July is in the rear view mirror, and August is stretched out before us. This is that time of year when kids start groaning and parents get excited. With less than two weeks of summer vacation left for most students in the county, it's almost time for school to start once again! 

Each school and each classroom has different requirements for what supplies are necessary. Is your student stocked up and ready to resume his or her education? Here is our list of top 5 back-to-school essentials for students!

1. Backpacks: It doesn't matter if your student is in pre-k or heading to high school - every kid needs a way to hold their books and supplies! There are tons of different designs with lots of cool features and compartments from which to choose, so your kiddo can pick the bag that best suits his or her style. Some bags even come with matching pencil pouches or lunch boxes! Check out these cool character bags, available at target.com:

Older students might prefer something a little more updated, with compartments or ports for laptops and other gadgets. Check out these styles from amazon.com:

Some tips for helping your child in choosing and using their backpack:

  • Look for a bag with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack heaviest items in compartments as close to the student's back as possible.
  • To help prevent back, shoulder, and neck strain, be sure the backpack's weight does not exceed 10-20% of the student's own weight, and use both shoulder straps at all times.

2. Lunch Containers: Long gone are the days of eating out of brown paper bags. Send your student's goodies packed in something fun and easy to carry! With boxes and bags in all shapes, sizes, patterns, and prices, there's a lunch container for everyone. Here are some from walmart.com:

3. Notebooks: Although more and more work is being completed digitally in this age of technology, sometimes you gotta take it back to the basics. Nothing beats having a good notebook on hand! Spiral bound, composition, wide or college-ruled, a notebook is a lifesaver when it comes to recording info quickly. And there's no lag time when it comes accessing it - just turn the page! You can find these at pretty much any big box or office supply store, like these ones at staples.com:

4. Flash drives: Nothing may beat a good notebook, but many schools are requiring USB flash or thumb drives for their students. Not only are they a great alternative to schlepping heavy textbooks back and forth, but they're also generally pretty inexpensive and easy to find these days. There are plenty of options as far as storage space, and there are both functional and fun options out there, like these from bestbuy.com:

5. Weekly Planner: Help your student stay organized with a weekly planner. From tracking homework assignments or attendance to keeping track of teacher planning days, a planner is an invaluable tool to help both parents and students focus and achieve their learning goals! There are lots of basic planners out there, but if you really want to take it to the next level, you can get custom or personalized designs on etsy.com:

Have you finished your back-to-school shopping? We at The Hardy Team hope your students are ready and excited to head back to school! While we haven't had to bust out our backpacks or No. 2 pencils in awhile, we can help you bust out of your real estate rut. If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, we can definitely help with that. Give us a shout at 352-688-3300 or email [email protected] to speak to a real estate professional today!