Those of you with kids will relate.
It's either very nearly back-to-school for many students, or in some cases where year-round schooling is used, the students are already back. But all you parents have done the school shopping bit-go to the store to pick up supplies and outfit the little darlings in the latest styles or get their uniforms. I've not had to do this, but I remember every August getting loaded up in the car and taken to Clinton to go to Penney's for clothes, and KMart for paper, pencils, and all the actual supplies necessary to stuff my skull full of 'nowledge. I hated it because it meant the end of the summer's freedom.
Tonight, I was in OfficeMax looking for a couple of things when I saw The List Of Required Crap Your Student Needs. Had to pick it up to see what the students of 2010-11 have to have. Here goes:
12 pencils, #2, sharpened
6 pens, 2 black, 2 blue, 2 red. Erasible if possible
1 Sharpie pen, black, extra fine point
1 box of 4 Expo Dry Erase Markers
1 box crayons, 24 ct.
1 box markers, 8 ct, Classic Colors
1 box colored pencils
1 Bottle glue, 4 oz, white
2 Glue Sticks
2 Erasers, large, pink
1 Ruler, marked with centimeters and inches
1 Protractor, 6", 180 degrees, plastic
6 Spiral Notebooks
6 Pocket Folders
2 pkg loose-leaf notebook paper
1 3-ring divider notebook
13 dividers for Binder
2 box facial tissues, large
1 container disinfecting wipes
1 pair gym shoes for PE
...and a partridge in a pear tree.
Wow! How do you do this if you have two or three kids? That's a crapload of stuff there! I can see why they require a backpack-they're loading the kids up like soldiers going on a five-day bivouac in the Sierra Nevadas. Might want to put MRE's, toilet paper, and forty rounds ball and shot on the list as well.
I remember some of this stuff from back in the day. I'm surprised paper is still required in massive amounts. I figured by now all a student would need is a flash drive and access to a keyboard. As for all the binders and notebooks and crap-I used to just take a handful of sheets of paper and toss them in the coursebook. I ain't lugging a three-ring binder clear across the building to English class. Screw it.
Dry erase markers? Huh? Do the schools not have dry erase markers for the whiteboards? We never had to take our own chalk-what gives? Disinfecting wipes? C'mon, man! You gotta catch a few things so your immune system knows how to fight disease. And are there no custodians nowadays? Who puts down that sawdust-type stuff when someone hurls in the hall?
I also recall that the school powers-that-be were very particular on certain items. We used to have to take a set of 8 watercolors every year, and they had to be Prang watercolors with the brush big enough to paint a barn with. You got read the riot act if you got some other brand. Who the hell cares? It's all the same colors. I only used the red and the black anyway, being in the giant brushstroke red-and-black phase of my artistic career. Crayons, of course, had to be Crayola, 48 count (with 39 colors never to be used), with the sharpener on the back of the box. I distinctly remember one kid having-horrors-a box of fluorescent crayons! He got dressed down good for that! And they say education stifles creativity...
I do see provision for a calculator. No more actually learning all that tedious multiplication and long division by actually writing down the problems and working them through like the poor bastards in out-of-the-way, backward places like Somalia or Bolivia or New Zealand have to do. 6th grade is too early to need a calculator. Make them do it the hard way first. They'll be better off.
Gym shoes for PE. Yep, needed them, too. Along with at least one PE uniform (two are better, especially if you have someone who wasn't all that diligent about washing the unie from week to week). I don't see anything about uniforms for phys ed, possibly because most schools don't have to 'bother with it' as much. It's a shame they didn't have that policy when Coach Greenfield was making us run laps around the track and drop for ten just for fun, or when Sgt. Drace put us through the Army fitness test. Not sure a lot of today's students even do much for PE.
I suppose a lot of the gear required is the same as what we had to have, but it sure seems like a lot of stuff to acquire. So much emphasis on the binders and notebooks and dividers-most people aren't that organized. Who's the person that gets the most work done anywhere? The guy with the most cluttered desk or workbench. You find a desk piled high with crap, you find the guy or girl in the office who gets stuff done-and knows where everything is amongst the clutter. And how else can you lose your homework if you can't have a disorganized jumble of books and papers?
Dunno. But figure all this stuff every year, plus five or six different outfits, books, and fees for sports or other activities, and if you have a couple of kids, this all runs into a tidy sum. I don't envy anyone having to outlay the cash.