Saturday, October 10, 2009

Elevating Audio Books

I was reading some homeschool *mom*'s blog recently where she said:

We only listen to classical music and audiobooks in the car...

Hmmmm....I got to thinking.

I strictly reserve classical music for when I want my daughter to take a nap. I don't want to mess with that sacred ritual at the moment - I put it on, fascistically ban all intra-car conversation, drive a mile, and she conks out once we hit the coastline, every single time. On the days where she has *nap skipped* and my reward for a day-long of crankiness is getting her to bed early(!), I wouldn't even think about putting the classical music on in the late afternoon - lest she fall asleep, and thus be up all night (ouch!).

But personally, though I've become quite the voracious reader over the past few years, I've never listened to an audiobook, ever.

I was at the local library the other day and perusing their *sale*. I came across an audiobook, John Paul The Great by Peggy Noonan, that was sitting there with a $1 price tag on it. "What was my risk with this?" I thought.

I plopped it in the car's CD player last week and started, along with my two kids, started listening to the author narrate her papal hagiography on the way to ballet, karate, and parks.

Despite not exactly being a story for children, my 4.88 year old son has really taken to it. The other day I switched it off on a drive and he hollered at me, "Put that back on. I want to hear more about the Pope."


The Prince has been listening intently now - so much so that I have to keep pausing it to answer his questions: "Why did they try to kill the Pope?", "What does 'confidence' mean?", "What does 'isolated' mean?", "Where is the Vatican?", etc.

In fact, all day long my son asks me questions upon questions. Now I finally KNOW firsthand what all those homeschool gurus were talking about when they say *Kids are naturally curious*. Thank God I have Google to help me!

What are the odds my son would be learning about the dramatic life of the Pope or any new polysyllabic words in a kindergarten or pre-school setting?

ZERO, or maybe even lower.

I think this audio book thing might be a real educational find, not just for the kids, but for my entire family.

Since we the Nut family here are very, very *green*, we don't spend much time in the car compared to most others. But still, the little jaunts add up. And I'd rather my kids were getting their brains provoked than humming the latest from Lady Gaga or whomever.

So right now I'm on the prowl for some more quality listening material.

Again, this is why the blogosphere is so amazing. Sorting through all of these opinions, all this information, and millions of personal life stories out there may at times seem like a real burden - but there's also a bounty to be discovered.


Anonymous said...

On our summer vacation we listened to Treasure Island (unabridged) by an excellent reader with all the correct pirate intonations. IT WAS AWESOME. Believe me it gets even more fun as they get older.

CaptiousNut said...

I read in one of my sundry homeschooling books that when interviewed years later, a group of siblings all praised and had fond memories of the books their parents read out loud to them.

My wife does the reading at night, every night.

But I'm about to take a more active role on that front. I'm going to start reading to the kids each morning a little - probably history and the Bibical.

Rider said...

If you're serious about continually exposing your kids to enrichment, you'll start playing stories every time in the car. We started this when our kids were infants and the kids love it.

They now DEMAND stories whenever we're in the car and often they'll sit in the car after we've arrived home because they don't want to stop listening.

To start, I highly recommend anything by Jim Weiss (

If you do this consistently I guarantee you'll be astonished at what they absorb, especially vocabulary.

Double bonus: not only do the kids get enrichment but they stop annoying the hell out each other and you.

CaptiousNut said...


Thanks for the recommendation. Will take a look.