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Monday, May 12, 2008

Audio Resources

Of the many resources we use for our homeschooling, one of the most flexible and fun are audio books and lectures. We listen in the car as we run our errands, or on car trips. We also listen at home as we do chores or crafts. We have found just about all of these through our library although some, as you can see, are on-line resources.

Check out the material from The Teaching Company. They have college level lectures on CD and DVD for just about anything you can think of. My kids have enjoyed the lectures "How to Listen to and Understand... Music" series. (We discovered the hard way that we should have skipped the plot reviews of the operas, they were a bit... graphic - at least for our sensitive kids. Oops.) For the most part the kids seem to absorb far more than I would have expected. It's amazing how little the language needs to change for the younger set to know just what you mean.

Another audio series we have enjoyed is from Recorded Books (itself a resource to investigate for favorite books), called the Modern Scholar. Don't miss anything by Prof. Micheal D.C. Drout. We've listened to his "History of the English Language" as well as "Way With Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion". We've enjoyed other titles there as well. See what peaks your interest.

Blackstone Audio Books has an enjoyable recording of Puck of Pook's Hill, by Rudyard Kipling, that sparked an interest in history at our house.

Radio Lovers has had some great shows that Grandma and Grandpa might remember. We enjoyed listening to the adventures of Cinnamon Bear last December. Other on-line listening has come from favorite public radio show podcasts. The Splendid Table and NPR are two favorites.

Currently we're enjoying listening to Susan Wise Bauer's "The Story of the World" series, read by Jim Weiss (himself an excellent creator and teller of stories). We have found some small errors, for example, llamas were beasts of burden in South America, not Nepal - that would be yaks. So, as with anything, it can be helpful to be ready to stop the story and talk about what you're hearing (or reading). Don't miss the great reading lists in SWB's The Well Trained Mind. Many of the books and stories there are classics and also available in audio form.

It's a mistake to over look adult non-fiction for family listening. Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", as read by the author was enjoyed by all of us.

Something special you can do for your child is to create a recording of you reading a favorite story, poem, meditation, or singing songs. I've recorded some meditations from "Star Bright Meditations" for my husband to play for the children when I'm away for an upcoming family wedding. I used Audacity to record directly onto the computer, which has so far been pretty easy and intuitive. This has been a lot less frustrating than the time I recorded all of one of the Moongobble books, just to have a toddler mangle the tape.

I'm sure I'm missing a favorite, Even as I write I'm remembering so much, Harry Potter on our way up to the mountains, My Side of the Mountain on our way to Texas, and "Bard of the Middle Ages: the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer" on the way to the Renaissance Festival. Sigh... :-)

Happy listening!


April said...

In response to a question, I haven't spent any money for these resources! We already have a computer w/ internet access so the online listening is essentially free. The audio CD's we've gotten at the library, either directly or via inter-library loan (ILL). Homeschoolinng on the cheap. :-)

~Karen said...

Hi April! It's Karen from the HomeschoolingCreatively list. I'm gonna bookmark this for when I've hit a lack or we've got stuck in a rut. Lots of good suggestions. We love love love audio.