School Supplies Revisited

Updated on July 30, 2013
J.S. asks from Georgetown, TX
33 answers

I finally receive my LOs school supply list and I am amazed at some of the items listed and of course all are to be shared. Are these common for school supply items? Mind you, my LO will be starting kindergarten):

- headphones (no earbuds) for computer use
- dry erase markers
- regular markers
- colored pencils
- composition notebook
- 4 folders w/brads
- 3 sprial bound notebooks
- 2 big erasers
- 1 scissors
- box of 24 crayons
- 1 ream of copy paper
- 1 package of dixie cups
- zip log bags
- Clorox wipes
- Antibacterial sanitizer
- 2 boxes kleenex

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So What Happened?

I'm just amazed how things have changed from when I went to school =)

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answers from San Francisco on

Sounds normal. Education budgets have been slashed so parents must pick up the slack, even for cleaning/office supplies!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It seems to me that it's up to the teacher and school to provide the dry erase markers - teachers use them, kid's don't. I have no idea why a kindergartener would need a composition notebook, or 3 spiral bound notebooks or a zip loc bag. I would ask what my child is going to do with those things and if they couldn't give me an answer,. I wouldn't buy them. Seems like the kindergarteners are going to be supplying the upper grades with classroom materials.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It sounds pretty typical to me actually. The list for my two children is at least this long. I will get another wish list when we go to Open House. I tend to buy everything on the list plus a few extra to donate to the classroom for the teacher however she sees fit.

I spend a lot on school supplies. I didn't grow up in a particularly affluent area, but I never remember my parents buying me much more than pens, pencils, notebook paper and a few folders. Times have changed. I do think that it's pretty bad when I have to supply Kleenex and cleaning supplies for the classroom. However, I am able to provide these things. I would rather me buy them than for the kids to go without.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Antonio on

sounds about right...less than our school actually...

I can tell you the dry erase markers are used by the students. I sub for our school and it is pretty cool...the tops of the kids tables/desks are used to practice writing and math using the dry erase markers, and then they wipe clean with a tissue. They waste less paper this way...and the kids think it is super cool t get to write on their desks.

Glue a parent after subbing for one year...I sent a case of 50 glue sticks to each of my kids teachers. first of all one child can use up a whole stick on one project they go fast...second, those little hands do not pop the lids back on them half the time and a lot of them dry up, and third they are so much neater than letting little kids use liquid white glue.

Our teachers send everything back home at the end of the year that our students don't we are on our third year and second year with the same scissors...blank notebooks come back home as well as ones full of writing.

Oh crayons in Kindergarden...some kids will actually sit and break them into pieces, other break as a matter of course...they use a lot of crayons.

Our teachers get ten packs of copy paper for the whole year!! so yes, they are going to need more and 20 extra packs make it a lot easier to have some paper work to send home...hence the dry erase markers and writing on the desk tops...

As an ex-teacher and a sub for elementary school it bugs me when parents complain how the school should supply the supplies...yes, they should but they don' get mad at the district, join the PTA/PTO and make a difference...but don't blame the teachers. At our school the district publishes a list for the whole district it hasn't changed sense I went to school there...and the teachers have no say what is on the list.

And communal supplies work because there are students who show up with no supplies...and so do you make them sit there while everyone else is coloring or expect the teacher to buy that child their supplies??

This topic really bugs me when people who have never been in the classroom complain and throw a fit...try volunteering in your child's that will really open your eyes..and give you a jumping off point for the next PTA meeting.

Sorry if I ranted a bit...but teachers do work very very hard (the majority of them)...and they get the complaints about the supplies and it really isn't their fault.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

There are no chalkboards in schools anymore here in Austin. They are all wipe boards, elementary through High School. Children with health issues were not safe around chalk.

Also our school district cannot afford all of the supplies they actually use in classrooms . The infrastructure (maintaining the buildings, playgrounds, etc) for the schools can hardly be kept up with. add teacher salaries, electricity, and all sorts of other things.. It is just expensive to educate, 10,000's of students every year.

If you ever wonder why join a parents advisory committee either in your child's school or city wide. They are good stewards of money, but we just do not have all of the money to provide absolutely everything needed.

I am sure you will hear some parents say they have seen teacher waste supplies, blah, blah blah.. but over all that has not been my experiences. Instead I have seen the opposite. Teachers paying out of their own pockets to make sure students had what was needed.

I sat on a city wide advisory board for 3 years for our district s parent adviser. . I was PTA President at 2 different schools and also sat on the Board of directors of the City wide PTA for 2 years.. It makes me so frustrated to hear people criticize teachers and schools, when parents really have no idea of all of the thought, planning and care most educators and administrators give all year long to educate our children.

