Audiobooks We’re Enjoying (July 2015)

The back and forth to swim practice or long road trips have meant extended listening time the last few weeks. We’ve managed to wrap up several great audiobooks and would love to share them with you all, especially if you have some time to fill!

With Lee in Virginia

with lee in virginia

With Lee in Virginia another audio adventure from Heirloom Audio (we’ve previously enjoyed Under Drake’s Flag and In Freedom’s Cause from them). With Lee in Virginia didn’t disappoint at all! They feature several familiar ‘faces and voices’ of Sean Astin and Kirk Cameron. The storytelling is wonderful and all of our kids (ages 8 through 14) enjoyed listening to it, as did the adults. Great for learning a little more Civil War era history and also a well-produced audiobook.

Recommended ages: 6 and up


A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket audiobook series

Last month I shared about the audiobook series we are hooked on. That hasn’t changed at all. We are *this* close to finishing up the last book in the Lemony Snicket series, appropriately titled “The End” and are less than 2 hours from completing the series. Phew!

Some answers are finally appearing, but we definitely can’t wait to see what is ‘revealed’ in the next little bit. The kids have enjoyed this enough that when we found the books for just a few dollars apiece at a book sale, they asked if we could get all of them. I’m definitely all for something that they want to sit down and read again!

This last month we’ve listened to:

A Cry From Egypt

cry from egypt audiobook

Another audiobook that has been traveling around town is A Cry from Egypt (written by a homeschool student). Raising Real Men put together a radio theatre version of the story. If you have listened to any of the Jonathan Park adventures, this is along the same lines, but set in ancient Egypt and depicts the life of an Israelite slave. Find out more here.


What are YOU reading or listening together right now?



Previously Read (or Listened to) Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

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Helpful Guide for Choosing Homeschool Literature for K-12

Last year at a nearby homeschool convention I sat in on several sessions by Adam Andrews from Center for Lit. After pouring for quite some time over their resources, one of the books that made it into my bag was Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12.  Since that day, there are multiple dog-eared pages in the book and it has become one of my favorite helps for choosing books for our children.

Reading Roadmaps literature suggestions for homeschool

Yesterday I shared a post on Instagram about this book and immediately received several emails from readers asking to know more about the book (and why I liked it). So – here goes! For those of you wanting a peek inside the book, watch the video clip below.

feed subscribers can view the video here

Reading Roadmaps contains and entire year’s literature suggestions for each grade level from K-12. The lists are sequential (so they build in difficulty) and multiple models are provided. You can choose a weekly, monthly, six week, quarterly, or seasonal model which will vary the reading and study time.

Each book title recommended includes the following: plot summary, conflict, story themes, stylistic devices used (alliteration, rhyming, etc…), additional resources if available, and an alternate story suggestion. The last few chapters of the guide offer a variety of literature teaching helps: assigning and grading essays, grade level objectives, grading and credits, and time periods in the history of literature.

Overall, this has been a great ‘go-to’ resource for me and is how I am building each of our children’s literature lists for the year and one that is kept handy and within reach.

Reading Lists for Our Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our children this past year? Check out our reading choices for this year by clicking on the images below.


4th grade homeschool reading list 6th grade homeschool reading list 9th grade reading list

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The Audiobooks That Have Us Hooked

Lemony Snicket audiobook series

Have you ever popped in an audiobook for your kids to listen to, and then realized HOURS later that you have been pulled into the story just as much as they have? To give you an idea, we recently had a long car ride (seven hours there and seven hours back) and almost five hours of each leg was spent listening to an audio book. I had a book along to read – and ZERO pages were turned because I didn’t want to miss anything!

On a whim last month, we picked up the first book in the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events at the library. To give you an idea of how much we enjoyed it – we just finished the seventh book in the series (incidentally, there are THIRTEEN total). Yeah. We’re hooked.

The Quick Summary

The series follows the Baudelaire orphans and, well, the unfortunate events that seem to surround them. After the death of their parents, they are sent to live with a relative, Count Olaf, who is only intent on getting their fortune – and is a very evil and unkind man. The three children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are all wonderful children, but left in an unhappy and unfortunate situation – all the time. They escape from one dastardly event only to have misfortune follow them again and again. The fact that the entire series is called The Complete Wreck should give you a fairly good understanding of the nature of the books.

