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You Are There! World History Collection Old Time Radio Shows Review by Dr. Anne Margaret WrightJim Hodges Audio Books
629 Admiral Drive
Annapolis, MD 21401
1 (405) 808-9758
I grew up hearing stories from my father of his rich childhood memories listening to old-time radio shows. He used to sit in the little cubby of the radio, which was larger than most TVs today, and listen to Amos and Andy, George Burns, Benny Goodman, and all the greats. In many ways, radio draws the listener into the story even more than TV and movies because it requires so much more imagination. While stuck in bed with the flu for several days, I enjoyed listening to two wonderful collections of old-time radio shows from Jim Hodges Productions that I think homeschoolers will love: You Are There! World History Collection Old Time Radio Shows and You Are There! U.S. History Collection Old Time Radio Shows ($25 each). Each disc has about 30 stories (about 30 minutes each) covering an important event in U.S. or world history. These radio dramatizations were originally produced by CBS to entertain while teaching history. The shows are presented as a "live" news report from on-the-scene reporters who pretend to interview important figures, listen to and report on important meetings or conversations, etc. With the classical style of a 1940s news report, the audience is swept back in time to experience important events and "listen" to some of the most influential people in history.
Stories and dramatizations can be a delightful way to help kids (and their parents!) understand and enjoy history more thoroughly. My family was very impressed with the quality and historical accuracy of the You Are There! collections. Even my younger children enjoyed listening to the exciting shows and we all learned more about some important events, such as The Fall of Troy, The Death of Socrates, The Last Day of Pompeii, The Trial of William Penn, Napoleon Returns From Elba, Columbus Discovers America, The Stamp Act Revolt at Williamsburg, The Trial of Aaron Burr, and (one of my personal favorites) Col. Johnson Eats the Love Apple. Many of the events and information are well known and can be found in any history book, but there are also some wonderful stories and tidbits that were new to us. These collections would work well for families just wanting to learn a bit of history, or you could pick and choose the shows related to a particular time period or person. We often enjoy listening to stories during breakfast or a long drive, and these are just the right length to keep the kids' interest while teaching history. What homeschooling parent doesn't like the idea of their kids learning while having fun!