A Supplemental Post for the Supplemental School Supply List

POSTED ON Aug 24th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Footnote Post, Housewifery, Motherhood, PJLifestyle links, US/UK compare and contrast

school suppliesEvery year the kids come home from the first day of school with a supplemental school supply list. (For my UK mother friends who wonder about a school supply list beyond the uniform, no classroom supplies are not a part of tuition. Parents provide everything from pencils to boxes of tissues.)

This year’s Day Two shopping trip annoyed me and a few other ladies I met at the store, so much so that I wrote about it here. But the story continues!

On son’s supplemental list this year: 5 wide ruled composition notebooks. Easy enough, except for the fact that the stores were almost out. Yesterday, I got some of the last 5 they had. When son arrived home, he told me the teacher would not accept these. Parents more efficient than I had gone out and purchased these 70 page Mead notebooks the night before. The teacher rejected them. She wanted the books with 100 pages.

There might have been some yelling to son, not at son, that if she wanted 100 pages then she should have specified that detail. I would not be going out in Houston rush hour to do a third school supply run. He said the books were due tomorrow. I said he would get the books when he got the books. Someone else’s lack of organization is not my emergency. I wasn’t even sure stores would have them in stock at this point. It had been slim pickings earlier. Discussion ensued.

Luckily, hubs had to stop by Target for some Rx refills. He offered to get the 100 page, wide rule composition notebooks. He got the last 5 in the store that weren’t pink or Ninja Turtle. (Son is almost 13. Too cool for cartoon branded stuff.) Checking out took half an hour because 3 of the books were in a set without a barcode. Price checks are rarely speedy, certainly not at 6pm on a Tuesday when a bunch of parents are dealing with the blasted supplemental school supply list.

Is sending out a complete list before school starts really that difficult?


  1. Marie said:

    Do I comment here or on PJ?

    I seriously, literally seriously, do not understand this. You’re not making this up, are you? The description over at the PJ story just confuses me. Why would a school full of parents do all this? It’s not like it’s hard but useful, it’s just busy work and ALSO crazy hard. When we were kids we would look at back to school shopping like the Sears Toy Catalogue, you get the stuff you want, remember Trapper Keepers when they first came out? Of course you don’t, you’re too young. But the point is, you just went and got your supplies.

    Here we have lists in a tower at Walmart, I had no idea some places went to the extremes you describe. Can’t all the parents at the school just agree one year to send their kids in with a backpack of stuff they want to buy and let the teachers deal?

  2. Ellen said:

    I’m so glad I don’t have to do this anymore. My kids are high and older. It does get better.i stopped buying 50 pencils and 25 pens, because I knew my kids wouldn’t use that many and the other, less responsible kids should get a little life lesson in keeping track of their stuff. And every kid needs to bring in a set of whiteboard markers? No, the school provides a whiteboard; they should also provide the markers. If the teacher didn’t like my plan they had to come to me, not my kid. None ever did.

  3. Leslie Loftis said:

    Marie, commeting here, there–I don’t care. I just like seeing you comment. And I totally remember Trapper Keepers. Maybe not when they first came out, but they were the thing in my school days.

    As for the school of parents–schools, plural. I didn’t know any of the ladies I met at Target. This is just typical. I think it is part of the ease of quick communication. Back in the 70’s, districts had to get the lists out to stores and mail them to the parents weeks in advance. Last minute changes just weren’t an option, and so they were more organized.

    No way they could let the kids have different supplies! The stigma! The stigma. We can’t even have class parties. Allergies for one. Diet restrictions affluent mothers impose for another. But throw on competitive room mothering, one class might have a fancier party than the other. So the school now supplies all the food, plates, decorations, etc. Mothers volunteer to put the pretzels and marshmallows on the plate. (Real example, btw.)

  4. Leslie Loftis said:

    Ellen, that’s pretty much son’s and my discussion about the 100 page comp book. “Send her to me. I will deal with her myself.”

  5. Marie said:

    Ellen, this is one of the things that throws me off the most with elementary school students — do the teachers think the student is the one driving to Target for the supplies?

    In a worst case scenario where you have a negligent parent who is not providing the school-requested pencils because she needs the money for tequila, how is it a good thing to put the burden of guilt on a kid already in a rough place?

    Reminds me of the first year we home schooled and a grandma in a library decided to have a chat with my youngest about how she didn’t think home school was a good idea. My kid was maybe 5. Did she think my daughter was the one who made that decision? I was three bookshelves over, totally available for her to argue with, but she felt the need to chat with my kindergartener. Weird.

  6. awindram said:

    I get the feeling I’m going to end up having quite tense relations with toddler’s teachers in the future.

  7. Leslie Loftis said:

    Yes, Windram. Yes you will. You’re in NY, yes? Rig for impact.

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