It’s back to school time! And I don’t have to worry about it! This will be my second year that I don’t have to worry about school supplies and back to school clothes. But I remember how the expenses can really add up and be very stressful. Fortunately in our area we have a clothing exchange that doesn’t cost a dime to those who participate.
About this time of year our local church organization encourages everyone in our area to donate clothes that are clean and in good condition (no holes, stains, or areas that are too worn or faded) to the church. The leaders then bring the clothing together and give away the donated clothes for one day, for free, to the public – children and adults.
The first two hours are open to those families who have an extreme need, and then the remaining clothes, of which there are a lot – is open to anyone and everyone – not just school age children. This clothing exchange is only open for one day, a Saturday, and when the doors close, all of the remaining clothes are taken to the local Deseret Industries to share with others outside of our community.
Parents love this because it has proven to be a very successful way to stylishly clothe their growing children and it can also help replenish an adult’s worn out wardrobe when on a budget during these trying economic times – especially when it is back to school time.
As far as the cost of pens and pencils and other supplies, just make sure that you watch the ads and when you can, buy in bulk. Good bulk buys are pencils, pens, paper (lined and computer) and poster boards. I think that stocking up on poster boards was one of my most brilliant purchases. I still have poster board left over from my children’s school days and I have used it on garage sale posters, personal presentations, and it is really handy for grandkids to use for collages or art projects when they visit.
Make your children responsible for their supplies; if they are coming for a replacement pen or pencil on a daily, or even weekly basis – there is something really wrong and it needs to be resolved. Just because you have it on hand, doesn’t mean that they don’t have to take responsibility for what you have given them.
In talking about taking responsibility for oneself, it is important that your child starts young. When my kids started kindergarten, I took them downtown and had them pick out an alarm clock. They could choose any alarm clock they wanted; red display, green display, with a radio, without a radio, big, small, white, black, red – it didn’t matter, they got to choose what they wanted, after all, this was the alarm that was going to be waking them up for the next thirteen years – or longer. (Stay away from the wind-up styles)
I did this because I wanted them to take responsibility for themselves. I was not going to wake them up every day of their lives. They needed to grow up taking responsibility for themselves because when they left home for college, work – their LIVES, I wasn’t going to be there to get them out of bed. They needed to learn how to do that on their own.
After we got the alarm home, we would both go over how to correctly set the alarm and how to turn it off so that it wouldn’t mess up the settings. I explained about the snooze alarm, but I cautioned them to not use it because it could become a nasty habit. If they felt they needed more sleep, then they should just go to bed earlier and then it would be easier to get up in the morning.
So that the responsibility for them getting out of bed on time didn’t fall back on me, there were a few rules set: If they overslept and missed the bus (we lived across the street from the school and so when the bell rang and they weren’t already gone, they metaphorically “missed the bus”), then they had to stay home and work. My reasoning behind that was that if they weren’t going to be educated and take responsibility for themselves that they needed to learn hard labor – because that is what they would be doing if they didn’t get their education.
When my son was in the second grade he overslept one morning because he stayed up too late. That day he stayed home and using a ladder, he washed all of my walls in the front room and kitchen (a very good day for me). When his class was out for recess, he got to take recess. When it was time for lunch, he ate lunch and when the school bell rang dismissing school, his time of hard labor ended. He learned his lesson and he paid attention to his alarm after that, tired or not.
Once they get to school, let’s not forget to keep them safe. Go to Ready or Not and read #45 – Back to School; the School Emergency Kit that no child should be without.
And don’t forget to set your alarm!