Top 10 Audio Books for the Under-10 Crowd

x

Bookmark

Time for one last list: My favorite 10 audio books for kids under 10.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of our month of homeschooling lists! Everything from sanity strategies to book lists to managing life details to more book lists. It’s been a great month and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Not that I’m not relieved it’s over. Back to publishing 3 times a week for me!

Organize your homeschool lists

Unending Homeschooling Lists

Index: Get Organized with Homeschool Lists
Previous: Shakespeare for Kids: Henry V
Next: back to regularly scheduled content

Top 10 Audio Books for Kids

These are the books I’d purchase again in a heartbeat, even paying full price for, if I had to. Using audio books helps save my voice and my sanity, giving the kids the culture and experience of shared books without my having to stay on the couch for hours on end, being the reader. I’m not good at reading aloud. I’ve improved greatly over the years, but I still rely on audiobooks and MP3 players more than my own dedication to reading aloud myself.

Picking 10 was hard enough; as it is, these are not in any particular order.

cheap-audible-deals

  • Winnie the Pooh. I once tried to read this one aloud and it made no sense. Read by Peter Dennis, however, it is winsome and engaging and now the source of many family quotes.
  • Little House. This series can only be made better by being accompanied with fiddle music, which this version is. It’s a childhood classic not to be missed.
  • Narnia. Narnia should be visited multiple times over a childhood, and the audio series makes that journey so much simpler to begin again.
  • Blue Fairy Book. This is another book I have a hard time reading aloud, but my 6-year-old daughter will listen to story after story during her quiet time.
  • Wind in the Willows. If you’ve never rollicked with Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger, you’re missing out.
  • Story of the World. All 4 volumes, kept in the car and played multiple times over the course of a few years is an adequate young elementary history study in my book.
  • Heidi. I like to leave the German names to a professional. When left unabridged, Heidi is a Christian tale of love and redemption.
  • The Hobbit. Books with songs and poems also are better on audio than read by me.
  • Old Yeller. I didn’t think I liked this book until I heard it read aloud to me by Jim Weiss. That version appears to be out of print, but it’s what our library has.
  • Little Princess or Secret Garden; I couldn’t make the call between them, so you’ll just have to do that for yourself.

Winnie the Pooh, Little House, and Narnia are all only available on CD from Amazon and not on Audible, but if you’re interested in the others, try a trial membership where you get one free credit (use it on The Hobbit to maximize your savings). Then, while you’re on that trial, check out my list of free or cheap audible books available and come back Monday for tips on getting the most out of your audible credits and membership.


1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible


As of November 1st, Rejoicing in Repetition will be $2.99; so if you haven’t downloaded your copy for free, do it today!

Rejoicing in Repetition: Towards Joy in Housework will help you find the beauty in the mundane

Are you often frustrated with the repetitive nature of housework? Do you wonder if it’s even worth your time at all? Do you get angry when your work is immediately undone by your little ones?

If so, Rejoicing in Repetition: Toward Joy in Housework, a meditation on the beauty found in the mundane and repetitious, will lift you up and help you regain a clear perspective.

For the month of October, this $2.99 ebook can be yours for free.

Name:
Email:

Shakespeare for Kids: Henry V

x

Bookmark

Henry the Fifth is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. I love medieval England and the premodern English monarchy, so its setting and themes are right up my alley.

Henry V is a great play to do with those who think Shakespeare is boring or only about tangled love stories. If you have a child who isn’t into love triangles, but enjoys a good fight, then Henry V might be the play to begin with.

In my original Shakespeare for Kids post, I wrote:

You don’t have to wait for high school to do Shakespeare with your kids, and you don’t need to be homeschooling to study Shakespeare together. If you do any reading aloud or movie watching together, you can do Shakespeare together.

And even if all you want to do is read a picture book version and watch a movie – that counts as introducing Shakespeare!

henry-v

Shakespeare for Kids: Henry V

Henry V is the tale of Henry’s incredible success during the Hundred Years War between France and England. Against overwhelming odds, the worn and weary underdog England soundly beats proud France and gains the crowd of France for England, though that doesn’t last long.

