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The Learning Zone

1. Take an Inventory, Reuse, and Recycle

Look to see what’s left over from last year. It is likely that there are many binders, pencils, pens, calculators, and other supplies that can be reused. Let kids use stickers or paper to decorate and add a personal touch to reused binders or notebooks to make them seem new again.

2. Make a list

After you have figured out what you already have. Make a list of what items still need to be purchased. Each school has a list of recommended or required supplies by teacher or grade level. Often this list is posted on the school website. If it is not, contact your child’s school to find out what supplies will be required for your child’s grade level.

3. Avoid Gimmicks

Help your child to sort out wants from needs by sticking to the recommended list. Buy basic supplies instead of fancy or flashy versions. They are more likely to break or cause a distraction. Definitely avoid anything that lights up, makes a noise, or could be distracting to your student or others.

4. Back-to-School Swap

Get together with a group of parents and host a back-to-school swap where kids trade school supplies and clothes that they are tired of or have outgrown for ones that are new to them.

5. Consider Color-Coding by Class

Buy a binder, notebook, book cover, and folder that are the same color for each subject. It will make it easier for your student to grab the correct items quickly from their locker.

6. Shop Smart

Browse the circular before you leave to check out deals at local stores. Many stores offer price matching like: Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, and Walmart, where you can show them a sale price from another store, and they will match that price. No time to plan ahead? Use your smartphone and an app like the ShopSavvy app to compare prices in the store and ensure that you are getting the best deal.

7. Buy Backpacks with a Warranty

Companies like L.L. Bean offer a 100% warranty on backpacks. If it wears out, they will replace it. You can save a lot of money by not having to buy a new backpack for each kid every year.

8. Buy Basic Supplies in Bulk

Basic supplies like loose-leaf paper, pencils, and pens should be bought in bulk when they are on sale. This will make it much cheaper in the long-run than buying small quantities when your kids need them.

9. Shop on Tax Free Weekend

Tax Free Weekend is coming up August 1st-3rd. To see what is and is not tax-free check here: In addition to products being tax-free, many stores also offer additional discounts on school supplies and clothing during this weekend.

10. Help your CommunityDSC_0111.JPG

Many local organizations have school supply drives this time of year. While you are out shopping, pick up a few extra supplies for kids who otherwise would not have any on their first day.

Parrish Learning Zone and Spotsylvania County Public Schools are having a Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive on Friday August 1st from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Southpoint Walmart. Please drop by to shop and donate some school supplies that will go to the Spotsylvania County Treasure House which provides supplies for homeless and needy students in Spotsylvania County.

-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.

Parrish Learning Zone, LLC  
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About Nina

nina parrish

Nina Parrish graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Following graduation from the University of Mary Washington, she received the Project PISCES scholarship to attend North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where she completed her certification in Special Education for K-12 students with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance. After obtaining her license, Nina earned a Master's Degree in Education for School Counseling in grades Pre K-12 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Nina taught in the public schools in North Carolina and Virginia for 7 years. Nina currently owns, Parrish Learning Zone, a K-12 local tutoring service with her husband Jay, who is also a teacher. They live in Spotsylvania with their daughter.


Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.


The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.