It is common to subscribe to Audible and not be listening as quickly as the credits clock up. But you have to spend all your credits before you unsubscribe or you lose them. What books might you buy? I’ve seen this question a number of times, so here are some suggestions for Irish home educators…
And by the way, when you unsubscribe Amazon often offer a great deal, like 3 months at half price, or even 3 months for 99p, which as I write, is available here, for new or previous subscribers.
On Audible, I would tend to go for books that aren’t easily obtainable in hardcopy in Ireland, requiring expensive shipping from the USA, and long stories which don’t have good versions on Librivox. Librivox, which we use a LOT, offer free audiobooks for out of copyright books. Librivox have a free app for the phone or tablet, although I paid once off $2 for their ad free app. But back to Audible…
Children’s books set in Ireland
- The Cottage at Bantry Bay by Hilda Van Stockum chronicles the adventures of the four O’Sullivan children living with their family in the south of Ireland by the shores of Bantry Bay in the 1930’s. (This book is on my Irish Living Book list – Classic fiction set in Ireland, which includes the following two in the series.) There are other books by Hilda van Stockum on Audible including The Winged Watchman, about a Dutch family who live at a mill during the World War II German occupation, which is on Ambleside Online’s Y6 Free reads, and The Mitchells. We haven’t listened to these two yet.
- Hedge school by Gloria Whelan – We all enjoyed listening to this lovely historical fiction story, which is set in 1735.
- Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal by Robert Reilly. We did this Irish historical fiction as a bed time read aloud, but it is now on Audible.
The above are all Bethlehem Books, some of which aren’t always available as physical copies locally. “Bethlehem Books specialize in reprinting tried and true historical fiction, adventure tales, biographies, and family stories that help children and young adults expand their imagination and understand the past.” You can find a list of all their books which are available on Audible on their site here. Other Bethlem Books we have enjoyed which are available on Audible include The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (Iceland) and The Red Keep (France) both by Allen French. Enjoy their inspiring pdf catalogue!
Audible books we used in our curriculum
We enjoyed Rosemary Sutcliff’s versions of the Odyssey and the Iliad for children, Black Ships before Troy and Wanderings of Odysseus. These are options on Ambleside Online year 6, but we enjoyed them when mine were in 3rd class and 1st class (~AO year 3 and 1) in anticipation of a (postponed) trip to Greece. They are great for all ages. The hardcover books are beautifully illustrated and physical copies of both books are in the library. Mine read along in the book while listening to Audible. They listened and narrated a chapter a week. Rosemary Sutcliff has many other books which I have heard are also excellent.
My daughter is horse mad and we all enjoyed Beautiful Feet’s History of the Horse literature guide (available as an e-book). We did nearly all the books on it and every single book we did was a success. Many of the storybooks were on Audible and we listened to:
- King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
- Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is a free read on Ambleside Online Year 3. It is full of sailing terms, so I went with getting the book on Audible, ahead of a (postponed) trip to UK. We are still looking forward to heading out on a boat on Lake Windermere. The first book was much loved by mine and they ended up working their way through 7 of the books in the series, all on Audible!
The Little Duke: The Childhood History of Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy by Charlotte Yonge, is a biography of Richard, Duke of Normandy, great-grandfather of William the Conqueror. This was beautifully read on Audible and enjoyed by us all. It is also on Ambleside Online Year 3.
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. This is a free read on Ambleside Online Year 3. I found it a bit of a challenge to read aloud and I preferred to listen to it. It is out of copyright and is on Librivox, but I much preferred the reader on Audible.
Father and I Were Ranchers: Little Britches by Ralph Moody is a free read on Ambleside Online Year 4. AO have a note about some language; please preview, but I can’t remember what they were referring to. Little Britches is often referenced as boy version of Little House on the Prairie. Ralph Moody wrote a sequel Man of the Family, which is on our to-listen list. The Little House series is also on Audible, the first book being Little House in the Big Woods, but I read these aloud myself to mine.
The Green Ember series by S. D. Smith, which he is still writing – Ember’s End came out in 2020 – is often raved about on US home ed sites. The physical books are not currently available here, so we enjoyed listening to them. My children are big fans. The first book is free from S. D. Smith’s site or on Audible stories.
The price on some of these titles is quite low, below the price of a standard credit. Also, sometimes if you purchase the Kindle version of a book, you can select ‘Add Audible narration’ for £2 or £3, and the overall total together is lower. The length of some of these stories is quite short, 2 hours or so. I actually bought a few of these books when I had an Audible subscription, because they were on a half-price sale, and two of the shorter ones cost just £2.62 each.
We did some stories out of order because the titles are a little confusing. It didn’t matter overly much. Well mine still enjoyed them immensely anyway, but here is the reading order:
- The Green Ember
- The Black Star of Kingston (Tales of Old Natalia 1)
- Ember Falls: The Green Ember Book II
- The Last Archer: A Green Ember Story
- Ember Rising: The Green Ember Book III
- The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner (Tales of Old Natalia 2)
- The First Fowler: A Green Ember Story
- Ember’s End: The Green Ember Book IV
- The Archer’s Cup: Green Ember Archer Book 3
Redwall is a series of children’s fantasy novels by British writer Brian Jacques, published from 1986 to 2011. Redwall is also the title of the first book of the series, published in 1986. We did the first book with a friend as part of a six week online bookclub for home educators with Kolbe during Covid, and so we did this as a read aloud. They are on Audible and are frequently recommended on home ed sites, so I thought I would include them here.
On my Start Here page, I recommend In Vital Harmony: Charlotte Mason and the Natural Laws of Education by Karen Glass. I have the physical book, but if you prefer to listen then this is an option. Karen Glass also has another book on Audible: Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition. I would recommend In Vital Harmony first.
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie – This popular, inspirational book is frequently recommended and I know some Irish home educating mothers reread it every year or two. It is fairly short at 2 hours and 39 minutes. It is one of the Classical Academic Press books, which means it is not easily purchasable in Ireland, so Audible makes sense. I bookmarked some quotes to commonplace but it worked well as an audiobook.
The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer is a fantastic, detailed guide to reading the Great Books, and like her book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home for your children, well worth owning. You will want the updated (2016) physical copy for the book lists, but the Audible (2003) works for listening to her descriptive guides. The book contains “entertaining histories of six literary genres – fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry and science, accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type”. We are using her primary school level Story of the World books, the audiobooks for which are only available at Well Trained Mind Press, but her high school/adult History of the World series (History of the Ancient World, History of the Medieval World) is on Audible if you want to brush up on your world history or learn it well for the first time.
Sally Clarkson also has some of her books on Audible, which I have seen recommended, although I have not yet listened to any. Herself, her husband and her four home educated children, are all authors.
If you have enjoyed Audible books you feel would be worth including in this page, you can contact me.
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