Monday, August 16, 2010

Blatant Plagiarism

I found this AWESOME back-to-school advice on The Mother's site. And she should know. She's a mother with 4 boys- and she's also a doctor. In other words, don't mess with her.

The Mother's 12 Step, Back-to-School Program.

Step #1: Refill the kid’s lunch money account online at least a week ahead. That way, you can shove the little angels out the door without hunting down spare change or playing lunchbox roulette.

#2: Prepare the child’s necessary school supplies three weeks in advance. Nowadays most schools have packet lists on the internet, and a whole lot of grocery stores sell them in those packets. Buy them prepackaged. It’s worth the extra buck, because the guys who do the prepackaging have bought out all the orange folders in town, and the English teacher only wants orange folders, and you do NOT want to have to go to the next county to get a damn orange folder. Don’t wait, though, or the little packets will be extinct.

#3: High school kids NEVER get a list in advance. They get a list from each teacher on the first day, prompting the Mad, Mad, Mad World remake at the local office supply store. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS. Go ahead of time. Buy a $100 gift card. Give it to high schooler. Have him call you for a ride when he’s done. There’s always a Starbucks nearby.

#4: Make friends with the Amazon team. Kids always come home with a list of the books they’ll need to get for the year. They never remember to give it to you. You will then be regaled five times a year with a “last minute request.” The book will be sold out in every bookstore in the tri-county area. Steal the list from the child’s backpack on the way in the door. Go directly to Amazon. Do NOT pass go. Type in each book, and click “buy it now.” Then, when they arrive in two days , HIDE THEM until they are needed– trust me on this one.

#5: Plan take out for the first night. Stock up on advil, and buy one of those hand splints in advance, because the cramping from filling out the forms will leave you in agony for days. If you have more than one child going to the same school, get one of your kids to rig up a scanner. Or borrow a photocopier. Extra points if you are ambidextrous. Extra, extra bonus points if you make your high schooler fill them out himself and just sign. Post all emergency numbers on the white board in the kitchen and hand them all sharpies.

#6: Make sure you have money in your checkbook. It’s someone’s conspiracy that schools generally start at the end of the month, when everyone is low on funds. Then the four thousand little checks that have to be written add up–$10 for a directory, $5 for a lab manual, $15 for the debate briefs, $6 for the PTA lunch fund, … Double check your check stock, too.

#7: Do not, under any circumstances, accompany a child older than 12 into the school. They have to learn to fend for themselves sometime–Junior High seems like a good spot. Younger, if you think you can get away with it.

#8: If you do walk in with your child, leave as soon as said kid gets interested in something else. Ask any teacher–parents who hang around cause problems. Unless this is your little tyke’s first day of kindergarten, beetle out.

#9: Make transportation arrangements early. If you start driving your kids to school, they begin to expect it. Bikes, trikes, trains, buses and anyone else’s automobile are preferred.

#10: Do not allow inter-child comparison of teachers. As a mom of four, I now have three who have had many of the same teachers. They have three different takes. Squash it, fast, before poor Ms. Jones, the English teacher, gets maligned by the kid with superior math skills and NO ability to parse prose.

#11: Take advantage of the state-tax-free weekend. Take each kid out (separately). See what fits. Put that size back and buy the next size up.

#12: When the teacher asks for volunteers, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit. Bonus points for getting there first. (Of course, if you hadn’t gone IN, you wouldn’t be in this position).


Anonymous said...

My oldest is still a few years away from "real" school, but I'm already dreading it. Do love those Staples commercials, though! ;-)

Doris said...

I hope you follow this advice...I seem to remember a volunteer trip to the office store across the street from your practice and the physical/emotional scars I am sure you are still sporting.


Word Verification: resses


CrownedwithVictory said...

oh I have another one that I have found to be so valuable:

If you have elementary children but do not have curbside recycling, it is worth every penny to pay for the luxury of having the masses of cut and paste papers, coloring sheets, math workbook sheets and manilla drawing pages hauled away for you.

The Mother said...


You mean you don't keep every one of those lovely items as precious mementos of your children?

Me, neither.

Thanks for the free publicity, Dr. Grumpy.

Texas Pharmacy Chica said...

Also: AVOID the elementary school on the first day. Just put kiddos on bus. In most school districts around here the parents aren't allowed past the cafeteria anyways and the hallways are full on idiots (sorry, but true) still trying to register their kids.