IF you are REALLY put out by what you see as being wasteful (like I once assumed) get involved. It will open your eyes to the truth,, not just assumptions, online moaning and groaning and gossip.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It's a shame, but if you live in a town where a lot of people don't want their taxes raised, the only way to meet the budget is to share expenses. A lot fo people in my town look at the tax rate and complain, and it's not limited to the senior citizens who don't have kids in the schools anymore. Sometimes, believe it or not, parents just take a list like yours and wrap in into their "back to school costs" and don't think about it - like back to school clothes.

Remember that otherwise these materials come out of the teachers' pockets. Some people won't provide everything so check to be sure if this is a "wish list" for you to provide SOME of, or if they expect people to do everything.

Here's an analogy: in my town, we don't have trash pick up. You pay for a private service to come pick up at your driveway, or you buy a sticker for the dump ($60 a year) and take it yourself, paying your own gas and sorting the recycling from the trash. If everyone paid $60 more in taxes, they could save gas and institute a "pay as you throw" system using purchased bags (so those who recycle pay a lot less) it would be more fair -- but no, people don't want to pay $60 more dollars in taxes. Those who pay for private trash pick up defy the waste disposal laws and throw everything in the can, including recyclables. Crazy but true.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Except for the headphones, yes. This sounds very much par for the course.

As to whether the school "should" pay for these kinds of items, schools would if they could. They can't because they are flat broke. They are flat broke because taxes for corporations and millionaires have been slashed. (Taxes for ordinary middle-income people have remained relatively unchanged.) So parents have to pick up the slack because the super wealthy (both corporate "people" and human people) aren't.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

This is a pretty standard list.

I honestly get frustrated by the fact that I am purchasing supplies which should be provided by the school (like kleenex, sanitizer, clorox wipes, copy paper, dry erase markers, etc). I think that parents should be buying supplies for their own kids, not communal supplies. But that's just how it is these days.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Looks normal to me - which part is amazing you? The headphones, while new to me, make perfect sense. I love that your kindergartner is going to be getting advanced training on the computer! (Advanced as in I sure as heck wasn't on a computer learning that technology at 5!)

ETA: That is amazing! I get that! =)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Pretty standard. Almost identical to our list, but ours actually has brand specifications.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Tax dollars are wasted by the schools on stupid spending...

Anyway looks like our lists but I have to buy for 3. This year I get to sharpen 100 pencils - fun stuff.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Very standard. Ours will tell us exactly which brands, too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It is not to far from my sons- and he is just going into kindergarten.

I was shocked how specific my sons list was..

We don't have the ream of paper, Head phones or dry erase markers, but we have the rest.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from College Station on

Everything is normal except the copy paper and headphones (those probably WONT be shared). They will use the dry erase markers on white boards (modern day slates), so expect them to ask for a spare sock at some point to use as an eraser.

Just a tip- buy plastic folders and you can re-use them year after year. I think we are on 4 years for some of our folders.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Your list looks great compared to ours. At our School kindergarten has to bring:
6 boxes of crayons,
6 bottles of glue
3 boxes of crayola markers
1 box baby wipes
3 4pkg. playdough
2 boxes gallon siz3 Ziplock bags
3 vinyl pocket folders in blue purple and orange
2 pink erasers
2 1 inch 3 ring binder 1 spiral notebook
Fishars scissors
ear buds

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

That doesn't look like a bad or very unusual list these days. Except for the headphones. That one is new to me. At least it's not one of those mega lists I've heard about that are like $200 worth of specific brand supplies. No thank you.

My DD isn't being asked to bring most of that stuff, but it varies so much school to school. Last I checked, DD was not being asked to have much more than a lunchbox (if necessary) and a backpack big enough for a school folder. She is encouraged to have crayons, glue, scissors and similar at home for homework. Her preschool asked for paper cups, napkins and tissues at the start of the year.

FYI, looks like Oriental Trading is in on the school supplies thing. Might be especially good for bigger families:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

that looks like a pretty common list. My kids go to private school (where I work) and their list is double that. They have their own supplies though and they are not shared for the class. I have to write their name on ALL 3 dozen pencils (times 2 because I have 2 kids there).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The only one that is new to me is the head phones...but those make perfect sense.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Looks like my kids lists. We don't have the earphones on the initial list but are given the option for my 3rd grader to purchase during the year. It does makes sense when you think about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Sounds about right. The headphones thing is new but I guess that just aligns with new technology. We have it easy, our school just requests $25.00 paid to the teacher and they purchase everything. Love it! Saves me time at the store. Parents do have the option of buying from the list instead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

Yup looks about normal.

