By Liz Alterman
Welcome to Second Grade! The following is a list of school supplies your child will need— preferably by 8:37 a.m. tomorrow — in order to thrive in my classroom this year.
Helpful hint: If you don’t drive a Cadillac Escalade, I’d like to gently suggest that you rent a U-Haul or, at the very least, a small Penske truck. (You’re gonna need it.)
• (4) 2 ¼-inch 3-ring binders (When I took a Zaner-Bloser handwriting workshop this spring, I realized that teeny ¼ inch extra makes a HUGE difference when we learn cursive, which will probably happen on the second to last day of the school year. You may have trouble finding this size at Target, Walmart, Staples, and really anywhere within a 50-mile radius. (Amazon sold out weeks ago, sorry…) But please, for your child’s sake, try!
• (1) dozen Elmer’s® washable glue sticks in disappearing purple (Your child may only use one of these throughout the course of elementary school, and it will probably be as a substitute for ChapStick, but it’s important to be prepared. Btw, please don’t cheap out here and buy generic even if it’s the same product for a fraction of the price. Your son’s and daughter’s art work and self-esteem depend on it!)
• (1) graphing calculator (I recognize this is a pricey gadget that’s capable of plotting graphs and solving simultaneous equations and your child, who still can’t add up his lunch money, won’t actually use it ’til high school, but it’s crucial that they see it and touch it. Because STEM!)
• (1) clear plastic pencil case and matching translucent backpack (Unfortunately, because this is America, I need to be able to see through these items to ensure there aren’t any itty-bitty Smith & Wessons hiding out beneath those fat pink erasers and gym shorts)
• (4) adult men’s XL white T-shirts (These come in handy on those “Tie-Dye Days” we build into the calendar but then never actually have.)
• (1) blunt-tipped pair of scissors (If you even think about sending in anything with sharpened edges, your child will be suspended immediately.)
• (5) book socks (If you’re a day over 35, you’re probably laughing at this phrase, but please, grow up. There’s nothing funny about naked textbooks.)
• (1) protractor (Let’s acknowledge that neither of us knows what do with this but it’s been on supply lists since the 19th century so just spend the damned $1.50. I mean, why not, you’re already into this for at least $95, right?)
• (1) bottle of Wite-Out. (I know you haven’t seen the vintage correction fluid since the last season of “Mad Men” aired, but at the end of the year I collect these and spend the summer giving my pets French manicures while laughing at your gullibility.)
• As many rainbow Post-its as are in stock. All. The. Post-its.
• (2) ink cartridges. (My boyfriend is writing a screenplay and it would be so great to surprise him with a basket of these on Christmas morning. So, yeah, thanks in advance for your commitment to the arts.)
*Please send in $400 toward the meat-based diet of our classroom’s emotional support ferret. I accept PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Square, Google Wallet, and cold hard cash.
**This is in addition to your $15 PTO dues, which a class mom (maybe you?!) will collect on back-to-school night when we’ll discuss the supplies you should keep at home to further your child’s development.
Here’s to the #Bestyearever!
About the Author
I’m a professional journalist and former Bloomberg reporter, who has contributed to CNBC.com, Forbes, The Muse, and The New York Times. I also maintain a blog, On the Balls of Our A$$ets which I began when my husband and I were laid off within six weeks of each other. (Spoiler alert: Don’t try this at home.) You can find me on Twitter @LizAlterman.