Question for parents about School Supplies

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by hojalata, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    In the book I am reading (On Solid Ground by Sharon Taberski) she buys all the school supplies for the kids and then asks the parents to reimburse her. She does this because some of the supplies are hard to find for parents, like a primary lined composition notebook. With other things it's because parents buy the wrong things and she wants, for example, all the writing folders to be the same in the classroom. She swears that the parents are grateful that the teacher has done the work for them, and they just have to pay her a few dollars and it's done.

    I am SO tempted to do this. To me, it would save so much trouble. Plus, the first few hours wouldn't be complete chaos with clueless 1st graders coming in with all these supplies and having to sort through them etc. (We do community supplies so it's not like they can just put them in their desk).

    But, here's the thing, maybe I am a little biased because I am a teacher and therefor, love school supplies (ha), but as a parent, would you feel as though you were missing out on something if you didn't get to go school supply shopping with your child? I don't want parents to be disappointed.

    My other thought was to do kind of half and half. I'd buy the harder-to-find stuff that I want to be all the same, and they could still buy a few things that are very direct, like I'd say 16 count Crayola Crayons. (Even then you end up with some of the rose arts...) The only problem I can forsee with this is that I think I might be less likely for parents to reimburse me b/c it's not so cut and dry.

    So, if you are a parent and a teacher, what do you think??
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My sister's a PTO chiarman- in their school allo grade level lists are pretty much standardized. The PTO buys the 'common items' that the teachers ask for and sells them as a fundraiser. The kids get to school on the first day and there's a box of supplies on their desks for them. Other items the teacher requests, families purchase on their own so it's a bit of a mix of your two options.

    In my school, lists vary widely classroom to classroom, so families pretty much shop on their own for whatever is on the supply lists. That requires teachers who are going to be particular about what kind of folders/notebooks/etc to be VERY specific. I buy some of the items my students will use through my budget. For instance, I like everyone to have the same color folders for different subjects, so I buy those.

    Kids also like to have some things that THEY picked out- some special folders or a notebook or glittery crayons...leave some room on your list for individuality.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I think you better ask your principal before you do this. Some schools may not allow it and you should also be prepared not be reimbursed by some parents. Do you want to take that risk? What would you do when a family couldn't afford it? What would you do if parents have already bought their supplies at sales over the summer? Also, why is it important to you that they are all the same - is it a personality thing - no criticism - just pointing out everyone may not like or want to spend that money - Rose Art works for me - way cheaper and they last as long? Just things to think about.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My own kids LOOK FORWARD to school supply shopping. Yes, it would disappoint them.
     
  6. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I have 5 kids that are in school. It wouldn't bother me and bit and I would be glad to reimburse for them.

    There is still fun in buying school clothes and backpacks.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm assuming this is for next year. If you did it for this year and the parents already bought supplies, they might not be as willing to pay.
     
  8. cityfrog6

    cityfrog6 Comrade

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    Our parents pay a school supply fee as part of their registration (we're a charter school) and myself and my co-worker go out and buy the items teachers' request. It's a pain from the end of having to buy and sort it all but it does work for our small school.
     
  9. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    My principal won't care, that's def. not an issue. I think most would reimburse, and I'd be willing to cover the costs of those who couldn't/wouldn't. I want the folders all the same so that we all have the same writing folder etc. With the supplies, since they are community supplies, I want them all to be the same. I've found that Rose Art quality is not the same as Crayola.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I would be disappointed, as a parent, if I couldn't buy my own supplies. I am very budget conscious, and I love looking for a good sale. As a teacher, I supply all of my student's basic needs. IMO, if I don't give the parents a supply list, they would be more likely to buy a more expensive item from my wishlist.
     
  11. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    As a teacher, I have seen parents substituting supplies because they didn't want to go shopping around and find it...some stores run out or just don't have the double set of Crayola watercolors which is what we require.
    I (the teacher) wouldn't mind buying them and asking for a reimbursement.

    As a parent, I wouldn't mind the teacher doing that either! :D
    Save the easy stuff for parents & kids to purchase...pencils, crayons, scissors...
     
