It's that time of year once again. Your local Target, Walmart or other family friendly supply store has their back to school displays ready so families can stock up on pencils, notebooks, erasers and whatever else your child's teacher has included on their school supply list.
It can be a bit overwhelming and expensive when it comes to buying back to school supplies, especially if you have more than one child. And while there are definitely areas where parents can save when it comes to back to school shopping, many teachers and professionals are suggesting that it's not on your child's pencils!
Most of us simply assume that a pencil is a pencil, so we buy which ever ones our kids choose or simply pick the box that seems like the best deal. But in fact all pencils aren't created equal, and if you choose the wrong ones you may find your child going through way more pencils than you expected, and frustrating not only your child, but your teacher along the way.
A post by a teacher named Meribeth Miller Mathews showing parents that all pencils are not created equal has gone viral now that school supply shopping is in full swing.
Mathews post shows that there is definitely a difference when it comes to the kinds of pencils you buy for your children, which is probably something not many parents think about. So the next time you scoff when your teacher specifies a brand of pencil on your child's school supply list, there is actually a reason behind it.
The picture shows just how annoying those fancy, plastic coated pencils that your child might love actually are. The plastic simply peels and flakes away when the pencil is sharpened, causing a mess that is definitely not needed in the classroom. She also showed how cheaper graphite pencils can be annoying thanks to "internally broken graphite" that ends up being "so frustrating" not only for the student, but the teacher as well.
Office supply branded pencils, like those from Staples or Office Depot were labelled simply 'meh' while more brand name options like FaberCastell and America's Pencil were noted as "perfectly fine." Mathews was partial to the Ticonderoga pencil, which happens to be a favorite among many in the teaching profession.
According to How Stuff Works, there is a lot one should look at when buying a pencil. First and foremost, one should look at the wood the pencil is made from as well as the graphite mix inside the pencil.
"If you've ever written with a pencil and it gets scratchy that means the graphite and clay haven't been mixed long enough," Henry Hulan, of the Musgrave Pencil Company says. "It just takes days sometimes to get a real fine mix of the graphite and clay in order to extrude a really good graphite core." He also points out that cheaper pencils may also have cheaper erasers that may just smear your child's work on their page. "They didn't use good materials to make that eraser or it's an older eraser that had been exposed to light for a while."
While we understand that budget definitely has to be considered when purchasing school supplies, maybe spending a bit more on pencils will help you buy less in the long run. You can get a pack of 96 Ticonderoga pencils on Amazon for under $10, which doesn't seem too expensive, but definitely worth way more if it makes your child's teacher happy!