So far, two of my kids have survived their first day of kindergarden just fine!

stacey said...

Wow, I never remember back to school being so dramatic.Kindergarten meant crayons, glue, scissors, a few doodads...High school usually just entailed buying some new notebooks and maybe making some homemade bookcovers out of paperbags. We didn't buy books... we got whatever they used the year before, signed in to the book, and saw who else in the past 10 years used that book before us.
How things have changed... oh but then again, we were allowed to walk to school, went out to the local pizza place or home for lunch and had the key to the house for those times when someone might not be home after school. That was elementary school.... No wonder kids these days have no sense of responsibility... no one expects anything of them til they are 18...LOL

CrownedwithVictory said...

If I kept all the paper stuff my kids came home with you all would be enjoying my home on the next episode of "Hoarders."

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Mostly agreed, BUT...I'd advise to AVOID the tax free weekends. You only save a couple of dollars and the crowds just aren't worth the savings in my opinion. :o

Bikes are the preferred going to school method of transportation in my house. My son is going into 3rd grade and his ridden his bike pretty much every single day since Kindergarten. I will drive him if it's snowing, pouring, below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and I drove him the month he had the picc line in his arm after the bacterial meningitis scare. I didn't really think riding a bike with a picc line in his arm would be a good idea. Other than that, he rides! It's only a mile and a half from our house to the school, but oddly, he's the only kid who rides. 95 percent of the kids in that school live within 2 miles of the school - I don't understand why they all don't ride bikes or walk. Oh well.

Oh, the cafeteria money reload. Forget it. My son's account has gotten messed up EVERY year. Every single year some other kids meal gets charged to my son's account. Never fails, it is messed up. Last year I gave up and sent a note to the cafeteria manager telling her that my son would never be charging ANYTHING at that cafeteria and that if he wanted to buy a lunch (he never does, I always make his lunch, except for on pizza dipper Friday...he loves those things) or buy ice cream, then I would be sending him to school with cash and he was to get change back, it was not to go onto his lunch account. It worked. Whew.

Sunny said...

I'm lucky, I guess... school was never that stressful when I went.

My mom and dad worked full time, so from grade 3 onwards we got a ride to school and bus fare to get ourselves home (which often involved a walk of 20-30 minutes as well)

Julie said...

love it ... we don't have cafeteria accounts here - so i've done the next best thing, trained my 8y.o. to make her sister's & her lunches each day:)

Julie said...

Oh, and for the copious amounts of pictures / posters / cut & colour stuff they produce - we have one wall on which we've strung picture wire and put picture clips on it. When they bring something home they can decide to replace something (of theirs) on this wall and throw that in the bin or throw their new work away ...

The Evil Receptionist said...

My kid lives two blocks up and three over from the school, and he's not permitted to ride his bike. Not by me, by the district. He "doesn't live close enough."

And when he gets to high school, I'm totally stealing that gift card idea--that's a great one! But are there districts that require the students to BUY textbooks at the grade/high school level? Workbooks, I can understand. But hardcover texts?

Angela said...

LOL!! I think my mom lived by a similar list when we were kids!!!

This is the first year i'm not going back to school... since I was like... 5... WOAH werid to be an adult!


Louise said...

Last weekend, I was in JCPenney, wondering why the hell it was full of parents dragging their children around. Then I noticed the "no sales tax" signs. Hundreds of sullen kids, angry mothers and dead-eyed fathers.

Since I was just browsing, I sat on a bench and watched the chaos. Ah, yes, Back to School season.

Best. Birth control method. Evar.

R. May said...

A little tip...most school districts cannot force you to buy workbooks, pay lab fees etc (the whole free education thing). So if you truly cannont afford it, please please talk to the teacher, send a note, whatever. Don't overdraw your account or eat ramen for a month to cover them. Same goes for field trips.

Rothase said...

I did the tax-free weekend, but I went at night, hoping to avoid the crowds. I am a silly person. Wally World was over-run. But jovial. I'd ask a random stranger "hey, where are the pencils?" and she'd yell down the aisle, "HEY you got the pencils down there?!" "Colored or regular?!" "which kind do you need, honey?" me- "um, regular" "REGULAR!" "GOT 'EM!" Sadly, Wally World was out of Crayola markers, so we had to hit another store. My 1st grader had to bring paper towels, zip-lock bags, two boxes of pencils, two kinds of marker, hand sanitizer, 4 folders in specific colors and types, 16 glue sticks, post-it notes, 4 boxes of Crayola crayons, two boxes of kleenex... and on and on. I wonder if I can just give the teacher some cash next year? Let her hit the Wally World without me.