I will put in a brief disclaimer here to say that I do not feel this is a series for younger children because of some of the content in the stories. Our youngest is eight and we are comfortable with him listening, but you may want to do a little looking at the original book in the series and see if it is a good fit for your family.

What We Love (and groan over)

The first two books are read by Tim Curry (who does an amazing job). Books three through five are then read by the author (whom we don’t like as much). Fortunately Tim Curry returns in book six – and all is well again. Curry changes character voices, adds in extra sound effects, and just overall makes the stories even more enjoyable.

So far we’ve listened to…

We love the sidenotes that the author, Lemony Snicket, goes off on. There are constant explanations of what a difficult vocabulary word means (which are hilarious and to the point), the quick wit of the children, and the overall humor – we are always laughing at something.

Our favorite quote from the books so far:

“If one is allergic to something, one should never put that thing in one’s mouth. Especially if that thing is a cat.”

Throughout the book the author is constantly saying, “I wish I could tell you that things became better for the Baudelaire orphans, but they don’t.” Or, “If you are looking for a story with a happy ending, you may want to put this book down right now and find another story.” There are constant groans from the backseat as the kids listen along.

We still have five more books to run back to the library and listen grab, but we are obviously enjoying these. Have you listened to them or read them? I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

What are YOU reading or listening together right now?

Books We’ve Previously Read (or Listened to) Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

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Animal Babies Matching Activity – Free Printable



To celebrate Mother’s Day, All About Learning Press has a special downloadable reading activity: Baby Animal Names Matching!  This simple learning activity includes a few animals that you won’t see in a typical matching game, including a raccoon and a kangaroo. Just match the animal babies with their mommas!

Additional FREE Reading and Spelling Activities

If you’re looking for a few other reading and spelling activities to use with your children, be sure to check out these fun games too. They are ones that we’ve used with our kids over the years and love!

Be a Lumberjack syllable game

Be a Lumberjack – works on dividing multisyllable words

 three letter blend game

Word Flippers – works on common three letter blends (str, spl, scr, and spr)


ee blend words

Wake Up the Sheep – works on reading words with the ‘ee’ blend


feed the anteater game

Feed the Anteater – a fun game for kids to make the anteater ‘eat’ the word ants


Win a Level of All About Spelling!


Be sure to enter to win a full level of spelling from All About Spelling too! Each month, there is a wonderful giveaway and this month is no different! Our family has loved this hands-on spelling program and we have used it for years now. It was the first curriculum that really clicked with us and we haven’t looked back. Read our review of All About Spelling here.

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The Hiding Place – Our Current Read Aloud and Audiobook

The Hiding Place audiobook

During our history time we are easing out of World War 2 and moving into the cold war era, but while in the thick of German invasions and concentration camps we pulled out The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

While the holocaust can be a very heavy topic with kids, it’s one that we want our kids to understand – and not gloss over. The Hiding Place audio drama version can be a bit deep (especially for younger kids – our youngest is 8 and I felt comfortable letting him listen to it), but it really brings to life scenes from the life of the ten Boom family and what they, and many others, endured while helping Jewish families escape during World War 2.

Corrie ten Boom

Netherlands with Corrie ten Boom, 1974

The Hiding Place holds a very special place in the hearts of my family. While I don’t remember the above picture, there was a time many years ago that I met her (grins). My mother worked for Corrie ten Boom as one of her secretaries before she and my father were married, and both Corrie and Brother Andrew (God’s Smuggler) were part of my parent’s marriage ceremony. When the audiobook opened with Brother Andrew introducing the life of Corrie ten Boom, I have to admit to tearing up – it’s so neat to hear the hearts of people that poured and were a central part of my parents life.

Reading The Hiding Place together has reminded me again and again how important it is to talk to our kids about history and how it impacts and affects us over the years. Corrie is one of the ‘heroes’ of Christian faith that I have admired over the years, and listening and hearing her heart and desire to honor and serve God – even in the midst of pain, sorrow, and not understanding – truly makes me want to be and do more in my faith.

Another great book for kids to read and learn about Corrie ten Boom is Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angel’s Den.

What are YOU reading or listening together right now?


Books We’ve Previously Read Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

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