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Do you buy off "the list"? UPDATE- POST 90

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 
DS's school just put "the list" up on their website. I'm.... shocked. DS is entering Kindergarten this year so it's the first time we've had to deal with this.

It is a long list. But that doesn't bother me as much as how specific the list is- down to the brand and size of the item.

Why should I buy 5 large Elmers glue sticks when I could buy 60 of the regular sized ones for the same amount of money???

Maybe I'm just cheap.

And, yes, I'm buying the regular glue sticks. LOL!
post #2 of 101
i hear ya on the cheap glue sticks! although i am a self-professed "crayon snob" and only buy crayola...no roseart for my kids! LOL they just arent as good! i also like fiskars, so i buy that according to The List, and my older ds gets write bros pens, but pencils and notebooks are generic. and whenever The List demands yellow highlighters, i buy blue orange or green ever since our former OT told us about yellow ones causing inattentive kids to be even more inattentive and causing visual processing trouble.

i refuse to buy hand sanitizer and clorox wipes...i tell the teacher i am morally opposed to both of those items. our teachers have been great though. on a field trip to the zoo last year, the teacher walked up and down the line squirting purell at everyone but when she got to my ds she said, "S, ask mommy to take you to find soap and water" LOL

this year i'm not buying anything til i meet all the HS teachers bc i am tired of getting most everything asked for and seeing half of it come back in may unused.
post #3 of 101
I'm a list buyer. I know from teaching that there is usually a reason the teachers prefer specfic items so I try my best to find them.
post #4 of 101
I'd buy the number and size that is requested. In most cases, these are shared/classroom items that may sit in a carousel in the middle of each table, shared by a number of kids. It is easier if they are all the same.

And I agree with the previous poster - you may not understand why the teacher is asking for certain things, but I'm sure if it didn't matter it would just list "glue sticks".

Certain brands of scissors and crayons just work better. Larger glue sticks may be easier for little hands to hold. A certain brand of colored pencils may be just the right size to fit in an organizer that each kid is given.

Personally, I'd talk to the teacher to understand her reasonings if you really must. But I think the better thing to do is just buy what is on the list. How would we like it if our MIL told us how to buy groceries for our house? This is the teacher's gig; she has learned over the years what works and what doesn't. Just buy it.
post #5 of 101
Yep, I follow the list. Especially in the younger grades a lot of things are pooled and having multiples of the exact same item is important.
post #6 of 101
Personally I think it's ridiculous, but yeah, buy off the list. If you don't it can be a great way to alienate the teacher off the bat. My mom was principal for an "at-risk urban school" for years where many of the students were low income. She'd get SO frustrated with the teachers for insisting for specific brand names of items. Many of her students were lucky to get ANY school supplies, much less the more expensive brand names. But the teachers were insistent and would take it very personally if the kids supplies didn't match the list. It was insane. Granted the fiskars may be more sturdy (but really, how often have you seen a pair of scissors not last a year??), and the Crayola may work better, but even a control freak like me thinks it's a little overboard.
post #7 of 101
Thread Starter 
Wow. I'm a little shocked to see that *that* many people buy off the list. I'm sorry, but I don't have that much money laying around. $8 on glue sticks??? Are you freaking kidding me? (Each glue stick is $1.60- the teacher requested 5 of them). I'm cool with the Crayola requests because, honestly, those go on sale before school (Roseart crayons are on sale for $.20, Crayola are on sale for $.25). I, personally, like Crayola better so I have no problem buying the Crayola on sale. The Crayola markers and colored pencils are on sale right now so I don't have a problem buying the requested ones. But $8 on glue?? If each child in her class actually buys the amount and kind of glue requested that's $200 spent on glue. Now if each child buys 10 of the regular sized glue sticks that's $1.25 per student and $31.25 for the classroom. That seems like a HUGE waste of money that, honestly, a lot of parents don't have to blow on glue. (And just to be clear- the glue I bought is the same brand and product as the one requested.... just in the regular size as opposed to the large size). I'd be shocked if ds is the only one who shows up with the regular sized glue sticks

