Friday, April 17, 2015

Audiobooks: why we enjoy them, and which ones we love!

I have mentioned on Facebook a few times how much our kids enjoy audiobooks.  And I enjoy listening to theirs, as well!  Here are some ways we use them and a list of ones we have collected so far.

We started out using audiobooks during lunch time.  With 4 kids so close in age (6, 4, 2, and 1) the volume of chatter and whining questions and conversation distracted them from eating, and I grew very tired of telling everyone to "be quiet and eat your lunch."  Enter: audiobooks.  They started eating much more quietly (and therefore, quickly!) so they could hear the story.  That was a golden discovery for a couple of years.  These days we listen to some of our Classical Conversations (our new homeschool community - more on that subject later) memory work CD's during lunch instead, but we use audiobooks other times of the day.

Currently we use audiobooks a few different ways.  Tyson (6 yrs old) no longer takes an afternoon nap.  I need him to have quiet time in the afternoon because a) the other 3 kids are napping, and b) I need a break from questions and kid duty for a couple of hours!  Ty usually gets to listen to an audiobook in the school room while he does some quiet "table time" (that's what we call special activities that we get out to use only at the table for the designated person) like Legos, Magnatiles, Zoob manipulatives, puzzles, etc.  He loves to be around people all the time and will constantly tell me things or ask me questions from the other room during his "quiet time."  But when he's listening to an audiobook he is completely captivated by the story and really just does his own thing.  I love it because it gives me a mental break and my own time to get things done without constant interruptions from that adorable 6 year old face.  Here he is using his new favorite art "tool:" Ed Emberley's Drawing Book: Make a World

Afternoon quiet time
Another time we use audiobooks is when all of the kids have some free time together (dangerous, I know!) and want to get out an activity like coloring books or puzzles.  They are much quieter and focused on their OWN activity (as opposed to arguing or trying to play with someone else's things) if they are all listening to a story together.  It definitely makes something like coloring last a lot longer if they are engrossed in a story!  Of course the 1 year old and 2 year old don't have as long of an attention span as the big kids do, no matter what, but it still helps and they listen as the come and go from the school room and play room. 
Saturday morning puzzle time
Car rides are also another time we use audiobooks.  Sometimes we listen to music or just talk to each other, but audiobooks definitely come in handy in the car.  Quiet time is a huge benefit of audiobooks, of course, but there are also other reasons we love them!  I wish I had a couple of hours every day to sit down and read aloud to the kids.  I enjoy doing it, they love listening, and it's SO good for them for many many reasons!  But being a "stay-at-home-mom" of only little ones (meaning they aren't yet old enough to do much for themselves, and certainly aren't that much help to ME yet, lol) as well as a "homeschooling-mom" means that there are so many demands on my time every day that I don't have nearly as much time as I would like to read aloud to my kids right now.  We still do read aloud time as often as we can, but I always wish it could be more!  Audiobooks make up for what I cannot do during this busy busy seasons with only littles.  They can listen to quality literature with rich vocabulary and increasingly complex story lines for hours and hours on end.  So GREAT!  We purchase many books that many would say are "above" their cognitive abilities, but I would argue that kids understand and retain more than we give them credit for.  We always try to buy the unabridged version of books.  Plus, hearing a wide range of vocabulary helps them to constantly build their own "library" of words :)  Anyway, there you have some of the "how" and "why"!  Now for the list of auidobooks that we own so far!  There are many more out there once you figure out what you and your kids like.  The library also has quite a few to try!  I will try to update this post every so often when we add new ones to our collections.

These are my favorite for younger ages (2+ yrs) and for when all of the kids are listening together:
These ones are a little more complex, but you could still start them with 2 and 3-year-old younger siblings so that multiple ages can enjoy them together:
  • Charlotte's Web (unabridged)
  • Great Stories from Your Story Hour.  These are a mixture of short history and adventure stories teaching values and character traits for all ages.  This link is for Volume 1, but there are many more!  So far we own Volumes 1-5.  You can purchase difference places online.
  • Peter Pan (unabridged)
  • King Arthur and His Knights.  Jim Weiss has narrated many popular stories in these shortened versions of classics.  We buy mostly unabridged, like I mentioned, but there is also a time and a place for these short stories as an introduction to classic literature.  I can't wait to read books like Treasure Island to my kids, as well as them reading the stories on their own, but until their old enough we really enjoy Jim Weiss' versions.  This is one of many (our local library has quite a few).
  • Adventures in Odyssey: For God and Country.  We definitely listen to some Adventures in Odyssey!  So far I try to stick with the more historical and biblical stories.  These are more for fun and not necessarily building their vocabulary ;-)
  • Classical Kids Volume 1.  The kids LOVE these!  There are about 4 CD's in each set and they combine beautiful classical music with narrations about Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, etc.  I knew the kids would enjoy these, but it's surprised me how often Tyson chooses these for his quiet time.
  • Classical Kids Volume 2
And lastly, these are our newest ones we are starting to collect as they are a little more advanced.  Our 6-year-old definitely gets into the story, even though at times he doesn't catch everything in the whole plot.
I think that's all we own so far!  I love adding to our collection as often as possible.  I can't wait to get the Little House series, the Chronicles of Narnia, and so many more from my wish list.  Hope this post was helpful for some of you!


Let's try again...

Well once again it's been quite a long time since I posted on here!  I honestly forgot this blog existed for a while there.  Four babies in five years will do that to you...  I lost half of my brain (and my ability to be on time to anything) somewhere along the way! 

Recently I have had a number of friends ask for advice about certain parenting subjects, recipes we use, my favorite baby and kid gear, play and quiet time activities that our kids do, our first year of homeschooling, audiobooks the kids listen to, etc.  So I've decided to *TRY* to do a few posts on here when I can (in all my spare time!) in order to share that kind of information from our little daily world here in Colorado.  We live a pretty small life, full of lots of love and laughter and plenty of...challenges, ha...but I love it and wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thanks for checking in with us.  Here's to yet another attempt at getting around to posting on the blog more than once every 2 years!