At the end of the school year, I had the kids bring home their left over school supplies rather than donate them. My reasoning was two-fold; 1) School supplies don't grow on trees and 2) I wanted to see how much of this stuff they really used.
The volume of supplies that came home left me gobsmacked. These kids take a back pack FULL of supplies at the beginning of the year. They came home with a FULL back pack of supplies. The list is about 2 column inches long. It seemed that the only things that got used were the ziploc bags and the pencils.
I have some resolutions about the supplies this year:
- This year I am sending back the folders that they didn't use. I am not buying new ones.
- This year I am not sending in double supplies for Mac, he isn't in the regular classroom that much.
- This year I am not sending in anything that seems unlikely to be used, if they need it as the year progresses, they can ask for it. If it is a good deal at the office supply stores, I may buy it and keep it in the school supplies tote, but I will not send it in.
- This year I am not sending in ziploc bags, not that I don't have a basement full of them that I got for free, but the reality is that the teachers have about a million of them, and I don't see an entire box of them return home, so no bags for you.
- This year, I am waiting until I know what we really need to send anything in, and that is the way that it is.
As an aside, the supply boxes cost $35 a kid. I have bought all my supplies for all three kids and have only spent about $15. This is not because I am not sending in the scotch tape they want, it is because the supplies bought through the school are too expensive.
We need to think about our consumption of resources. I am not adverse to sending the supplies in for the kids, but I am adverse to buying things that no one uses. I think that the supply lists need to be re-addressed, lets have the teachers ask the kids to send things in that they really use, not just a big list of stuff.