SchoolFamily Voices

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The Sales of August

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Argh! They got me. I swore I wouldn't be sucked into the back-to-school shopping hype until the first day was clearly in sight. But then I saw an ad for 10-cent notebooks.

Just one dime for 70 spiral-bound pages! I just knew the offer would be gone by Aug. 27 (which, in my town, is the day before school begins and which, if past years are any indicator, is when I would have started my back-to-school shopping).

My personal weakness for notebooks propelled me to the store, where across the aisle I spotted boxes of 24-count crayons for 20 cents each. Now, if I took all of the barely used crayons in my home and laid them end to end, they would circle the earth seven times. Yet at 20 cents for 24 crayons (that's less than a penny each!), I felt it would be irresponsible not to buy a couple of boxes. Then I spotted the glue sticks....

I prefer to delay back-to-school shopping until the last possible moment. If a school supply enters my thoughts before the end of August, I lose my ability to sustain the illusion that summer will last forever. When a school-related television commercial comes on, I mute the sound and pick up a book. On Sundays, I pull open the newspaper, scoop out the stacks of flyers, and dump them into the recycling bin. But despite all of my precautions, that ad for the 10-cent notebooks slipped through. I'm already feeling the chilly fall air.

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?