We aim to make each day purposeful. Not scheduled and rigid, but each activity we partake in, or everything that we experience has purpose. Sure, I have my veg-out days, too, and my kids have seen plenty of Sofia the First episodes, but overall, I try to make sure we don’t have too many pointless time-fillers in any given day.
As Charlotte Mason would say, “No twaddle.”
We’ve cut back on how much time we spend in the car over the past couple years, but as the kids get older and we want to do more activities, and road trips are less complicated, I see our time in the car increasing again.
Car rides could be all twaddle. Or, they can be enriching.
Read alouds without reading aloud
I want to read aloud to my kids, but the circus that is happening in my house most days makes that a bit more complicated than I wish to work through at this time.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t want my kids to encounter literature that will stretch their imaginations and vocabularies.
I want them to hear words I never speak, and to think of things they’ve never seen.
I want them to imagine and explore without having to watch a TV show to fill their eyes with what their imagination could fill instead.
Our start with free audio books
I love our nasheeds, but honestly, the pickings are somewhat slim for kids, so I get tired of the same 6ish CDs over and over. At the library one day, I figured I’d pick up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and see what happens. After all, it’s one of Aamina’s favorite movies, so it can’t go terribly.
I still expected her to request her songs rather than listening to someone read a book for her, so I was surprised when the opposite was true.
Ever since that first CD set from the library, Aamina requests her audio book first and foremost every time we’re in the van. It has nearly the same draw as kids asking to watch a movie in the car (we don’t have a DVD player in our van, but from what I’ve heard and observed).
Next I picked up The Wizard of Oz (which is a lot darker than I remember the movie being. Yikes.), and then Charlotte’s Web.
Enter Audible: downloadable audio books
I’m one of those homeschool moms that always has a balance with the library. Our library even has a drive thru drop-off, and I still struggle with remembering to get it there. I could go on about my loving struggle with the library, but my point is I know I’m not the only one that sometimes avoids the library.
When I read Audible offered two free audio books (that you can keep forever!) in their 30 day free trial, I figured, “Why not?” I got The Hobbit for myself, and The Chronicles of Narnia for the kids (this particular one is dramatized for a radio show. It’s not a word-for-word reading of the book, but was still really fun to listen to).
I wanted books that I would listen to again and again, since I would have them forever.
The Day I Didn’t Cancel
I’m guilty of signing up for free trials planning on canceling before I ever get charged, and that’s how I saw this, too. And then the first month came and went, but I saw The Adventure Collection in the Kids section. Well, that looked way too cool to pass up, and I don’t know if I could find all those books in print for the one-month price of Audible anyway. It seemed like a steal.
And then I thought about the future, and how I would love to have a collection of books that we can listen to more than once, especially with Salihah coming up the ranks. She won’t want to miss some of the books we’ve listened to already!
And now I’m hooked.
I get the news daily from The New York Times included with my subscription (you can choose The Wall Street Journal, if you prefer). Now after just a couple months, I have a couple books I’m listening to, and my wish list is growing.
To my surprise, there are even some good Islamic book options. Just like any other major book retailer, you have to weed through all the anti-Islam options, but what I’m listening to now, In The Footsteps of the Prophet, is great!
I still plan to cancel someday, after I have a small collection. And when I cancel, I get to keep everything. Pretty awesome.
When We Listen
I got a good question on Instagram from a fellow busy mama: When do I listen to audio books?
I’m glad she asked! Someone mentioned audio books to me in years past, and I just thought to myself, “My house isn’t quiet enough to listen to anything!”
But sometimes it is.
After I put the kids to bed, and yes, even before they actually stay in bed for the night, I can listen to a book. My favorite part? I can knit at the same time.
I also listen to books when I’m working out. It keeps me from listening to music that isn’t good for the mind or heart, so I walk away feeling refreshed both physically and mentally.
Sometimes I sneak in a listen while I’m folding clothes during naptime, too.
For the kids, the van is the #1 place they listen to books, and it’s still the first thing Aamina asks for when we start driving any place. I’m not sure she knows that she could listen to her books while we are at home, but since they already think my phone is their toy camera, I’m not going to let them in on the fact that my phone could be fun for other reasons as well. I’d like my battery to last the whole day, thankyouverymuch.
Books Still Reign
Audio books have not cut out actual books in our lives, but instead it’s introduced more books: ones that I wouldn’t have time or energy to read aloud in our current season of life.
We still read a book together at night right before bed, and I try to make sure to agree to read to them any time they ask, provided I’m not in the middle of something else already. I also still collect books for our home library, because like I said before, my relationship with the library is just as expensive as buying books anyway.
Thanks for that!
I need to make a more concerted effort with audio books for my little.
We’ve successfully put a full stop to DVDs in the car. Now they have started noticing the routes we take,the surroundings and talk – nonstop!
Question – do you use Audible in the car? Do you hook up your phone to speakers? How badly does it sent your data usuage?
Shannen Espelien says
I think once you start, you’ll find he asks for it. If Aamina didn’t ask for it, I might not have continued as strongly as we have, and I might not have learned how much I love listening to books, too.
It’s the perfect season for them to start noticing the surroundings! Awesome! And yes, I use my phone for playing Audible in the car. We have an auxiliary port (just looks like a headphone port) in the van, and I connect that with a cable I got from Best Buy to the headphone jack on my phone. You can get super cheap cables from Amazon, but they are pretty low quality and when you’re trying to listen to the words, I do think that matters.
The way Audible works is you download your books to your device: phone, computer, or anything that will play an mp3. Then you listen to your books offline, so you can download them when you’re at home, using your home WiFi and not use your phone data at all. Or, if you’re on the go, you can download it using your phone data. Either way, but listening is completely offline.
Shannen Espelien says
I should add, you can just use any mp3 player to play the books, but the Audible app will keep your place in any book you’ve listened to, while an mp3 player won’t. Because of that, I never listen to their books outside of the Audible app right now. I have 4 books we are in progress on, so that would be a mess trying to find my place for any of those without the app.
Ours are 8 and 10 and like being read to but want chapter books as well as picture books and using audible makes it a family storytime. We can all listen, we can pick enriching books and can listen for ages without someome’s voice dying.
I was a bit snobby about it for, I thought it was lazy. What it actually does is give us more books. We are in the middle of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ read by Sissy Spacek. We watched the movie first and my ten yro said, ‘ooh, Scout is reading to us!’ It is a lovely app.
Shannen Espelien says
I totally agree about getting to read more without someone’s voice dying! I love to read, but after a while, I just don’t want to listen to my own voice anymore!