Packer said...

My daughter graduated college in June. She is actually having back to school anxiety now. 17 consecutive years of answering the bell , and now this big yawning gap of no structure at all. Kid is bummed, no action, friends, football, whirlwind of activities. Summer's over sweetheart--take that licensing exam and get a job.
Welcome to the BIG UGH.

Wife tells daughter, Oh Dad and I are driving up to Boston in a couple of weeks just to see what we never got to see when we would drive up to drop you off. Mom is cruel.

Anonymous said...

This is my son's list, and let me tell you, there is NO SUCH THING as spiral bound composition paper! It does not exist!

I remember when I was in 3rd grade, all we had to bring on the first day of school was a pencil, lunch money, and maybe a notebook.









1 1/2" BINDER















Anonymous said...

So true! I failed at number 12 and then ended up working in an elementary school as a result. It's been a good thing though!

Jen said...

Forget tax-free weekend. I shop at consignment and thrift stores. Sure you have to dig a little to find the good stuff, but there is GOOD stuff! This year I bought almost new skechers and crocs for $1 and $3 and gap, old navy, children's place and similar in very good condition for $1 to $8. I think I spent a total of 2 hours shopping. Can't beat that! My younger son wears his brother's hand-me-downs so why can't big brother do it too?

Amy said...

Ha! Love the list and wish all parents would follow it. My mom and now my husband both teach in urban districts where THEY are the ones buying the supplies because the parents don't bother/can't afford it/don't follow directions when they do buy things. I hope your kids all realize how lucky they are to have parents who provide these things for them!

Anonymous said...

@Kim: That 3rd grade list is absolutely freaking insane! Copy paper!? Where does it all end? Where do the school district's property taxes you pay go? Next thing you know they'll want you to start bringing in a case of motor oil for the school bus. Unreal.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought that list was nutty, too!

KeepSmiling said...

My parents couldn't afford to buy me the books I needed for my AP English class, so after a semester of frantically trying to find book X and Y at the library every other week, coming up empty handed over half the time because some other poor student was doing the same thing-- yup dropped AP. I got a D in that class because I could never get the reading done =/ Didn't help that I was just so embarrassed that I couldn't afford a five dollar novel every other week. Fun times. Went back to the normal class to blow spit bubbles all day. Regular classes were, pretty much, a joke. In US history, we had ten questions to answer on Monday (the teacher gave us the answers at the end of the day, so really we just sat there tapping our pencils until the list we would have to regurgitate was given to us) and the same exact questions, word for word, would appear on a quiz on Friday. So there was a whole lot of sleeping, gossip, and bubble blowing going on-- then a ten minute glance over before we came in on Friday to spit up the answers the teacher gave us on Monday. Q: When did Columbus sail the ocean blue? A: 1492 <-- I'm not joking those were the type of questions asked, and the answers expected... But, that's ok, math classes, where actual problem solving skills were expected, had security called so often in high school that we only covered half of what we were supposed to, so when the counselor/grand scheduler/some office worker person... saw that I had an A++ in Algebra I and slammed me into Algebra II the next year... it was like I had just skipped a whole semester worth of Algebra I material, and OMG WHAT IS THIS ALIEN LANGUAGE!!! (I ended up coming in before school for tutoring, I think my tutor nearly had a heart attack when she saw I was still having to think about multiplication facts, sometimes using my fingers. 9's and 7's were never my friend-- neither were fractions.... in fact, I learned fractions that year and was still helping a lot of my friends learn fractions their senior year). I ended up with a D in Algebra II, I don't think any amount of tutoring would have gotten me a better grade... I really just needed to go back to Algebra I and relearn it, but then I wouldn't have enough credits to graduate on time... so... my transcript shows A++'s in Algebra I, and D's in Algebra II. Really looks like I slacked off big time... but considering half, yes HALF of the other teens failed that class, I think passing by the skin of my teeth so I could graduate on time was a major accomplishment. Well, graduating in itself was a major accomplishment. 1 out of every 3 students in my school dropped out.

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