Brandy mentioned this speaker on her post of gifts for the Classical Charlotte Mason Mama and I was immediately intrigued. Kansas Dad had often said we needed a speaker and I had always demurred, imagining big bulky speakers and wires all over the kitchen.
We do most of our homeschooling in the kitchen. That's where the table is and when we're reading aloud or listening, it's usually around the table (with some food involved). In the past few years, we have turned to the laptop to:
- hear folk songs on Spotify when they're mentioned in a book,
- play our Music Masters CDs,
- find the most famous pieces by our composer on Spotify,
- listen to Making Music Praying Twice CDs,
- share Jim Weiss CDs with the kids (many of these are also available on Spotify), and
- provide background music for chores or dinner music for meals.
Kansas Dad's parents bought it for me for Christmas and oh-my-goodness, is it ever useful! Nearly every single day, this speaker is plugged into someone's laptop or Kindle. The quality is excellent for such a small thing. Often, I have to turn the sound down.
We listened to the sequel to Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, on Librivox without any problems even while doing morning chores (unloading and loading the dishwasher). I had been reading the free version of this off my Kindle because our library didn't have a copy, but Librivox came to the rescue when I had a sore throat. As a bonus, the reader has an actual British accent.
I also discovered just before Christmas that I could download Audible files on the Kindle keyboard. My Kindle is one of these old ones (so old Amazon doesn't even allow an affiliate link) and we were gifted with Grammy's old one as well. If you pay attention, often you can add the Audible version of Kindle books for a discount. Before our drive to visit my parents, I "purchased" Heidi and Treasure Island for free for the Kindle and added the Audible versions for $0.99 each. My six- and four-year-olds have been listening happily for weeks. The little speaker works perfectly with the Kindles, too, so we could listen to an Audible recording on one of the old Kindles in the van or out and about easily. (The battery lasts a long time. As I said, we use it every day sometimes for hours and I've had to charge it about once every ten days.)
I've also successfully used it to listen to podcasts, though I've discovered I can only concentrate enough on a podcast when there are no children in the room. If they come in and talk to me or each other, I have to pause it.
Thanks, Brandy! This speaker is everything I'd hoped and just perfect for me. I still think bookshelves should have made your list, but I guess I'll let it slide this year.
I highly recommend signing up for one of the paid subscriptions to Spotify rather than the free service. The commercials were often highly inappropriate for children (and sometimes even made me blush). I don't receive anything if you sign up.
As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). This review is my objective opinion. I received the speaker as a gift.