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Those heavy Backpacks


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I know that now that school has started many of our kids have backpacks that seem to weigh as much as them. My DD started high school and then goes to performing arts high school in afternoon. So I decided to buy her 5 core books. They were less than 100 for all 5 books on half.com , well worth the money. Now she only has to carry her required 5, 3 ring binders, ballet stuff and lunch.

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  • Victoria Leigh


  • Treefrog


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Thanks for the link. My DS is away, so only has to carry books from his room to his class - just down the stairs - but we have issues with another son who has to carry the massive pack for the first time this year. Many schools/publishers have access to online textbooks now, but ours aren't working. Seems like a huge gamble to hope you can access your homework online only to find out there's a glitch that day so you don't get your homework done at all. Double books seems so much more logical!

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It's been a while, but there are a lot of topics here on Ballet Talk about the damages caused by backpacks. I have been on a campaign about this for many years, because of the posture problems they cause.


Heavy backpacks cause the child to walk bent forward, and the worst part is that the head will jutt forward, out of alignment with the spine. This is one of the most difficult things there is to correct, and I tell my students that if they are carrying books in a backpack they need to lose it yesterday or forget about dancing for a career. They might also want to think about what they will look like as a hunchback in their 20's. :wacko:


They have a hundred excuses and I don't buy any of them. Somehow or other we all survived without backpacks when I was in school....they didn't even have them then! :):)

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I'm with Victoria - my DD had to have physical therapy because of damage caused by an overly heavy backpack. Parents should tell the school NO, back it up with a doctor's excuse or a lawyer letter if necessary, and stand firm. Demand that wheels be permitted, double sets of books, whatever is necessary.

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Guest pink tights

Under 13 parent here. I bought DD one of those rolling backpacks from LLBean. Best $75 I ever spent. :)


I also see kids carrying way too much stuff to ballet class--it's almost as if they think they look twice as serious if they carry everything but the kitchen sink. Sure, they need several pairs of pointes, foot care items, tech shoes, and a bun kit...but all those extra leotards/tights/mucklucks/legwarmers/skirts. Most schools don't even allow all that junk in class, so why bother lugging it around? :wacko:

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The rolling backpacks may work fine with younger students, but when it comes to very large high schools, with hundreds of kids in the hall literally sprinting during the 10 minute passing period that may require them to go from one end of a building to another and up and down stairs (my daughter had to walk a distance that was further than a football field and up or down two flights of stairs between each of her classes in 9th grade) the wheels just don't work. There is no room for them to pull something behind them, as the kids are packed in like cattle all moving at a fast pace, much like you would find in a busy NYC subway terminal at rush hour. Stopping on the stairs to adjust your back pack could get you trampled! :wacko:


May not be the same in your high school, but in the two large public schools mine attended this was the case. The crisscrossing of the building between classes also made it impossible to stop at her locker between classes to pick up books and not be late for class (and she had several teachers who gave tardies as soon as the bell rang to anyone not in their seat).


It is a terrible dilemna. The best situation is a set of textbooks in the classroom that doesn't leave the room and another set at home for reading and homework. My daughter has been in private schools where this was the practice. Works out very well!


Once they get to college, the problem becomes even more tricky! They leave their dorms/apts. in the morning and don't return until all classes are over. If they drive to school, they usually must park in a lot and take a bus to the academic building. No lockers at all. Classes may be 1/2 a mile apart, require very brisk walking (up and down hills on her particular campus). catching campus buses and then walking some more and ballet classes are thrown in there too. So, they really do end up with lots of things they need to carry all over campus all day long!

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They were less than 100 for all 5 books on half.com





I like my DD to have two sets of books as well -- at least for the heavier ones -- so I checked out half.com. You did very well to get five books for under $100! I looked for my DD's art history and chemistry books, and they were both in the $65-$80 range. Maybe the cheaper offers were already gone?


I would love for our school to purchase class sets of books and leave them in the classroom. I think I will propose this. We have a "wellness initiative", so maybe I can sell it on those grounds.


