Monday, July 21, 2008

What happened to protractors and compasses?

It's time to check off one more item on the list of Monumental Events (That Are Very Minor To The Rest Of The World) In Parenting. Yesterday, Matt and I took Abby shopping for her Kindergarten school supplies.

If you are human and went to school, then reading those last few words probably threw you into instant nostalgia mode. Just the phrase "school supplies" sends visions of sharp yellow pencils, full glue bottles and 3-prong folders through my head. I can smell the new notebook paper and feel the weight of the crayon box in my hand. Shopping for supplies is such a highlight of the end of summer! Abby was excited, but I was just plain giddy.

Of course, some things have changed since I was in school. Back in my day, you went up to the school to get your supply list. Now they are available at Wal Mart, Office Depot, and every other store that has a remote connection to school supplies. The lists have some ageless staples, like crayons, but some classics (Trapper Keepers, anyone?) have been retired, and replaced with hand sanitizer and dry erase markers. I was VERY happy to see the good old Vinyl Kindergarten nap mat on the list--this school clearly understands the importance of well-rested 5 year olds.

For the most part, the list was just what you'd expect. A couple of things really threw us though:

- Most of the quantities made total sense, like 24 pencils, two notebooks and even 4 24-count boxes of crayons. However, in addition to the 1 bottle of glue, they request that each child bring TWELVE glue sticks. They are only in school for 9 months! Are they going to put it all together and make a life sized sculpture of their favorite animal? I cannot fathom what else would require that much glue. Maybe they count on the kids leaving the top off and drying out the glue every couple of weeks or something. We were even more surprised when we got to the glue section and discovered that glue sticks are actually sold in packages of 12! Does Kindergarten really focus that much on attaching things to other things, or are we teaching our children the dangerous habit of over-adhesing?

- Born from parents' tendancies to overdo it and the effort to make all kids as equal as possible, the list is for the most part very specific. For example, it doesn't just say #2 pencils, it says "two packages of yellow #2 pencils." Don't be showing off by coming to school with Hello Kitty or Spider Man. I totally get that, and appreciate it. They require the 8-color watercolor sets to keep kids from bringing a 400 color palette, and get really detailed with a couple of things, like "One 4 pack no-odor Expo Dry Erase Markers" and "One pair of blunt end Fiskar brand metal scissors." We could only find the low-odor markers, but Matt made fun of me when I was worried about it. So we made our way down the list, relieved that we didn't have any guesswork since they were so clear. Then we got to the last item on the list: "One package of highlighters." That's IT? That's all we get to work with? There are about 147 different kinds of packages of highlighters. Again I started to worry, again my sweet husband mocked me, grabbed the first package he saw, and headed for checkout. I admire his ability to remain calm in a moment of confusion.

All in all, the trip was fun, reasonably brief and not horribly expensive. Abby is now armed wtih all of the necessary gear to begin her school career--though if you ask me, adding a Trapper Keeper to the mix wouldn't hurt.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I, too, have an unhealthy affinity for school supplies and really shouldn't be allowed in Office Depot unsupervised. I LOVE this time of year! Glad you had fun shopping -- are Mom and Dad ready for the first day of kindergarten yet? :)