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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Almost Time...And I Had To Spend WAY Too Much!

We finally got all of the school supply shopping done. Between three kids, it cost almost ninety dollars. That included a pair of shoes for the boy (girls already got new shoes). Back in MY day (God, I just made myself sound older than dirt) my parents didn't have to buy all these things. Especially the extras. Like antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer and facial tissue.

Also, I don't ever recall needing more than TWO glue sticks. These days, kids need three LARGE or a dozen (or six, depending on grade and teacher preference) small sticks of glue.

The only things I had to take were my Trapper Keeper binder that had a few folders and the dividers, pencils, crayons and scissors in a pencil pouch and my lunch. Of course all in my awesome looking backpack.

I didn't get to take in the Tax-Free Weekend, sadly. But I was still able to find some pretty good deals, anyways. With three kids to shop for, I look for all the savings cuts I can when it comes to shopping for school that are listed.

I understand, that like us parents are, teachers are hurting economically, as are the schools themselves where funding is concerned. But to see some of the amounts PER item that they wish for us parents to buy really IS kind of obscene.

And no, I am NOT saying that the teachers and the schools should have to buy EVERYTHING...But why not pick up a little of the slack and provide the tissues, hand sanitizer and then antibacterial wipes? That would help US out.

The schools MUST also understand, that there are households (such as mine, included) that can only get so much PER child. With three children, all in school and all needing their supplies, it can be EXTREMELY difficult, financially.

Heck, even buying for one child can run you in to the ground, financially. Add in clothes, extra expenses (School Agendas, PE Uniforms, extra supplies for certain classes), it REALLY adds up.

I know that I may get a few teachers on here ready to jump me. But as a parent, I see that honestly, it is unfair to the parents to have to pretty much supply everything in the means of school supplies in the name of "free public education". It's NOT free when you are shelling out money you don't really have on things that should not be the parent's complete responsibility to supply.

Pens and pencils. Binders and backpacks. Uniforms (if required). Folders and dividers. Notebooks and composition books. That should be the END of the supply list.

Not that and a laundry list of other stuff.

I've got a friend who is financially hurting REALLY bad right now. Her daughter is going in to first grade, mom can't work, lives in low-income housing, and her nineteen-year-old son is helping with what little he has left over to get his baby sister at least SOME of her supplies.

Mom had to give up GROCERY money to buy those wipes, sanitizers and tissues. And to get a few pieces for the girl's uniforms.

I told her not to worry about the piddly crap, because the teacher WILL just have to understand and she will have MORE than plenty between the ones that will bring it all in.

She told me, with a shaky voice that she did it as to not be viewed as THAT mom. The one that is too damn dirt poor to get ANYTHING for her kid. To save her little girl from the good possibility of being made fun of for not having money.

The parents at our schools, and ALL the other schools in the country have parents with ALL variants of income status. Some dirt-ass poor. Some more than well-off. And some of us in the middle or are just keeping our heads above the water.

NO parent should feel in ANY way forced or coerced in to buying items that they CANNOT afford and have to make the choices (as a single parent) as she has had to do. All in the name of keeping her dignity in tact and making sure that her daughter isn't bullied because Mommy can't just go out and buy this, that and everything else on a whim.

If we are in a Public School setting where it is a "FREE public education", then by God, make it so! By not asking for the parents to do ALL the financial supplementation for YOUR classroom.


Hollis Fam said...

I have to say, I know how this feels and please tell your friend not to feel bad! When Mikaela started Kindergarten, everything had to be brand name plus she had to have a very expensive beach towel for nap time (sorry I call $10 for a towel expensive).
Does it really matter if you have Rose Art crayons versus Crayola? They're going to get broken and shoved up kids' noses anyway. Does it matter if it's brand name hand sanitizer and not store brand? They do the same thing as far as I can tell.
We're very blessed that Utah is not allowed to charge for school supplies because it's just absolutely out of the question with our finances right now. The only thing they can charge fees on are school lunches and extracurricular activities. I don't know if this extends past elementary school but for now, it's a huge blessing for us. I see so many parents struggling in this and I wish I could do something to help. Maybe we need to put our heads together and think about putting some names together and seeing if we can get these families some help.

Natalie said...

I feel for you and the frustration this brings. Remember that when you're choosing your elected officials - check into the voting records and remove from office the ones who've voted to reduce educational spending while screaming about how corporations and the richest Americans shouldn't pay more in taxes. All those choices they're making in Washington, they're making your reality.

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