It’s time to think about Back to School! Already! Around here, lots of schools start up again this week. As a teacher and a student before that, shopping for school supplies has always been one of my most favorite yearly activities. There is something magical about crisp new folders, pointy new crayons, and shiny new scissors. My heart still skips a beat when I see the school supply displays appear in stores for the first time at the end of summer each year.
This year marks the start of a new adventure for me. I am stepping away from my elementary school classroom to have more time with our daughter. As thrilled as I am to be doing this, I admit that I have worried a bit though – would I go through school supply withdrawal when those back to school supply displays started popping up in stores? Luckily, just in time, my church announced that it was going to start collecting school supplies and filling backpacks for kids who couldn’t afford to buy them on their own.
In my classroom, I always liked to build a “Successful Studying” bulletin board with the kids.
On the first or second day of school, we would brainstorm a list of supplies we would need to be successful in class, and the students would take turns putting pictures of those supplies up on the board. I would keep the bulletin board up all year as a reminder to come to class prepared and keep their supplies organized. However, so many kids just can’t get the supplies they need in order to be successful in school. This fill a backpack program at my church was the perfect way to ensure that as many kids as possible could have the chance to start the school year out right the supplies they would need.
I was so excited to get the supply list from my church and go shopping with my husband and daughter. As soon as those first few items hit the cart, the familiar thrill of shopping for school supplies returned!
Be warned – this is not an inexpensive activity. By the time the cart was full with all the supplies from the list, the total came to about $85. But it was money VERY well spent. We were able to have a fun shopping trip together as a family (our one year old daughter even tried to help push the cart) and help a child have a a great start to the school year!
A few tips so that you could do this yourself:
- It seems as though there are more and more churches and organizations doing school supply drives. Look around to see if you can find one in your neighborhood!
- If you can’t find an organization doing a school supply drive, many stores have displays with supply lists for neighborhood schools. Pick up a list, buy a set of supplies, and drop them off at the school. I have no doubt the school would be grateful!
- Another option would be to just buy an additional set of supplies based on your own child’s supply list. Take the supplies in and give them to the teacher a day or two before school starts. Even if there is not a child in the class who would need the supplies, the teacher would be more than happy to have an extra set of supplies to give to use to replenish lost crayons and pencils throughout the year or give to a new student who might come in unexpectedly in the middle of the year.
- As I said, this is an expensive undertaking. Perhaps it would be fun to organize an outing with another family and go shopping together. You could split the cost, and it would be a fun last hurrah playdate for the kids at the end of summer.
- Another way to help pay for the supplies would be to have your own children raise some money with a lemonade stand or a similar activity. Your kids will probably be even more excited to go buy the supplies knowing that they helped to earn the money for them.
I definitely plan to make this a new yearly family tradition. What a great way to wrap up summer, look forward to fall, and help our little one get excited about giving and sharing all throughout the year.