If you’re like many mom’s and dad’s right now you are reeling at the long list of school supplies that your child’s school has requested that you purchase. If you really stop and think about it, you know the reasoning behind the long and varied list. With budgets cut, schools just expect the parents of the incoming students to “pony-up” and buy what each classroom needs and puts the “guilt” trip on the parent that if you do not bring these items into school; well…somehow you child will suffer and do without something.
Is that really true?
I remember the very first time as a first grade parent volunteer a teach asked me to bring in 3 cans of the cheapest men’s shaving cream on the last day of school. I thought it was an odd request, but I complied and since I had never had a child in school I thought it must be something common.
When I got there for the 1/2 day, there were planned activities and packing up and moving out things to do. Right before the children were dismissed, I was instructed to shake the cans of shaving cream and and squirt a big pile on each child’s desk. Squeezes of Glee ensued and no instruction was necessary. By the time all the desk were piled high with shaving cream the first desks were spotless, the children were laughing and the classroom smelt delicious! I handed each child a paper towel and put their little back packs on and sent them off for a hug from their teacher and a glorious start to their summer vacation.
Now that’s been almost 30 years ago so this list of things is no something new. But, do you need to purchase everything NEW for your student this year?
The answer is NO!
Fast forward 13 years. There was a shortage of role modeling going on at home and the teachers in a meeting that I was attending as “Mega Volunteer” were lamenting that homework wasn’t getting done, long term assignments were not even started and there was a general lack of responsibility on the part of the parent and the child to get the require items completed in order to do end of the year testing and promotion to the next grade level.
As I sat quietly and listened and thought about: “..how could I help out in this dilemma…?” An idea occurred to me. So I went home and thought about my idea and how I might implement it with the least amount of ruffling of feathers on all parties. Here’s what I came up with: “S.O.S.” Which stands for “Study & Organizational Skills”.
I volunteered to come into all three of the 6th grade classrooms every Friday after lunch and teach how to accomplish all of the complaints of the teachers in a way that taught the pupil how to be organized and by practicing these skills every week, these skills would become life long habits.
I sent a list of supplies home with the 6th graders and a note to the parents with a stern explanation about what was expected from them and their student.
The very first thing on the list was: No NEW items are to be purchased! Everything on this list is already in your home hidden away someplace. Have your student find these supplies he/she had left over from last year and gather them together in any container that you have. ( grocery bag, shopping bag, box something came in etc).
I was amazing!!!!! You thought that is scavenger hunt had been Christmas Morning!
Find out next time how to do this with your own student.