Once again, we have been treated to an amazing learning experience through audio theater with our review of With Lee in Virginia. This is the newest audio drama to be produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. And it surpasses their previous two in quality and enjoyment. (You can read our reviews of Under Drake’s Flag and In Freedom’s Cause when you are done reading here, if you’d like.)
Heirloom Audio Productions is striving to bring history to life. The stories they tell are adapted from G.A. Henty novels. But they don’t just adapt the story. They research it. They travel to the places the characters will go and see the things the characters will see. So that they can get it right and make it even more interesting to the listener. And they search out Christian examples of God infusing lives. You can learn more on their website.
As you might guess from the title, With Lee In Virginia is set in the Civil War. It is the story of Vincent Wingfield, his relationships, and his experiences in the war. After joining the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia, he serves under General Robert E Lee and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Through interactions with Vincent and the men, we learn a lot about General Lee’s character and General Jackson’s character. All three men are Christians with a strong belief in God. Duty, prayer and love for your enemies is a strong theme throughout the story.
If you have never experienced an audio drama production, I highly recommend any of the tiles from Heirloom Audio. We have enjoyed all three of their productions so far and this one I think is our favorite. I don’t know if it is because it is a story about America but this has already gotten a lot of play. An audio drama is a story that is acted out, completely, except you do not have the visual acting. It is all audio. The voices are animated. The sound effects are spectacularly real and descriptive. The story is easy to follow. It is full-fledged acting with audio being all that is recorded. Amazing and enjoyable!
When we received this two-disc set, E snatched it the minute the box was open. She was free for the afternoon so she took the discs and went to her room. She didn’t come out until the story was over. Since then, she has listened to it at least four other times. The story is so engrossing, the sounds so effective, that she loves it. She has learned a lot and is absorbing more each time she listens.
One of the wonderful things that Heirloom Audio does is to create and include a study guide for the production. For this set, inside the paper insert, there is a link that you can go to on the computer to access the study guide. The study guide is a great asset for learning with the audio productions. It helps direct thinking and guide the listener to more specific ideas or topics that might be missed or need to explored more deeply.
For our use, we printed the study guide and took it to have it bound. It cost about $4 to have it spiral bound. We will be able to use this in the future now, as well. There isn’t room in this study guide to do the writing so E used notebook paper and wrote the numbers and answers on blank notebook papers. Each page of the study guide is correlated to a track or a section of a track. This is a wonderful addition to the study guide this time! You can follow the track and then stop the disc and answer the questions. And, if you are struggling with an answer, it is easy to find where on the disc the answer should be and listen to it again.
Each track or section of a track has three parts to the questions: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. E had to answer all but one question each in Listening Well and Thinking Further. This was a compromise between us and allows her to skip questions she thinks are too easy or too hard. She did have to define all of the words, though. She just wrote them on notebook paper.
J, age 6, loves the audio dramas, as well. She would find her way into the room anytime E would put on With Lee In Virginia. When it came time to work with the study guide, I had J answer some of the questions for Listening Well and Thinking Further out loud. We also discussed the Defining Words.
The study guide included a few other items of interest. There are two Bible studies – one a study of duty and the other titled Love Your Enemy. There was a short article on sectionalism and a page on Slavery in the Bible. There may have been a couple of additional items but these are what I printed off for the girls.
The track listings for the questions was my only complaint about the study guide previously. Now, I don’t think I have any. And, they have added some recommended reading lists for parents and older children. How awesome! One additional thing that I loved about the study guide was the images of historical pictures, advertisements, and documents on the pages. First source materials for the students to see – fantastic.
As part of our review we received a number of additional materials that are available to you, depending on the package you purchase. We received a copy of the G.A. Henty novel that has been made into an ebook with illustrations added by Heirloom Audio. There was a poster that could be printed with the quote from Robert E Lee. We were given mp3 versions of the production, as well as a copy of the soundtrack.
We highly recommend With Lee in Virginia and all of the Heirloom Audio Production titles.
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