At the end of each summer we fill our kids’ backpacks with love.
Brightly colored crayons.
Their favorite cartoony folders.
And we send them off to school.
We carefully organize.
We read the school’s communications with fervor.
And in a timely manner.
And we write notes of thanks and gratitude and put smiley faces on the pages before we place that correspondence back into the “Return to School” pocket.
And then, somewhere along the way Life settles in.
School projects and play dates and sports and birthday parties and work and discipline and bills and chaos and OH, MY!
And millions of Mamas and some Papas, too, agonize over finding the perfect gift for Suzie and Little Johnny and Grandma and Grandpa and Best Friend and Teacher.
Now, I’m one of those people who purchases Christmas gifts all year long, stashes them in closets and sometimes forgets This or That or Where I Put Them.
Please don’t run away, all you Last Minute Shoppers. I promise you’ll be glad you stayed.
When my oldest was in pre-k, I was so overwhelmed with Life that I forgot to think about the people who’d go on to become some of the most important people in my children’s lives, until it was too late.
When I saw all those Prepared Parents showing up to the Classroom Christmas party with great big smiles on their faces and pretty bags that were adorned with PRETTIER BOWS.
Yep. Epic Mama Fail.
Then we get over it, learn from it, and become Grade A Inspectors of all things appley and teachery.
A homeroom mother who juggled three different classrooms at a time, I bore witness to the massive amounts of merchandise teachers receive, everything from The Chotzke to The Costly.
I wondered: How many mugs can one teacher drink from and how many World’s Best Teacher Sweaters can one person wear?
And what does she do with all of these things when she or her classroom outgrows them?
One of the discussions I heard over and over was how much money teachers spend out of pocket each year on supplies for their students.
Incentives for their industrious understudies.
Books for their bookworms.
Stickers to share their satisfaction.
Resources for those families who don’t have the means to stock those backpacks.
About three years into my kids’ schooling, I began buying a bunch of extra supplies when I made my July purchases.
July through early September is THE BEST time to shop for all those things your teacher needs.
And IT’S ALL IN ONE PLACE.
Every single grade level’s necessities.
Protractors and rulers and folders and calculators.
In massive quantities.
In every color.
In every price range.
And the supplies are ON SALE, which means you get a bargain and everyone else benefits.
In the earlier elementary grades I hit the local dollar stores for pencils and stickers and erasers that have school themes.
For the older classes I bought ink stamps and ink pads in various colors and topics.
Book store and other party supply/pizza gift certificates come in handy for all age groups.
When Christmas came, I placed all of those items into the prettiest gift bag I had and smiled as my child presented his teacher with a gift she wouldn’t feel bad about breaking or giving away…
These days it’s even easier to shop for your child’s supplies as many stores post lists of what each instructor requires.
And if your child needs it, so does your teacher.
Last year I rounded up all of the loose containers of used/broken/flattened crayons and colored pencils and glue sticks and folders (etc) that my kids haven’t used in years.
I almost threw them out, but phoned the second grade teacher who taught all three of my cherubs.
She said it felt like Christmas times two and then had the entire class write me thank you notes.
Hit the ground running by having your student help pick out the items you’re going to include in a Christmas bag or basket.
You’ll be saving time and money and preparing your child for life and the classroom by sharing with them the value of a different kind of thoughtfulness.
Your children win.
Your educators win.
Ready. Set. Shop!
Hugs and healing, Journeyer…