An overarching theme of Shakespeare’s play is the question of what makes a good Christian king and what a king’s duties are.

It has betrayal, death, destruction, victory, and yet is also infused with humility.

It’s beautiful.

Step 1: Introduce Henry V

If you want to begin first by introducing Shakespeare and his time and his theatre, William Shakespeare and the Globe by Aliki is a beautiful narrative book that makes a great read aloud in its own right.

For the “picture book” introduction, my boys were entranced with the graphic novel version of Henry V. Yes, graphic novel. In this case, it was a good fit and well done. And, our library had it. However, it is the full, original, unabridged text of the play, so while the pictures help bring the meaning to light, it’s not a quick read aloud introduction. For that, I purchased Henry V (Shakespeare for Everyone). It’s not particularly lovely, but it does introduce the plot.

Step 2: Memorize Henry V Famous Lines

Of course the most fitting speech to memorize from Henry V is the St. Crispin Day Speech he makes before Agincourt:

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Oh, I just love it!

Step 3: Watch a Play Movie or Production

I am a firm believer that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, so I think watching a production – live or movie – is an important part of learning and loving Shakespeare. Usually we’ve tried to fit a movie in after reading the picture book summary and introducing the play and before we start the real text.

Kenneth Branaugh’s Henry V is excellent; I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is one of my absolute favorite Shakespeare movies. Even if you aren’t going to read the play, reading the picture book and then watching this movie is still a great exposure to Shakespeare (There is a battle scene that might be too much for younger or more sensitive viewers).

Step 4: Listen to Henry V

How a text is read greatly influences comprehension and appreciation, so I like to stick with well-done audio versions of the play along with either coloring or reading along. A Shakespearean actor reading the text simply makes it more understandable, and a British accent makes it more enjoyable, too.

For Henry V we used the Dover Shakespeare Coloring Book, Dover’s cheap paperback copy for reading along, and Arkangel’s audio version.

Step 5: Play Henry V

No lectures or charts or Socratic discussions necessary – not for elementary students. Just wait and watch and see what connections they draw themselves and I bet you’ll be surprised.

Another way the kids enjoyed acting out Henry V was with the Masterpuppet Theatre set. They each picked a scene to read while using the puppets to act it out.

My boys made Henry V scenes with their Legos and their army men, too.

Shakespeare for Kids: Just Have Fun

shakespeare-for-kids

Remember that the point in the pre-high-school years is just to introduce the stories and get Shakespeare into their affections. If they grow up thinking that Shakespeare is fun and normal, they will be ready to dive deep when maturity comes because there will be no fear or intimidation that comes with the assumption that Shakespeare is hard and enigmatic.

So loosen up, and remember that the point is caring, being interested, and growing in familiarity.

Shakespeare for Kids: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

x

Bookmark

Shakespeare is the master of the English language. My goal for introducing Shakespeare to my kids is that they grow accustomed to lilting language and skillful constructions. I believe it is one of the best preparations for good writing, a skill which often doesn’t blossom until junior high or high school – when they are ready with opinions to share.

In my original Shakespeare for Kids post, I wrote:

Shakespeare can be an intimidating subject to introduce. Isn’t the language archaic and the doesn’t high quality mean high difficulty? Actually, the language isn’t that difficult when it’s read (that is, interpreted) by an experienced reader. The profound themes within plots were created not as pure art, but also to entertain the masses. Shakespeare was the hot movie in his day, and he can still be enjoyed that way today.

midsummer-nights-dream

Shakespeare for Kids: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a fun introduction to Shakespeare. It involves magic, fairies, mistaken identities, and lots of action. It’s a common play to find performed live, and it’s generally colorful and lively.