  12. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Wish we could do this. I'd be tickled pink (as a parent); and bothered momentarily, but happy later being the teacher purchasing the items. :D
     
  13. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Several of the schools around here give parents a choice of buying the grade-level supply kit or purchasing their own supplies. I think it's a PTO fundraiser, but parents are getting the grade level kit for what HAS to be cheaper than buying everything yourself since i'm sure they go through the discount places. They mark with a star on the list the things that are NOT included (kleenex, gym shoes, etc), and parents know the teacher can still request other supplies.
     
  14. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    My sister, who is not a teacher, just complained about this the other day. She spends the extra money on Crayola and Elmers and the quality folders and is disappointed when her daughter uses a lesser quality product because it is community supplies and somebody else went with the cheap stuff.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I know you stated that your principal will not care, but please run it past him/her first. We were all for it, even the principal, until further research discovered that we would lose some State funding as this was viewed as fees.

    However...
    Our district now supplies everything for students! The district found it can write off what they purchase plus local school supply drives supply to us. We have a supply closet filled with Crayola, Elmers, notebooks, erasers, folders, markers, pencils, pens, etc. All better end struff. The kids only need to bring a backpack (which "Stuff the Bus" provides).
     
  16. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    I wouldn't mind it. However, it might be too late for this year. Our schools do not start until Sept. however most of the children around here already have some supplies. The parents have been shopping at Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot just like the teachers.

    Before my son's teacher sent her list we already had crayons, markers, glue sticks, folders, paper, etc. We know what basic things teachers want and we buy them as soon as they are discounted.
     
  17. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

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    Oh my gosh, that used to make me sooooo mad in kindergarten when we'd have our little baskets in the middle of the table, and I got stuck using the cheap glue! I honestly didn't get why I couldn't just use the glue and crayons that I brought with me on that first day. I was so happy in first grade because we had our own desks where we could keep our own stuff.

    On the topic: As a teacher, I would *love* to shop for the entire class because I absolutely love school supplies. I loved doing it as a kid with my mom. I'd sit in my room for hours organizing my Trapper Keeper (remember those?) and pencil box. Yeah, if I were a student, I'd be disappointed.
     
  18. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    At our school, the parents pay a fee (I think it's $30 or $35) and the school district buy the supplies. As a parent, I don't mind at all because it saves me from having to fight the crowd with 4 kids trying to buy supplies, then not being able to find some of them, and having to go from store to store. I still take them (actually grandma buys, but I go along) to shop for backpacks, lunch boxes, and new school clothes, so we have our fun that way.
     
  19. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

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    Oh, and if we have students who can't/don't pay, we don't follow up on it. Everyone gets the same supplies rather they pay or not.
    The parents also have the option of getting a supply list from the office and purchasing their own supplies if they would rather. It usually ends up costing more though, so I discourage them from doing that. Plus, I have community supplies, so it all just gets thrown in together anyway.
     
  20. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I make it optional. At the end of the year, I go to all the classrooms in the grade below me and send forms home for the parents. If they give me $25, I get all of their school supplies for them. I can buy things in bulk, use teacher discounts, and I know when the good sales are. I even ask the kids to supply me with their favorite colors and the colors they absolutely hate, so I can kind of tailor it to each kid. Every year I've done this, I've actually gone under the $25, so I return the change in an envelope with the school supplies.

    A lot of my students' parents are poor, and this makes their school supply shopping much easier.
     
  21. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I love it, too! :)
     
  22. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I would LOVE to do this. Maybe next year I'll do this.
     
  23. Mrs. Mom

    Mrs. Mom Cohort

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    I would not like it. As a parent, we really enjoy buying the items on the school supply list. My child gets so excited every year! I also hate knowing what I buy goes to the "community." I really wish that the items I buy would stay for my own kid. That's just me personally. I never do community ANYTHING in my classroom. I supply what kids don't have, but they keep it for their own. Some kids don't like chewed on pencils, squished/dirty glue sticks, broken crayons, etc. !!!
     
