Recently, I was at the store and overheard a couple of women complaining about the prices of school supplies. They were buying the items off of the list provided by their children’s schools. I have to admit, I felt badly for them. They had several children each. One of the women was very upset. She had 3 children and had already run up a total on her calculator of just over $100. She still had to buy the kids some clothing, shoes, etc. She mentioned that by the time she was done, she was going to have to charge about $350 per child onto her credit card. I was gobsmacked. This amount t did not take into account any special activities, such as sports, that the kids may get involved in. It is times like this that I really appreciate homeschooling.
I remember when my oldest children were in school. We bought supplies for them that were kept in their own pencil boxes or zippered binder bag. I could buy any brand we could afford. Today, many schools require that the parents buy a specific brand only. The school supplies are turned in to the teacher, to be put into a classroom supply cabinet. All the crayons, for example, are dumped into containers to be shared by all. One teacher explained it as the school doesn’t want a child to feel bad because their family couldn’t afford to buy the more expensive brands. So, it is required that ALL students have to bring the expensive name brand. By placing all of the crayons into containers to be shared, no child has to feel bad because they lost theirs. So, tell me, where is the child learning to take responsibility for their belongings? I remember a teacher keeping a “loaner” box of crayons or extra pencils on hand for such situations. You had to ask to borrow them. Now, the child is not given the opportunity to take responsibility.
While at the store, I saw some school supplies at a very cheap price. I ended up buying enough crayons and colored pencils to last the next school year. In all, I bought 4 packages each of crayons and colored pencils for $4.00 total. I have more than enough pencils from last year that are still in their package. I had purchased several boxes when I found them on clearance after the back to school sales were over. That is the best time to shop! One tip for those with kids enrolled in a public or other school would be to not only take a supply list for the grade your child is entering, but for the next one also. Then, as the year progresses, you can gradually pick up the basics to be stored until the next term. Many of the supply lists have little to no change from one year to the next. Instead of having a very large cost all at once, gradually purchase the supplies throughout the school year.
One of the advantages to homeschooling is that I am able to bypass much of the back to school madness. We can even save costs through making homemade supplies. A quick search online can result in recipes for homemade adhesives, chalk, and a wide variety of play doughs and clays. I searched for them using the terms, “homemade art supplies.” Not only are we saving money, but the kids are learning an important lesson. They are learning that you do not have to buy everything if you are willing to be resourceful. One of my favorite websites for recipes is KinderArt. There are numerous sites where recipes can be found. Try them out. When I find recipes that I really like, I jot them down in a blank journal for easy reference later.