Step 1: Introduce A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare: His Work & Worlds by Michael Rosen is a good Shakespeare biography and background picture book to browse, especially if you have children who love to pore over beautiful illustrations and you don’t mind skipping around and reading a book in sections and not sequentially and completely.

Bruce Coville has an excellently done Midsummer Night’s Dream picture book, and Tina Packer’s Tales from Shakespeare also has a version we enjoy.

Step 2: Memorize A Midsummer Night’s Dream Famous Lines

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the play which Ken Ludwig recommends beginning with in his book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. When we did A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I used the lines he recommended memorizing:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.

and this section, by Bottom:

I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and
methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream
was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of
this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream,
because it hath no bottom

We had added in another speech to our recitation, but after a little more experience, I’d say that for a 5-6 week stretch with one play, two selections is plenty.

However, our little homeschool group has a Helena, so of course we had to learn:

Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand;
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Step 3: Watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream Movie or Production

I am a firm believer that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, so I think watching a production – live or movie – is an important part of learning and loving Shakespeare. Usually we’ve tried to fit a movie in after reading the picture book summary and introducing the play and before we start the real text.

However, that’s really tricky with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, because Hollywood loves to take Shakespeare comedy as an excuse for nudity. I didn’t want to show a movie of a black-and-white stage performance, either, since the point is to show the kids that Shakespeare is fun.

Instead of watching a movie, we saw the local children’s theatre production, which was very well done and fun. Luckily, this is a play often chosen for small local companies. Keep your eyes open for an opportunity to see it live; it’d be a great first Shakespeare to see live.

Step 4: Listen to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

How a text is read greatly influences comprehension and appreciation, so I like to stick with well-done audio versions of the play along with either coloring or reading along. A Shakespearean actor reading the text simply makes it more understandable, and a British accent makes it more enjoyable, too.

For Taming of the Shrew we used the Dover Shakespeare Coloring Book, Dover’s cheap paperback copy for reading along, and this audio version from Audible.

Step 5: Play A Midsummer Night’s Dream

No lectures or charts or Socratic discussions necessary – not for elementary students. Just wait and watch and see what connections they draw themselves and I bet you’ll be surprised.

Another way the kids enjoyed acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream was with the Masterpuppet Theatre set. They each picked a scene to read while using the puppets to act it out.

You can also try having them set up scenes or dramatize acts with Duplos or Legos.

Shakespeare for Kids: Just Have Fun

shakespeare-for-kids

Remember that the point in the pre-high-school years is just to introduce the stories and get Shakespeare into their affections. If they grow up thinking that Shakespeare is fun and normal, they will be ready to dive deep when maturity comes because there will be no fear or intimidation that comes with the assumption that Shakespeare is hard and enigmatic.

Remember that the point is having fun with Shakespeare and realizing he isn’t scary. If you’ve done that, you’ve succeeded, even if the lines aren’t memorized and if they can’t remember character names a month later.

Shakespeare for Kids: Taming of the Shrew

x

Bookmark

Last month I wrote about a 5-step plan for introducing Shakespeare to my kids. It’s what we did last year with three plays and what we’re doing again this year.

Just today I heard my 9-year-old wandering around the house muttering, “murder most foul” and “O, my prophetic soul” to himself – Shakespeare has great mouth-feel.

In my original Shakespeare for Kids post, I wrote:

Shakespeare was written in order to be seen, scripted in order to be performed. Shakespeare wrote popular entertainment, not philosophical treatise. We can draw out deep themes and discuss grand philosophy using monologues and plots we find in Shakespeare, but we should never study Shakespeare to the exclusion of simply enjoying the fun of Shakespeare – Shakespeare was meant to be fun.

So this is my plan to introduce Shakespeare simply as great stories. In the elementary grades we don’t delve into themes and tropes and grand discussions, we just enjoy Shakespeare for the stories and the spectacles.

So far, this approach is working.

This week I’ll lay out what exactly we used for the plays we have done so far, and after we do other plays as the years go on, I will add them to the collection.

Taming of the Shrew is a great play to begin Shakespeare for kids.

