Audiobooks – a secret weapon to end arguing and promote world peace (or at least family peace)? Who knew!?
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This week my niece is staying with us, and while I love her and enjoy having her here, she adds a new dynamic to our family. I had to break up so many arguments today I lost count. She and my daughter want to play dolls and princesses, and my son, who would normally be happy playing on his own with Legos or Play-doh or whatever he can find to do, wants to be included in their playtime too. So there’s lots of “He won’t play right!” and “But I don’t want to be a knight!” being
discussed yelled in my house.
So I was fed up. So disgusted with all of the bickering that I threatened to give them all very disgusting chores if I heard one more cross word. And issued the directive to go outside and play together nicely, NOW!
And it worked. But it was hot outside. And do you know how long it took them to come back? About 2.7 minutes.
So I decided it was time to pull out my secret weapon that is guaranteed to make any kid (at least mine) play quietly without arguing for at least a good hour!
What’s that you say? You want to know what the secret weapon is? You mean you don’t know?? Oh my goodness, momma! You will love me forever!
I put an audiobook in the CD player.
Yeah, it doesn’t seem like it would be all that earth-shaking. No Super-villians will be showing up at my front door trying to steal this secret weapon to take over the world. But it works for my kids!
Most of the children I have taken care of
have been defeated will play quietly with Play-doh or blocks for hours with the right audiobook to listen to. Just in case you are wondering, today’s selection was The Secret Garden. (This particular one is dramatized and not word for word to the actual book, but it is really excellent.)
So where do I find good audiobooks?
There are several places to find great audiobooks and audio dramas. While you can still buy audiobooks on CD, I tend to buy things that I can download to my phone or the kids’ Ipods, because that’s how I roll.
Your local library
Most local libraries carry Books on CD and Playaway digital audio players. I usually avoid this option, mostly because
my kids are I am prone to losing things. And most of the time it would be more expensive to replace the library’s copy that we have lost than it would to have just bought it in the first place!
Also, we have a really hard time getting library books back on time.We don’t call it borrowing from the library… we call it renting. Because I always have to pay fines.
Your library’s online digital collection powered by Overdrive.
Anytime I need an audiobook, the first place I go is to our library’s online digital collection powered by Overdrive. I love that it can be downloaded to numerous devices, including Ipods and Iphones and Android devices, using the free Overdrive App.
The thing I love about the Overdrive Library is that everything is digital and is delivered to your digital devices, and when your check-out time is up, it just magically disappears! No overdue books and no fines! It’s awesome!
I feel like I must be telling you something you already know, but several months ago, I witnessed a conversation with some friends where they were talking about the Digital Library, and one of them turned to me and said, “Did you know about this?” When I said, “Yes, I use it all the time!” she asked me why I had never told her about it. I didn’t know what to say. I thought everyone knew about the library’s digital collection.
So I will tell you. Just in case you don’t know.
If you don’t know if your library is a part of the Overdrive network, find out today! You can search for your library using Overdrive’s search tool, but I couldn’t find our library and I know they participate. So if you can’t find it, call your library. Chances are, they will know what you are talking about.
While our library’s digital audio collection is pretty extensive, sometimes I have a hard time finding the right book. Or the one I want is checked out and it will be a while before I can get it. So, my next stop is Audible.
I have been an Audible customer for almost as long as they have been in business. I love being able to download a book and “read” it over and over if I want. I also love Whisper-sync option, where you can read a book on your Kindle and listen at the same time. Or not. If you listen without reading, your Kindle will ask you if you want to pick up where you left off next time you open that book. It’s really handy! I’ll listen to an audiobook during the day while I’m working around the house, and then go to my Kindle to read more at bedtime.
If you sign up for Audible as a first time customer using my link, you will receive 2 free audiobooks just for checking it out. You’ll also get discounts on most other audiobooks you buy, and they run Daily Deals where you can get that days selection for a very reduced price (usually just a couple of bucks. Yes, thank you!)
Most likely if you have been around the homeschooling community for any amount of time, you might have at least heard of Christianbook.com. I buy almost all of my textbooks through them each year (unless I buy used, of course), because they have the best prices anywhere.
But you might not know that they have audiobooks and audio dramas, too. They have lots of great stories available as instant downloads, as well as actual CD versions. I have bought many audios from them in both formats and have never been disappointed. I bought everyone in my family a Focus on the Family Radio Theatre Drama for Christmas last year. Actual CD’s for my mom and dad and instant downloads for my tech-y brothers.
One place I tend to forget when talking about audiobooks is Itunes, because I have been an Android user until recently. My kids almost always get an Itunes gift card from their grandma for Christmas. (Hi, Mom!) And although we love music around here, they almost always prefer to buy an audiobook or drama with their gift card. Which I love.
When I am looking for a classic book, I always try to check Librivox. They have thousands of public domain books read by volunteers. I have had mixed results with these audios though. Many of the books I have gotten from Librivox have been recommended reading through Ambleside Online, and while I’m sure the books are wonderful, some of the readers are not great. Or there are several different readers throughout the book, which can be distracting. The best thing about them is that all of the audiobooks are free, so it doesn’t hurt to download them and try them out before buying something.
Loyal Books is a little bit easier to use that Librivox, and has ratings and reviews for the readers, so most of the Top 100 books are easy to listen to. I prefer to use this site over Librivox because it is nicely organized and easy to navigate. They have free public domain books and paid books.
This is another great place to find books that are in the public domain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, Thornton Burgess tales, and more are available to read and listen to online or for download. The readers I have listened to have been very professional and enjoyable.
I just stumbed upon this site today, and it looks amazing! It’s based in the UK, and they have a wonderful collection of classics, poetry, and original works. Who doesn’t love a good British accent!? And did I tell you? It’s all free! It looked like you could download the MP3’s for listening on the go.
My younger kids love this site. While it is actually set up to be an e-book site, almost all of the e-books have audio to listen to while reading. You can’t download these audiobooks to listen offline, but their site claims to be tablet-friendly, so you can take it on the go if you have a tablet.
So these are my favorite places to get audiobooks! Did I miss a great place to download them? Please share your favorite place to get audiobooks! I would love to find out about them… we love good stories!