Tag Archives: audio

For The Temple (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

How do you approach history? Whether it is through books, field trips, text books, or some combination of them all, audio productions can add a significant conversation to the topic. Heirloom Audio has created a series of productions based on the GA Henty novels. Their most recent production, For The Temple, is a wonderful retelling of the Henty novel by the same name about the fall of Jerusalem during the Roman occupation of the Jewish lands.

For The Temple CD package (1)

This 2 CD set provides over 2 hours worth of story time. It features all the wonderful audio story-telling elements of a movie without the video portion. The vocal talents of folks like Brian Blessed, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Joseph Reed, Sophia Oxenham and 15 or 20 others create a fast-paced storyline that propels the listener into the setting of about 65 AD in the region of Galilee.

For The Temple open CD set (1)

STORYLINE –

John is the son of a vintner (grape grower and wine producer) in the area of the Sea of Galilee. He is about 16 at the start of the story. His family is raising a younger girl, Mary, who is 14. Mary and John are promised to each other and this plays into many decisions made in the story. They are growing and learning together. During a storm while the two are out on the Sea of Galilee, they are caught unawares and in danger. They are rescued by Josephus, the Jewish governor in the Roman controlled area.

Josephus is doing all he can to stay true to the Jews while peace-keeping with the Romans. His efforts fail and Rome invades the area. Josephus asks John to join him as he is impressed with John’s calmness during the storm. John does and they are caught in the siege of a walled city, Jotapata. When all around him are being killed, John was able to escape with a young boy named Jonas who had helped him prepare.

They made their way back to John’s home but he realizes that there is much to be done in fighting Rome. Particularly when he understands that they will head for Jerusalem, that the Holy City for the Jews is the main place they desire. John gathers a group around him to harass Rome through unusual tactics, knowing that face to face combat will not be helpful but only result in many deaths.

The biggest issue, however, is not Rome. It is the way the Jewish factions are fighting each other, looking to control and hold the power over everyone. They are killing each other and anyone who speaks against them. It is worst in Jerusalem, where not only are the factions causing issues, but they have imprisoned and killed much of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews, and are using the temple as a stronghold. The people in Jerusalem are hurting, scared, and starving. And Rome marches on towards them.For The Temple quote

John ends up in an unusual position where he can almost ensure the safety of the temple in Jerusalem. Eliciting a promise from the Roman general Titus to do all in his power to save the temple, John pushes on with his band of followers, just in case, in the “first duty of every Jew, to protect the temple.”

 

THOUGHTS –

For The Temple is a fabulous story that brings history to life. I know that can be said of every Heirloom Audio production and this one is no different. The setting allowed me to learn much more about the time frame approaching the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. I knew quite a bit about Rome but this taught me much more. Rome’s power was overwhelming. When you hear the numbers of men, women, and children who were killed as Rome marched towards Jerusalem, it is hard to comprehend. It is hard to understand that they would intentionally starve the people in the cities during the sieges and then murder anyone they came across after they entered the city. That kind of hatred and heartlessness is so difficult to understand. Yet, it is part of the history.

Knowing how hard people fought to protect the temple and Jerusalem brings another perspective to the history of that city and area.

G.A. Henty was an amazing writer and these stories are adaptations of his work. There is quite a bit changed in the audio production but it doesn’t necessarily make the story better or worse, just different. I would highly suggest reading the Henty novel, though. It really give a lot more detail about the way Rome approached Jerusalem and the way the people were affected. This is just one more way to expand the learning in relation to this audio production.

We took one morning to just sit and listen. The girls and I all got something to do with our hands, put on the CD, and enjoyed the story. I gave them some background prior to starting the CD, knowing that it would help them understand the setting and the people. I had already read the novel and listened to the CDs so I could prepare them a little bit. As we listened, we stopped once in a while and read some of the questions from the study guide or discussed what was happening. There were a few times when questions were asked and we took some time to talk about things such as who Josephus was, why the factions were fighting each other, and how the Romans fought. A couple of times, I did have to stop and explain what was happening. We also talked about the themes of loyalty and extending grace rather than humiliation that run through the story.

At the end, one of the girls asked if the story in the novel had ended like the audio production because it seemed somewhat abrupt to her. I told her that there were some definite changes to that part of the story and explained how the novel ended. Knowing the story ahead of time really helped me guide the girls through the story.

We absolutely enjoyed For The Temple. One of the lines towards the end is worth repeating:

History can certainly challenge us to look at what we believe.

For The Temple Study Guide (1)

STUDY GUIDE –

Heirloom Audio sent us an email that included a study guide that was about 40 pages in length. It follows the tracks on the CDs, making it easy to correlate learning. Each track has vocabulary words, some questions that just help to guide listening and follow the story, and then some additional questions that really make you think a bit deeper. There are also several small sections that are about different topics that will help you understand better. Some examples of these topics include the food of the region, Sabbath and Shabbat, and some information about Vespasian.

The end of the study guide includes three specific Bible study topics. These Bible studies are on No Other Savior, Proper Worship, and Christ Our Temple. These each have several statements to dig deeper into and Bible verses to support each of those statements.

