Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do you hear that?

I grew up listening to stories. My Grandmother would tell me stories at bedtime. She lived far way and we only saw each other every few years during summer vacation. But during that time, I would wear her out at bedtime asking her to tell over and over again the same stories.

Looking back those stories were pretty creepy. Some had death in it and awful things, but they were a connection between me and my Grandmother's unconditional love. She would be so tired after a whole day of service to us. We would stay at her house for at least a month and she would fix us 3 meals a day. She would let us get wet in the rain and then run inside and leave tracks through the whole house. I never heard her complaining. My Grandmother was synonym of love and fun.

Anyway, you can imagine by bedtime she would be exhausted from entertaining and taking care of us all (mind you not only us children but the adults and the friends and relatives that stopped by to visit with us). So, after telling me the first story she would be snoozing off and mixing the story up and leaving details out. I would always shake her and say "Grandma that is wrong. That is not how it goes. you are sleeping. " In my child's mind it never dawned on me that she was exhausted and I should let her sleep.

Because of her, I love a good story telling. I have a good listening ear and I can remember things years later.

In an effort to instill that in my children, I not only tell them stories and read books out loud to them but I seek out good story telling tools.

I first heard of  Adventures in Odyssey radio dramas somewhere in the internet. So I quickly purchased a few Cd collections and although we enjoy them, a lot of their stories are school based. Also some of their themes are geared to children 10 and older. There are themes like bullying and abortion, that although important, are not very appropriate for my children because they are still under 8 years old. Some of the themes come with a self explanatory title or a warning. Some themes are really fun and a great tool for teaching History and the difference between a Christian world view and a secular one.

I try to listen to the episodes first so I know what they are about, or I listen to the episode with my children so I can explain and answer questions as they arise. So after a couple of CD collections we dropped this production for now. I think I will probably pick it up again in a few years.

Then I purchased a couple of Laura Ingall's books on audio CDs. When I was 13 years old I loved her books so I thought my children would enjoy them too.

We heard the CDs on road trips and a few times at home. My DD8 loved them but my son wasn't as interested. I noticed that at first it was really hard for him to concentrate. However through listening to audio books DS5 is learning to focus and not get easily distracted.

Then I purchased Jonathan Park... oh, that was a hit with all my children!!! They love dinosaurs and anything that has to do with science and animals. These radio dramas meet their needs exactly. Just like Adventures in Odyssey each episode is about 20 minutes long, the big difference is that the episodes are centered around a family - a Christian family that homeschool and believe in Creationism. So the episodes are filled with Bible verses, real life situations, adventures, mysteries but also lots of scientific information.

We heard the first CD collection on a road trip to the beach. Now my DD8 can't go to sleep without listening to one or 2 episodes every night. We are on the 5th volume and she has heard each one many times over. This is a really fun way to cover History, Science, Math and Bible teaching all at the same time.

Now for my latest discovery!!! A few weeks ago, I found Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. I went to the Peace Hill Press website and for $25.00 I was able to download Volume I that covers the Ancient Times. This morning we heard the first chapter read by Jim Weiss.

We learned about Nomads, Farmers, villages and Cities. We learned about primitive irrigation systems and how and what nomads ate. We had a glimpse of what life by the Nile was like. It was so much fun. My 3 children under 8 years old gathered around the kitchen table armed with crayons and coloring pencils and blank white paper. While we heard the narrative they colored and drew pictures. We paused the narrative quite a few times so they could explain what they heard and showcase the pictures of their primitive irrigation systems, rivers and canals.

I perused the internet to show them images of the primitive irrigation systems and the current ones. They were able to compare and contrast and analyze how life is easier or harder because of them. Home educating has been such an adventure for us, in the literal sense. :)

What are some of the things that you do with your children that bring back your childhood connections or memories? Do you think that a good listening ear is important?

I hope that this post was helpful. Be blessed today,


1 comment:

Sandy said...

My kids ages 7, 10, 13, and 17 love Odyssey. I agree there are some topics that are geared for older children, but many are not. I am amazed at how much history they have learned. I am thankful for a resource that teaches from a Biblical worldview. I have not heard about Jonathan Park, but I will definitely be checking that out. Thanks for the link. I agree that developing a listening ear is important. We often talk too much and miss what others are saying.