The Back-to-School List



We are definitely in the throes of it. Those who haven’t already headed back to school will be doing so within the next week or two. ‘Tis the season.


Status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter have made me nosy about something, though:


The Back-to-School List


I’m not talking about the list your individual child might make, outlining the need for new gym shoes or new jeans or what-not. I’m talking about the list of supplies the school may supply for you to purchase. Often, local businesses will have these lists on racks in the store and your job is to grab the applicable one(s) and purchase the items listed for the school/classroom.


I vaguely remember seeing these lists when we lived in Indiana, though I never really looked at or used one since our children were not yet school-aged back then.


Here in Connecticut, however, we do not have them. At least, our district does not have them.


I do not buy one single crayon or glue stick for the school. Well, that’s obviously not true. We pay for all that jazz through our taxes, but we do not have lists of items to buy. At all. Occasionally, we might get a note from a specific teacher asking if we could spare a box of tissues or some such thing. But, really, we do not get assigned stuff to purchase.


That’s just how things are done here, though. I know every school and district is different!


So, today, I’m just getting all curious and nosy…


Do you have a “back-to-school” list to fulfill? What sorts of things were on it? How much do you suppose filling those lists costs you each year?


I can’t wait to hear how things vary from region to region!

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22 comments to The Back-to-School List

  • Courtney

    My son will be in first grade at a private Christian school. We do have school supply lists. I did all my shopping at Target and spent about $50.

  • Ellen

    both my children have a list. (we are in Jersey)
    i think between the two list i spent under 30.00
    my son 2nd grade- crayons, 3 comosition books, pencils, erasers, 1 folder, glue sticks, 2 boxes tissues, add and subtraction flash cards, 2 pencil boxes (this will be the 3rd year we are using the same ones

    my daughter kindergarden- 2 pencil boxes,crayons, glue sticks, 2 folders, 2 comosition books, 1 box tissues, markers,

    i think that is it. LOL Hopefully she will be able to use her pencil boxes for years like her brother.

  • Melissa M.

    I live in Kansas and we do have lists. But my 3rd graders teacher is trying something new this year. All we had to do is pay $10 and they are taking care of the supplies. They sit at communal tables and that way everyone has the same thing. This is the first year for it so we will see how it goes. He was kind of sad when he didn’t get to pick out new things. But I am cheao and reuse last years if it’s still good and don’t buy the character stuff.

  • Each grade here has a separate list. We have one in 1st grade and one in pre-K and I think I spent $20 on each child’s list without getting the “optional” supplies. This was after tons of bargain shopping, price matching, etc. It could have easily cost $10-$15 more per child.

  • Susan

    We pay massive private school tuition, 2k for bus service, 1.5k for a laptop, $600 for books and another $150 for supplies and $10 for 2 locker keys that my son has lost within the last week.

  • Annette

    I have a 1st grader, and her supplies were around $40. The list was enormous, and included things like tissues, band-aids, and hand sanitizer. I shopped over 4 wks, and went to 5 different stores. This included office supply stores, and discount stores. I think poss. I would have spent only slightly more money, and saved a whole lot of time just getting it all at Walmart. Next yr. I am just going to price it out there before I make a purchase.

  • I spent $75 between my two boys (1st grade, public school & 4K, local church preschool).
    We had to buy markers, 2 boxes of crayons, sharpened pencils, loose leaf paper, 2 reams of copy paper, binders, folders, erasers, glue, and I forget what else…
    That’s on top of the $35 donation/fee for the public school registration, and the $25 or 35 dollar fee for the online programs the school uses. Although, last year I didn’t pay that last fee, and Austin was still able to use the programs, so I’m not sure what was up with that…

  • Laraba

    We homeschool so don’t have a “back to school” list as our school year stretches off and on through the year. We budget $2400 a year for homeschooling for our 6 kids. I am not sure that is going to be enough this year :-). Actually, lots of people homeschool on a shoestring but I’m something of a curricula junkie.