  24. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I tried community one year in my kindergarten class, and it was not worth fielding all the complaint calls I got from parents. Most frequent complaint was what you mentioned above:chewed on pencils and broken crayons.
     
  25. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    I don't think this has to be COMMUNITY at ALL...just everyone's bought from the same source at the same time. (The only community thing I have used is a great big bag of eraser tips.)

    Looking at this from a NUMBER of different view points.

    As a teacher... thank GOODNESS that it's ALL the same, and all QUALITY materials! You can use your "teacher discount" and "good comparison shopping" to pass the savings on to your parents. (I could see some teachers HATING this burden...but *I* would love it. I love spending other people's money :p ...being a personal shopper would be a blast for me!)

    As a parent...it's one less thing on my list. yes, *I* enjoyed back to school shopping..and WE made it a traditon. but MANY parents just see it as a chore that they would like to cut back on. I would prefer NOT to have to mark EVERYTHING...but this way the teacher can have stickers with the students' names ready...and that SURE helps ME.

    As a student (speaking for my kids and remembering how *I* was)... I might be disappointed NOT to buy all my own...but if you allowed me to bring in a folder or two for my class binder (a TIGER binder-or whatever you want to call it)..I could personalize my stuff by bringing one with M&M's or puppies, or wrestlers on it. And THAT would be a cool thing to show off to the other kids...instead of a HUGE paper bag of supplies that spills and falls and....

    Leave SOMETHING for them to personalize...and I think it's a win/win/win situation.

    But YES...clear it with the principal first.
     
  26. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I would love, as a teacher to do it also, I love the thrill of finding the best deals, and shopping and labeling - and I am particular about the supplies so, it is great! I buy lots of things for my class, ust for that reason, but I could not imagine asking to be reimbursed for the stuff.

    I do not think I would like for my daughter's teachers to ask me for reimbursement either. I like the thrill of the hunt of the supplies too much and so do my daughters.

    Besides I am sure it would annoy me to spend a lot of money on things that I know I could have gotten cheaper.
     
  27. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I did community supplies my first year and had a bad experience. Then I did personal boxes. I supplied the boxes (blue of course!) and I let them borrow them for the year. It worked fine. But I was thinking about going back to community supplies this year. I figured the reason for my bad first experience was the lack of community building in my room that first year. Hmmm...what to do, what to do....
     
  28. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    But what if the material were hard to find, and I could get it cheaper? For example, I want my students to have a primary-lined composition book. These are $3-$4 IF you can find them in stores. (Not every store has them). I ordered them online for $2 each. That saves the parents $ AND having to hunt around for them.


     
  29. hojalata

    hojalata Comrade

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    Uhg, I am debating now too. I never knew people/parents had such aversion to community supplies. What is your reason for switching away from personal supplies this year?


     
  30. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    I have mostly community supplies, but some individual. For example, I have bins of crayons, but I also give each child a box of crayons at the beginning of the year. They have their own pencil box and can keep them in there. If they want to break all of their crayons, that's fine with me. If they want to keep them neat and color-coded, that's okay, too. I like community supplies because then I never have to hear a kid say "I lost mine!" or something similar. It doesn't clog their desks up with lots of supplies. And with individual supplies - in my experience - some kids feel bad because their family can't afford nicer stuff. So kids that have money bring in really fancy marker or crayon sets and the ones without might have a dollar store box of 8 crayons. This eliminates that.

    I send a supply list and I also get some stuff that I pay for out of pocket. I want all the folders to be the same, like some others have mentioned, so I buy them myself. But some things I don't care that much about. Markers are on my supply list, but I don't care what brand I get (although I do ask for Crayola) because I just mix them all into bins for everyone to use.
     
  31. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Another reason I buy all the supplies is because I do community supplies and this alleviates the upset parents and children who can't use the supplies they purchased. I have had 2 parents call this week and ask me what they would like me to buy off my wishlist. One parent went shopping and brought me in tons of stuff! This plan works for me.
     
  32. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I have tables, not desks. Each table had a bucket and everyone put their box of supplies in that bucket. It became time consuming to find their box...and if they went to a different area to work (like literacy stations ) then they would have to go get their box.

