What to get for your highschooler? This is a difficult question, but in consultation with my 16 year old son, I present the following list in no particular order:
1. Cell phone: Yes, get one of these for him to carry in his backpack. I frankly favor this whether or not the school does because that cell phone could save someone’s life someday. Also, the location of the cell phone can be found if it is with your child. And it is easy to reach or text your child if you need to change pick-up arrangements or something else. The cell phone is an invaluable tool. If you can afford it, a plan with unlimited texting and internet will also help you student save time and you will save money.
2. Calculator, preferably a scientific one with graphing ability if you can afford it. Some schools supply them, but I guarantee you your student will save much time having his own. I would get one that is not that noticeable by other students. The cute colored calculators tend to get stolen.
3. Home computer. More and more, schools are becoming computerized, with teachers e-mailing their students all the time. Your student needs access to a computer with internet and a printer to do his/her best on assignments. Some schools provide these, but sometimes these are awfully limited. It is easy to transfer data back and forth between the two. A laptop can also serve this function, but is more expensive than a stand alone computer. Make sure it is a real computer, not just a “monitor.” What ever job your child gets, she/he will need computer skills. If you can’t afford a home computer, the next best thing is to find a place where your child can access one such as the library.
4. A music listening device with earphones that work: I hemmed and hawed over this one, but was won over when my son explained he liked to use his music to drown out background noises when trying to study and do homework. We live in a small house.
5. An alarm clock that works: this is not a parent. Your child should have an alarm clock and be responsible for setting it and getting up on his own. He is in high school, you know. Alarm clocks exist that do cool things now, like project the time on the wall.
6. A consistent bedtime: Sorry, but even highschoolers need sleep. Your student should be in bed at the same time each day, unless he needs to finish schoolwork, or it is a special occasion. I don’t know why but most schools put their hardest classes in the AM. It helps to be awake when taking your math test.
7. A weekly school guide: Your student needs to keep track of what is going on in his classes each day, as well as the homework. This is really helpful for reviewing for tests and such. My son gets some positive reinforcement if his book is filled out each week. This also gives you something to go over with him, even if he doesn’t have homework. Some schools supply these so you might want to check before you buy one.
8. An extra copy of your child’s schoolbooks. This can be expensive, but eliminates excuses. Many texts can be purchased used for a reasonable price. I was able to buy my son’s Spanish text for $8. This relieves your child of having carry these things back and forth, and many schools are keeping textbooks strictly in the classroom since they are costly. It helps also if you keep the textbooks in a public place so you can keep an eye on the books getting lost or not returned to their place without invading your child’s room. It also gives you an idea what your child is going over.
9. A backpack with needed pens and pencils and a sharpener. Yep, a backpack or something similar to carry stuff around in that your child needs for school. Many schools don’t use lockers anymore, so a backpack has become a requirement. Don’t buy a cute one, get one that will hold up even if teenage boys pound on it. Several sections are nice and allow your child to keep his electronics from being crushed. Don’t forget the pens, pencils, sharpener and markers.
10. Folder/binder/notebook for each class: It is easier and less confusing to have a folder or binder for each class. The teacher can tell you how big it needs to be. Yes, your student could use one binder for all but will have to add more binders as the year goes on. It is much easier to just add paper. My son likes to have a folder for homework also. When he gets it back, it then goes into the subject binder or folder. This helps him stay organized.
So, that is my list. I didn’t include clothes because really, who doesn’t wear something to school these days? Also, a teenager should be able to handle feeding on his own. I should mention that I am an experienced parent of two teenage boys, so I have used the word him alot. What do you think about my list?