Victoria, when I was in high school we carried canvas book sacks that were quite heavy when fully loaded -- as mine often was. I don't imagine that was any better for the spine, and quite possibly worse. I do think that textbooks have gotten larger, denser, and heavier than they used to be. And more kids -- especially kids as bright as our multi-talented dancers -- are taking the rigorous honors, AP, and IPB classes, which tend to have even bigger and more information-packed books. It's certainly a problem in search of a solution.

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Yes, I do think that books are larger these days, and more of them. And especially for the college students. However, I will still disagree very, very strongly with the idea of carrying them on their backs. Another method needs to be found.

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Rolling backpacks are not allowed in our middle school. They won't fit in the lockers and the classes are so small that backpacks aren't allowed in the classroom during class. (That's their excuse anyway - could have to do with bringing in contraband.) Block scheduling made it easier for my DS during middle school - he only had to bring home half of his textbooks each day. Even then it was painful to pick up the bag. The availabillity of text books on-line is at least a move in the right direction. Most school budgets are so tight I can't seem them easily buying into the idea of double sets of books - even if one set is in the classroom for use by all. Plus, again, our middle school rooms are so small I don't know where they'd put them! (Yes - they're very tiny. Hoping the high school rooms are better.) If you're looking for textbooks, though, think about the public library. Lots are donated - especially by homeschoolers - and are then resold by the library (at very low rates!) during fundraisers. We were told by the librarian that they only keep so many on the shelf, so they have lots and lots left over to sell. May not work for college but it would for high school. The year when DS homeschooled through Keystone we donated all of the textbooks at the end of the year. I know his Algebra I book was used by some schools the next year - same editition and everything. Same for the science book (our local high school is still using it!) In fact, I think all of his books were so new that they would have a few years left for most school districts.

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My husband is a high school teacher and they tried both online text books and the classroom set last year in his department.


About 30% of the classroom set disappeared from the classrooms because there is no way to detemine if students have brought their own copy in or if it is the class copy.


With the average class-size increased to around 40 students, he is happy to have a text for each kid.....it is not feasible to have an additional copy for everyone.

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About 30% of the classroom set disappeared from the classrooms because there is no way to detemine if students have brought their own copy in or if it is the class copy.


Tell him to try numbering each book in Sharpie on the spine. No one leaves the room until the entire set is assembled, in numerical order. For extra security, assign each student a particular book, and to avoid arguments, make a habit of checking the set BEFORE each class as well as at the end.



-- Treefrog, who is FAR more organized in her classroom than she is at home

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He only lost one book, it was a department wide problem with other teachers......


Husband is also 100 million times more organized at school than at home.....but that is another story, no?

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The other issue with Follett is that the condition varies. While they charge you accordingly you have to be sure what the condition of the book is. I have been dealing with them for years and they are good but a word to the wise to double check the conditon.


A word about the rolling backpacks. While our school does not ban them, neither middle nor high school, they are impractical for the narrow hallways that are clogged already. Even if they weren't, the kids make unmerciful fun of those who use them. If your child does not have a thick skin, you should check out how accepted it is by students before investing in the backpack.


The best solution I have seen is to have one of those sports bads that are small and change books every few periods. I have had students whom I allow to use my office in the central section of the building to store and switch materials if their lockers are too far away. Accordingly, there are teachers who allow students to stow stuff in their rooms as well to avoid the backpacks that weigh at least 75 pounds in some cases.

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Large, heavy textbooks have been a problem in our household for quite some time. It wasn't so bad when the kids were at a K-8 school where the school provided two sets of books: one for school and one for the student to leave at home. But in high school with textbooks being *very* expensive, we can afford to buy only one set per child. (My daughter's AP history books this year alone totaled+$300 -- have lately been going to Barnesandnoble.com to buy textbooks with B&N's Reader's Advantage card to save $$ and get free shipping.)


Dd has been using a large canvas bag to cart her books home and her locker at her HS seems to help when going between classes (no back or other problems in ballet). But roller backpacks won't work when going in and out of different buildings at her school, plus they're considered "nerdy" at her HS. :-)

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