I must say that I never used to like audio books. Then I had children and found the time I had to read was greatly reduced. I began utilizing audio books to keep up with my own never ending reading list. Then we discovered audio dramas by happy accident. And I watched the boys become enchanted with characters, villains, and adventures in spite of the time we spend traveling and going to and fro with appointments and therapies and activities. We have never looked back. They are now an integral part of our family life and our homeschool.
Why Audio Resources Should be Part of Your Homeschool
There are a plethora of reasons for having good, lovely, exceptionally done audio books and audio dramas as part of your homeschool library.
- Sometimes you may not feel like reading aloud. (And that is OK) You may have a bout of laryngitis, you may have had a late night with a child, you may just not feel like reading a book, or you may be on a car trip and avoid reading due to motion sickness, but daily reading time benefits everyone in your family.
- Audio books and dramas help children with vocabulary and reading fluency and comprehension.
- Living literature brings history, adventure, drama, noble quests, and great victories to life in the minds of our children and ourselves.
- Instead of having the pictures fed into their imagination, as with television, audio books and dramas encourage a child to create their own pictures from the words they are given.
Audio books are just that, a book recorded to audio format. Many can be found recorded by the original authors. Many children’s books are recorded by voice actors who give life to the different characters but still follow the book line for line. We do recommend always looking for unabridged versions.
If you have a child with suspected dyslexia, auditory processing challenges, or that just needs to work on fluency, finding good audio books that they can listen to and follow along with the text are very beneficial. For younger readers, we enjoy Ted and Friends, for older readers classics like Charlotte’s Web are wonderful.
Our favorite resource for audio books is downloading them on Audible. Audible has a free 30 day trial that allows you to download 2 free audio books to see if it is a service that suits the needs of your family. The app is available for iPhones and iPads and I can connect through a USB cord to listen in the car. Audible is also available on Android.
Some of our recent favorite titles from Audible:
- The Green Ember A wonderful adventure story the whole family will delight in. Rabbits with swords are one of our favorite things.
- The Black Star of Kindgston The prequel to The Green Ember, this story has more action and is sure to become a favorite of any young people who desire to be a hero!
- The Chronicles of Narnia The BBC version we love is a delight and includes all the wonderful Narnia books.
- Falling somewhere between audio book and music appreciation, the stories and music included in Maestro Classics CDs are wonderful. Mike Mulligan and Casey at the Bat are our favorites though they are all very well done.
Many libraries also carry a large selection of audio books on CD and cassette. We have found some incredible older recordings through our library’s selections.
Audio dramas carry both novelty and nostalgia. The old radio serials like Dick Tracy would pull the whole family together to tune in for that half hour next to the radio. A collective gathering where everyone is connected by the same story, everyone is running from the same bad guys, everyone is celebrating the victory together in the end. These are some of my favorite reasons for listening to audio dramas together as a family. They build connections and foster conversations about broader and deeper topics than the mere characters.
Just this week as we were listening to The Dragon and the Raven, Mr. T began asking questions about history, about the fighting between the Saxons and the Danes, about why different people fight, how do people inspire others to follow them and to obey, and so much more. All because we chose to listen to a story as a family instead of listening to the radio, tuning in to an iPad, or each having our own distractions while we were on the road. Shared time opens the door to all sorts of wonderful things.
Many audio dramas are based on books, but they are recorded with multiple actors, effects, and a bit of artistic license from time to time. Audio dramas are a wonderful alternative to movie nights. They are often full of adventure, noble deeds, and exquisite stories that carry you away into another world.
Some of our favorite audio dramas:
- Heirloom Audio produces the fantastic The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty stories in audio drama form including Under Drake’s Flag, The Dragon and the Raven, With Lee in Virginia, In Freedom’s Cause, and the newest, Beric the Briton. These historical stories combine dramatized Christian history with Christian values and real life choices and challenges that show how it is always possible to choose right even when it is difficult. There are also curriculum and study guides available. These stories especially appeal to scholars of any age that love adventure and heroism.
- Adventures in Odyssey – Bible Eyewitness Hall of Faith and For God and Country, one is Old Testament heroes and the other is American history all told the way only AiO can. These are wonderful for younger learners.
Do you utilize audio resources in your homeschool? Would you trade movie night for a family listening experience?
This post is sponsored by Heirloom Audio. All opinions are my own.