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Marla Smart

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5 essentials to buying school supplies | Moms

The countdown has begun. Teachers are busily attending meetings and prepping classrooms, kids are getting in a few more days of sleeping in and fun, and parents are crossing days off on the calendar.

If you’re like me, the school supplies still need to be purchased.

I have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to make a purchase.

I can wax poetic about the years we had the kids in a school that purchased all the needed supplies. I just gave them a check. It was wonderful and I miss it because I dislike school supply shopping.

When trying to decipher the list, I always end up needing to go to all the different stores in order to get the “correct” items.

One may have graph paper, but in the wrong color for a specific teacher. Another could have five-subject notebooks, but not three-subject.

And then there are the issues of finding the perfect color/style/size of whatever that my child has deemed will make or break the entire school year.

As a parent and teacher, I thought I would pass on a few nuggets of school supply shopping wisdom.

1. Notebook paper gets scarce the longer you wait. Buy it while it is at its cheapest, and buy a bunch. I have made the mistake of waiting to buy more until my child needs it. The cost is significantly more later in the school year and invariably the kind you need will not be there. (i.e. wide-rule vs. college-rule)

2. For the younger crowd, crayons are an important supply. If there is no designated count, pick a modestly-sized box. As a teacher, having a student come in with a 96-pack of crayons is overkill which I know will require extra time to use (“Which pink should I use?”), pack up and store. Unless, of course, your list says “96-count crayons.”

3. On that same note, sending a dozen or more mechanical pencils on the first day is overkill. You might have found a killer deal, and that’s great (tell me where to go!). Just send a couple to school and store the rest at home in your school “re-supply” box. And don’t forget...mechanical pencils require extra lead!

4. Glue is also a pretty important commodity at school in elementary. As a parent, it’s tempting to get a huge supply, and those of you who shop the deals will do this well. Sending 10 sticks to school is, again, too many for the pencil box. Send what is needed now and store the rest for later.

5. And most importantly, if you are really confused about a certain item or two on your list, don’t stress it. Most items can wait a couple of days if you need clarifications straight from the teacher. Your student will not be graded on his/her supplies.

I hope you enjoy your last few days of summer. They will be gone before you know it!

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The News-Review Updated Aug 28, 2014 06:33AM Published Sep 4, 2014 12:25PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.