I'm going to simplify things for you a bit. Hold off on buying anything beyond the basics until after the first day of school. Stick to the five items below, and your high school student will be ready.
- 1 Mead Five Star Single-Subject Notebook - You don't know if your student what kinds of notebooks, binders or folders your students will need for each class, so get them a high quality one that will last them far beyond this year. They can use it to take notes on the first day and then use it for a specific class. Don't go out and buy 5-subject behemoths or flimsy cheapo notebooks that won't be worth it!
- 1 Box of Ballpoint Pens - I guarantee you your child will use every single one! Buying in bulk saves money in the long run. Plus, you'll make your child's teachers happy.
- 1 Box of Mechanical Pencils - Sharpening is overrated. Your child can never have enough of these (see #2).
- Sanford Magic Rub Erasers - This is maybe the best kept secret in office supplies. These are the best erasers available. They are used by artists and architects (among others) because it erases cleanly, leaving no marks whatsoever.
- A quality backpack or messenger bag - Let your child pick it out, please. If they're not happy with it, they won't use it, which means they'll be less likely to carry around homework and other work they need to do! Nowadays, messenger bags are the cool thing to have. I got a Timbuk2 messenger bag last year, and although they are expensive, they are worth every penny. My medium sized bag was more than enough to hold a couple of book and/or my laptop with no problem. They also make backpacks that are just as good, and all of their products have a lifetime warranty. Find a retail store near you so you can check it out before you buy (and maybe find a good deal).
First, your child's teachers may actually provide the notebook, folder or other supplies they need (something I usually do), which is one less supply you'd need to get. Remember you'll save a lot by skipping unnecessary items and taking advantage of the steep discounts retailers will have for all of the back-to-school supplies left over from earlier sales. Finally, you're almost certainly going to have to buy something you didn't anticipate after the first day of school--so it's not like you won't have to do this extra bit of shopping anyway.
Save yourself time, money and effort with this list!