Teaching My Kids NOT to Share

School Supplies 3 With the swine flu virus floating around, schools are being more cautious than ever in protecting kids from germs.  Whitney’s teacher faithfully scrubbed each table with Clorox wipes last year, especially during cold/flu season.  There was hand sanitizer available to the girls at all times, and the bathroom sinks are in the hallways to make sure kids wash their hands after they go potty.

But…my girls were more sick last year than they have ever been.  They each missed 14 days of school, which is really a crazy amount for them.  I think we took one or two family days, so the rest of those days, they were just too sick to send to school.

I remember the first week of school last year, Whitney came down with bronchitis  I got a call from the school nurse, and had to pick her up from school.  The school nurse said that it was the first week of school and already half the school was sick.  I told that to our family doctor later that day, and he asked me one question: Do they sit in their own desks, or are they at shared tables?  I told him they sat at shared tables, and shared all their supplies from a basket in the middle of the table.  His answer:  Germ Fest.

He went on to say that he was on the health advisory board way back when our school was being built, and he strongly advised that the school not purchase shared tables, but individual desks for children.  They ignored his advice, and went with the tables.

On top of taxes that we pay into our community, we pay between $100-$200 per child for supplies and textbooks.  Our teachers now do all the school supply shopping for our children.  At first I thought this was a wonderful idea.  It saved me a ton of time, and my kids would have the same stuff as all the other kids.  What I did not factor in, was that all those supplies would be placed in bins in the center of each table for all the kids to share.  I’m all about sharing, but quickly realized that they were sharing every sneeze, germ, and booger that went from their classmates little hand, to their marker, to my kids’ hand when they shared that same marker.

I’m opting out of sharing this year.  I still have to pay the supply fee, but I am purchasing all my kids’ supplies for them.  I am telling them for the first time in their lives NOT to share.  The true measure of this experiment will be in days of school they miss this year.  I’ll get back with you about that sometime next May.

6 thoughts on “Teaching My Kids NOT to Share

  • August 10, 2009 at 11:09 pm
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    I’m assuming this is the same school that sent you home with a “tree” of paper? Did they change any of that? I have never heard of shared supplies or desk. Of course my kids have been out of school for a number of years now, so some things may have changed.

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  • August 11, 2009 at 8:44 am
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    Our doctor told us the same thing Jacob’s 1st grade year when he seemed to be sick over and over. However, I think they do begin to build a resistants to it. Last year Jacob didn’t miss one day of school and Aaron only missed a couple that I let him fool me into believing he was sick. I have to say that our teachers work really hard to wipe things down and make the kids wash their hands. All that being said my kids will probably e really sick this year. Good luck with your experiment. 🙂

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  • August 11, 2009 at 9:49 am
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    Hopefully the teacher will respect your reason to purchase their own supplies. I did that at least three times last year, she either threw his supplies away (not kidding) or she threw them in the bag of supplies in her closet. I wasn’t trying to stock up for the year for everyone else, but my concerns were the health issue. I’m happy I don’t have to deal with that this year, as we are homeschooling but it was very frustrating. Hopefully you won’t have to worry about it.

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  • October 17, 2009 at 10:20 am
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    I am in complete agreement with you. My kindergarten student missed 12 days last year in the first semester alone. This year, she missed an entire week in the September. My older children had their own desks and supplies and they never missed this much school! The common denominator? Sharing supplies! My pediatrician and her partner were astonished that the school is still doing sharing at this time when the flu is rampant and dangerous for kids!

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  • May 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm
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    So, what do you think, now that we’re in May? Did your experiment work?? I think it’s a great idea & did the same thing for my son when he went into Kindergarten. Staying healthy long enough to learn is a good enough reason for me….don’t have to be a germaphobe to see the advantage in that! You’re a good mom!

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    • May 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm
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      What a GREAT question! Both Maddie and Whitney ended up getting H1N1 at the beginning of the school year, despite no sharing. I think they are doomed in the set up they have at table groups. Parents who send their kids to school sick are to blame really. I know many of them don’t have choices because they work, but it’s hard to have those kids breathing all their germs on my kids all day. Not sure if there is a solution, but not sharing helped some I think. 🙂

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