New Year, New Plan
Our first year (15/16) homeschooling was very book-based, structured, and planned out. I had my planner binder put together before our first day. I had curriculum purchased and teacher’s books combed through. There was a game plan.
Even so, I tweaked plenty of things along the way. There were days we didn’t stick to the plan. There were days we did more than planned! We were very focused on Naomi’s vision therapy and maintaining the hard work she’d finished in occupational therapy. (IE LOTS of fine motor activities!!)
This year we know ahead of time that it’s going to be a rollercoaster! We have a lot going on and coming up. That’s why I’ve decided to lean heavily on auditory learning resources: books on tape, youtube tutorials, curriculum available on DVD/CD, educational shows, and lots of music-based learning. I want to keep up the pace my kids want (they love learning!! little sponges!) but we need to be able to grab-and-go. Whether we are going to be out of town or bouncing around doctor’s appointments. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll have some typical curriculum, worksheets, and activities too.
Books On Tape and Digital Books
I don’t even know what else to call this. There are no tapes or actual books involved. We’re talking audio-recorded literature here. Now, immediately, Audible or Kindle is an easy option. However, there are other sources that you might be missing out on. They may even save you some money!
Your Local Library
Check your library membership for digital and computer perks. The Bentonville Public Library has a page full of downloadable content. If you’re a local click here to see the BPL’s downloadables. If not, a quick search on your library’s website or googling “library name + audiobooks” should get you somewhere.
Our library has online kid and teen specific “reading rooms”. It’s called Arkansas 2 Go. You rent these just like you would actual books . . . but digitally online. You can easily search by reading level or topic. Subjects don’t exclude the youngest readers with picture book favorites like Pete the Cat and Clifford the Big Red Dog. There’s a full selection of nonfiction to fill in science, history, and other curriculum. Grab audiobooks on Egyption Mythology, Robotics, Harriet Tubman, and Sharks to start.
Other sources that may be affiliated with your local library or that may offer free options:
Look into OverDrive.com if you need a more focused search.
Well known publisher, Scholastic, offers a variety of web databases and subscription-type services for audiobooks or ebooks for a variety of reading levels.
OneClickDigital is another library-affiliated provider.
Not to mention, of course, your library likely has a shelf or more of DVDs or CDs to borrow. Use them at home or in the car when you’re running around getting other things done!
Alternatives to Audible and Kindle
It’s not hard to find. Truly.
You can find science experiments, subject lessons, project tutorials, and more on YouTube. The downside of YouTube is the need for parental controls. Even those have not proven totally reliable. I finally removed YouTube Kids from our iPad because the easter egg and surprise box videos were becoming a problem. (Another post for another day!)
Spotify may be another fulfilling resource. Spotify is easily a great spot to find classical or children’s music. However, they also maintain other things like podcasts. I would encourage anyone to carefully pre-screen. But, making a custom playlist is simple and quick. You can listen to it in permanent “shuffle” mode without subscribing. Just be aware of commercials on the free version.
Of course, there’s always iTunes. Despite being a renegade back in the day iTunes has fallen in line with the rest of the crowd these days. It’s certainly not the first place I think to look for music or other content. But, maybe we should! They have a massive library that includes free content. I found quite a few classic children’s books (re: Alice in Wonderland) in podcast form! That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Record Yourself or a Loved One
This isn’t how my boat floats – but for really little kids the sound of mom or dad’s voice reading their favorite stories might be just the trick on long trips or days you need to do things off-plan. Maybe grandma or grandpa could do this too! This is a really great idea for those living long distance or in the military.
And, of course . . .
Just Buy the Discs
It might be more or less expensive depending on what you do. Check goodwill and other thrift stores; yard sales and consignment events for lots of material for low prices.
The follow list of homeschool curricula will have at least a main component that can be listened to or watched!
- Individuals lessons coincide with practice book work as well as tactile components. Each lesson in a classroom setting is video-recorded and included on discs. We loved the Primer. I’m going through it again with both girls (1st grade and pre-k/K5) for the early part of our year before moving my first grader into another curriculum.
Your Story Hour
- This is not defined as curriculum but it fits the bill. Dramatized radio-style stories are available. Lots of bible lessons!
- Their science courses have companion CDs that can be purchased with or without the main course set. These companion CDs do not contain the full course material.
- This is a complete computer based course offering for grades 3-12. The computer-based lessons and testing include listening components. If you have a laptop computer with a CD drive this might be a great option.
- An excellent option for foreign languages
Story of the World
I’ve heard amazing things about this history curriculum. I’ve been looking into it for us. Each volume of the series is available in book and disc form. The disc sets can be used independently. That can be hard to find. I’ve been able to find the multi-disk set for each volume in the $20-$40 price range.
How are you getting more auditory content in your homeschool days?
Some kids actually learn best just by listening to material like this. It soaks into their brain as they focus on other things. Others may need a stronger balance with tactile activities, writing, oral review, and other learning methods.
We have strongly considered getting Kindles and kid-safe headsets for our children for this purpose but haven’t made a decision yet. I’ll be putting together a nice long list of FREE audiobooks and ebooks soon so come back to check that out!