Back to school can be costly prospect

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trolling down the aisle at Wal-Mart the other day, the bright colors of folders, pencil boxes and crayons reminded everyone that the start of school is on its way.

For those in Covington County (or at least in my house) the magic day is Aug. 9.

Already, we have managed to mark one backpack and two snack bags off the ever-growing list of needed supplies, and the girls are aching to head back to the stores to finish off the list.

In years past, there have been these neat little displays filled with lists for over eager parents like myself who don’t want to wait until the tax-free weekend to buy school supplies.

There wasn’t one for our school, so I called the powers that be and requested a list.

In addition to back-to-school clothes and shoes, this is what we have to have:

For the kindergartener:

• A change of clothing in a zip-lock bag with my child’s name it. (Cost: $0.)

• A satchel or book bag with name child’s name on it. (Cost: $20.)

• A $15 donation is requested to cover cost of supplies and Weekly Reader or National Geographic.

For the first grader:

• A backpack or book bag. (Cost: $20.)

• A $25 donation is requested to cover the rest of the supplies, for which the teacher will be responsible for obtaining.

Now, for the fifth grader, check out this list:

• $5 for a display board for a science project

• six packages of wide-ruled, loose-leaf paper. (Cost: $6.)

• two packages of No.2 Pencils, no mechanicals. (Cost: $2.)

• seven plastic pocket folders with fasteners. (Cost: $3)

• two plastic pocket folders without fasteners. (Cost: $1)

• One pack of red pens. (Cost: $1)

• One box of crayons. (Cost: $1)

• One of the following: dry erase markers, scissors, glue stick, pencil box and one ream of copy paper. (Cost: $10)

It used to be that I loved the smell of crayons on the first day of school. Now, I worry about new shoes, backpacks and hair bows.

I wouldn’t trade anything for my children’s education, but after my calculations, I realized it’s going to cost about $500 to send three children back to school.

Eek. I can make it work, but it makes me wonder how my parents did it way back when, and how some parents do it now.