I don't go back to school until the beginning of September, but because I'll be away for most of the time between then and now I've sorted my school supplies out already, and I thought I'd share all that here on my blog.
I absolutely love stationery, and I can spend hours in shops like WH Smith when I go back to the UK, just admiring all the pretty folders and trying out interesting pens and things. Unfortunately we don't have a WH Smith in Belgium, and our stationery shops (AVA and Club) tend to be very pricey. Partly because of this, partly because I get quite attached to stuff, and partly because it just doesn't need replacing, I don't buy everything new each year, so this is a mixture of stuff I bought recently and old bits and pieces recycled from previous years.
This will be my last year of school and I have all the same subjects and teachers (mostly) as last year. By now I know exactly what I tend to use, what I need and what works best for each subject and teacher. For instance, some hand out a lot of sheets and don't expect us to copy much down, so a folder is all that's needed, while for subjects where there's a lot of writing as well as extra sheets I use a thin folder and a notebook together. There's no set requirements for materials any more, we're just expected to be able to organise ourselves in a sensible way.
I thought I'd start off with my pencil case and its contents. The case itself is from Asda and cost about £3, I love it because it's simple but timeless, and perhaps more importantly it's sturdy, stays upright and doesn't spill pens everywhere like some others I've had. Inside I keep a ruler, a couple of pencils, a compass (actually my mum's from when she was at school, I find it works better than any modern plastic ones), a four-colour Bic, a highlighter, a couple of pens, a black double-ended felt tip for doodling, Tippex, scissors, a rubber and a pencil sharpener. I also have a flat hole punch (at the back), which is a super cool gadget that comes in handy when we get sheets handed out and I want to file mine away quickly. I always carry a lipbalm too - this one is the watermelon one from H&M.
Next up is a very technical piece of kit: this is my TI-nspire with its case. It's basically a really fancy calculator which does graphs and spreadsheets and all sorts of complicated things I never use it for. We had to buy them a few years ago, and we actually use them in the calculator part of our Maths exams, and in things like Chemistry, Physics and Geography. It weighs a ton and takes hours (sometimes days) to charge up, so it's not exactly an easy calculator to use, but we have to have them and cart them around all the time.
The folder on the left I carry literally everywhere with me at school. Rather than taking a whole folder home just for the sake of one piece of paper I need for homework, I put the sheet I need in here, along with anything other odd bits of paper. It's also got spare sheets of lined, squared and plain paper, just in case. The other thing is a set of lined double sheets we need for French tests - typically very specific and difficult to find.
These Atoma notebooks are the kind everyone uses at my school, and they actually originate in Belgium, which is fitting. They're great because you can take sheets out and put them back in in different places, but they're also usually really expensive, depending where you buy them - these particular ones cost €6.99 each in AVA! I'm going to use these for History, Biology and Maths.
I also tend to use these thin folder to put handouts in for certain subjects, namely Maths, Geography and Biology. I put dividers in nearly every folder, as they're so useful for keeping things organised.
These days I use folders more than I used to. I'll keep one of these at home to decant Maths handouts into when we've finished that topic, and the others will be used for French, Dutch and Philosophy.
These white folders (also from AVA) are my absolute favourites, because they have a clear plastic pocket at the front which means I can easily personalise them with a cover, which can then be swapped over if needed. The English one is recycled from last year, but I did the App English (basically the advanced course option I take alongside the main course) cover the other day. I just took a sheet of coloured paper for the background, stencilled the letters onto white card with a black pen and mounted that on a border. Here's a close up of each:
This is a little notebook I use to write down what work I have to do that day when I get in from school. I also have an agenda which I carry around with me at school and write down my homework in, but I use the notebook to write down ongoing things as well, such as studying for tests and other pieces of long term work I should be doing too. I start a new page each day, and write down every last thing I have to do, which often means rewriting stuff for a few days. It might seem a little over the top, but this way I never miss anything and I never have the awful feeling of walking into a class and realising I've totally forgotten about the day's homework. The other agenda I use I get given by my school in the first few days, so I can't show it here.
This is the bag I use for school. I know it's technically a handbag, but very few people use actual rucksacks at my school, especially in the upper years of secondary. It's obviously too small to put any books in, so I carry those instead. It contains my pencil case, agenda, purse, a bottle of water, fancy calculator, keys, USB stick, and usually a comb, compact mirror and extra lipbalm.