Pencils: Good Ones

Updated on September 22, 2009
D.N. asks from Chicago, IL
7 answers

Every year I get pencils for my kids and they are garbage. You sharpen them and they break. This year I want something better. They are supposed to each take a 24 pack to school to keep there. That means I have to buy some for school and some for home. I cannot afford to pay $5 for a pack of 12 since I do have other supplies-and clothes--to buy. I have bought Penway, another brand, a brand from the dollar stores, "the original yellow pencil", whatever brand that was. Pencils with decorated wood. They all break often. Some have loose lead so when you sharpen it it falls right out. What have you bought that didn't sharpen down to nothing the first time? I have seen Teraconda pencils in the store and wonder if they are worth it.

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So What Happened?

The consensus seems to be the Dixon brand so I will shop around for those. I do buy school supplies during the year or when they have "clearance" in October. Like kids won't need supplies all year long. We also keep previous years supplies to use again though my kids would prefer to have new.

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answers from Chicago on


I agree with you that there is some real junk out there. It has been my experience that the "pretty" pencils - pictures, foil, etc. are usually cheap and not worth the money. I buy a large package of standard yellow #2 pencils and then send the 12 or so requested, rubber banded together, on the first day of school. This year they are Dixon brand. I also buy bulk scotch tape (from Office Depot or the like) and only send to school what they need. We use a lot of scotch tape around our house for crafts and presents.

Remember, you only should be sending in the amount of supplies requested. If it doesn't say a "package" then only send in the 12 requested - buy in bulk. We are also reusing our "fiskar scissors" from last year too.

I disagree with sending less than what is requested by the teachers. (Just my 2 cents.) I realize that many of the supplies are "pooled", so my child may not get "her" scissors, pencils, etc. But I believe the teachers are already working with so little supplies, I am willing to contribute extra whenever needed for my child's education. To me it's not worth skimping on essentials or cheap tissues for the classroom. Let's face it - if your kid is doing their classroom work do you want them getting a "cheap" pencil that keeps breaking? Do you want them wiping their nose with hard, scratchy tissue paper when they already have a sore, runny nose in the winter? I guess for me it's a karma thing...give more now in hopes other people do too.

If you're really worried about how much you're spending on school supplies, go for the bulk package DURING the year, so you have it for next fall. You know you're going to be asked for some simple supplies over and over again. Or you can look at next year's supply list now and get an idea of what you should be stockpiling for next year as it goes on sale.

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

You should absolutely buy the Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. They are worth the money. They may cost a little more to start out with, but in the end they last a lot longer.



answers from Chicago on




answers from Chicago on

I was at Meijer today and they had the Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. A package of ten was $1.99.



answers from Chicago on

The Dixons are on our school supply list. My older kids like the mechanical pencils and for those you just replace the lead. Those you can get on sale and there's a coupon around for them as well.



answers from Chicago on

I know it is a pain...but I only send 2 pencils to start out with for each of my 3, and that is the same thing I had done with my older 2 (now 25 and 22). They have never gone through 24 pencils in 1 year yet. I have noticed that the teachers ask the kids for those that send the full amount if they would share with those that don't seem to have theirs. Sorry, but I don't feel I should have to supply other kids in the class. Sorry off the path...

I too have seen the way pencils have lessened in quality over the years. The ones with the plastic fancy coating on them make it harder to sharpen, and they don't write any better, again breaking...

The teachers are now asking for mechanical pencils for the kids 6th grade and higher. Don't know if this is an option or not for your kids. I will suggest not to buy a high quality mechanical as they seem to "disappear" and end up in someone elses desk or backpack.

Good luck on your pencil search.



answers from Springfield on

I recommend pencils with real wood barrels. The Dixon pencils do fall under that category. Many cheaper pencils are made up of some plastic composite, and I think if the lead gets cracked it tends to slide out more easily. Now there's nothing you can do really about the lead cracking - dropping the pencils, tapping them, etc, can crack the lead inside. And wooden barreled pencils have a better quality graphite - it writes darker and smoother than the plastic barreled pencil graphite.

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