Back to school supplies…

“If I had a kid like I used to be when buying school supplies…I wouldn’t have been too thrilled,” The Tall Blonde announced when returning home from picking up a few supplies last week.

“What? You didn’t need the most expensive binders this time?” I sarcastically responded.

“Or the pretty scissors with the rubber handles,” she said, followed by “there’s really nothing wrong with the plain black ones”…just to rub it in a little further.

Back to school supply shopping has always been a bit of a sore point with me. Lists, the length of my arm, that my children insist must be purchased only for you to find out that most of it “should be left home” as there’s no storage in the classroom. What I want to know is what’s the bare minimum required for the start of the school year and LET’S GO WITH THAT!

The “I need a new calculator/geometry set/pencil-case/sharpener/pair of scissors” argument year after year…gnaws at my core! I get that binders break, that paper and notepads must be purchased, that pens and pencils wear out and need to be replaced but REALLY…geometry sets?! They use them…what…for a few math classes at best! And possibly only one or two pieces at that!

And why must my children want the $9.99 binders…and why are FIVE required rather than just one for all subjects!

Spiderman asked about his school supply list. High school and University are different I explained. You’ll find out in each class what you need but most likely, it’s a binder full of paper. A few subject dividers. Pens. Nothing we can’t handle.

But Bones…Elementary and Junior High lists are, in my opinion, over the top! I’d rather write a check and have the teacher purchase everything in bulk so he/she can get exactly what’s needed as it’s required. I’m always taken back at the end of the year when they come back with that unused “composition book” it took us three stores to find in the first place!

Year after year, I’m left arguing with my children to re-use some of the things from the previous year and still…I walk out of the school supply store with so much less money than when I entered and a receipt that, when held up, touches the floor!

“Mom I need a new backpack.” “Can I get a new pencil-case.” “I need a new calculator.” “I like the one that looks like a purple foot.” “Can I get these pencils.” “Yellow highlighters are boring.” “I need a mirror for my locker.” “I don’t like the plain duo-tangs.” “I don’t like colored duo-tangs.” “But these scissors are pretty.” “The one I got last year that looks like a purple foot isn’t cool.” “I can’t find my French/English dictionary.” “No one uses wooden rulers.” “I like the clicky pens.” “Those binders break.” “These binders are perfect.” “I need liquid paper.” “That glue doesn’t stick.”


I’ve gone through their backpacks and taken a good look at what they already have so when we head to the store, I’m not overwhelmed by the calculators shaped like feet and the jumping dolphins on the never-to-be-used project folders.

I’m ready for them this time! And it’s only taken me sixteen years!


The Backpacks for Kids campaign is well underway. Bell Aliant employees and retirees began the initiative in 2003 to help address the number of families that find it challenging to purchase back-to-school supplies. To date, it’s helped 28,000 children in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. This year, the goal is to send 10,000 kids to school with backpacks full of the right supplies to start the school year off. They’ve partnered with community organizations like food banks, women’s shelters and elementary schools to identify families in need, and to help distribute the filled backpacks.

Visit to support the campaign by filling a virtual backpack with supplies for $25. (You’ll earn a chance to win an iPad at the same time.) Visit their Facebook page at and Twitter account at @bell_aliant to hear more about the program and follow the #10thousandbackpacks hashtag.