As the summer winds down, it is time to get your teen ready for the new school year, whether he wants to or not. Start by making a list of the school supplies he will need. Some schools provide a list of required items. If your teen's school does not, you can make your own list, focusing on the essential basics, as well as items that will make his school life easier and more organized.
Arm your teen with at least two cases of No. 2 pencils, which are often required for taking tests. A pack of mechanical pens and ball point pens are useful for everyday classwork and homework. Highlighters in different colors are ideal for studying and reviewing papers. Your teen will also need different types of notebooks. An English teacher might require composition notebooks for journal writing, while others might want loose leaf notebooks that you can easily tear paper out of. Rulers and protractors may be necessary for math or other classes.
Depending on whether your teen is in middle school or high school, she will need one or more binder to keep all her school paperwork organized. Most middle schoolers will only need one large binder, with tabs separating the paperwork by class. In high school, however, some of the more intense classes may include so many handouts and worksheets that a separate binder will be required. Your teen should also have a folder for each class and a flat pencil holder that hooks into his binder. He should also have a small planning calendar with large spaces for each date, so that he can write down homework assignments, due dates on papers, upcoming exams and extra-curricular events.
Today, computers are almost essential for teens to use for research and typing up papers. If you can afford it, a small laptop with word processing software can keep your teen from fighting with siblings to use the family computer or having to work around library hours. With a laptop, he can work uninterrupted in his room, or take it over to a friend's house when working on a group project. Your teen should also have a USB flash drive for easy transporting of files to different computers. Your teen will be required to have a calculator for math class, as well. Make sure you find out what type is required for the type of math he is taking.
Other Important Supplies
Get your teen a sturdy, quality backpack so he can carry his school books. Don't let him persuade you to purchase a cooler-looking one-should bag, or messenger bag. These will put an unnecessary strain on his shoulders, as opposed to backpacks, where the strongest muscles in the body -- on the back and abdomen -- carry the weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends selecting a lightweight canvas backpack with wide, padded straps, a padded back, multiple compartments and a waist belt for evenly distributing the weight of his books and binders. Your teen will need locks for his school and gym locker. You should also include a small first aid kit for his locker, so that he can take care of things like paper cuts without having to go the school nurse.