1. Generic crayons
  2. Spiral notebooks when they ask for composition books
  3. Paper folders
  4. Tiny animal erasers
  5. Dollar store pencils (or any dollar store supplies, really)
  6. Smelly Colored Pencils/Markers

I have tried to avoid the back to school topic for as long as I could. Every summer around this time, I go into mourning for the summer that is drawing to a close. I love my job. I truly, actually do. But I love the freedom and relaxation that comes with summer; the leisurely after-dinner walks and the cozy morning snuggles. I love the lack of schedules and commitments. I love having all of the time to do all of the things I do not have time to do in the school year. (Reality check: there is still never enough time. There are still things that I don’t get done. People still need clean shorts because the laundry is piled up. This is real life.)

With all of that being said, school is lurking just around the corner. Our area school districts are starting different times this year, but they are all coming soon. You may have already done your back to school shopping, and this post may be past due, so I hope you still have your receipts. Keep reading for the school supplies you should not send to school with your child. 

1. Generic Crayons: They just aren’t good. Crayola is the only way to go. You can find a lot of good deals on the 24 packs this time of year. If you aren’t convinced, get a kid’s menu at almost any restaurant and use their crayons. The wax is very clumpy and the color is just not right. Crayola is the best selling crayon company for a reason.

2. A supply you think is a suitable alternative to the one on the list: Most teachers have been doing this gig for a lot of years and they know what works and what doesn’t. If they asked for a composition book, they have their reasons, and a spiral notebook will probably go into a drawer and the teacher will give your child a composition book they purchased over the summer for situations such as this. Composition books stack well. The pages don’t rip out well. The binding can’t be unraveled and turned into a weapon. Please just follow the list.

3. Paper Folders: These are the pocket folders that are made out of thick paper. Back in the day, they were the only option, and teachers had to ask you to bring 2 of each color because they would most definitely rip before the end of the school year. In modern times, the plastic folders cost a reasonable price and they last all year. They may even last more than one year if you have *that* kid. It is well worth the investment.

4. Tiny Animal Erasers: When a kid has these cute little gems, there are about a gajillion things they can do with them during class. 1. Perform theatrical dramas on the inside ledge of their desk. 2. Lose them. 3. Steal them. 4. Trade them with a friend. 5. Pass them out to all of the cool kids in the class, making others feel left out. 6. Launching. 7. Picking them to bits, leaving a pile on the floor under the chair or in the desk ledge. 8. Chew on them. 9. Glue them to things with a glue stick (which really does nothing except make them sticky because #gluesticks). 10. Fill their pencil box so when they need to get to their scissors, 47 of them fall on the floor). The one thing they don’t do with them: Erase. 

5. Dollar Store Pencils: This can also include any pencil sold for holidays at other stores too. If you can get more than a few pencils for $1, they will probably be food for the pencil sharpener. The points break easily and the plastic wrapping unravels as it is sharpened. They are pretty, and I do buy them because I work with kids who come in and out of my room and steal my pencils (on purpose and by accident). If I have the junky kind, they are less desirable and I am less sad that I shelled out cash for kids who don’t care. If you want your kid to have pencils to use on a regular basis, Ticonderoga is the way to go. There are also other decent brands out there, but the dollar store is just not a good option.

6. Smelly Colored Pencils or Markers: Ok. I definitely bought these for my kid, but I bought them for home. I can’t control her every move and she probably took them to school. I’m only human. But the issue is that when kids have these super fun products, they smell their papers and then they pass their papers to their friends to smell. If they are smelly markers, they will inevitably end up with a tiny colored dot (or 2 or 3) under their nose. We’ve all been there, but do you really want your kid smelling some other kid’s paper? Eew.


I’ve spent way too much time trying to embed this reel from Instagram. If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. This funny reel from fitdadceo will be your reward (if the link works!) https://www.instagram.com/p/Cv-CPsQgoXi/