School is starting again soon.
WalMart and Target are cray-cray in and around the school supply area.
Moms with 17 kids and 14 supply lists are in every aisle.
Forget the cart, you’ll never get it down the aisles.
In fact, forget your kids, you’ll never be able to keep up with them.

photo from:
photo from:

There are two times of year that drive me nuts as a parent – back to school, and the end of the school year.  Seriously drives me NUTS.  I’m grateful for an awesome school district.  I’m grateful for amazing teachers and staff.  I’m grateful for whomever has to figure out which supplies every. single. kid. needs to bring with him so he is prepared.  I am… really.

But … here’s what drives me nuts:

  • a nice stack of folders and composition books that I bought last year (while snapped into my life preserver among the sea of other drowning parents at Target) returned home completely unused last year – including a school planner that HAD To be paid for in the front office and ONLY with cash (to the best of my recollection) in which not a single page was written.  Not. One.
  • none of those supplies are on the list for this year, so I can’t even re-purpose previously purchased supplies.

I understand the need for a blue notebook for math, so the teacher can say “everyone pull our your BLUE math notebook!”  I get it – but at what point should we just make our kids responsible for labeling their own multi-colored notebooks and the teacher says, “get your math notebooks out” … ????  (side note, my son is going into 5th grade)

Let’s encourage our kids to take responsibility for knowing which notebook is their math notebook.

Must we all go buy a single WHITE 3-prong folder with pockets?  Because they don’t exist in any of the local stores.  They simply don’t.  And if I hadn’t received a handful of untouched supplies at the end of the year in May, MAYBE I would be more inclined to search online and in the next time zone for a white 3-prong folder with pockets — but if it comes home to me untouched next May, my sweet husband will have to come get me from jail due to a terrible Unglued moment.  (which he wouldn’t do – he would let me sit there and think about what I had done — he’s kind of a grown up like that)

So I’m setting the bar this year, and I hope other parents hop on board – not because I want to start a mutiny against teachers and their well-thought out school supply lists,  but because school supply shopping is insane enough as it is and I think we will all be ok with substitute items.

  1. My son’s “white” folder is orange and we will appropriately label it however it needs to be labeled once school starts.
  2. I’m not sending 48 sharpened pencils to school on the first day.  I’m sending 8.  I have 40 more and will send them as needed.
  3. The zippered pencil bag with grommets isn’t 7 1/2 x 11 or whatever the requirements are — the only ones I found had cupcakes on them.  I care more about my son’s self-confidence than I do about 2 inches on a pencil bag.
  4. I bought generic glue.  I know, I’m a rebel.
  5. I didn’t buy the expensive pencils.  I’ve seen how my son treats his writing instruments, people.  I would rather spend the money on GUM so he can at least chew something appropriate.
  6. I’m not freaking out about the details.  I’m just not.  He doesn’t care, and I figure I’ll get a note home at some point if the WHITE folder is absolutely necessary or if the school planner actually will be used this year.

I would be happy to go pay twice as much for a folder or planner in a month if I need to, I’m just not going to stress out and drive to 7 different stores in 100 degree temperatures while my child complains and mopes and says he is starving and his feet hurt no less then 21 times (three times per store).

I’m typically a rule follower and it stresses me out if I am breaking the rules.
But not this year.

I think it’s a good thing too because maybe if I stop hovering in my helicopter over every detail relating to my school aged child, perhaps he will pick up the slack and start caring more about the details that revolve around his success in school.  That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Where do you land a helicopter anyway?


7 thoughts on “landing my helicopter

  1. Yea. I get it. I’m also not providing 85 pencils and 5 reams of copy paper up front. I am also labeling every single item I purchase (yes every marker, pencil…etc) so that the items I bought for my child will be used by my child. Tacky, I know but if my child’s pencil supply has been lost quickly, I can then hold my child accountable and not taking from another student! Clear front pencil pouch? Nope! The only clear ones are do stinking cheap I bet it will last them a week! So I’m providing one that may not be see thru but one that will last the year!


  2. In a field. Or on top of a skyscraper. Personally, I’d be afraid that I would fall off of the latter.

    Hope your meeting that you were rushing to went well today 🙂 sometime when things aren’t so hectic, I’d love to have coffee, breakfast or lunch. All of which can happen at your house if needed.

    Hope the last weeks of your summer are going GREAT!



  3. That’s why I’m so glad they have pre-packaged supplies that appear on my son’s desk at Meet The Teacher Night. I may pay a few cents more, but my sanity and time is worth more that that anyways!!


  4. I used to get really annoyed with our lists too. I would be ordering from Amazon and going to Lakeshore Learning and teacher supply stores to find the exact item. Last year (when my child was in 3rd grade-I had done this supply dance for 3 years), I was done. I bought the overpriced ‘wrap pack” of school supplies that the poster above mentioned. I agree with her comment-sooo worth it. I will do it every year.


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