This post should alternately be titled: Why I Hate Regular Pencils.
But that didn’t have quite as much of a “useful” ring to it so I went with the former.
Anyhow, I am writing about something that has been a huge time saver for me. More time for learning, teaching, exploring, and playing. It has saved me so much time and hassle that I felt it is my moral duty to share.
About a year ago I had had enough with pencils. I hate pencils. They caused me so much trouble all day, every day, searching for them, sharpening them, dealing with erasers that are flat or smear instead of erase, sharpening them (did I mention sharpening them?).
Who wants to waste precious learning time fiddling around with something as silly as that?
Here is why I think wooden pencils should go the way of the dinosaurs (and what you can do instead):
1. Those stupid erasers. They disintegrate. Quicker than should be possible. And once they’re gone they can’t be replaced (don’t even get me started with those silly “replacement” eraser caps that flip flop all over the place). For erasers that don’t disintegrate immediately, they get all black and smear everything, or they get hard and break off.
2. Broken led. Do you know how long it takes to sharpen a pencil when the led broke off? Too long. And do you know how often pencil led breaks? Too often.
3. Dull led. It seems to me like you can’t write a quarter of a page before the led gets dull. You start with this pristine clear writing that gets worse and worse as you go, before you are finally forced to initiate sharpening for the 12th time that day.
4. Pencil sharpeners. If you can’t afford the ridiculously expensive commercial quality, you are stuck with the normal ones that don’t work right half the time. And no matter what kind you have, they’re noisy. And they get lost (if you have the battery operated kind). And sharpening pencils is a time-sucker.
5. They get lost. All the time. I cannot tell you how many hours of my life has been wasted in looking for a pencil that was right there a second ago.
So after far too many years of silently cursing the daily pencil problems I was faced with, I switched to exclusively mechanical pencils.
I love them.
They cost a bit more, but it’s not like it’s $100 a pack. I’m spending a couple of extra dollars per year to save me hours and hours of time and frustration. That is more than worth it. Plus, the saved energy cost from not having to use a sharpener probably evens itself out. Score!
Why mechanical pencils are awesome:
1. The erasers are awesome. They last longer, for some reason. Much longer. They don’t smear or break nearly as much. Plus, when they do run out, you just stick a new one in. No more wasted time with meaningless eraser problems.
2. If the led breaks, you give the end a few clicks and boom. You’re good. No more wasted time at the sharpener.
3. They don’t need sharpening. Your writing stays clear and concise, you don’t have that gradual fade of worse and worse writing before you give up and make another trip to the sharpener.
4. They have clips. That means less getting lost because you can clip them to things. It also means that they don’t roll, which means less rolling away and getting lost. Less wasted time looking for pencils.
With toys, and almost everything else, I love wood over plastic. But with pencils? Unless they start making wooden mechanical pencils, I am forever loyal to my beloved mechanical pencils and the simplicity they provide.
In case you’re wondering, these are the brands we use. I buy Bic mechanical pencils for myself and the colorful Paper Mate pencils for Hunter (7). It helps that we have two different kinds so I don’t run off with his school pencils and he doesn’t run off with mine.
Do you use mechanical pencils? Have you considered the time-saving aspect ditching the wood can provide? Would love to hear your thoughts!