Tired of Fishing Around for School Supplies?

I've got a lot of kids at home--six of schooling age. That means a lot of school supplies. And it means a lot of lost school supplies.

Or a lot of time wasted trying to find those school supplies.

That's why I was excited to be accepted into the BzzAgent campaign to try the Big Pen pencil case for free in exchange for my review.

The Big Pen pencil case is one of the products in the Designed by Students product line available exclusively at Staples which were, well, designed by students---middle school students.

It's hard to keep up with things like erasers, highlighters, and pencil sharpeners. The Big Pen pencil case has all of those and more!  It's 5 school supplies in 1:

  • A zipper pocket
  • A highlighter
  • A pencil sharpener
  • An eraser
  • and of course, it's a pencil case
The Big Pen Pencil Case

Zipper Pocket
The zipper pocket opening is about 5 inches long and the pocket is about 1 inch deep. The zipper pocket can hold small things like paper clips or staples.

The eraser is a big, thick, chunky eraser that sits on the end of the pencil case. You can erase with it on the pencil case or take it off, but for us, it seemed easier to take it off.  And it erases fairly well.

Pencil Sharpener 
The pencil sharpener sits directly under the eraser and you can sharpen pencils with it on the pencil case or you can take it off. Since it sits under the eraser and the blade is on the top, the eraser portion helps keep the shavings in  and you can just twist the base that the eraser sits on to empty the pencil shavings. 

At the tip opposite the eraser is a mini highlighter. The highlighter pen portion unscrews from its pen cap and you can use it like a normal highlighter. I didn't know it unscrewed at first so it was hard to use until we realized it unscrewed. 

Pencil Case
With all the cool stuff, you may forget that it is a pencil case. It held about 6 writing utensils in there comfortably and it also probably depends on the thickness of the pens or pencils you put in there. The only thing I didn't like about the pencil case portion is that the highlighter pen part extends up into the pencil case area in the center so you have to make sure that you place tall pencils (like unsharpened ones) to the sides and not in the center. Not a deal breaker, just one of those things.

The Verdict
The Big Pen pencil case is a nifty idea. It has several essential homeschooling supplies right in one easy spot. Due to its cylindrical shape, it's easier to grip and carry over a traditional pencil case or box. It's easy to toss into a backpack and find and grab it quickly.

However, there are two drawbacks for me.  The first is that the center portion of the pencil case is made out of fabric. And it gets dirty. I tried wiping it with a sponge and it did get cleaner, but some stains did not come out.  It's a bright yellow color so stains show up easily.  The second drawback is that it's on the expensive side for me. It currently sells at Staples for $8.99 which is real pricey considering I have so many kids. But honestly, it would be pricey for me with just 1 kid. You could get a pencil box and the supplies it holds together at the dollar store for less than the price of the pencil case. But, it is unique and handy, and I think it, and the other products in the line would make great gifts for students.

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