    I like the idea of them just being able to grab any old pencil. I plan on spending more community building this year and discussing the supplies. I am hoping this will alleviate the "I want that pencil!" type of stuff.

    I remember I had one girl who had to make sure her box was perfectly neat and organized before she came down to the carpet. She'd straighten that box out 3383874539 times a day.
     
  33. ekk5968

    ekk5968 Rookie

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    :lol:
     
  34. luludc

    luludc Rookie

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    For the reasons mentioned, I have personal crayon boxes, rather than community. However, lots of kids STILL don't take care of their crayons and they wind up on the floor.

    Glue, scissors, etc. are community. Honestly, I can't believe parents have enough time on their hands to be concerned about what kind of glue sticks their five year olds are using for cut and paste time. I'm lucky if the parents in my school buy supplies at all, or even send their child to school in clean clothes every day. I don't have enough time or energy to bring myself to be concerned about the brand of glue the children use.
     
  35. heymrsp

    heymrsp Rookie

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    My husband and I work in an extremely low income district. We supply almost EVERYTHING for our students (me - 65, him - 125/year) because the families will not send in what we ask for - we are lucky if they come with pencils. So I already shop for all the school supplies. :)

    Our son is 4 and starting preschool this fall in our home district. I haven't received his teacher's list yet, but our neighbor's son is attending the same school/grade(different teacher) and has received his and I assume they will be fairly similar. There is a lot on the list and we are more than happy to track down and purchase all of the items. So, as a teacher I like the idea you proposed, because I already do it. But honestly, as a parent, I want to purchase my son's supplies. (I also prefer that he use his own supplies, not community supplies, but that's a whole different post!)
     
  36. wb929

    wb929 Rookie

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    As a parent I would be happy to just pay for the supplies and let the teacher get them. Then I know that my child has exactly what is needed. I would guess, however, that you would get several parents who 'forget' to pay you for them.
     
  37. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Parents (like my sister I mentioned) simply want the best for their children. Then feel disappointed when they spend the extra money and their child is not using what they feel is the best.

    My students' parents aren't struggling to put food on the table. They are astronauts, doctors and engineers. They buy the best because their child is the best thing that ever happened. And the moms live up at the school and do have time to worry about what kind of glue their kid is using.
     
  38. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Very true. Exactly why I collect money in advance!
     
  39. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    I would love to provide the supplies and have parents pay a fee at registration or something. That would solve so many problems. I would not want them to reimburse me, however, because with my demographics I would never see the money. We make very specific supply lists and still don't get what we ask for. We asked for 4 plastic/poly folders: 2 yellow, 2 red. We got some plastic, some paper and instead of red and yellow we got blue, green, purple, orange, Hannah Montanna and so on. And then parents don't get the quantities you ask for such as bringing in 2 dry erase markers instead of 4 or don't bring supplies at all. It is very frustrating. Not to mention sorting it all out at the beginning of the year.

    I prefer all the folder colors to be the same because it takes so much longer if you say, "Get out your reading folder." Then some kids can't find theirs or they have to read each label on the folders to see if it's the right one. It is so much easier to say, "Get out your green reading folder." Then they just have to find the right color. I know many more teachers that feel this way than teachers that don't.

    As for community supplies I am torn. I tried allowing each student to keep their own supplies last year and it seemed like they lost them faster than when the supplies were in a tub on the table. But at the same time I realize that they went shopping for the just right item and want to keep them so it makes it hard to take everything and then dole them out as needed. So this year I am back to community supplies.
     
  40. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    We have very similar thoughts! As I was reading this I was thinking, "Well, if they would just get the items that are on the list, there wouldn't be any complaining about that 'special' pencil or folder that wasn't on the list anyway."

    I think I am going back to community supplies as well.
     
  41. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I have a huge box of flimsy folders. If they bring a flimsy, no good folder, I just buy them the one I want. Or I see if I can make trades with other members on my grade level.

    I think it is much easier to have the same color folders/spirals/etc.
     

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