Shakespeare for Kids: Taming of the Shrew

I think Taming of the Shrew makes a great first play to introduce Shakespeare to Kids. It’s not a weird or convoluted story; there’s plenty of slap-stick humor and superficial interpersonal conflict that kids completely understand; and the grownups behave outrageously, which seems to amuse children.

Step 1: Introduce Taming of the Shrew

If you want to start of with a brief biography of Shakespeare and his historical setting, Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley is a great one.

It was rather difficult finding a good picture book version of Taming of the Shrew, but this comic book style rendition fit the bill: Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare for Everyone)

Step 2: Memorize Taming of the Shrew Famous Lines

These are my picks, but you can also browse Shakespeare-Monologues.org for speeches and Absolute Shakespeare for famous one-liners.

For Taming of the Shrew, I picked Kate’s speech that begins “The more my wrong, the more his spite appears” and Petruchio’s “And woo her with some spirit when she comes” speech.

For 5-6 weeks with one play, two selections is plenty. We don’t practice any phrases or one-liners systematically, but generally a few will stand out in the natural course of events and I’ll try to bring them up again in an inside-joke sort of way – because the point isn’t really to memorize Shakespeare, but to love him.

For my part, I love the line “I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; If wealthily, then happily in Padua.” So I often used that quote when transitioning to our Shakespeare portion when we were doing Taming of the Shrew.

Step 3: Watch a Taming of the Shrew Movie or Production

I am a firm believer that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, so I think watching a production – live or movie – is an important part of learning and loving Shakespeare. Usually we’ve tried to fit a movie in after reading the picture book summary and introducing the play and before we start the real text.

Live performances of Taming of the Shrew are rare these days since the theme is so politically incorrect. But that’s ok because hands-down the Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor version is great fun. Even the 4-year-olds laughed a lot and remained glued to the screen, because it is so over-the-top costumed with plenty of slapstick comedy.

Step 4: Listen to Taming of the Shrew

How a text is read greatly influences comprehension and appreciation, so I like to stick with well-done audio versions of the play along with either coloring or reading along. A Shakespearean actor reading the text simply makes it more understandable, and a British accent makes it more enjoyable, too.

For Taming of the Shrew we used the Dover Shakespeare Coloring Book, Dover’s cheap paperback copy for reading along, and Arkangel’s audio version.

Step 5: Play Taming of the Shrew

Taming of the Shrew would be a great play to have the children act out themselves, in their own words. They can get into over-the-top bickering feuds just fine, and have a fun time getting to act that out themselves. And they can see what’s going on without a lot of adult commentary. While watching the movie, one nine-year-old commented, “He’s just treating her the way she was treating others. Now she sees how bad it is.”

No lectures or charts or Socratic discussions necessary – not for elementary students. Just wait and watch and see what connections they draw themselves and I bet you’ll be surprised.

Another way the kids enjoyed acting out Taming of the Shrew was with the Masterpuppet Theatre set. They each picked a scene to read while using the puppets to act it out.

Shakespeare for Kids: Just Have Fun

shakespeare-for-kids

Remember that the point in the pre-high-school years is just to introduce the stories and get Shakespeare into their affections. If they grow up thinking that Shakespeare is fun and normal, they will be ready to dive deep when maturity comes because there will be no fear or intimidation that comes with the assumption that Shakespeare is hard and enigmatic.

So loosen up, and remember that the point is caring, being interested, and growing in familiarity.

Friday Recovery List

x

Bookmark

My house always seems to be deteriorating slowly by Friday afternoon. We’ve used it and it shows.

Organize your homeschool lists

If only I were as good at doing my lists as writing them. But this month, I’m doing the fun part: writing and sharing my homeschool lists. The more I follow my lists, the better things go, so maybe writing them out again and again is not an exercise in futility. One can always hope, right?

