Top Gifts for High School Freshman

Summer is coming to a close and back-to-school is looming on the horizon. Students here do not go back to school until the day after Labor Day in September traditionally, but I know that some schools will be starting as early as next week for others.

If you have a brand new high schooler in your home, it is an especially big year and reason to celebrate. Your child will be taking their first steps towards adulthood and independence, and it is our job as parents to prepare them as much as possible. Here are a few top items we recommend for your freshman to make the transition a little easier.


We swear by these planners from Leslie Josel, owner of Order Out of Chaos. We had the pleasure of reviewing the planner years ago when they first hit the market and they have only gotten better with time!

The calendar begins July 2019 and runs through June 2020. The overall planner size is 8.5″ x 11″ and calendar pages are 7″ x 11″ and is a serious homework game changer. They are ideal for any grade level and will eliminate the worry of missing homework or planning out study time.

The planner features 7 subject boxes and after-school planning from 2pm-9pm. Weekly, monthly, yearly page views; note pages before each month; ample space to write assignments and activities; project planning guide. Sturdy vinyl covers. Thick quality paper. Coil bound. Handy built-in back storage pocket.  

Besides planners, high-school freshmen also need several other supplies to start their student journey. Study aids like calculators, highlighters, and index cards are necessary. Also, there are essential arts and craft supplies like drawing paper, glue, and scissors that would come in handy in art classes. Not to mention the many other stationery like good spiral-bound or composition notebooks, ballpoint pens, rulers, colored pencils, etc. Buying all this stuff from scratch can typically be costly and stressful for many parents. However, you can take advantage of discount school supplies to save some money on your high school freshman’s supplies.

The Order Out of Chaos Planner won the 2019 Family Choice Award Honoring Best Products for Students and is 100% guaranteed. Leslie is a mompreneur who genuinely cares about your student’s academic success & stands behind this student planner.


This is a gift you will most definitely want to get your student’s input on, but the key element in a backpack for a high school student is sturdy, sturdy, sturdy. It is going to be dropped, kicked, shoved, smooshed and heaven only knows what other torture your student will inflict upon it. Some schools allow students to have their cellphones in class, so having a backpack that has a charging station built-in is important.


Want to encourage a love of photography with your student? Get them a great starter camera kit. Not only will they be able to record their high school memories in photos and videos, but you may find that your student joins a photography club or the school newspaper to develop their talents. They may even become a big-time YouTuber and help put money away for their college education by doing something they love!


Once upon a time having a personal laptop was something only the wealthy kids could afford. Now, it’s pretty much a requirement and some schools will require students to bring one to use in the classroom. While some schools are taking the lead and providing students with loaner computers – having a personal laptop is a big plus as school-issued ones might block social media or compromise your student’s privacy.

Gift Cards

Gift cards never go out of style, and you can use them all year long. Purchase some gift card sleeves in bulk, and you can purchase gift cards to their favorite clothing store, salon, shoe store, etc. to ensure they have a great look and attire to match to start their freshman year right.

Graphing Calculator

No matter what class your student takes when it comes to high school math, they are going to need a graphing calculator. These are the ones most frequently requested for the students to purchase in our area but check with your local school district or particular teacher to see which is required.

Stress Relievers

High school is stressful. If your kids are not planning on joining a sport, there are many other ways in which they can kick back and relax with new friends.

Movie Tickets

A night out with the boys is a gift of freedom that any teenage boy will be thrilled to have. Throw in some movie candy and pre-movie snacks to complete the gift.


If your high school student isn’t a bottomless pit yet, he will be soon. Give them some gift cards to their favorite restaurant and you’ll be the favorite parent among his peers!

Gaming Chair

I don’t know too many high school boys who AREN’T into gaming of one type or another. Let them relax and unwind with their favorite game in a new gamer chair that they can call their throne!

Earbuds / Headphones

I don’t know about your teenagers, but I think mine go through earbuds as fast as they change their underwear! They get washed, lost, stepped on, yanked – so it is always best to have a few extra pairs on hand. I suggest a stellar pair (like Apple earbuds) for at home, and then you can grab some inexpensive ones for them to use while on the bus and at school for those you-know-something-is-going-to-happen-to-them moments!


All freshmen and the other students have one thing in common; they are all new to adulthood. While it can be tough to find something that is well designed to streamline their lives as adults, a knife is a seamless and precious gift. The best is Chris Reeve knives made in the USA. You can choose to engrave the blade to fit the receiver, and they literally have something for everyone. Knives are a great gift to give an outdoors fanatic!

As it goes with teenagers, there are probably a million other items we could add to this list – but it’s a good start to get your shopping list started!

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