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It’s that time of year again, back to school shopping. K-College, your child needs supplies.
But what do they really need to buy? What goes to waste and what’s most beneficial? Sometimes it’s best to take supply lists with a grain of salt in favor of getting items that are best aligned with your child’s learning needs.
This video will help you know what to buy, what not to buy, and how to choose.
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What’s up, it’s me, Seth, with SethPerler.com. I hope you’re having a fantastic day. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the supply list that you guys are going to be getting very soon. So if your kid is in elementary school, middle school, high school, or even if you have a college student, your kid is going to need supplies. A lot of schools will have a supply list that’s available at their office or supply stores. Usually, go see a little spinny thing in there, and there’ll be all different schools with different grades and even down to the detail of different teachers that’ll have their own pages of what they want you to get for their class. I want you to take this with a grain of salt because if you’re watching my videos, your child is not a traditional learner and they don’t need the same things that everybody else needs. Not only that, but a lot of the things that you will get will also go to waste and will sit in the locker the whole year and often even be thrown away at the end of the year before the package has even been opened. I’ve seen this many times because I taught for 12 years and it happens more than you care to believe because it’s just a complete waste of your money, your time, and the resources that you bought.
I’m going to break this down for you. I’m going to share a little note on advocacy. If you’re worried that your teacher is inflexible or that the school is inflexible, and that they’re going to really demand that you get certain supplies, making it clear they’re going to give your child a hard time for not having certain things. I want you to write them an email, an advocacy email, send it to a couple of the people who relevant on that list. Might be an administrator, a school counselor and it might be a teacher or two, and go ahead and send them an email and say, “Hey, look I’m doing things a little bit different for my kid. If you really have a problem with this and you really need us to get the supply, and you’re going to support my child learn how to use it, then fine. I don’t have a problem with that. But if you’re not going to support my child and really hold their hand through learning how to master using this particular supply, then we’re doing a different system and we’re working really hard to help our child. Please support us in that and let us know what you need. But please understand that we’re just trying to really support a child that’s struggling with executive function. So we’ve chosen to do some different things.”
You’re going to get the supply list, it’s going to have all kinds of stuff on it. Sometimes you have to get stuff to share with the class. That’s pretty normal, you know, sometimes they ask for tissue boxes. They get the tissue boxes from 30 different families and they have tissues for the whole school year. That’s pretty normal stuff. What’s going to happen is you’re going to see a list of ‘get this and that and this and that and this and that.’ You’re going to have a lot of parents really trying to do the right thing. Is this the right type of pencil? Are these the right type of highlighters? And all that. Don’t worry too much about that. You can always get it after school starts. Don’t purchase if you think that your child isn’t even going to use it. Anyway, keep it at home and see if the teacher even cares because sometimes they really don’t need it and you can return it and save the money from that. Oh, by the way, I want to know that you can also often find the school supply list by checking your teacher websites.
Now at the beginning of August teachers are already going to be updating their personal websites with things like the supply list. There a few key things that I really want to mention. One is, kids who struggle with executive function often do horribly with binders. If your child does well with binders, I don’t care and if the teacher supports them to consistently use the binder how the teacher expects them to that’s fine, but often binders are overkill. In middle school and high school teachers will have them get binders and get all these dividers and have a divider for class and have a divider for homework, etc. These kids are struggling executive function have no interest in maintaining things to that level of detail. Their brain doesn’t work like that. They need to bring power for other things. So if you know that that’s your kid, don’t get the three-ring binder. What I recommend is either in accordion, or what I prefer in do with most students, is get a simple folder system. Color-coding is very important. I get cheap folders and I will recommend the families get two or three of the same folder. Let’s say that your child says, “I want a green folder for science because it reminds me of plant some plants or science or biology.” Fine, green is Sciences. I recommend that you get three of these cheap paper folders. I don’t recommend getting slick folders because kids with executive function issues are often the kids at toss the folder places, and if it’s a slick plastic folder, stuff flies everywhere and good luck getting it back in there to the detail that they need to. I recommend cheap paper folders with huge labels. If it’s science, write: “SCI, John Smith” on the front of that folder and write it on the back of the folder. Put their name on the front of the folder and the back because these are the kids who lose their folders all the time. So have everything very clearly labeled all over the place. Don’t worry, you are not overdoing it. Do this, even if they’re in high school, even if they’re in college, so go ahead and grab different colors. Green, blue, red, yellow, whatever, go ahead and label them. Get two or three of the folders because they will wear out and just when they wear out just get rid of him and replace them.