  • I’m surprised by preschools that have lists. Um, I pay you LOTS of money. Doesn’t that cover crayons? I’ve never paid for supplies for a MDO or preschool program, thankfully. I guess it depends on the school. Of course, we pay for public school, too … but let’s not get started on that.

  • Jenni

    We live in Minnesota and spent $85 on school supplies @ Target for my 2nd grader and Kindergartner this year! Things included on the list were kleenex, antibacterial wipes, dry erase markers, play-dough (for the kindergartner’s class to share), and the typical markers, crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, folders, and notebooks! I didn’t buy new backpacks because the ones from last year are still just fine…they will use them until they are in tatters or the zipper breaks :)!

  • Chris

    We have school lists for the kids, but when I was younger, we went to buy supplies at school. Both go to Catholic schools (different ones b/c one has a preschool, so next year they’ll be in the same), and I know I spent well under $20 for both lists this year, not including book bags, required subscriptions, etc. My daughter’s teacher last year just asked for $20 cash and a handful of supplies separately, but that wasn’t until later and I spent about $10 or less on the full supply list from the previous year (same teacher) before the list was released. I understand the cash diffuses some of the other costs incurred, but was a little frustrated when I was told to send in more crayons (covered under the supply fee) and dry-erase markers (supplied by me) for my daughter when she had only used 2 and I sent in a 5-pack. I’m one of the few who would rather just buy the list myself. I’m still stuck buying supplies for home to complete the homework, so I don’t know that it’s saving much hassle!

  • mlearley

    My little ones are still in daycare and I must say I’m surprised at some of these lists. When I was in elementary school (25+ yrs ago) we only had to bring what we wanted to bring, I don’t remember a list. Tissues were supplied. Our daycare does ask for donations of tissues, paper towels, etc to help keep costs down so I guess that’s what school’s are doing as well. What’s next? BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper)?

  • Celine

    We haven’t had a list for school so far. I was expecting one this year as my older child moves into the next age grouping. I didn’t end up getting a list so I hope we won’t need to buy supplies. I think that the design of our school environment really changes the need for supplies compared to the local public school. I do know that in the first age grouping they ask parents to provide snack for the class (varies by teacher, ours was for 1 or 2 weeks) and during cold season our teacher asked for tissues. The school does provide tissues but they are the super cheap thin rough ones so she asked for parents to bring a box if they were able. Otherwise we haven’t needed supplies.

  • Whoa. I never even thought about schools NOT having a list! We do. crayons, glue, glue sticks, fine-tip markers and colored pencils (5th grade), pocket folders, wide-ruled paper, notebooks, pencil boxes, erasers, pencils, gym shoes, 3-pack facial tissue and 75-count anti-bacterial wipes, etc. It’s pricey. :)

    August is also when our home insurance, life insurance, car tags and taxes are all due, so we just always plan ahead for the whole month to be SPENDY.

    • Isn’t that funny? I totally forget people even HAVE lists since it’s not something I deal with… it’s hysterical how much things vary all across this nation.

    • Did you have a list when you were growing up? I’m curious if it’s a modern days or geography thing. We never had lists when I was a kid NOR when I was a teacher. It was unheard of.

      • I never had them as a kid– though, by junior high or high school, a teacher might request that we use a certain type of paper or such. We never had an official “list”, though, and we CERTAINLY were never expected to buy general classroom supplies. In Indiana, they had the lists where we lived.

  • Amy

    We did have them growing up. Definitely not as extensive as they are now, but always some kind of list.

  • Celine

    We ended up with no list at all last year, the school budgeted and bought basic supplies in bulk for all the rooms.

    2.5 weeks still school starts and no supply list to be seen just yet.

    I do not remember having supply lists in Elementary School though occasionally a teacher would ask for something special for a specific project. We did have them in Middle School and High School and it was more class specific then general. It was mainly things like binders, dividers, folders and paper.

  • Susan

    I had no lists growing up in Indiana. We just showed up on the first day of school. In Los Angeles (private school), I spend around $150 for school supplies for an 8th grader & around $600 on books.

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