My girls school asks for ear buds. They have a classroom Ipad and they all get a chance to work on it at some point to play an educational app. Of course they only have one so they can't have the noise going when the rest of the class is doing something else.


answers from San Diego on

Yes. Just wait, the list gets larger and larger for each subsequent grade.


answers from Phoenix on

I remember when my son went to K it said they needed FIFTEEN glue sticks. WTheck??!! And not one single art project came home that year that used glue sticks. This year, my son is 10 and in 5th grade. We moved to a new school district and when I registered him, I said, where is the list of supplies? They said, we don't ask for anything. I said I spent HUNDREDS of dollars each year from my 3 kids at the other school. They laughed and said, yes, they had heard that. They said parents could offer supplies but they can't ASK for them. The teacher did send home a reasonable list with the basics on it. It's crazy how out of hand it seems like it's gotten.



answers from New York on

It's really like a "gift to the teacher", to cover school costs.

I'm not sure how your list was presented - did it seem like a "request" or a "demand"? If you are not in a position to buy brand-new-everything (and/or if you are opposed to specific items, like exposing your young child to antibacterial gel), I would imagine that you can call the school office and express your limitations, and come up up with a "revised list".

In this economy, when plenty of families receive financial assistance of various kinds, I hope the school does not assume that everyone will be able and willing to buy all of that stuff!



answers from Denver on

Yep. Sounds about right.



answers from Chicago on

We have everything on your list as well as ink for the printer, paper plates, 36 pencils, 8 large glue sticks, 10 small glue sticks, and baby wipes. They are all brand specific, too. My son is also entering kindergarten.



answers from Tampa on

Yes, your list is short compared to what I have to buy my kids this year. And once you meet the teacher they ask for more supplies. I find the headphones funny. When my kids used them in kindergarten we didn't have to buy them. They all used the same. I think they wiped them off with baby wipes.

What gets me is every year I buy scissors. I would think the teachers would get stocked up on them every year for years to come. My kids bring theirs home and I try to resend the following school year.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I too get pretty upset that I am providing a lot of things that the school should be providing. They should be providing their teachers supplies, I should be providing my own children's supplies.

I do appreciate that they request over the amount of things they'll need because there are just some families that don't have the means to buy them.

BUT Seriously!!!!

Does a teacher really need 28 packages of dry erase markers? Why can't she use chalk, it's tons cheaper.

Why can't soap and water still clean the kids hands instead of putting alcohol and a wipe in the trash can, then they need more trash sacks. Soap works if you use it. It doesn't dry out your hands or put a residue on them. Soap kills germs and cleans the hands. Really, think about it. A wipe smears dirt around, they don't get the dirt off, it just gets went and smears around.

Why not get rid of some of this useless stuff and let each child bring their own paper and pencils. When they get low or run out send some more. They don't need 4 different colors of folders so that the teacher can write notes to mom and dad in one, keep homework in one, send homework in another, and have one just in case they think of something else.

We kept everything in one notebook, it stayed at school. If we needed mom or dad to do something they pinned a note to our chest.



answers from Austin on

Except for the headphones, that is a pretty standard list.

I have a feeling that they want the kids to supply their own headphones to help cut down on head lice transmission.



answers from Seattle on

That school list looks quite similar to my daughter's list. I hate it because I know for a fact that the supplies are not shared in her class but rather all the supplies brought into the school are shared throughout the entire school. This list of course does not include the fact that throughout the entire school year I must still purchase spiral notebooks, 3 ring binders, new headphones, and the like because of course they get stolen, broken, used up or never brought in in the first place.

It is amazing what schools expect parents to provide these days. I will do it in spite of not understanding who actually uses these things. I asked my daughter if she gets to use the hand sanitizer we send in - she stated that not once last year was she allowed to use any hand sanitizer even what she saw in the classroom as it was her teacher's alone. Bleh.



answers from Chicago on

It makes me mad when I see that the parents have to provide copy paper, clorox wipes and dry erase markers when the school districts should be purchasing them, but most of the districts are poor (at least the ones around us are) so they don't have the money. I'd rather the teachers get paid.

I also remember going to school in the 90s and the teachers stopped giving tests that you would write on to save paper. Instead they would make one set of copies for all classes and you had the write the answers on your own paper.

In other ways I am glad they aren't raising our taxes to cover those things and the parents who actually have kids in the school are paying directly for them. We homeschool, so we do buy those things for OUR classroom, same as other parents.

I also know that they have local backpack programs around here where the kids can qualify for a free backpack that includes all the supplies needed for their grade. You can donate money or items to these backpacks. We usually donate items, especially when there are buy one, get one free deals or super great coupon deals.



answers from Dallas on

That sounds normal. They spread the things like copy paper and dry erase markers around to lessen the ost to the district. I've never had to get headphones. I guess that's a new age thing.
Can you imagine the things a teacher buys to make her classroom hum?
This spreads that cost out too.



answers from Boston on

Pretty common, except for the ream of paper. I know that other school districts here also include that but IMO, a school district should be able to provide at least paper.

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