I don’t think it would surprise anyone when I say this has been a busy summer.   Busy.  I think the best word I can use to describe our summer season this year is intense.  The weather, the build, the boys…everything has seemed magnified.  It’s been tricky, in amongst all that, to find time for connection, stories, shared ideas.  I’m not sure I’ve managed it well but the one thing I can say is that we’ve used the time we had had as best we can.

I’ve always enjoyed listening to audiobooks and the boys seem to like them too; so it occurred to me at the beginning of the summer, when it became evident that at least an hour of driving a day was in our future (turns out it has often been much, much more) that I would have a very captive audience.  So this summer our car has been, in part, our school.  We have listened to some of the best children’s books every written (read by wonderful actors) in our hours in the car.  As we have clocked up the miles we’ve also absorbed many beautiful books.

Here are some of the ones that stand out:

The Secret Garden  Frances Hodgeson Burnett

The Little House Series (we listened to Farmer Boy twice, back to back) there are 9 books in this series, we’d listened to some before be they are worth a second visit and we enjoyed them all as if they were brand new to us.  We tried to get them sequentially but found it didn’t diminish our enjoyment if we had to skip one and come back to it.    Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anne of Green Gables  L.M Montgomery

Anne of the Island (we skipped book 2 because the narrator sounded like a speak and spell)  L.M Montgomery

The Railway Children   E.N. Nesbitt

The Phoenix and the Carpet  E.N. Nesbitt

Little Men   Louise May Alcott

Various Magic Treehouse stories   Mary Osbourne

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  Mark Twain

What Katy Did     Susan Coolidge

Huwyl has also enjoyed the Geronimo Stilton series but they were listened to at home rather than by all of us.  He’s also enjoyed various stories by Jim Weiss and other collections of fairy tales and folk tales.

The summer has unfolded around us as we’ve made our daily journey back and forth, racking up the miles and watching the season turn around us.  What could have been torturous has instead been a pleasure, ‘down time’ for all of us.

I’m a huge fan of audio books for children (and for myself) for lots of reasons but mainly because I love the way the language will just wash over the listener, allowing for progression where it would otherwise have stalled.  Throughout the summer I’ve heard Huwyl come out with little phrases that he’d picked up from the stories, one day he cried “Mercy on us!” which was the ‘catchphrase’ of Alonzo Wilder’s mother in Farmer Boy.  It was so comical to hear it coming out of this exhuberant boys’ mouth but was also a reminder of just how much children do soak up from the world they are exposed to.

Despite the manic days and weeks our car has been a bit of a safe haven, a world where stories flow and we can relax in each other’s company and be taken away from our current world to a whole new place.  No need for talking or conversation from a tired mummy who’s brain hurts by about 2pm.  Less arguing between crabby siblings who are being more patient than they should have to be.  And the joy of listening to some of the most beautiful stories ever written.

The heat of the summer has waxed and then waned, edging towards autumn.  The rush of our lives has sent us spinning until we were all dizzy, but in the car we were in a world of our own.

Though I will not be sorry when this part of our journey is over and we can finally relax in our home, I will miss our forced captivity and the comforting worlds of Laura, Anne and all the other friend’s we’ve met this summer.  They’ve helped me through some tough times, I look forward to visiting with them again.

9 thoughts on “Carschooling

  1. We’re almost finished with Cherry Jones’ reading of the Little House series…I’ve been afraid to try other audio books for fear they won’t compare. But your great list gives me hope :-)…if only we had a CD player in the car (yes it’s that old!).

  2. I was bereft when we finished them! I found the Anne of Green Gables series worked well as a placebo, just avoid the one with speak and spell lady!

  3. We are big fans of audiobooks for the car here too! My 5-year-old’s current favorite is Robin Hood narrated by Jim Weiss. He’s listened to it so many times that we don’t even need Jim anymore; my son is perfectly capable of telling the story almost word-for-word. 🙂 I never thought to look for Little House ones – we loved reading the first several books aloud – thanks for the suggestions.

    1. I’ll be looking for Robin Hood now for sure! That is one of the few Jim Weiss we haven’t had out from the library, I’m sure Huwyl would love it : )

  4. I remember reading every L.M. Montgomery and Louise May Alcott book with my mother as a kid. She would read them out loud to my brother, sister and I every night. Best times ever.

    FYI, I’ve been telling 2.0 he has hobbit toes for quite some time now. Your toes are no match.

    1. I think all those books should be compulsory reading/listening! They are so rich and take children into a different world, love them.

      For the record I actually really like my feet and don’t think they are hobbity, it is the jealousy of a boat footed person who calls them so. Envy is a terrible thing.

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