Summer is a magical time for children. All over the country children invade swimming pools, local parks and beaches, and summer camp grounds as they chant the familiar rhyme, “No more pencils. No more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks.”
But just as the suntan lotion, mosquito bites, and barbeques seem to merge into one never-ending day, the seasons begin to change. First, the temperature drops and the common shorts and t-shirt combination is no longer warm enough. Then the color wars come to a close, signaling the end of summer camps nationwide. Finally the first back to school commercial airs.
School has returned.
So Your Children Are Heading Back to School…
Going back to school should not be taken lightly. While most parents are several decades removed from the days of entering locker combinations and walking elementary school hallways, their children have only been separated from these activities for a few short months.
After a summer of fun, the first day of school is a time for students to rekindle their friendships and tell tales of family vacations. It is also a time for students to show off their new array of school supplies.
Oldies but Goodies:
Children today have more back to school supplies than ever before. All across the country children carry iPods, smart phones, and digital watches with them into the classroom as if students have had access to these items for generations.
While this is simply not true, there are many back to school items that have withstood the test of time. This means both modern-day students and their parents have used them.
1) Pencils and Pencil Sharpeners:
There is no more ageless back to school supply than the pencil and its sidekick the pencil sharpener.
Since one of Napoleon’s soldiers invented the pencil in 1795, it has revolutionized the way students take notes and absorb information. The beauty of this lead-based writing utensil is that it has allowed centuries of students to write key topics and take exams with the security of knowing that they can erase their words if they make a mistake.
This one fact, especially when combined with the pencil sharpener’s power to resuscitate a broken point, has made the pencil a great tool for teaching young students the alphabet or for helping older students write essay exams.
Another important school supply that twenty-first century students and their parents both have used is the pencil’s younger brother—the pen.
Fountain pens, which first surfaced in 1884, and ballpoint pens, which became available in 1938, are permanent in nature, but are equally essential in terms of completing a student’s back to school list. While most the ink from most pens cannot be erased, older students tend to prefer pens over pencils when they are writing an essay or taking a large amount of notes.
3) Back Packs:
Back packs are to the grade school student what briefcases are to the businessmen. Back packs are reliable, trustworthy sacks that have housed children’s’ school supplies for generations.
In addition to the physical back pack, the act of putting stickers or patches on the outside of the back pack has existed for years as well. Just like their parents, today’s students will go to extreme lengths to make their school bag unique and personal.
4) Lunch boxes, Brown Bags and the Food that Goes in Them:
If you ask a modern-day student, or one of their parents, what the best part of their school day was, you’ll likely hear some derivation of “lunch time.”
However, lunch time is not complete without the right combination of lunch box/brown bag and the homemade food that goes in them. While cartoons and movies have changed from the 1970s to the 2000s, the notion of having a lunch box that shows a popular cartoon or movie character has been around for decades.
In addition to buying a lunch box, certain foods and snacks have remained consistent over the course of the last thirty years. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snack packs, which first hit the shelves in 1984, and juice boxes have provided mid-day nourishment to students for many years.
5) A New Outfit:
One of the most essential back to school items is not carried in a backpack or folder, but rather, is worn by the student.
Having the right back to school outfit is likely more important to a student than all the pencils, loose leaf paper, and protractors combined. Even though the fads and clothing styles have changed, the anxiety of having the perfect outfit, haircut, and sneakers has existed for years.
6) The Rest of the List:
In addition to the above items, there are many other school supplies that students have used since John F. Kennedy was elected president. Other notable items are:
- Loose leaf paper
- Crayons, markers, and highlighters
- Binders, folders, and notebooks
- Math supplies, such as calculators and rulers
- Scissors, glue, and scotch tape
- Index cards
Shopping for back to school supplies can bring back dormant childhood memories for some parents. Regardless of whether these memories are pleasant or painful, getting your child the right back to school supplies is a vital part of his or her education.