Back to School
Monday, July 29, 2019
Ah, the sweet smells of summer. The watermelons, the corn on the cob, firing up the grill and fireworks. There’s nothing more classic and fun than getting out that beach chair and inflatable tube and running through the lawn sprinkler with the kids and enjoying a good hot summer barbecue and also a delicious watermelon and ice cream. But while you’re out there enjoying your SPF 45 sunscreen and swatting at mosquitoes, we’re here to remind you that summer is drawing to the final hot conclusion in July, maybe August if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and pretty soon it will be time to put away your beach umbrella and stop wearing white and quite possibly even go back to school (le gasp!) So in this article we’re going to talk a tiny amount about how you can start preparing and getting ready to stop getting crops and pick up the best deals back to school.
Around last week about the 15th of July just as Prime Day was kicking off on Amazon we happened to go grocery shopping for the first time in a while and noticed while there were still coolers and flags out, that they had started changing displays and, to my surprise, as I was going in to get some stickers and stationery I found that they had added a whole display of notebooks for 50 cents. Spiral notebooks for under $1 and 3 prong folders for 15 cents. I originally went in for some labeling stickers to label my electronic gadgets since I have a lot of USB keys for various purposes and sometimes masking tape works great for that (reminds me I need more supplies soon again). But I wanted to buy in bulk and wanted color stickers that were at most a centimeter and a half squared. I found some general decorative stickers for that purpose. But while I was in there I noticed there were permanent markers, crayons, markers, white paper, colored paper, wide ruled, college ruled and pencils and pens all front and center in the middle of the aisle ready to be taken and bought. Apparently not everyone had yet come across the display but there were a lot of people with 3 packs of glue, scissors, invisible tape.
Walmart was having a big sale for the young scholars and I felt a sudden need to check out the aisles for cheap supplies too. Usually around August to September you will start to see this Back to School phenomenon as college kids are getting ready for the new semester but also at the end of August you will see more moms and dads shopping for school supplies, notebooks, stick glue or squeeze glue, hole punchers and other supplies as the weather starts to cool and crops are about to be harvested. This harkens back to the days when kids were expected to help on the farm and shuck corn and make a dirty buck with all the sweat and dirt that went with it to help them build character. And then at the end of the season when there were no more crops to harvest and pack up and jam and jelly and freeze for the cold spell season, then it was back to the ‘rithmetic, ‘riting, and reading.
During the weekend we also came across some really great supplies like the Fisher Space Pen Matte Black and Field Notes memo books at http://fieldnotesbrand.com which has some interesting background about how memo and journal books for people that had a highly niche field of farming came to need special log keeping tools including their little feed and seed books. And with this came the Field Notes designer that had a bit of an obsession with the lost art of these little books and tools.
You can find this phenomenon of Everyday Carry or EDC essentials on the net of people that need little specialized tools that they can carry in their pocket whether it be for flashlight minis, keys and key holder, and watches. You can find an article on Vox on July 24, 2019 by Steven T. Wright about people that carry all kinds of great tools to help with their daily life. And I found the yellow utility field note with ruler to be intriguing. It would be nice to have a matte black space pen definitely but that will be on my want list later.
Right now we’re scoping out various sites that are having various end of summer July 4th and back to school blowout sales and it’s not unheard of to see many laptop brands going on sale near September. You might be able to wait till April to get some great deals next year but there are mainly two main times during the year where the computer deals are also extra fantastic. But of course you have to look.
We also found many index cards to be going on sale and many of the party and cartooned theme items and cards to be starting to be discounted as well as pens and pencils. There used to be a Meijer commercial about how back to school was the most wonderful time of the year and that reminds us about how parents must be grateful that there’s deep discounts and a good season to help parents out as they anticipate more people coming in to do all their back to school shopping in one place rather than having to go to various stores just to get everything on the list.
A reminder also to the parents with kids that procrastinate. Yes they need their baseball time but it might be time to get going on that book report that’s due at the end of the summer. Ah, yes. I remember when we were kids there was that big blue screen of text and we had to compose all our reports on WordStar and press Control B to define bolds and Control I to define italics as we printed on our Epson dot matrix printers. It was a great time and our paper had little holes on the side with strips you could tear off each perforated sheet on or 8086 processors while we did everything in DOS and Inset if I remember on our 4 color CGA monitor.
Laptops and computers are going on sale soon. Check Best Buy. Check Staples and Office Max and Meijer and Kroger for hot deals. And check most major computer brands for deep discounts. You might be able to find an online coupon and add a student id discount.
It really is a great time for an office supply lover.
Now if you don’t mind, I have to go back and enjoy my summer burger as I watch and wave as the yellow bus goes by in my fuzzy slippers.
Have fun learning…
If you need a shopping list to get you started here is a small list that most people need:
- Pencils (#2 for the hardness for Scantrons… um do they still use these?)
- Pencil sharpener
- Erasers, pink and pencil top erasers
- Black pens, blue pens (Usually not red pens since the teacher uses this)
- Calculator maybe graphing calculator if you’re in high school (I still love my Ti-83)
- Wite-out tape
- Index cards (ruled or unruled)
- Notebook paper (Wide or college rule)
- Spiral Notebook with perforations (our teachers hated the little edges that would get torn out if there were no perforations)
- Composition book
- Dictionary or Thesaurus or Foreign language dictionary
- Don’t forget your lunch money / allowance for school! You need to eat healthy (I remember the pizza, french fries and milk and fruit slushies or fruit we used to have and chicken nuggets)
- Paper clips
- Staples and stapler
- Mechanical pencil and fillable lead
- Binder rings and sheet protectors
- Folders including manila, 3 prong, and regular pocket folders
- Plastic sheet protector
- Might be a good idea to get your kid’s vision checked and glasses ready for reading
- Marker, crayons, paintbrush, art supply
- School box to keep all those wonderful supplies!
- Lunchbox or lunch bags and fold top or ziplock bags for those great carrot snacks and peanut butter jelly sandwiches and celery stick you’re packing! Or juice box. Lunch is the best!
- Construction paper
- Small kleenex or bandaid
- Oh, don’t forget your backpack and see if it’s old or worn or won’t fit. Here’s a true story. For a period of time I had a book bag that was bright colors that was a duffel bag and also some giant oversized boots that I wore to school. A friend recommended that I see if my parents could replace it to avoid ridicule / bullying. I did eventually get it replaced and so it’s always a good idea to just do your best to make sure your kid has nice equipment for school to help them be the best able to succeed.
- Oh, and don’t forget to check for good clothes, sneakers and outfits so they feel comfortable for school. The best you can do to help your kid feels happy and ready to learn is to give them good equipment. Don’t have to be the best or most expensive just something they can feel good and competitive and ready to learn. I remember seeing a young girl debating with her mother about a school supply she wanted and the mother was telling her that she’s not going to spend more but she would get her what she needed, not necessarily what she wanted. Just the essentials. You have to decide what is best.
Did we forget anything else? Comment below and help us make this a good list. And lastly… The best you can do is send them off with a hug and a warm smile and hope their day goes the best and listen to them when they come home from school. It’s almost that time…