Come late summer, back-to-school supply lists are as much of a tradition as pumpkin spice lattes. But does your child really need all that stuff to make it through the school year?
If back-to-school supply lists told the truth, here’s what they’d say:
Two containers white glue. One of these your child will actually use for art class. The other they’ll let dry on their hands to peel off as entertainment during particularly dull history lessons.
Eight two-pocket folders. Thanks to the multitude of colors, patterns, designs, pop stars and characters currently available, your child will take more time selecting these than you did when choosing a baby name.
One bottle of hand sanitizer. It’s not going to prevent a nasty stomach flu from ravaging the class mid-January, but at least we can say we tried.
One pencil case. You should grab an extra one now because this will go missing sometime around Halloween, and you won’t be able to find them in stock anywhere.
Twenty-four No. 2 pencils. Good old yellow ones worked perfectly fine when you were a child, but that won’t stop you from hearing a monologue on why the One Direction-themed ones are clearly the better option.
One pink eraser. This will be used precisely three times before becoming lost in the back of your child’s desk until June. You know you have a few barely used ones at home in the junk drawer, but your kids will insist on getting a new one and they’ll promise to keep track of it (they’re lying).
One box of crayons, 24 count. You’ll be firm in refusing to buy the coveted 128-count box but splurge for the Crayola because the colors are so vibrant and the names are more fun than other brands.
One pack of pencil crayons. Not colored pencils, not crayons. Pencil crayons. When you’re unable to find them and the sales associate says they don’t exist, you’ll toss colored pencils in the cart out of desperation and hope that it’s right. Your child will declare you’re ruining her life and stomp away.
One pair of scissors. You’ll lobby hard for the safety ones before your tween reminds you they made stovetop macaroni and cheese solo last night.
Two packs of lined paper. The list doesn’t specify wide-ruled or college, so you’ll grab one of each to cover your bases.
Four lined composition notebooks. Seeing these will make you nostalgic — you will snag one of your own, envisioning a nightly journal which will end after a few weeks and instead be the place where you write yourself reminders to buy cottage cheese and Q-tips when you wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep.
Ten blue ball point pens. You’ll refuse to buy these, pointing out there’s a drawer full of them at home for the taking.
Three 1-inch binders. One of these will be missing before 11:30 a.m. on the second day of school.
One scientific calculator. Your child will use it to solve for “M” once, then occupy his time learning how to type out ” hI BOB” and “X35” (flip it).
One pocket dictionary. Thanks to spell-check, this will go unopened all year.
Two boxes of tissues. You’ll buy six, knowing this is the way to a teacher’s heart — since she restocks them out of her own pocket once the October cold season decimates the class supply.