As far as alienating the teacher... that's the last thing I want to do. DS has autism and this year will be hard enough on him and his teacher. I really don't want to add any unneeded stress to her. DP and I had actually planned on buying a bunch of extra supplies while they are on sale and saving them til after Christmas break (or right before) and giving his teacher a big box of crayons, markers, kleenex, etc to replenish the class supply. I really do want to be on good terms with the teacher. But I only have so much money and it can only be stretched so far before it's gone.
post #8 of 101
We buy off the list, BUT for most things they aren't that specific & compared to alot of schools(even other local ones) our lists are quite small.

I also buy extra supplies when they go on sale for the following year. We do end up with alot of our supplies back at the end of the year so they go into the school supply buckets.

Our school supplies are not used by all kids, each kid uses their own & they all have thier own bag in a tub with their extra supplies to be handed out when needed.

Some years we've needed to buy more glue sticks, yes 5 of the large ones are not always enough. Some years we've had to buy more scissors(they easily get "lost" in a desk,lol)
post #9 of 101
The list? Yikes. I don't even remember there being a list. I think we were asked to supply glue sticks and crayons, with a preference for big glue sticks, but that was it. Teachers are really telling you what brand to buy?

I would probably do it, if told to, but I'd sure feel overly directed, you know?
post #10 of 101
I'd buy the number and size that is requested. In most cases, these are shared/classroom items that may sit in a carousel in the middle of each table, shared by a number of kids. It is easier if they are all the same.

And I agree with the previous poster - you may not understand why the teacher is asking for certain things, but I'm sure if it didn't matter it would just list "glue sticks".
That. I stick to the list. I don't remember our lists being brand specific though.
post #11 of 101
I agree with following the list so as not to annoy the teacher - especially if you are going to need special attention or assistance from her throughout the year. I mean, I understand speaking up if there is a moral or educational conflict - but your hill to die on is what size glue sticks?

I think it would be better to just buy the glue sticks she wants and forget replenishing at Xmas. And if you do want to replenish as a holiday niceness, ask her in December if she is running low on anything. 'Cause what you stock up on now may not be what she runs out of then. And then she is just stuck storing them for a year. Storage is usually at a premium in most classrooms.

I can understand it is annoying to those of us who find much satisfaction in getting a good deal - but just buy the big glue sticks!

I think for those families for which it is truly a financial hardship (and not just
"I can't believe I'm spending $8 on GLUE"), they should email the teacher or the PTA president as most schools have a plan for this situation.
post #12 of 101
maybe you could buy just one of the requested glue sticks and then ask the teacher if it really matters when you meet them. that way, if it does really matter, you have one for your child, but if it doesn't, you can get something else.

it may also be an issue of making sure each child has the same thing so there is no fighting over it etc.
post #13 of 101
I would buy whatever is on the list including brand - but luckily our schools just ask for $$. Much easier!
post #14 of 101
Can you just wait till after school starts, or email the teacher before you go out and spend a bunch of money? Are there any parents you know who had kids in this teachers class in recent years you could ask? I wouldn't buy anything till I got in contact with someone.

I remember my second semester in college, I bought all the books on the list at the campus book store. I arrive in class the first day to discover that the prof had us by one of the books simply b/c he liked it and thought we would too. Since I can find plenty of books that I simply like for a heck of a lot less money at the used bookstore, I was not amused. After that, I almost never bought a book till after I had attended the first class.

Either there is a good reason s/he wants the specific one asked for and buying something different is a waste, or s/he just wrote down whatever popped into his/er head and you'll buy 5 glue sticks and you kid will only use one (really 5 big glue sticks, how much gluing are they planning to do?) which again would be a waste.
post #15 of 101
I follow the list to the letter.

