happy family in car with dog listening to audiobook

Summer Reading: Audiobooks for Your Catholic Homeschool

Summer is upon us, which means it is time for summer reading lists! Today, let’s talk about audiobooks for our Catholic homeschools.

One of the great things about homeschooling today is audiobooks. We all love audiobooks at my house, but some of us more than others. I have a couple of boys who are listeners more than they are readers. We listen as a family when we vacation. Children listen on their own when they have assigned reading while taking notes. I’ll don headphones while doing household chores. Adult children will hack into my Audible account to pick something from my library.

Many people think of audiobooks as a form of entertainment or means of self-improvement; we should consider them as an educational resource in our homeschooling as well! A good audiobook is fully able to stand as an integral part of a class, especially for students who aren’t keen on physical books, for whatever reason. Audio books are a great option for:

Struggling readers. My dyslexic child likes to listen while reading at the same time. It makes the reading much more enjoyable than struggling through a book without the audio. If you have a dyslexic child, audiobooks are a lifesaver.

Reluctant readers. I have another child who had an easy time learning to read but never really enjoyed the process. This happens sometimes with children; even if you “do everything right” and there are no cognitive issues. Some children just aren’t going to enjoy reading as much as others. And that’s okay! Audiobooks saved the day for my child and can for your child too.

Family time. I love read aloud time with children. However, now and then it’s nice to listen together to an audiobook. Audiobooks are typically read by professional narrators who excel at telling the story in a way that draws the reader in, so children sometimes stay more engaged listening to an audiobook than when  a parent is reading. And, you can easily pause the book to answer questions or discuss.

Long drives. This is my favorite time to enjoy audiobooks. It’s also a great way to keep your kids behaved during an otherwise tedious journey. This has enriched my long drives so many times, even just listening by myself! Mr. Campbell’s Story of Civilization audio dramas are a favorite for many homeschool families!

Where can you get good audiobooks for kids? An excellent free resource to check out is Librovox. Librovox It is the audio version of Project Gutenberg. Public domain books are read aloud by volunteers. Another free resource is your public library — see if your library uses Overdrive or Libby for a wide selection of audiobooks.

Audible is also a wonderful place to go. I know many homeschoolers today already have Audible accounts, but if you don’t, you should definitely consider signing up! Below are just a few chapter books for we’ve listened to in my family:

Where the Red Fern Grows read by Richard Thomas|
This classic novel by Wilson Rawls about a boy and his dogs growing up in the Ozarks during the Great Depression era was listened to several times in our family. It is a story that is listened to as a family because of all the emotions it brings out, from pure joy to pure agony. It deals with love, determination, hard work, integrity, courage, and death. 

d’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths
When I struggled with the pronunciation of the characters in the the d’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, I borrowed the audiobook from my library. It is read by multiple readers, which works great for this book since it is a collection of various myths and the different voices help to differentiate the chapters. This book has been aroun for over fifty years and is a great introduction to Greek mythology for family listeners (or readers).

The Princess and the Goblin 
This classic fantasy tale was written by on of C. S. Lewis’ favorite authors George MacDonald. And, it is one of my favorite children’s books. Though I think I love the sequel The Princess and Curdie a smidge more. Don’t miss this adventure filled with great examples of such virtues as courage, prudence, justice, and more. 

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
This was a favorite at my house, especially of my youngest son. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH centers around a colony of escaped lab rats who live in a technologically-sophisticated and literate society, not unlike that of humans. The rats risk everything to come to the aid of Mrs. Frisby, a widowed field mouse and her children to save her home and livelihood.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
This book is a quick read that will take you on a crazy journey, along with a stuck-up china rabbit (yes, you read that right) from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of a sick child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we witness a miracle in that china rabbit — I won’t say any more other than there are some great lessons in humility, kindess, charity, and more. And it’s a good tale to boot. 

Swallows and Amazons
This is a book you’ll find on just about every Charlotte Mason list. Join the Walker family in this series filled with sailing, seamanship, and maritime adventures. Your children will get a glimpse into life before screens and the fun that can be had when you’ve got all of the outdoors and the summer to conquer.

Five Children and It
My family loves just about anything and everything written by E. Nesbit. In this fantasy novel, siblings go digging in the gravel pit, and discover a Psammead –an ancient Sand-fairy, whch grants the children one wish each day. You wouldn’t believe all of the trouble you can get into when your wishes come true!

The Green Ember S
Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival says, “If I could choose only one book for my kids to read this year, this would be it.” I’m inclined to agree. This is a story of Heather and Pciket who are ordinary, everyday rabbits confronted by unexpected, catastrophic events that change everything. Like Frodo in LOTR and the Pevensie children in Narnia, they rise to their circumstances and overcome evil. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg; there is so much more! Let us know your favorite audiobooks in the comments!

There is a whole world of audiobooks out there just waiting for you. If you’ve already incorporated audiobooks into your homeschooling, how has it worked out for you? What tips or ideas can you share? Visit us to continue this conversation at our Catholic Homeschool Community.

For more fabulous ideas for summer reading (for little to adults) click here: Homeschool Connections Blog Reading Lists

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