Okay we're calling it, back-to-school shopping lists are getting ridiculous.

Yep, it’s already that time of year.

You thought shopping in the Christmas rush was bad. Have you been to your local shopping centre lately?

It’s kind of scary.

I was there a recent cloudy day and it seems every mother in the nearest 20km radius had the same idea as me. If you can’t get to the beach, drag the kids out shopping to tick off that back-to-school list.

It was back-to-school-mageddon. Seriously. Hundreds of mothers with sunburnt hubbies in tow. Kids trailing behind their tiny eyes blinking from being dragged away from the harsh white screen of their iPad.

We were all there in solidarity. On a mission to complete a list, the only problem was the list itself.

Baby wipes? Large box of tissues? Tin foil? Ziplock bags? An extra large bottle of hand sanitiser? Moisturiser? Garbage bags?

What on earth were we actually shopping for? (Good golly, where is your mind going? That’s NOT what I was alluding to).

"We were all there in solidarity. On a mission to complete a list, the only problem was the list itself." (Image via iStock)

USB stick? An art shirt? Twistable pencils? Five glue sticks… scissors, four pencils, a ruler, compass set rah, rah, rah... and working my way down to the bottom - wait for it a pair of old socks.

Socks, yes. But I will get to that later.

In the meantime there was a list to tick off.  And first up it was time to take a number behind the growing queue of pinching-poking-tumbling brothers and sisters waiting to be poked, prodded and measured in the quest for a pair of shiny black shoes that will withstand the rigours of our asphalt playgrounds.

Mum chat rooms are flooded at the moment with a new type of what-is-it-game?

Where do I buy a synthetic free art smock? Where can I get my flat-footed/three-toed/high-arched five-year old a pair of shoes that won’t make him scream? Why am I providing three packets of wet wipes for my son’s kinder class? Does anyone know where to purchase clear plastic A4 folders with pockets and a built in navigator?

And who else has to provide a pair of old socks?

(You're curious too huh? They are for wiping the whiteboard. It was this particular item that horrified our iVillage editor. She’s now haunted by images of thousands of primary school teachers forced through the financial hardship of our education system to endure the smell of old socks every time they want to re-write the day and date on the classroom whiteboard.)


Many parents are complaining this year that the back-to-school list has expanded beyond what regular families can manage.

"Many parents are complaining this year that the back-to-school list has expanded beyond what regular families can manage." (Image via iStock)

These are public schools obviously struggling to provide required items to their pupils. The idea being that if every family provides a large box of tissues and an extra large container of hand sanitizer then the school is set for the year.

But for some it’s too much.

“I don’t see why I should have to provide this?” wrote one commentator on social media, “ I already pay $130 in school fees for the government school, what do they spend that on?”

According to a report last year Australian parents spend on average around $600 on school supplies for each primary school child and this just on necessities such as shoes, books, uniforms and musical and sporting equipment.

This time last year there was a growing concern from many parents around the pressure to supply an iPad in an increasing number of schools.

The introduction of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs meant that kids were encouraged to bring in their own iPads to use in the classroom.

For many schools it wasn’t compulsory but there was a division between the technology classes and the non-technology classes.

Until that program hits my son’s school I am just thankful that the only division is how smelly their Dad’s old socks are.

Do you think back to school shopping lists are getting a bit ridiculous? What else have you been asked to buy for your child's school?

Want more? Try these: 

If your child can’t do these 7 things, they’re not ready for school.

“Stop with the school awards already.”