The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Back to School

by Alexandra Edwards

To those of us without young children at home it seems like summer has only just begun but believe it or not, fall is just around the corner.  As sad as it may seem for most, summer break is almost over as children and their parents make the many preparations for going back to school.

The beginning of a school year can be a very expensive time for many families, especially for those with children starting a new school or for parents with more than one child.  From kindergarten tots to pre-teens, from teenager to young adult, the cost for education grows by the year. Expenses could be greater for one student than for another.  For example, a student starting their freshman year at high school will no doubt need completely different school supplies to those in elementary school. Whereas those moving up a grade in their present school can probably still use much of what was used last semester. When it's time for college - now we are really talking extra expenses.

Before heading to the store, it is recommended to first sit down with your children and write a list, starting with the most essential items.  Next to each item roughly estimate the price you are prepared to pay, bearing in mind that to your child the value of an item may differ

Alexandra Edwards

from yours. Communication on this is vitally important to your child's school experience. High price shoes for example may be more important than expensive shirts. After the list is complete add the total cost to decide whether you will be within your budget.  Maybe some of the items need not be purchased immediately and can wait a few weeks. The local Dollar

Shops are a good place to try for many of the basic school supplies, pencils, crayons, glue, etc.. the few dollars you save there could go toward buying other essentials on your list.

The state of Tennessee is allowing some area merchants to hold a  "Sales Tax Holiday" starting  Friday August 3 at 12.01 a.m. and ending  Sunday August 5 at 11:59 p.m. During this time consumers will have the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, apparel and computers, tax free. Bradley Square Mall will be extending their hours to accommodate shoppers to take advantage of the tax free weekend.

According to marketing director of the mall, Stacia

Crye-Shahan, a recent poll had shown that 75% of parents were likely to spend more than originally intended on back to school shopping this year. "Back to school shopping is a daunting task for parents, our job is to make it as simple and as successful as possible," she explained.

According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, clothing $100 or less per item is defined as human wearing apparel for general use, such as skirts, shirts, dresses, coats, jackets, pants, jeans, shoes, hats, socks and underwear.  It does not however include accessories such as jewelry, handbags or sewing materials.  School supplies costing $100 or less per item will include binders, book bags, backpacks, calculators, chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, tape. For those considering buying a new  computer, those costing $1,500 or less can also be purchased tax free during the sales tax holiday. Before making your purchase, it is advised to check with the retailer that the item you are about to purchase comes under the tax free definition.

Below are a few useful tips to make shopping and going back-to-school go as smooth run as possible. Plan  the shopping days the same fun way as you would the summer break activities. Start the day early with breakfast at a fast-food or family restaurant. Start shopping for the items on your list that may take a little longer time to to select. 

Shopping for your children can become very stressful, especially parents of young teens or pre-teens. No doubt there is going to be some protests, some attitudes and sighs of "I'm not wearing That" as they disagree on fashions. When things start to get a little crazy, stop for lunch, a cup of coffee, or an ice cream.

Remind yourself that you probably acted just the same way when your parents selected clothes for you when you were a teenager. And, if it is any consolation, all parents have gone through it at one time or another. Try to come to a compromise, then get back to the shopping in a more relaxed mood.

Take advantage of the summer clearance sales, there are still a couple of months of  warm weather left, maybe those fall fashions can be purchased at a later date. Many summer clearance items could be used for fall. Light weight summer sweaters, short sleeved tees and tanks are ideal for the layered look presently in vogue. Preparing to go back to school is not just about shopping. 

The first day back at school can be a lot less traumatic if everything is organized the night before. Try to establish a routine you can stick with. First check to see what your child will need to take with them to school the next day. Pack  all that is needed into backpacks. Check to see if there are any fees due. Make sure you have correct change for lunch money to save frantically hunting around for it in the morning. If lunch boxes have to be made up, make them beforehand and put them in the refrigerator. A nice touch is to secretly add a little loving or encouraging note to your child's lunch box.

Check the weather forecast for rain to decide on which clothes would be appropriate. Lay out outfits to be worn before going to bed to avoid fights in the morning. Getting the kids to bathe or take a shower in the evening will free up a little more time in the morning.

Begin the school year with a bright start. Going back to school can be a great new adventure. There's no limit to what can be learned or new friends to be made.

And parents remember, you too can learn from the going back to school experience. The best thing about education is that whether you have a child just starting kindergarten, or a student starting college, it is never too late to go back to school yourself.