Arming your children with curiosity and motivation are paramount to their success. Beyond that students should have the following supplies for school: a rolling backpack, pens and pencils, paper, 3-ring binders, dividers, a 3-hole punch, nontoxic white-out, sticky notes a planning book of some kind, a good dictionary (at home), and a student reference text are important. If money is an issue, don’t go all-out; many teachers and schools keep supplies handy to share with students in need of scholarship assistance. Wherever possible, both a personal computer and a library card are helpful. And always, always, students should have a leisure reading book handy for the extra minutes before class, or after a test, or when a substitute is in the classroom.
As a middle school teacher, I see far too many students entering unprepared for the rigors of academia. A computer with a good word processing program should be available to every student. Although having the computer at home is ideal, students should learn to advocate for themselves and to schedule time on school or library computers when a home computer is unavailable.
Every child should have a dictionary available in his or her study area. By the time your student is a tween, it’s time to graduate beyond student dictionaries. A good collegiate dictionary (in hardcover) can usually be found for under $20 or $25 when shopping remainder tables and chain stores. Check your local library for dates of coming book sales, and visit these as well as used book stores. There, excellent reference texts can be had for pennies on the dollar.
An age-appropriate reference book is a valuable tool. For middle school age youngsters, I recommend the “Write Source 2000” (with a cover price, new, of just $11.00). This resource will help with mechanics, usage, and grammar; with maps and measurements, time zones and conversion formulas; and with research, reports, and presentations. The book, when used, will pay for itself many times over in a semester.
Finally, children should know that bringing their materials and supplies to classes is nearly as important as attending the classes. Prepare your child for success by providing the necessary supplies and a solid work ethic.