another list from one of my readers. That is a long list for just one child!

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

Above is a list for a 6th grader. This one has a lot of generalizations, which I appreciate. However, it does have earbuds/earphones to be used with Chromebook.


Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

Here is one from my friend Jessica who has twins in 4th grade which means she has to buy two of everything. I can appreciate this since my twin granddaughters, while not in regular school yet because of age, will eventually have lists like this. This teacher is apparently into markers because the list, for 4th graders, requires 1 pack multicolor highlighters, 1 8-pc set of small tip markers, 1 8-pc set of wide tip markers, 2 dry erase markers, and 2 fine point black Sharpie markers. That is a lot of markers for one school year!

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

Now this list (above) is for a 1st grader from my friend, Tracy. This is one of those picky lists, the teacher has added brand names to many of the list items. Then there is also the FOUR BOXES of Crayola crayons (24 count box) – seriously? When you were in 1st grade did you ever fully use up even one single box of crayons during the school year? Not to mention they say no wheels on backpacks. That school needs to learn more about backpacks and back health.

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

Now the above list, from my friend Christy of Quirky Fusion,  is actually one of my favorites for good reasons. They clearly state that some of the extras of items should be kept at home to be used throughout the school year. Happy dance – they do not want or need students to bring in a ton of things on day one.

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school year

Here is another list that specifies no rolling backpacks. I’m sure schools might have a reason for this but I do not know what it is. They also ask for twistable crayons – I know these are cool, but totally unnecessary for kids at school.  I also do not understand the need for the pencils to all be sharpened. Do schools no longer have pencil sharpeners mounted in each classroom?

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school yearThis list from my friend Jen asks for a LOT of paper, yikes! Plus a $20 donation to the class? Again, I do understand that teachers pay out of their own pocket for many things and I would pay this donation myself, but I still think it is a bit much. I do like that they can bring their own recorder if they already have one.

Actual school supply list 2017-2018 school yearThis “list” is from my own son’s former elementary school. I can appreciate that it makes it easier I guess so that teachers can get exactly what they want but they are also taking away that fun time of picking out school supplies for kids. I am glad they did not do this when my son attended the school. On an added note, this is not the same for all elementary schools in our district, most have general lists still.

While browsing my district’s other school lists I noticed that for the middle schools many lists have $7-$10 for purchase of a school T-shirt. I’m sorry, I totally do not agree with this. If you, or your child want a school shirt then that is an extra you should be able to decide on yourselves. These are not uniform shirts.

Again, I would like to say that I do appreciate that teachers do buy many things out of their pocket and they always have. Too often these days though the districts are cutting the supplies they provide for the teachers and I just do not think that is right.

Do you have anything you feel is excessive on your child(ren) school supply list? Any other thoughts on this subject?