Why back-to-school lists are so long and specific. And what’s up with the 3 dozen glue sticks?


It’s back-to-school time( yaaassss !), but that entails it’s also the time when you have to tackle those super-long, super-specific school supplying lists( uggghhhh !).

You know what I’m talking about the 15 -plus-items-long list of things your kids need for school.

As a bonus, they’re often brand-name specific. Severely. Because Elmer’s glue is apparently simply that different from generic store brand glue.

Image by Thinkstock.

Based on the vent( “OMG, everyone is sold out of pre-sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga# 2 pencils! “) and weeps for help I’m considering from my fellow mothers on social media( “Where did you find three wide-ruled draw-and-write composition books? ” OK, I admit that was my topic ), a lot of our public school kiddos are being given supplying lists quite similar to this one:

Sample school supply list created from actual lists I’ve collected. Some items have been switched between lists to protect the innocent.

While many public schools send these lists to mothers, in certain countries they’re “requests” not “requirements”( even when not clearly presented that way) because some countries cannot legally necessitate students to provide their own school furnishes.

Optional or necessitated, however, these school supplying lists are important.

I know, I know lots of us mothers have many impressions about them, like:

We didn’t have to buy a specific list of furnishes when we were kids( walking uphill both styles, two miles, in the snow ). This is public school , not private school! Can’t the glue sticks come out of my taxes? This list is so name-brand specific. Are Elmer’s glue sticks reallllyyyy that superior to these cheaper, generic ones? Severely ?? So many glue sticks ?! Only … what?


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