The school year fast approaches, and so too does the deadline for getting those school supplies for your school-going children. So here are a few of those much-needed supplies, in case this past year has made you or your child forget what normal school is supposed to look like.

1: Masks

There is still much debate and political wrangling over the requirement for masks in school this fall. Most common masks will protect those around the wearer, but not the wearer. If you are looking for a mask that is at least 95% effective in protecting your child, look for one rated KN95 and above. Be sure to do some shopping around, though. There tends to be a large variance in price on these.

2: Backpack

There will be many books, which need to be carried around easily and quickly. So there’s not a whole lot better answer than a good, sturdy backpack. If your kid complains about the straps digging into their shoulders, there are other backpacks out there with extra padding in the straps that should solve the problem. If they complain that the backpack is too heavy, there are backpacks available that come with a handle and rollers.

3: Notebooks

Typically, you’ll want to get ones that are ring-bound, with lined pages that are easy to tear away from the notebook. Notebooks like that are a little more multi-purpose and easier to use in more situations. Then, of course, there are the classic black-white glue-bound notebooks (they do come in different colors, by the way). The important thing here is that it serves as a notebook: a place for writing and storing written notes. As opposed to the bag of loose paper your child will bring home at the end of the year.

4: Pencils

But you can’t write anything in a notebook if you’ve got nothing to write with, right? The reminder to get No. 2 pencils almost goes without saying these days, as it’s so ingrained into everyone’s subconscious. However, it’s worth mentioning anyway: the lockdown made us forget about many basic things.

5: Student Planner

Speaking of forgetting basic things, you know what would cut down on the stress of remembering all the homework assignments that need doing and when they need to be done? Writing them down in a little calendar, with a little handy task list, of course. Not only does it help your child stay on top of things, but it’s also convenient for you if you need to check in on their progress and help them organize themselves. Good training for later in life!

6: Water Bottle

No, not the plastic ones that come in bundles. We’re talking about the reusable ones – the big ones you can keep refilling when necessary. Especially as the weather remains hot around this time of year, making sure that your kid can stay hydrated for long periods is important. Even with schools being mostly air-conditioned, hydration is important for brain function and especially during physical activity.

7: Lunch Box

Hardcover lunch boxes can get filthy if you don’t clean them or get new ones. Trust me. And you do not want your kids to go out with grimy lunch boxes for a fun and colorful variety of reasons. So, why not purchase a new lunch box? It’s also important for the simple fact that it’s getting hotter, and keeping the food cool will be a bonus. Besides, your child’s taste in design has probably changed since last year.

 

Now, those are the essentials that you’ll need to ensure that the school-going members of the family aren’t going ill-equipped. However, that doesn’t mean they have to go with just the bare necessities.

For example, if your child has certain learning or attention-related disabilities, there are a few things you can get for them that will help enable their concentration. Of course, we all have learned about fidget toys by now – spinners and cubes and the like – but there’s also squeeze balls, silly putty, gum, or if the school is particularly progressive, they can wear headphones and listen to music set at low volume. These items are tremendous tools in helping those with ADHD to concentrate.

One final note: Yes, the pandemic is still going. And while we put masks at the top of this list, it bears repeating. Make sure that your child is as safe as they can be. An additional idea to the masks is to arm your child with small bottles of hand sanitizer and remind them to wash or sanitize their hands frequently.

Time marches ever onward. Popular music flows along with the rivers of change, and once-great bands soon find themselves in the annals of history – memories within the eras of the past. But when we look back upon these storied pasts, do we rediscover our favorite classics and find the youth of this new age lacking? Were bands from the 90’s better than the bands of today, or are our memories more intoxicating than the actual songs?

Let’s face it, the ‘90s had Vanilla Ice, and it still needs to apologize for that.

In all seriousness, the point of this article is both to look back and see what happened to those we used to love. For example, N’Sync — what happened to all those guys, anyway? Where are the people who crafted the music of our childhood, teendom, college years? Has Vanilla Ice learned the error of his ways and become a monk as atonement? Let’s find out, shall we?

Backstreet Boys

Backstreet’s back, alright. Around the ‘00s, they seemed to just disappear into the ether, never to be heard from again (until we heard from them again). They started releasing albums once more in 2007 with “Unbreakable.” Their most recent album came out in 2019, “DNA.” So, hey, those boys are still hanging around those backstreets!

Spice Girls

There was a moment in time when five young women set the pop music industry on fire. They educated the young lads on what they should do if they wished to be their lovers and prodded the deepest parts of our minds with the fundamental human question: “Who Do You Think You Are?” But alas, the spice, much like the hot kick it gives to a meal, was short-lived. In 2001 they disbanded, and they never really got back together again, not really. They would go on to collaborate on a few disparate projects, a tour or two, but that was about it. More or less, they went off to do their own successful things, like birds leaving the nest or the spice rack.

MC Hammer

Aaahhh yes, the untouchable man, the craftsman of rap, the wearer of the low-hanging pants. His days of making music were quite fruitful (it wasn’t just that one song: He’s released ten albums throughout the entirety of his career). But those days are presumably done. Now, he’s a spokesperson in ads for things like Command Strips.

N’Sync

Hey, if you’re looking for more N’Sync, at least one of those guys is still banging out the tunes. While the Backstreet Boys reunited and continued their fated journey across the streets, N’Sync has more or less said their final farewells, with the last major reunion being a one-off in 2018.

Destiny’s Child

Well, we know where Beyonce went. But what about the other two? How are Rowland and Williams? Though Beyonce obviously stole the world’s attention, the rest of this sparkling group have done pretty well for themselves as well. You might know Rowland from her role in “Empire,” and Williams got to be in “Chicago” in 2010.

Nirvana

Erm, yeah, Nirvana isn’t a thing anymore. So rest in peace, Kurt. However, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the band disappeared. Dave Grohl, the gentleman of rock, is still making music in Foo Fighters. It’s a good thing the drummer for Nirvana is still around! Still here, and still making music! Foo Fighters would be considered by most actually to be a 00’s band, but that’s because they rose to fame around that time. However, technically, they did start in the ‘90s.

Vanilla Ice

You knew this was coming. Alright, Ice, it’s time. Your hour of judgment is at hand. Where are you now, and what have you done?

Are you the host of a home improvement show called “The Vanilla Ice Project”?

Huh. Okay. Unexpected, but okay. Good for you, Ice.

 

Well, there you have it. We could’ve gone into more bands, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, or we’d be here all day. If you weren’t already aware, there were a ton of bands in the ’90s. We could’ve talked about how Boyz II Men is still around and kicking, how Lauryn Hill had a fling with tax evasion before going back to performing at small venues, or how 98 Degrees was the boy band who did “Because of You,” and we’d all go “oooohhhh okay I do know them.” But we won’t.