Regardless of whether you are attending a brick and mortar or an online school, back-to-school season is a great time to start fresh with simple ideas that make a big impact. 

School supplies are a necessity, and we wanted to know what items are considered must-haves, so we asked the experts—moms. Although you may be anticipating typical items like pens and paper, think again. This back-to-school supplies list will give your family simple solutions for time management and organization for the school year.

School supplies you need for a new school year (Preschool)

  1. A pink eraser—Erasers let kids know that mistakes happen, adjustments need to be made, and that’s okay! Pennie, mom of four K12 students says this is “the best eraser” she’s found.
  2. Pencils—There’s no denying that kids are constantly losing their pencils, so the more you have, the less stress you’ll run into throughout the day.
  3. Binders—This is not for the student, but to help you as the parent stay organized.
  4. Headphones—As a way to keep everyone focused on their own work and maintain a quiet working environment, headphones are a simple and effective solution.
  5. Colored marker—Although we are accustomed to using the color red for corrections, that color may be too harsh. Try using a marker or ink pen in your child’s favorite color so mistakes don’t seem so negative.

School supplies you need for a new school year (any age)

  1. A dry erase calendar—Kimberly, mom of two International Academy students, created her own calendar that is the size of a door mirror. Columns separate each day of the week, starting with Monday, and ten rows. Each family member has his or her own dry erase marker color.  “It is in a place that we all can easily see from our desks,” she says, adding that her “kids have gotten so used to it, they use it during the summer.”??????????
  2. Chore chart—Similar to a calendar, days, weeks, and months are marked with pictures or words. This is a great way to make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them.  They also know what the rewards/consequences are.
  3. Backpack—Brick and mortar students are used to carrying a backpack on a daily basis, to and from each class, but it’s something online students can benefit from, too. Online education provides families with the opportunity to learn from many locations, and a backpack allows you to be ready to go with school supplies for all of those learning adventures.
  4. Milk crates—A great organizer that can hold books students need to have with them in their work space. Learning at home is also a great opportunity to learn in different spaces in the home, and crates can easily be picked up and taken to a different work space. Try to keep only what they are currently using in the crate.
  5. Bulletin board—Cork or magnetic dry erase boards are great supplies for practice/game schedules, motivational quotes, lists of activities they want to do when they are done with school, and reminders.

So get those bulletin boards, make those calendars, and remember to keep it simple this year.

Have students in other grades? Make sure to check out the must-have school supplies for elementary, middle, and high school, too.

You can also give some inspiration to new families by telling us your K12 story, or leave a comment below with something you consider to be a must-have.

This article was updated August 2015

Image credit: Ellie / CC BY-SA 2.0

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