Here's the list for this year (we are at a Catholic school):

Grade 4
  • 8 Black and White marble composition books (sewn together)
  • Accordion folder 8-10 pockets
  • #2 Pencils
  • Black or Blue ERASABLE Pens,
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or Markers
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil Box (not larger than 6"w x 9"l - should fit inside child's desk)
  • 1 Folder for religion
  • 1 Notebook for religion
  • 2 boxes Kleenex for classroom use
  • 2 packages of WIDE RULE binder paper (loose leaf)

    Trapper keepers and binders are NOT permitted. They are too big to fit in the desk and are to heavy to carry
post #16 of 101
95% of the things on our lists that are brand/size specific are the "loss leader" items at the store where we shop anyway. The ones that aren't I don't mind because they're things like washable markers (which I appreciate as I don't want to try and get marker stains out of uniforms) and the large size crayons (which make sense for kindergartners).
post #17 of 101
I agree with the list people. Brands may be specified either because that is what the teacher finds works best, to avoid conflict between students, because of shared supply issue or for any number of other reasons.

As for needing 5 glue sticks. Many teachers will give you quantities you will need for the whole year. The idea for many teachers is that they are saving you money by letting you know what you will need for the whole year so you can get things on sale at the back to school sales. For example I'd rather buy the 4 boxes of crayons my kid will need throughout the school year at 25 cents each at the beginning of the year rather than at normal price throughout the year. Plus if supplies to last the whole year show up on the first day of class it saves the teacher from having to send notes home as often when supplies need replenished.

So basically, I'd get the big glue stick. But I might only buy one of them to begin with and just accept that I'll have to replenish as needed.

If cost really is a huge issue for you I would suggest calling the school. Many places have organizations that donate school supplies. In my town there are huge donation boxes at all the stores and we buy two sets of back to school supplies and donate one set and an extra backpack. There is a group that spends the weeks before school putting together backpacks with school supplies and the day before school they have a giant open house for kids who need it to pick out there backpack and pick up school supplies. In our town, at least, you don't need to document need, just show up with your kids in tow. But our town also has alot of issues with pride preventing parents from getting the help they need. So we have several programs for kids that don't require documented need.
post #18 of 101
I've always followed the list to a T and it usually runs me about $50/kid/year. We are on a much tighter budget at the moment due to dh losing his job -- we qualify for free lunch with just my income except dds won't eat the school lunches, so I don't know if there is any good reason to apply. I am still trying to follow the list as best as possible albeit buying small amounts at a time of things as they go on sale.

The only one that I am uncertain on is dd#1, who will be a 7th grader this fall. I am waiting to talk to her teachers at registration day in August b/c they are requesting three-ring binders and I want to know if we can go with an expandable folder instead b/c I know that dd will lose all of her papers with a 3-ring binder.

Basically, unless the item doesn't work for your kid (like dd's 3-ring binders) or you totally can't afford it, I'd try to get what they ask for.
post #19 of 101
Are the Elmer's Large ones a wider diameter? As a Kindergarten teacher I often requested the 'thicker" ones because they are best for younger children, without strong fine motor skills (easier to remove the caps, use and replace the tops).

And I pooled all of the supplies so it was best for them all to be the same.

And to the other poster who suggested that cheaper scissors don't last a year--I have had some not cut from day 1 or those that do not last a week.

I understand the need to be frugal but I also think it is important to give your child the best tool (ie scissors) to make them benefit the most for their experience.
post #20 of 101
I agree that it's a bit rediculous, but I've always gotten my kids everything the teachers ask for each year. It does run about $50 per kid each year- plus I need to budget in other "back to school items" such as new clothes and shoes, backpacks (unless last year's is still good) etc.

Thankfully my parents have often been willing to do the back-to-school shopping (or at least the back-to-school paying). If I didn't have their help, and couldn't afford the list of supplies, I would have contacted the schools before the first day of school and asked if they could help me out.

I could see buying fewer items than the teacher asked for, or buying JUST the things my child would need directly but not extras for general classroom use (such as pencils, etc). But, under no circumstances would I send my child to school with "the wrong item" such as small glue sticks when large glue sticks were requested. Those may end up not being used at all.
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