6 items not on the school list that every student needs

Most back-to-school supply lists cover the basics, but no matter how prepared you think you are, you might miss something. Whether you're shopping for yourself or your kids, save yourself a second trip to the store and plan ahead with these extra items.

6 items not on the school list that every student needs

[Image credit: iStock.com/alfexe]

1. USB flash drive

Not every student has his or her own laptop, but once they've reached the elementary school level students will be expected to use computers to plan and execute many school projects.

  • Equip your kids with their own USB flash drive so that they can work on their projects at home or at the library.
  • Apart from using a virtual storage cloud, a USB flash drive is also a good way to keep work backed up "just in case."

2. A personal calendar

School schedules vary from day to day, so it's helpful for students to have their own personal daily or weekly calendars to keep track of classes, homework assignments and extracurricular activities.

  • There are plenty of options when it comes to personal calendars, including computer software, phone or tablet apps, whiteboards and good, old-fashioned paper journals.
  • If using an app or computer software, your child can "share" the calendar with you. That way, you'll always be aware of pending projects, assignments or meetings – because they'll appear in your calendar, too.

3. Locker boxes

Loose sheets floating around in a locker will make a mess, fast. And if your child shares a locker, the confusion will only become much worse if his or her locker partner is a slob.

  • Locker boxes give students somewhere to store these random sheets without crunching them into the back corner where they'll go missing for several months.
  • Storage shelves, so items can be stacked in narrow lockers, are also a great idea.

4. Hand sanitizer

Students can keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in their supply kits or lockers for a quick and easy way to disinfect during the day, especially during cold and flu season.

  • Keep in mind that hand sanitizers do not "clean" dirt from hands. They merely kill off bacteria and so should be used sparingly. A thorough hand washing is just as effective at staving off germs during flu season.

5. Headphones

Libraries have plenty of access to online and media resources, but it's a hassle to try and watch videos and lectures when the volume is so low.

  • Headphones make it much easier to use audio resources without annoying those around you.

As well, should your child need to make an important call, headphones can help keep the conversation relatively private.

  • WiFi access for staff and students is common on most school campuses – from high school to university – so the hallways and study areas tend to be "noisier" with chatter.
  • Good headphones can also block out ambient sounds, which may help your child to study more effectively.

6. Cash

Some parents may disagree with the idea that students need a bit of cash on hand, but it can make life easier.

  • Just five dollars in cash can be used as a quick deposit on a forgotten field trip or study resource, a refreshing bottle of water after gym class or a nice sandwich if lunch wasn't enough.

If carrying around cash intimidates your child, consider gift cards pre-loaded with specific amounts that can be used whenever needed: from popular restaurants (such as Subways) to bookstores (like Chapters), a gift card makes carrying around money almost obsolete.

  • Also, check with your bank to see if you can arrange for your child to have a debit card that he or she can use, over which you control the daily spending limit and amount.
  • If it gets lost, you can always cancel the card right away vs. "cash" which can't be recouped.

With a little planning, making sure your child is ready for school with everything that is – and isn't – on the back-to-school list this year can be easy.

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