Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Crew Review: In Freedom's Cause Audio Drama from Heirloom Audio

G.A. Henty is a name familiar to many homeschool families. His historical fiction novels are classic and highly recommended, especially for boys. Unfortunately, my boys are reluctant readers and I have not been able to convince them to actually read any of G.A. Henty's books. When I heard that Heirloom Audio Productions is making audio dramas of some of Henty's books, I was definitely interested. I hoped this would interest my boys in reading more of his books.

We were thankful to be offered the chance to review the  In Freedom's Cause Single Package from Heirloom Audio Productions. Their audio drama of Henty's book, In Freedom's Cause, is exceptional!

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review audio drama

The In Freedom's Cause audio drama is 2.5 hours long, with 8 tracks each on 2 separate compact discs. They are packaged in a cardboard tri-fold case.  The drama is performed by renowned actors, including Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey, Billy Boyd of Lord of the Rings, Skandar Keynes of Chronicles of Narnia, and James Cosmo of Braveheart. The audio drama is also filled with sound effects and a musical soundtrack that make it seem more real and interesting.

The Single Package sells for $29.97 (plus shipping & handling) and includes:
  • In Freedom's Cause 2-CD Set
  • In Freedom's Cause Study Guide (digital download)
  • In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download)
  • Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace (digital download)

The Study Guide that we downloaded includes history notes that help listeners understand the setting of the drama, and its main characters: William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Each chapter also includes Listening Well questions to help students remember and focus on what they've heard. After that, there are Thinking Further questions to help the listeners dive deeper into the subject. Each chapter also includes vocabulary words for the student to study. At the end of the Study Guide there are three short Bible studies, which use a multiple choice method to select which is the correct Bible verse address for the Bible truth stated in the question. These are most useful if you are listening to one chapter each day, taking time to complete the Study Guide before moving on to the next chapter.

ElCloud Thoughts: 

The In Freedom's Cause audio drama is exceptionally well-done! The acting was wonderful and the voices fit the time period and location. The sound effects and music enhanced the story and made it come alive. I was very impressed with its quality!

We listened to the audio drama in our living room one morning. The background history and the short biographies of G.A. Henty, William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce provided in the Study Guide were very helpful in understand the setting of the story. I had to remind myself and the kids that Ned Forbes was fictional, because I kept wanting to look for more information on him and Lady Marjory.

I wish we'd had a working CD player in our van, because I think my children would enjoy this more on a long trip. At home there are just too many other interesting things they'd rather be doing than listening to an audio drama. We usually only listen to things like that in the car, though we haven't been able to do that for awhile.

I do think that breaking the audio drama down into just one chapter at a time would help. If they knew they only had to listen for 15 minutes instead of 2.5 hours, they'd engage better in the story. Instead I had my 14 year old son listening while doing other things, multi-tasking, and my extremely active 11 year old son only listening half the time. When he did tune in, though, he asked a lot of questions and seemed very engaged. My 14 year old said it was good, but he didn't really have much else to say. He's in that stage. This isn't an issue with Heirloom Audio Production ... but a symptom of my own children's preference for visual stimulation.

In Freedom's Cause  by Heirloom Audio Productions is an excellent rendition of the G.A. Henty book. I enjoyed it a lot and my sons moderately enjoyed it. However, if your child doesn't enjoy audio books, prefers movies and video games, and turns his nose up at classic literature ... don't expect them to devour the story and beg for more. I realize this makes us a "bad example" of a Christian homeschool family, but it's the truth. My boys are more into video games than classic literature. The next time I try an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, and there WILL be another time, I will break it down into one chapter per day. And In Freedom's Cause will definitely make an encore appearance on a car trip once our CD player is repaired.

April E.

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