I am always looking for ways to manage my kids less while encouraging them to be more responsible and independent. This of course excludes my toddler (although those little applesauce pouches are terrific)! When I came across Sarah Mackenzie’s Spiral Notebooking idea, I thought, “Wow. This is genius!” She uses spiral notebooks to simplify her homeschool, and it makes a lot of sense. She does a way better job of explaining the whole spiral notebook system, so I encourage you to click on the link above to get acquainted with it.
While spiral notebooking intrigues me, at first I filed the idea away as something I can use later on when my children are secure readers, but I got to thinking. Maybe I can create a beginning reader spiral notebook system that would be accessible, easy-to-follow, and simple enough for them to begin to gain independence with their work.
So here’s what I did.
I bought a couple spiral notebooks (one for my Kindergartener and one for my preschooler) at the Dollar Tree. I looked over my Kindergartener’s lesson plans and chore chart and created graphics for each task that she completes in her daily routine. I then cut out the graphics and tacked on some sticky tack to the back of each graphic. Following Sarah’s method, I wrote the date on the top line of a page of the spiral notebook and then tacked each graphic on the page with page numbers listed beside the subjects. She can check off each task as she completes it, which gives her (and me) a concrete, objective way to measure her work. She gets a sticker at the end of the day and after five weeks she gets a reward like a trip to the ice cream shop, a movie, a special dinner, etc.
Inside my Kindergartener’s spiral:
For my preschooler, her spiral notebook serves more as a chore list with a few subjects (letters, numbers, puzzles, etc). She has a couple workbooks that she works from while my Kindergartener does her schoolwork, mostly because my preschooler wants to do school like her big sister.
How Does This Work?
Each girl has a workbox labeled with their name where they grab their materials/books for the day. I added their spiral notebook to their workbox (we are just starting spiral notebooks this semester), which they look at first in the day. Usually by the time they get to their workboxes their chores are done, but if they forget anything (like put their pajamas in the hamper), then they can do it quickly and check it off in their spiral notebook.
The goal of all of this is to build personal responsibility and independence into my children, while trusting in God to cultivate their character over time. I like the tangibility of this, and although I will still remain involved with my children’s progress through their day, I won’t have to nag, remind, and stay on them as much. I say “Look at your spiral. Is everything checked off?” By the way, I allow no T.V. until their notebooks are compete. We are not talking about a lot of work here, either. There are other minor tasks like setting the table and bringing dishes back to the kitchen after dinner that I do not include in their notebooks, but my main concern with spiral notebooks is the morning when we do the bulk of our schoolwork.
If you are interested in spiral notebook graphics for Kindergarten (or non-readers), I am including the ones I use here as a FREE printable for you to use as you please. Let me know if there are any other chores or subjects that you wish to see included and I will work on making those available to you as well.
You can download the FREE printable here: Spiral Notebook Graphics For Kindergarten
I hope this helps any of you looking for ways to simplify your day with young children. Blessings, friends!