Okay, I am very green. I don’t like to waste stuff. But in this case, when the folders warrant out for the purposes of this, get a new folder. Again if they have to use 3-ring binders, get them. But if the school is flexible, and it’s a more progressive school, then go ahead and get what you need. If it’s a more traditional school and they’re more rigid, then you might have to advocate for them. And again, if the teachers will support them, fine.
Now you also have things like compasses and protractors and calculators. These are generally for math. Again, the labels are very important. Sharpie it all over the place. Sharpie your child’s name all over the place on those compasses, protractors, rulers, and calculators because they will misplace them and lose them and you might want to have an extra set if your kid loses stuff all the time or doesn’t bring stuff home. Just buy a set for home and buy a set for school. So you’re going to buy two rulers, two compasses, two protractors, two calculators, or whatever, and just keep it simple so that they have everything they needed at school and they have everything at home. That goes for pens and pencils as well. Honestly, I really like them to choose the ones. They like the labels lot times, put stickers around them with their name on it. I’ll write with a sharpie directly on the pen or pencil if you can so you want to do that because if they lose it, it’s more likely to come back to them if their names on it bold. So write their name even on pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, crayons. And then as far as what not to get – don’t get anything that you don’t feel good about getting.
A lot of times teachers will have multiples of these things in the classroom. And if you know your kids going to lose scissors, or that they never use something like colored pencils and that’s not their thing or whatever, listen to your God and don’t get it and just email you to be sure. There’s nothing wrong with it doing that. You’re not bugging them. Just say, “Hey, real quick. I just want to make sure do we really need this.“
And then finally planners. I’m going to talk about a couple of different things with planners. One thing with planners is to get the big wall calendar planner. First of all, without planners, there are things like sticky notes and notecards. I’m a huge fan of using things like this for daily plans for kids, just things that you can write down to list of what’s going on today real quick. Real easy keep it simple. So I use these tools for planning a lot. Even though those are not planners in your mind, I want you to be thinking that that is part of the planning process. Okay. Now, I personally as far as the planner goes, a lot of schools will give out planners and if you watch my stuff, you know, I do not like those for kids with executive function because there’s too much going on with the periodic table, all the colors, all the famous quotes, and also the primary fact that they’re weekly rather the monthly. These kids need to learn how to plan, they don’t need a big complicated 90-page planner. It’s overwhelming to their brain, believe it or not. You want a large 8.5″ x 11″ monthly planner. Rip out every page that has nothing to do with the school year. Leave in August, September, October, November, December, leave those pages in the planner, and teach them how to write shorthand. It’s big picture. They can see the whole month. It’s way better for their brain because they’re not good at managing time and they can really see things better with the monthly planner. So I do recommend those over the school planner or over weekly planners. If you’re a detail-oriented person, you think I’ll get my kid one with a daily planner to help them cuz it’s one day at a time. No, that is too detail-oriented for them. You want them to be able to see the big picture, in my opinion, anything I say, by the way, don’t listen to me if your kid uses another system successfully ignore everything I say about that particular system.
So you have your planner, you have your note cards and stuff. But you also want a desk calendar. The big giant desk calendars. I’ll put up on the wall for my student and we get it planned out for the entire school year. We highlight all the days off and the only thing you write on those planners are important things, like practice, appointments, past papers, and projects. So that’s not a detail one, but that’s a big picture one that they can keep on the wall because with these kids, out of sight out of mind if they don’t see it. It’s not in their mind and you need to help them start to building systems where they can visually see what’s coming up and anticipate the big things that are coming up because these are the kids that wait till the night before and they tell you at 8 pm that night, “I have an 8-page paper due tomorrow. I haven’t even started,” and you do not want to experience that for any reason because it’s really hard and stressful on you and your child, so this is one great way to prevent that.
That’s what I wanted to go over. I hope that helps you as you are entering the office supply stores this year to get your child their supplies. Advocate your kid gets what they really need to create a system that they’re going to use. Involve them in the process as much as possible. They should be there the store with you. You shouldn’t just be doing it for them. Their supplies build responsibility, the more investment they take in the process, the more effectively they’re going to use these things. Anyway, if you have any questions go ahead and work, go ahead and comment below. I hope you have an awesome 2017.