School Supplies! A cautionary tale.


So we are shopping for school supplies for Elder Spawn and  the Middle Child.  Elder is six now and entering 1st grade, while Middle is five and starting kindergarten.

What I recall about school supplies long ago in my misspent youth was that each child got their own supplies.  Fresh new pointy Crayola crayons, Prang watercolors (the only ones on the market so far as I remember), Husky pencils with a little shaving carved off near the eraser so you could put your name on it, Pink Pearl erasers.  Notebook paper, scissors, a ruler — whatever the parents thought appropriate, or maybe the teacher sent a list.

Oh how things have changed.  Nowadays — and this pains me more than it ought, perhaps — many or most supplies are pooled.  I suppose there is a good reason for this, and having just spent a few minutes reading up on it I see there are pros and cons (and many very angry people with rabid opinions and plenty of time to voice them) so that’s a different issue.  My issue is that for a six year old I am expected to hunt down and purchase Ticonderoga brand pencils — three boxes of 24 pencils, or 72 pencils in all.  Question number one is, what the hell are they doing with all these pencils?  Say there are twenty kids in her class (I’m sure there are more, but for argument’s sake let’s just keep it simple and say twenty).  That is 1, 440 pencils, for a nine-month school year.  That’s eight pencils per month per kid.  Really?  My kid will use up 2 pencils a week? In first grade?  I’m finding that hard to believe.

Also: regular old yellow #2 pencils are no longer good enough for students? I have to buy the Cadillac of yellow #2 pencils, which features, and I do quote, an “exclusive graphite core formula” to give you “extra smooth performance”?

Is this a writing instrument or a golf club?

I went to the local purveyor of school supplies and there were no such pencils in sight.  There were boxes and boxes of nice yellow #2 pencils but not the specific brand requested. I ended up buying the regular ones.  So sue me, school supply police.  I’m not made of money and I don’t have time to visit specialty office supply stores on the hunt for Ticonderogas.

Rhonda has it even worse: while I get off lightly with four 24-color boxes of crayons, she is expected to provide a package of 8 Crayola Twistables crayons.


For five year olds, who use regular crayons at home?

First off, the crayons I bought are on sale for as little as 15 cents a box.  I don’t therefore mind buying four of them, as it costs practically nothing.  These Twistable ones are ridiculously expensive.

Secondly, we have looked in vain at several stores.  We can only find 18-packs which cost upwards of six dollars.

For crayons.  For a five year old.  Who will drop them, break them, lose them.

What the hell.

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