School starts today and the brothers will inevitably arrive back home this afternoon with their 2012 school supply list, eager to hit Staples and fill a shopping cart or two.  In the spirit of starting the year off with some good old fashioned snark, I have taken the opportunity to edit the anticipated supply list, offering up some notes for parents who may raise an eyebrow when attempting to decipher the meaning behind it all:

2012 School Supplies List (Annotated)

24 No. 2 Pencils – Quadruple the quantity.  The first 24 pencils will be lost in the first 24 days.  Do not worry about the No. 2 part.  Most importantly, parents are advised to check out the erasers at the end of the chosen pencils.  There is nothing worse than a pencil eraser that is so smooth that it only smudges the pencil marks causing the student to erase even more furiously, putting a gaping hole in his or her math homework. Cue tears.

Set of colored markers/pencils/ or crayonsWhen given a choice, children will always go for the markers despite the fact that colored pencils and crayons are more versatile and diverse.  It is strongly suggested that parents overrule the markers, if only for the moment when it is 10:46 at night and your child needs the color of “skin” to complete a project due the next day.

Five 3-inch bindersThe store you choose will have no 3-inch binders.  They will have a plethora of 2-inch binders and 4-inch binders.  While every instinct will be to go bigger rather than smaller, resist this urge at all costs.  They never need that much space and committing to smaller binders will save your child a few trips to the chiropractor come November.

1 glue stickYou will notice that these glue sticks come in packages of 6 or more.  While this may seem like a complete rip off, surrender to the wisdom of the glue stick makers as they know as well as you do that these puppies go missing almost as fast as the pencils.  Consider having a sign out sheet for these glue sticks in your home.  Or tie them to a shelf and have children do their gluing right there in the closet.

4 highlightersDon’t be lured by the bright neon colors of blue, pink or purple.  Your child will never use these.  Buy one traditional neon green/yellow and be done with it.

Book coversDo not purchase any of these stretchy, elastic, colored covers without telling your child every year that when you were a kid you covered your books with paper bags!  There is an opportunity for further mortification by sharing that it was on these bags that you wrote the name of your boyfriend over and over again. Ask them where they write their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name.  It’s fun.

Loose leaf paper Before making this purchase, examine supply closet as there will surely be at least three unopened reams from prior years.

1 package of 3×5 index cards - See loose leaf paper.

Pencil casePlease allow and extra 10 minutes at Staples to select a pencil case.  It must be gender acceptable and fully functional.  And yes, anything with polka dots is NOT acceptable for a male child.

One roll of paper towels, one box of sanitary wipes, one box of tissuesThank you for supplying these items to “share”  in your child’s classroom.  We realize that adding these groceries to the list in recent years makes it impossible to arrive the first day of school without a shopping cart in tow.  Feel free to space out the delivery of these items over the first week.

Texas Instruments Advanced Calculator for Graphing, Trigonometry and World Hunger Problem SolvingWe realize this calculator costs one million dollars and rest assured you will never see your child  use it for anything but good ol’ addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  But it makes the students feel smart and isn’t it ALL about self-esteem during these tender teenage years?  Insurance plans for when your child loses this piece of machinery are available.  Please inquire in the office.

School counselors will be on call during the back to school shopping days for when your child FREAKS OUT because you didn’t purchase exactly what was on the list.  Support groups for parents are also available, as is financial aid for paying for all of these necessary items.


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