If you have been around for any length of time, you will know that our family absolutely, without a doubt, thoroughly enjoys Heirloom Audio Productions and the historical audio dramas they create based on G. A. Henty books. Their most recent production is set in the time of the California Gold Rush and as we enter the story, we get to listen in at a campfire as the story is told of Captain Bayley’s Heir.
SUMMARY (spoiler alert):
Mr. George is heading to the American West to do some research for his next story. As he and his guide settle down for the night, Mr. George launches into one of his tales. This tale begins in London with a well-off family, the family of Captain Bayley.
Frank, Fred, and Alice are three cousins (well, Alice is not really a cousin but lives with the Captain who is her guardian) who get along well. Amidst their daily lives, they meet Harry when his dog falls into the river and Frank rescues it. This shows us the quick and compassionate spirit that lives in Frank and gives us a glimpse of the spirit that ends him up in the center of a problem – a theft at his school. Frank is accused of the theft and, though innocent, finds he must flee England. So he heads for America.
Once Frank arrives in America, much adventure and trial awaits him. As Frank makes his way up the Mississippi and westward to the goldfields, he meets some men whose experiences and faith offer Frank much encouragement. From storm to shipwreck to Indian attack, Frank holds to his integrity and acts with courage and bravery. Hailed more than once as a hero, Frank makes his way to the goldfields of California. While there, he continues to act with love and grace towards his neighbors and friends. This allows him to be a part of partnership that brought much wealth to Frank.
It also opened up a discussion which was alluded to often in the story – grace. Specifically, the grace of God. We cannot earn God’s grace and nothing we can do will bestow it upon us. This is brought to Frank’s attention several times and became a strong theme that we all ought to pay attention to.
In the end, Frank is able to be reunited with his family from London, his name is cleared of the theft, and his family is expanded with new-found members (the dog rescue early on early on? turns out the dog belonged to a long-lost cousin).
As Mr. George’s story concludes, his guide has been given a lot to think about, including the grace of God and how it might change his own life.
The study guide has been created to add a study element to Heirloom Audio Productions, to take the listener deeper into the ideas, thoughts, and Christian elements explored in the story. The study guide can serve as a discussion starter or as written assignments for students. It is extremely adaptable and contains so much that it is one that can be revisited over and over without exhausting the possibilities.
The study guide follows the story with chapters which allign to the CD tracks. This is extremely helpful and each page of the study guide identifies which track it goes with. The chapter title is also at the top of the page, along with the timing for the CD (example CD 1, track 1 is on the top left and 00:00 – 05:06 is on the top right). Each chapter/track has three parts: listening well, thinking further, and defining words.
Listening well is a series of lower level thinking questions. Many of these are simple recall, prediction, or inference questions. These are pretty easy to get the answers to simply by listening to the production.
Thinking further questions are designed to really push the students. These are higher level questions that may require additional knowledge. There are application questions where the student might be required to take a theme or idea from the story and discuss how that affects their life. An example of this type of question from CD 2, track 3: “Harry says he has never been ashamed of being a cripple until now. Why does he feel ashamed now? Should he feel ashamed? Why or why not?” There were also many Bible verse application questions in this section throughout the tracks. An example of one of these comes from CD 2, track 6: “Abe says that we can’t earn God’s acceptance or love. Is he right? Where does the Bible say this? Read Ephesians 2:4-9, Galatians 2:15-21, and Titus 3:4-7.
Defining words is just that – vocabulary words to define. There are not specific uses suggested making it easily adapted to what works best for your family.
Along the way are little sidebars of information that add interest and ideas to the study. One of the sidebars talks about the gold rush mining camps. Another gives some brief information on important people during the gold rush. Yet another educates us on Victorian money. There are several more scattered throughout the study guide. There is also a short bibliography of additional resources if a student wants to do additional reading on Victorian England or the American West.
Included in the study guide are three Bible studies. Bible Study I is on God’s Grace. Bible Study II is on Becoming a Christian. (This study does not go deep enough in the study of what must be done to be saved.) Bible Study III is titled Honoring Your Parents. The Bible studies each are written with a summary at the top, followed by an outline format of the study with ideas and their corresponding Bible citations. These can be used in a number of different ways and can be adapted to suit your family’s needs.
LIVE THE ADVENTURE CLUB:
Purchasers of Captain Bayley’s Heir can also purchase access to the Live The Adventure Club. In doing so, you gain access to a number of interesting features. These include the Study Guide, online listening access, a read-along script, online comprehension questions and thinking further questions, vocabulary words, and more. There is access to a copy of the original Henty book, in e-book format, and the official soundtrack to download or read online. There is also a cast poster, an inspirational hymn poster (Amazing Grace), and desktop wallpaper to download. This bonus content is only available to those who have purchased access to the Live The Adventure Club.
The Club also gives you a significant amount of other content, unrelated to the Heirloom Audio Productions. There is a library of old-time radio broadcasts that has all sorts of history topics with multiple broadcasts each. There is a civics course on the Constitution and history textbooks from the 1700s and 1800s. In the parent resources area, there are podcasts, interviews, movie reviews, recipes and more that will add a depth to history studies or just help mom or dad to know more about interesting topics.
There is another place that was kind of fun to poke around in – Kids Activities. In this part of the site, there are links to the online access of the productions. There are coloring pages that are tied to different scenes in each of the productions that have been made. There are also word searches on this page that can be printed or completed online. Lastly, there are some hands-on activities related to the different productions.
As always, we thoroughly enjoy this production. We have listened to it more than once and Miss E has listened several times. It is a fun story that brings all the adventure of the American West and the gold rush to life. With the high quality we have come to expect, Heirloom Audio Productions does not disappoint with Captain Bayley’s Heir.
If you are interested in other productions they have created, you may visit these reviews:
We also own, but did not review, In The Reign of Terror. I do believe that while all of them are fantastic, The Dragon and The Raven is Miss E’s favorite.
Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Captain Bayley’s Heir.