Maybe Parents Should Just Say No

Just read a great post titled ‘Back to School Hell’ by a dad who is grappling with the whole supply lists that schools are handing out right about now.  He simply can’t believe how much stuff the schools are asking him to purchase so that his child can get educated within the system.  While reading his post, as humorous and as true as he nailed it, I had a thought.  Why don’t parents just say no to these lists?  Why don’t parents group together and demand that the public school system figure out a better way to manage the money that is given to it? 

I mentioned in a recent post that our neighborhood school erected a splashy new electronic sign out front to the tune of $25,000.  Schools all over Albuquerque are getting major face lifts, too – some serious architectural restructuring.  Not just paint and stucco.  The whole shebang.  Sure, it’s nice to have a nice building to look at and hang out in, but teachers are underpaid and parents are having to shell out lots of dollars to supply the classrooms with the BASICS.  Guess I’m feeling heated about this, huh? 

I’m wondering why parents are dutifully running to Target or Wal-Mart to purchase all of those supplies.  I’m wondering why I did it.  I did it bitterly, mind you.  The whole time I was walking those aisles I was grumbling to myself about this and that.  Maybe I should have just sat down to calmly write a letter to the school and school board and tell them that I flatly refuse to pay homage to the supply list.  I could write that letter now, but it wouldn’t hold any weight since we are homeschooling.  Missed opportunity!

Maybe parents do it because they think they have to?  Do they?  Does it have something to do with still needing to please an authority figure?  Is it fear-based – that somehow a child will get in trouble for not bringing in supplies?  I’m just trying to figure it out.  I saw umpteen sets of parents and children wandering those aisles at Target over the past several weeks.  Had I been in a different frame of mind, I would have interviewed them and asked them about their thoughts.

I’m just observing behaviors and wondering about them.  Why do we do the things we do?  Sometimes I think we need to break out of the mold and go our own way.  This might be one of those times.  We parents are good at saying no to other things (mostly things our children claim they can’t live without), so why can’t we say no to a school system?  What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. Hi,
    I am your newest follower found you on Secular Homeschooling. I am so excited to find others like me out there. Looking forward to you post. I just started my blog check it out if you like. I am still in the very early stages:)

    • Hi Anna-Marie! I’m glad you found this blog and may it be a source of fun information for you! I’ll be moving to Blogger in the near future – I think it’s more creative over there. I laughed at your post about reading instructional manuals. Isn’t that the truth? We want to learn about something but we’re faced with books like that? I’m working my way through a Photoshop book which is, thankfully, written by a man with a big sense of humor. Thank goodness! He makes it tolerable and I’m learning :). I also love the Secular Homeschooling website and need to get active on there again. It’s been a busy summer. Best wishes as you take off homeschooling this year. Hooray! ~Vicki

  2. I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered this same thing! When did the schools start laying claim over the materials in the first place? Sure there were lists when I went to school, but most of the stuff we still had from the previous year and each child kept their supplies in their desk or locker???

    What I find very ironic is that my girlfriend is enrolled in the Covad (I think that’s how it’s spelled) program and she doesn’t pay a dime. Plus they mail her ALL the materials she needs including scissors, paint, glue, markers, paper and etc. I want to laugh, but it’s really very sad.

    • Hi Victoria – I think parents are too scattered and maybe too tired to stop, think, and act. Somehow along the way the supply list has become a household name and a habit. Even with the budget cuts schools are currently facing, a global view of school money is attainable along with a reshifting of priorities – it would just take some reasonable folks to sit down and attend to the matter. There are reasonable folks still around, aren’t there?? Government spending at the federal level would benefit from the same type of scrutiny, too, huh? Even within our families that sort of perspective is necessary. It’s just one of the things on a long list that would be nice to change about our world :). Maybe that’s a great idea for a blog! “Things about the World I Would Change if I Had the Energy”. Sigh.

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