Bunches of Homeschooling Lists

Index: Get Organized with Homeschool Lists
Previous: Mom’s Daily Homeschooling List
Next: Evernote for Homeschool Planning

KEYWORDS

End-of-Week Tidy-Up

A week of homeschooling is hard on the state of the house. Often it’s more productive overall to let the toddler empty the plastics drawer and be safely occupied than to constantly redirect her or investigate a suspicious silence. The children think that putting something on top of the bin is equivalent to putting it where it belongs. Books, books, books, scattered everywhere.

So, for this school year, I made a list and I condensed it down as much as I could. I thought through what tasks would help me feel the week was “put away” and wrapped up, which elements of house-chaos bothered me the most, and what would be the biggest payoff for my sanity in the shortest period of time.

Yes, shelving all the books really does help sanity more than chocolate, though it never seems like it at the time.

Here’s what I came up with for me:

  • Reshelve (properly) all the books. This never takes as long as it feels it will, and it is a job that speaks to me.

  • Clean out my purse and tidy it up. Two minutes to prevent walking around with a portable clutter and garbage bag.

  • Tidy up the school cabinet.

  • Clear all the kitchen-area surfaces of all papers and books and LEGOs.

Your list might be totally different. The important thing is not the tasks themselves but figuring out how to get the bang for your buck in tidying things up at the end of the week.

Another helpful strategy might be to have people come to your house on Friday. Sometimes this works for me and sometimes I just look around and think, “Well, today is going to be an extra-authentic day now, isn’t it?”

Rejoicing in Repetition: Towards Joy in Housework will help you find the beauty in the mundane

Are you often frustrated with the repetitive nature of housework? Do you wonder if it’s even worth your time at all? Do you get angry when your work is immediately undone by your little ones?

If so, Rejoicing in Repetition: Toward Joy in Housework, a meditation on the beauty found in the mundane and repetitious, will lift you up and help you regain a clear perspective.

For the month of October, this $2.99 ebook can be yours for free.

Name:
Email:

What do you do at the end of the week to wrap things up and prepare for the weekend and another week?

Mom’s Daily Homeschooling List

x

Bookmark

There’s a lot to keep track of in a homeschooling day. Here’s how I’m currently tracking home and homeschooling tasks.

Homeschool lists! Let’s talk and share all sorts of lists this month during The Nester’s 31 Days series. I’ll share my lists, from managing day to day details to book lists to checklists to supply lists – rest assured, if it can be listed, I have listed it. So I pulled my best lists – yes, I had to abridge and combine the list of lists to bring it down to 31 – and I’ll be sharing them this month. I’m looking forward to it!

Organize your homeschool lists

I’ll be posting a bunch of posts for specific Shakespeare play resources we’ve used next week, so stay tuned and sign up so you don’t miss a single one:

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

Innumerable 31 Homeschooling Lists

Index: Get Organized with Homeschool Lists
Previous: Homeschool Student Daily Checklist
Next: Friday Home Recovery List

I have my own home and homeschool management clipboard and I'm ready to share.

Daily Checklists for a Homeschool Mom

The boys have their homeschool checklists on a clipboard, and I have my own home and homeschool management clipboard.

I keep one sheet that has my “whole life” weekly overview checklist and then a separate sheet for my weekly school overview.

Here’s what it looks like:

checklist1

Most of it is a repeat of what is on the boys’ lists, but it is my at-a-glance of what is supposed to happen, in vague form – specifics are filled in after they occur. You know how it goes.

And, no, I have not yet managed to be consistent with Saturday preparations for the week, but it’s still helpful to have a quick reference there of what needs to be done.

I have more about my personal weekly overview page at Simplified Organization: Command Central Clipboard

The templates and instructions for creating a weekly checklist that fits your specific circumstances, personality, and needs are a part of my Simplified Organization eCourse, and you can also watch my show-and-tell video of my daily index card and weekly overview clipboard at Simplified Organization:

Get $35 off enrollment in Simplified Organization self-paced eCourse this week only with the discount code octoberlists.

Learn how to get organized, starting with your attitude.