Virtual schooled parents can breathe a sigh of relief: school supply shopping for your student is much easier than it was when they were still enrolled in a brick and mortar school. When you buy pencils, you can buy only as many as your student will actually need and use, instead of having to double or triple that number with the knowledge that they will be stolen, lost, or simply used for other students. You can buy the big box of crayons, if you like, because they are for your child and your child alone—and if you have more than one child, you can allow them to share that box of crayons! Paper can be purchased in much smaller quantities, too—especially if you allow them to complete the bulk of their assignments on the computer.
Brick and mortar schools are sending out increasing longer supply lists that now include not only Kleenex and Band-aids, but also hand sanitizer, Ziplocks, dry erase markers, and other items that are clearly for classroom use and not for the use of any individual student. As teachers’ budgets shrink, they rely on parents to foot the expense for many commonly-used and overused items in the classroom. While reasonable (after all, if the parents don’t take care of it, the teachers have to pay out of pocket) the expense can also get crazy in a hurry!
Worse, those supply lists assume the unfortunate reality that many parents are going to be unwilling or unable to provide the materials that their children require. Therefore, teachers assume from the beginning that their students are going to be sharing their materials, even going so far as to set up communal supply stations in the middle of groups of desks rather than allowing students to keep their own. A hundred pencils seems excessive? That’s because of the thirty students in the classroom, only ten of them will actually come in with the hundred pencils, and half of the others won’t have brought more than one or two—which will be lost, broken, or destroyed within the first few days of school and likely never replaced by their parents.
Virtual schooled students don’t have to worry about losing their supplies to their peers. They can use the supplies that they need without fear that they will be broken or stolen through no fault of their own—and their parents can stock up accordingly. However, July and August school supply sales are the opportune time to stock up on a few odds and ends that will be cheaper this time of year than any other. For example, pens, pencils, crayons, and paper cost less in July and August than they will at any other point in the year. If you can acquire enough to last you for the school year, then you won’t be stuck paying a dollar or more for a pack of notebook paper, or up to three or four dollars for a pack of pens. Need a flash drive? Now is definitely the time to acquire one. Folders are also to have around, particularly for book studies and other projects.
If you do arts and crafts projects with your kids, now is also the time to stock up on those materials. Glue is a given. Markers, chalk, and dry erase markers will be on sale somewhere between now and the second week of school. Take a few minutes to check out the sales and see what’s running. You never know what will benefit you in the long run! Also, keep in mind that while your child can complete the K12 curriculum on nothing more than pencils and paper (or simply their laptop), they will be much more engaged and entertained if they are allowed to add a little bit of color to their lives.