Audio: 寫給兒童的世界歷史 The Children Can Read World History

Age: 8
Grade: 3rd and up

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A few weeks ago, I borrowed Story of the World for Thumper on audio tape.  I first heard about it through What Did We Do All Day.  She uses it with the Writing with Ease curriculum.  We’ve not gone that route yet, instead just listening in the car when we run out of things to listen to.

Thumper has been begging to listen to this series, along with Magic Treehouse.  I dole it out though because she’s been speaking way too much English and doesn’t seem to remember what she’s reading in Chinese.

Last week, I finally decided to look at my saved podcasts and re-discovered my Children Can Read World History podcasts from ximalaya.com that I’d saved months ago.  We listened to the first 6-7 stories in the car and I’m amazed at just how closely it hews to Story of the World, though the content is sometimes different.

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Squeezing it in: Music and audiobooks

I’ve been repeating this past month that I cannot squeeze in everything in our work period.  Particularly, I was having trouble squeezing in music and audiobooks, even though to me that is very important in language acquisition.

I finally got around this by not making it a subject to study.

For example, our theme in September was time.  So in the car, during lunch time, during break time, I would play My Grandfather’s clock, in Chinese and English.

Ken Kirai also has a Japanese version, if you want to get children exposed to other cultures and languages.

I was amazed that after about a week, the children all started singing the songs and asked to listen to them again.

Before Thumper goes to sleep, I now let her listen to Magic Treehouse in English, per her request.  I really hope I can find Chinese audiobooks soon.  sigh

Each week, we make a 30 min to 1 hour drive down south for our co-op, Chinese class, sometimes Books and Me library, 4H, etc.  If Thumper’s not reading, then we listen to Radiolab, Story of the World, Chinese history, or Chinese Encyclopedia (Astroboy’s love), and Qiao Hu.

If I had a choice, I would wish the kids could somehow follow up on what they’re listening to and research whatever topics interest them.  But I’m figuring I need to give up this idea till they actually learn how to read and write!

I think the hardest part about squeezing things in is intention and prep.  It takes time to convert all of my audio into mp3s that I load onto my iPhone.  It takes time to go back every week or every month to select the next batch of Chinese Encyclopedia topics we want to listen to, or find the right Radiolab episodes, or add new Story of the World tracks.  Then getting my ass in gear and remembering to play any of these audio, instead of trying to steal time for myself when the kids are working.

Intention is always something I struggle with.  One thing that helps me sometimes is to say, I will work on one thing this month.  Maybe this month I will just work on playing audio during our driving time.  It also helps to have scheduled prep time.