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The start to a middle school year can be a dizzying blur of forms, shopping trips and locker combinations. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, parents and children should understand the basic necessities and prepare accordingly. Making a simple list of middle school supplies and shopping carefully can help ensure an easy start to the school year while sticking to a budget of any size.
Middle school is a general term that typically describes two or three school years, most often for students between ages 12-15. In many countries, middle school is used as a transition period between more carefree scheduling and learning methods used in primary school, and the more rigid demands of high school and college. For many students, middle school will be their first experience with changing classrooms for each class, writing long-form essays, and completing regular tests, such as midterms and finals. Having middle school supplies that ease this often confusing process may help students make the transition smoothly.
A sturdy backpack or book bag is an extremely helpful tool for many students. With little time to run back to a locker during the class day, students may find themselves increasingly required to lug all books for the day around on their backs. Good backpacks need not be expensive, but should be fitted carefully and sized properly for each student. An incorrectly carried backpack can lead to muscle strain and even chronic back injuries.
Most teachers send out a list of required textbooks and supplies at the beginning of each term. Middle school supplies are often available at drugstores and school supply stores, but do not overlook office supply stores and online shopping options. When searching for bargains, remember that buying in bulk can often lead to greater savings. A pack of 100 pens may seem a little extreme, but it reduces the need to re-supply and can save a few dollars at the right stores.
Middle school supplies will often vary based on the course schedule of the student. A mathematics course is typically required for middle school students, but depending on the specific subject, different supplies may be required. If a student is taking geometry, he or she may need graph paper, a protractor, and ruler. Algebra students, on the other hand, are increasingly required to purchase a graphing calculator. Check with the teacher to see about deals on expensive items such as graphing calculators; there are often second-hand versions available from past students.
Clothing can also be a part of the search for middle school supplies. In some countries, students are required to have a specific uniform that can be purchased through the school. Some schools in the United States have a relaxed uniform policy, that requires students to wear certain colors or styles of clothing, but does not specify an exact brand. Additionally, students may require special outfits for classes such as gym, or extracurricular activities like band or choir. Check with parents of past students for second-hand clothes, if budget is an issue. Additionally, consider approaching the principal or school administrator if money issues may prevent a student from taking part in activities; many schools have payment plans or scholarship funds to help families with money problems.
If possible, make a clear list of middle school supplies before term begins and take care of shopping in one day. On the first day of class, take only a few supplies and do not open packages unnecessarily, so goods may be returned if they are not needed. If budget allows, consider including a few personalized items or treats for the new student. Beginning secondary education is a huge and often difficult step, and a few comfort items can go a long way in helping a middle schooler feel at ease in a new environment.