Remember the Chalkboard

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Pencils

Yesterday, I caught myself saying the words every person hears as a child and swears they won’t repeat when they become adults. But, no matter how hard we fight against it, we are destined to repeat this cycle. It started off innocently enough with a reminder from me that we have to get our back-to-school shopping done this weekend. The must-have lists my sons rattle off sparked those words heard—and dreaded—by every generation. I looked at them and said: “When I was your age …”

But it’s true.

When I was a kid, my back-to-school list was simple: paper, spiral notebooks, number two pencils, book bag, ruler, and a lunchbox (metal, with cartoon superheroes and matching thermos). Since when did a back-to-school list consist of flash drives, digital recorders, and e-readers? So I said it. Who could blame me?

E-readers and flash drives … seriously?

My sons did their summer reading on my e-reader – which was great, because I asked them what books they had to read and we downloaded them. I didn’t have to make the annual trip to the bookstore and search the shelves for books they were invariably out of because every kid in our county had to read the same books. But now, my kids feel strongly that they should each have their own personal readers because they fight over the one they have to share–and if mom is reading, all bets are off.

They both insist they need flash drives. Apparently, they are doing a lot more on the computers at school and they need to store projects and reports so they can work on them at home. At least they haven’t requested external hard drives … yet. Flash drives aren’t that expensive – but they are small and easy to lose. I may have to stock up.

Another odd request—digital recorders. As my sons are both in band at their schools, they often have to record themselves playing and turn it in for a test grade. But does it have to be digital? What happened to the little ones that used cassette tapes? When I said this to my kids, they tilted their heads and stared at me as if I had just spoken to them in a foreign language. Cassette tapes … they do still make those … don’t they?

And apparently, tablet computers are the thing for scholastic success. There are a whole bunch of apps to enhance education. But tablets are expensive. This one is on the when-you-are-old-enough-to-get-a-job list. I made it through school without an iPad … so can they.