History is one of my favorite subjects, but I never had the opportunity to listen to high quality audio dramas when I was younger. At least not the kind that Heirloom Audio has created. I was excited to receive copies of four of their audio dramas to listen to. Now I am excited to share with you my thoughts about how I would suggest using these dramas with your own family. This post is sponsored by Heirloom Audio. All content and photos are my own.
These are the four titles I received. (They have since released another title – Beric the Briton.)
The audio dramas are based on books by G.A. Henty so they feature adventure, history, and faith. Heirloom Audio believes that it is important to help children understand history from a Christian worldview including showing how God is sovereign in history, how history is Christ-centered, and how history gives us the opportunity to remember and learn as we prepare our children to take a biblical worldview into their culture.
Heirloom Audio Productions
I found Heirloom Audio dramas to be top notch in every way. They truly exceeded my expectations. The production value is outstanding. The voice actors are some of the best in the world including John Ryhs-Davies (Indiana Jones movies), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Kirk Cameron (Fireproof) and beloved storyteller, Jim Weiss.
As a musician, I was so pleased that the music is well done. Oftentimes music is skimped on in audio productions to the point where it almost seems like an afterthought. That is definitely not the case here. The music on each CD is rich and adds a great deal to each story.
One Word of Warning
One word of warning is necessary for those of you who have sensitive children. Some of the adventures are graphic, even in an audio story. For example, in With Lee in Virginia there are the graphic sounds of an overseer beating a slave and then later a plantation owner doing the same. Some of the adventures are intense. There is no lack of talk of conflict and death and other heavy topics such as someone being asked to recant their faith in Christ in The Dragon and the Raven. These are, after all, life and death adventure stories from history and history was, well, often violent. They are tastefully done in the context of the story and none of the violence is gratuitous. But I would suggest listening to each story before letting your sensitive children listen to them, especially if they are younger.
Audio Drama Homeschool Curriculum
Beyond the audio dramas themselves, Heirloom Audio is also creating homeschool curriculum to use alongside the stories. This is the one I received for The Dragon and the Raven.
History Unit Study Extension
My suggestion is to use these as a part of your history curriculum as a history unit extension. You will definitely want your children to know the basics of the story before they listen. Unless your children are already history junkies, they might find it challenging to keep up with the storyline. They will get much more out of listening to the adventure if they have a framework in place and have an understanding in advance of who the main characters are and the events involved.
If the events of the stories don’t fit neatly into your homeschool history scope and sequence, then they would make great stand alone unit studies. You could use them for a week or two when you want to do something different. They would also be great to have on hand for those days when you realize you need to shake things up with something different and exciting.
I definitely recommend investing in Heirloom Audio dramas to use with your children. If you don’t homeschool, the adventures will be fun to listen to in the car or at home. If you do homeschool, they offer a great way to engage all of your learners in a fascinating unit study with each CD set or simply enjoy them as part of your family time together as you would a read aloud book.