Every August, we need to prepare for the new school year and make sure that our children are prepared. While we want them to be prepared mentally and emotionally, we also need to see that they have all the supplies they need to help them have a successful year. Here are some supplies that your children might need.
1. General Supplies
Be sure to get a list of required materials from your child's school since not all schools have the same requirements. Sometimes schools send their lists to stores like Office Depot. Here are some basics:
- Paper - for kids in kindergarten through second grade, special paper for learning to write is usually provided or sold at school. Older kids usally need regular ruled looseleaf notebook paper.
- Spiral notebooks - some schools ask that students also get one or more of these.
- Scissors - younger kids need round-tip
- Glue and/or glue sticks
- Pencil sharpener
- Crayons and/or colored pencils
- Pens/highlighers - kids in kindergarten through second grade may not need these.
- Scotch tape
When I was in grade school, we carried home a few papers and maybe a small book or two. These days, however, not only are the youngest of our children carrying several books to and from school, the books are getting bigger and heavier. It had been helpful to put the books in a backpack since that made it easier to carry several books as well as all the papers and necessary supplies kids carry with them. But those backpacks can get very heavy and that's not good for small children, whose bones are still growing. A solution is to get a rolling backpack, a backpack on wheels, so a child can just pull it along. Before you buy one, though, check with the school. I once bought one that wouldn't fit in my son's locker! You want one you can use.
When your child is starting to learn to read and write, this electronic dictionary can be very useful. Not only does it contain short and simple definitions for more than 40,000 words, it also provides help with writing and grammar! Gifted kids are notorious for their poor handwriting, so they need special guidance when they first start learning how to print and write cursive. This dictionary has an animation feature that illustrates they way to write a word, a series of letters, or any combination of letters in both print and cursive!
One thing that can make learning to write neatly is holding a pencil incorrectly. My son had that problem. No matter how many times we showed him how to hold his pencil, he'd hold it incorrectly the next time he picked it up. This is important because children need to be able to control the pencil and if they aren't gripping the pencil the right way, then they will lose some control. It's especially important with young children whose small motor skills aren't always fully developed yet. When a child holds a pencil correctly, he'll have more control and be better able to control the movements. It won't guarantee beautiful penmanship, but this little rubbery pieces that slide onto a pencil can help!
Children have a lot of papers to keep track of. And if your child is like many totally disorganized gifted kids, those papers get dirty, wrinkled and lost. Schools often ask parents to buy folders and a binder for their children, but folders papers fall out out of folders and binders add unnecessary bulk. Instead, buy file "wallets." I love these. They are like file "sleeves" with a flap. Kids can open the flap, put papers inside and close the flap. Sure, papers might still get wrinkled, but they're less likely to get dirty and far less likely to get lost. The flap is held shut with velcro, which keeps the flap from opening and letting papers spill out, but is easy to open. These wallets come in different colors too for different subjects.
Technically, these aren't homework baskets, but they are great to use for homework. Gifted kids are not always the neatest, most organized kids on the planet, so using these baskets for homework can be quite helpful. When your child comes home from school, she can put her folders and books in the basket. When it's time to do homework, you can move the whole basket to her room. As the homework is completed, your child can put it in the folders and put the folders back in the basket. Then you can move the whole basket back to the where it was (by the door your child uses when she leaves for school). Establishing this practice as a routine can help make sure that your child does not forget to do homework or forget to take it to school.
Combination white boards and bulletin boards are great to help kids keep their work and assignments organized.Long-term assignments are so easy for kids to forget about. Writing down assignments and due dates on a white board can serve as a reminder of those projects that are due in two weeks. It can help prevent those evenings when at 7 p.m., your child says, "Mom, do we have any three-fold poster boards? I have a project due tomorrow." I like the white boards that are combination bulletin boards, because if a child gets a note or notice from school, it can be stuck on the bulletin board.
Assignments that are more than one page when completed are so easy to get separated and then lost. You can get a stapler for your child. In fact, sometimes schools ask that students buy a stapler as part of the required supplies. But what happens when the staples are gone (or get lost)? An easy way to head off this potential problem is to get a stapler that doesn't use staples. Staple free staplers can stick the papers together without any need for staples.
If your child's school has lockers for the kids, you may be asked to buy a lock for it. If you are, then consider getting a padlock that uses letters rather than numbers to create a combination. It can be easier for a young child to remember a word than a random serious of numbers. However, you'd want to make sure that the word would not be one that someone would easily guess, like her name. Sometimes, though, the school provides a lock with a predetermined combination. If that is the case, ask the principal if you can substitute the word padlock. In many case, you may be out of luck - the lock is part of the locker and you have no choice.