I love the The Teaching Company audio courses. I've learned a lot over the years on subjects ranging from philosophy to science fiction literature. They're generally engaging and informative and always leave me curious and unsatisfied which in my books is good thing because I'll then go on to pursue a subject on my own. Since Catherine is doing the Middle Ages in history this year I though I'd cross my fingers and have her listen to a lecture from The Early Middle Ages course. These are college lever lectures so I wasn't sure what she'd think but hey, it's worth a try, right?
She loved it. She didn't stop at one lecture but went on to listen to three and only stopped because the battery in my MP3 player died. She went from Diocletian (who was nasty to the Christian folk but I like anyway) to Constantine to Julian the Apostate. I quized her when she was finished and she'd not just understood the main message of the lectures but came away with a lot of extra bits of information; "Oh yes, Julian, him and his beard," (accompanied by a grin and an eyeroll). When I asked if she'd like to listen to the whole course her answer was an enthusiastic yes.
Whoo hoo! This simplifies history greatly. It gives me a really in-depth resource to use as a spine and gives her practice in listening to and eventually, taking notes from, a lecture.
I'll still be assigning lots of extra reading and she's got another biographical report, this one on Constantine, due by the end of the week but it's fantastic to find one more way for her to approach and be engaged with the material.