Hand sanitizer isn't just handy to have in an office full of sneezy coworkers.  It's also on all of the school supply lists now, and so is the Kleenex.  Should these really be school supplies?  What else wasn't on our lists growing up.

Maybe my tiny rural Midwest school was too laid back, but I never had to buy too many school supplies when I was a kid.  I showed up on the first day of school with a few pencils, notebooks, and an awesome red Trapper Keeper and got to work.  There was no list of required school supplies that we had to drop off at the school ahead of time because of the sheer weight and volume.  We just got what we thought we needed, and bought another binder along the way if we saw another kid that had a cooler one than we did.

My daughters are in 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade this year, and the school supply lists were long and the total bill was more than groceries.  For the 6th grader, I spent $79 on the requirements. For the 4th grader, the list totaled $46, and for the 2nd grader, it was $76.  That's a whole lotta pencils and glue.  Thank you, God, for those cheap 4th graders.  What else?

Slightly Unusual Things on the School Supply List:

Hand Sanitizer

Box of Kleenex

Box of Hand wipes

P.E. uniform (gray t-shirt and black mesh shorts)


5 oz. Plastic Cups

Colorful Duct Tape

Of course, there were standards on the list too, like boxes of pencils, glue, notebooks, binders, and folders with brads.  But the things that targeted germs jumped out at me, and so did the duct tape.  Some kids can create masterpieces like purses and wallets out of duct tape and maybe that's what they're doing in art class, but it's definitely a school supply that I didn't have on the list back in the day.

And the P.E. uniform!  Didn't we just play in our regular clothes in elementary school?  I did.  I remember playing Dodgeball in jeans and a rib-knit sweater, and kids in my class were always in jeans too. Apparently, the middle schooler will change into the P.E. uniform and have the chance to change back into street clothes, but it's in the instructions to have the uniform in the backpack at all times.  Okay, we won't question these things.

5 oz. red plastic cups come in handy for all of us, especially at parties.  I'll let ya know if the elementary and middle school parties get too out of control this semester.

Three things I know.

1.  We don't want teachers spending their own money on school supplies, so as parents we will happily chip in.

2.  We don't want germs coming home, so if they can be killed at school with hand sanitizer that is a good thing.

3.  It's going to be a great year!  School supplies are fun, they smell good, they are a sign of a fresh start, and even if they're a little weird they'll get the job done.

Good luck everyone.  And keep those back-to-school, front-door pics coming on social media.  We love 'em.

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