Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sticker Shock

Peanut is entering Ellicott Mills Middle School this fall. As with every year since she began kindergarten, I dutifully picked up the list of supplies she expected to have on the first day of school. The shopping tally through elementary school usually wound up just shy of a hundred bucks if you included a new book bag. This year it topped $225.00.

By far the biggest line item for an incoming middle schooler in Howard County is the TI-84 Graphing Calculator. It should be noted that this is presented to parents as an optional purchase.

“The TI 84 Plus Silver Edition Graphing Calculator will be used regularly in your child’s class. Although students will be provided with a graphing calculator for use in school, students are best served by having a personal calculator and becoming very familiar with how it is used to address a number of different types of mathematics problems.”

That doesn’t sound very optional to this dad.

The price for this little item was $102.49 at Target in Columbia. This turns out to be a pretty good deal. The cheapest I could find one online was $129.88 (plus shipping) from

The kicker is that I think I’ll need to take a middle school class myself to figure out how to work the dam thing!


Freemarket said...

Would one of the graphing calculator apps for your iPod Touch have worked?

Anonymous said...

My son lost three of those expensive calculators before it was ever really required. Guess we subsidized a few other kids.

He's also subsidized a few iPods. The last time a kid took his iPod, he saw the child and asked for the item to be returned. When the child refused, my son visited the police officer in the school after which he was told by the officer that it had been given by my son to the other child.

Welcome to Marriotts Ridge.

David Wissing said...

I still have my original TI-81 blue graphing calculator that I (or I should say my parents) purchased when these things first came out when I was in high school. My parents probably spent more money for it back in 1992 than you spent on this new one today. But I kept it and used it all through college and it still works as my main calculator at my job to this day. Just have to change the batteries once in a while.

James P. Howard, II said...

Real men use only use the HP-48.

Tom said...

They say it cost $250,000 to raise a child till she (Peanut) is 18. Just keep adding it all up.

wordbones said...


And after that there's college tuition!


that's my iPod Touch...I haven't given it to Peanut...yet.


Anonymous said...

Well, things are getting more expensive. My grandson who is 16 months has received the entire toy department of WalMart from his grandparents. I wonder what the cost will be when he goes to high school.

Tom said...

All bet are off when you send them to college!