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Yesterday I shared about eBooks and why I love using them in our homeschool. There is another alternative form of books that I really love, audio books!
I first started using audiobooks a few years ago when I was very pregnant and very sick. With each pregnancy, I went through about 7 MONTHS of bad morning sickness. Really it should be called 24/7 sickness! I could not read without getting sick.
This really put a hiccup in my homeschool plans since we use many literature based programs such as Ambleside Online and Five in a Row. A homeschooling friend suggested I check out LibriVox and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I would search LibriVox for books used in Ambleside Online or other topics of interest, download the MP3 format then we would either listen to them on my pc or burn them to CD and use the stereo.
I loved being able to just curl up on the couch with the little ones and listen to the book. Then they could narrate what they learned back to me. I still love reading to my children, but we also often use audio books.
I like to play audiobooks while we are doing chores or cooking. It saves a lot of time to do 2 things at once! Audiobooks can be played in the car or on an MP3 player. You can also let a child listen to an audiobook while they read the paper copy or eBook. This will help them understand a more challenging book.
Where To Find Free Audio Books
Storynory is a wonderful site for free audiobooks for children. They are always adding new stories and I love how they’ve done the voices. You can listen to the story on their website or download an MP3 file. They also have an app for the iPad, I wish they had an android one! Their books contain Bible stories, myths from around the world, fairy tales and much more.
Audio Books For Free site doesn’t have a section for children’s books, but many of the classic literature would be good for families.
Books Should Be Free has a great selection of books on many topics. I really like how on each book page you can listen to it online or easily download it.
They also link to the same title on iTunes and Internet Archive that has both MP3 and M4b format. As an extra bonus, they also offer the book in epub, Kindle, text, online and plucker formats.
LibriVox has a huge database of free audiobooks and this is my main go-to site when I’m looking for audio books! Their books are available as M4B or MP3.
I really like that they link to the author’s page on Wikipedia and also to the eBook version on Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive. The LibriVox wiki site also has a list of all the books Ambleside Online uses that are free audio books on their site!
I’ve only talked about free audiobooks so far, but there are many paid audiobooks. The main ones I’m interested in are curriculum audiobooks. Thankfully in the past few years, there are more becoming available. Story of the World is available in audio format and narrated by Jim Weiss. The Mystery of History has audio versions. Apologia also has audio versions for many of their science texts.
How Do We Use Audio Books?
I’ve already mentioned that one way we use audio books is in a family read-aloud style. I like to play them on the stereo while we sit in the living room working on crafts. I also like to play them while we are doing chores or traveling.
One way to help young children have some independence in their learning is to let them listen to audiobooks on your computer. Better yet load them up on an MP3 player or iPod. After they have listened to the book, have them come and narrate what they learned to you.
Children could also draw a narration while they are listening to the book. Audiobooks are also very helpful for children with reading challenges such as dyslexia. They are more than capable of understanding the book but struggle to read it. The audio version solves that connection problem.
Do you use audiobooks in your homeschool? What are your favourite places to find them?