We are listening to First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Audio Companion for Levels 1 & 2 (Second Edition) right now, and so far Jenna, Bruce and I are impressed. It includes lots of short poems, stories, and several grammar chants and songs. The narrator is pretty good and occasionally uses a Southern accent, which is novel for my kids. Jenna is 24 months at the moment, Bruce is 6, and I am (not saying!) but we are all enjoying the CD because it has a little bit of something for everyone. It is also a good choice for short car trips, as opposed to some of our audio CDs which have longer, more involved stories that you don’t want to interrupt because you just arrived at Trader Joe’s.
As a teacher, I was not trained in teaching through memorization. The whole idea of teaching grammar through chanting is very new to me, and I am not entirely sold on the idea. But this CD has so many stories and poems on it that the grammar chants are sort-of squeezed in there in a way that my kids don’t seem to mind. If they end up memorizing lists of pronouns –great! If not, they will hopefully learn grammar in school, or else I will teach it to them in a formal way later on.
The author, Jessie Wise, has books that go along with this CD. I checked them out from the library, looked through them extensively, and decided they were not for me. My philosophy of education does not include teaching children by rote, and additionally I felt that Bruce would be bored out of his gizzard if I tried to make him follow that type of curriculum. Jenna might be able to handle it when she turns six someday, but Bruce has far too much action in him. That being said, I absolutely love the audio companion CD. I bet that by the time my children tire of listening to the CD in the car, they will have a lot of those poems memorized just like Jessie Wise intends.