Back-to-School Supplies: What’s...

Back-to-School Supplies: What’s Necessary And What Isn’t

by Tiffany Chang
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

When September nears, families with students are typically preparing for an upcoming school year. This may involve reverting back to an old routine, thinking about different lunch ideas, or even setting new, related goals.

For elementary school students in particular, another important preparation is getting necessary back-to-school supplies, and most are provided with a list of specific ones to get. However, some of these supplies are known to be unnecessary. People often find themselves feeling anxious about getting every item included on the list only to have certain items end up unused and sitting on a shelf at home. If this is what you’re currently dealing with or want to avoid, here’s what’s necessary and what isn’t:

What’s Necessary

Have extra pencils, erasers, and twelve-inch rulers as these will definitely be used on a regular basis. Five pencils or more as well as two erasers and one ruler are sufficient amounts for starting off the year. If you prefer mechanical pencils, make sure to buy extra lead. Also, having both types of pencils is beneficial. In case you have no more lead, you could always switch to a wooden pencil temporarily. All in all, it’s good to have both.

Regarding homework/handout storage, use different coloured duo tangs for each subject. Red could represent math, yellow for social studies, etc. Duo tangs make differentiating easier when taking the materials out of your desk. Binders can be used to store lined paper as well as for when your duo tangs get too full, and you could put older papers/assignments into the binder to create more space in the duo tangs. Get dividers for your binder to separate subjects from each other.

What Isn’t Necessary

One item often included on the list of supplies is 8.5” X 11” hole-punched white paper. While this paper comes in packs of hundreds, only one or two sheets at most will likely be used. These are usually for small art assignment(s) such as designing a title page for a subject. If you’re in an upper elementary school grade, you probably have some paper left from previous years. Therefore, if you’re asked for it again, don’t purchase more, just bring a few sheets from what you already have.

Pens are not frequently used. At most, you’ll use one red pen and another of a darker colour on occasion starting from grade 4. The red for marking if your teacher has the class mark each other’s work and maybe the darker coloured pen for more formal assignments such as essays. Be prepared with these pens, but don’t expect to use them that much.

Wax crayons are seldom used as well. They can break more easily, create a bigger mess, and don’t provide as much coverage in comparison to other colouring tools like pencil crayons or felt pens. (Pencil crayons are normally coloured with the most.) The same reasons apply when comparing liquid glue and glue sticks. When glue is needed at school, teachers will ask for students to have their glue sticks ready more often than liquid glue.

This can depend on what your teacher asks of you and what certain assignments entail. Of course, you’ll bring something if they specifically request it. It’s additionally important to not worry about buying supplies from specific brand names. Your supply-list may include them because they’re popular and/or known for quality, but rest assured, these are more so recommendations than requirements. You’ll be fine as long as you get the item itself.

Also, keep in mind that you likely won’t begin using every item right away and in the worst-case scenario, have the option of making last-minute purchases. While it’s ideal to have everything ready initially, don’t worry too much if you realize that there are still a couple of supplies you need to buy. Overall though, if you approach gathering these supplies with the advice above in mind, you’ll be well-prepared.

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