Friday, July 29, 2011
School Supplies: Love 'em, hate 'em.
I have a love/hate relationship with school supply shopping. I LOVE school supplies! As a kid, I would pick them out, and then spend the next several weeks organizing and reorganizing my backpack. As an adult, I still enjoy that particular isle in the store. That may have been the best thing about having an office job was having all the fun office accessories. But shopping for other people's supplies is not as fun admittedly. Usually, my girls pick out very plain binders and folders when I show them where the fancy ones are. I don't get it. Last year I took each girl separately to the store. There was no confusion, we simply went down their lists, got everything, went home and showed Daddy. This summer, I just haven't had the luxury of one-on-one time so all four kids got to come for the adventure. It went as you can imagine.
The girls tried to keep all of their things on separate ends of the shopping cart. They slid together and mixed up. Anna tried at one point to just carry her stuff. That didn't work either. Have you seen their lists? It's a lot of stuff to try to carry. Isabella doesn't really have a list for preschool and she wanted something. Sam just desperately wanted to go look at the cars in the toy isle. In the end, Sam got a car, Isabella got a miniature Rapunzel, and Sophia and Anna got a cart-full of school supplies but were upset I didn't then buy them a toy. Seriously.
I love the kids' school. They have great teachers and an amazing principal. And as PTO president, I spend a lot of my time helping to raise money for the school -- all of it for totally worthwhile projects. But when it comes to school supplies, I often cringe. Our first grade teacher needs each student to bring six black dry erase markers. Six? So each student -- 20 - 25 students all need to bring six dry erase markers. You do the math and that is a huge amount of markers to go through in a year. Are the teachers using one every day and a half? If so, are they not replacing the lid? How is it even possible to need that many markers in a school year? Apparently in 3rd grade they don't write on the board as much or the teachers have realized how to replace the lid more often since we only have to bring 4. Only.
Tennis shoes are my other major complaint. The gym was new a year and a half ago and when it opened up all the kids needed a new pair of shoes for gym. They are left in the classroom and put on and taken off before and after gym class. I understand the gym floor is nice and the rationale is that when the kids wear their shoes out on the playground and around home they get little pebbles in them that can scratch the floor. I get that. But, gyms are built to be used, right? When adults come in to play ball, I'm guessing they don't have separate shoes they wear. And in all honesty, I've walked in there before with less-than-brand-new shoes on that I wore crossing the street to get to the school's front door.
So, my problem with the shoes is the expense. Shoes aren't cheap -- even the cheap ones aren't cheap. And, it's a huge time waste for our teachers. The shoe changing doesn't take place in gym using up gym time. It takes place in their classrooms using educational time. You can imagine it's not a fast process for kindergartners and first graders. Even if the gym shoes are Velcro -- their regular shoes might not be. I just think our floors could use a few scratches, our wallets a few extra dollars, and our teachers a little more classroom time to teach. Just my opinion though.
Next year when I have all three girls needing supplies I will reconsider this process. Either I will A) take them one-on-one and try to enjoy the time watching them pick out their own special supplies or B) go by myself, get everything they need, and come home and surprise them. Plan B is looking pretty good right now!