GIRLS’ THOUGHTS –

Each of the girls had the same statement when asked about their favorite character – Mary! Spunky, sweet Mary starts the story at age 14 and informally betrothed to John. We see her grow and change, becoming a woman who understands her duty and the duty of the man she loves. She learns to become a wise young woman who works hard and prays hard. She retains her spunk throughout the story. She is a good role model, well, except for where she pushes the boat out onto the water after being told not to. But, that is something for you to experience when you listen to the Heirloom Audio production of For The Temple.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home

Looking for more Heirloom Audio? Here are their other productions (links go to my blog reviews).

Be certain to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read what other families thought about Heirloom Audio‘s production of For The Temple. Just click the banner below.

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St. Bartholomew’s Eve (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

St Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio

Shrieks of joy are always heard in our home when Heirloom Audio releases an new title and St. Bartholomew’s Eve produced nothing less. Miss E and Miss J (14 and 9) took it out of the package and immediately high-tailed it to the bedroom to listen. After about two hours, they reappeared and let me know how wonderful it was. Another hit!

Heirloom Audio Productions is a company producing Christian entertainment through high-quality audio dramas. These are stories that are done with voice actors, sound effects, and all that goes into a movie, without the video. The audio dramas allow your imagination to stay engaged and for your brain to process and understand the story as it develops. Heirloom Audio is working to produce the novels of G.A. Henty in audio drama format and have done about 10 titles so far. We have been able to listen to all of them and have truly enjoyed each one, learning a lot about the situations, history, and people of that time.

inside set of St Bartholomew's Ever

The current production, St. Bartholomew’s Eve, begins in 1567. We find the Hugenots (French Protestants) under persecution by those in the nobility and the Catholic church. An English lad, Philip, has been sent to France by his family, and gone willingly himself, to assist those in danger and fight for what is right. He wants to assist those who are fighting for the right to worship peacefully, without terror and persecution.

Philip and Francois (his cousin) join with the Hugenots and we find them preparing for battle. They march out in battle and in the process of talking with those they are with, they find out that this persecution began over a meal. Philip is told that the Catholics were upset when the Hugenots ate meat on a Friday and sang songs that allowed all those in attendance to participate. The Catholic leaders were upset and decided that these people needed to be removed. Thus, the persecution.

In the first battle, Philip and Francois are extremely helpful and they are given awards. When Philip decries his award, saying he was doing what is right and that he was afraid while acting to save the prince, he is told that he was very brave. He questioned it and was told “Fear is what you feel; brave is what you are.” (What a wonderful quote!)

At another battle, the army is about to advance when Philip reminds them that they need to pray. In his prayer, Philip asked God to help them don His armor (quoted from the Bible – I loved that part, too!). Though they are betrayed and some of the party is captured, their hopes remain high and their faith in God is strong. At one point, when they are surrounded and all seemed lost, a young voice began singing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” All joined in and faith was bolstered, hope renewed. It was a beautiful singing of a lovely hymn.

Some high points in the story:

  • God and the ability to worship him rightly was the purpose behind the battles.
  • The song “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was beautiful. It began and ended with a child’s voice, reminding me to have a childlike approach before God.
  • Philip mentioned more than once the “glory and duty” of worship. That is a good reminder for me.
  • The purpose of the battles was not for human glory but was rather to protect those who needed it and to secure peace, particularly in worship.

One thing to be aware of is that this is a war story. Life was not simple for them and they did have to fight to worship in peace. Some of these scenes are vivid and some of the sound effects, well, they leave little to the imagination. You may want to know this before you allow your children to listen; it may not bother you. Either way, it is definitely a battle and war story.

The-Extraordinary-Adventures-of-G.A.-Henty

As always, Heirloom Audio has brought us a rendition of a G.A. Henty novel that shows us life in another era. This is a story I am going to try to find to read now, as there is a chunk of the story that feels like it is missing. It is difficult to condense all the detail of a Henty novel into a two-hour production so there is much more to be gleaned by reading the story itself. And that also provides a great correlation to discuss with the girls.

I would love to see Heirloom Audio continue to put out their study guide curriculum to go along with their audio dramas. Those have been extremely well-done in the past and help to fill in some of the holes of the story. It also bring to light some of the details that the listener might not gather while those who worked to research and write the audio drama know them intimately. I would really like to see the guides continue to be produced alongside the audios. It was sorely missed with this production.

All in all, another wonderful production is found in St. Bartholomew’s Eve. Other productions by Heirloom Audio include (links are to our previous reviews):

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking on the graphic below to read about what other families thought of Heirloom Audio’s production of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.

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Brinkman Adventures Season 6 ~ a Crew review

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Having Season 6: Underground Rising, Digital version, arrive in our inbox created a lot of excitement from all three of the giggly girls. They thoroughly enjoy Brinkman Adventures and so it was a fun surprise to show the girls that we were going to get to review their newest stories.

Brinkman Adventures tells the stories of a fictional family that is involved with a number of different missionaries. Over the years, they have encountered people from all over the world serving God in varied ways. It is an audiodrama (focus on DRAMA here) and much is not true. They note that all stories are based on real people and real stories but they are dramatized, some of them quite extensively.

Season 6 includes only 6 episodes, four total stories as two of them each have two parts. The stories run about 30 minutes per episode. This season includes Dutch Underground, parts 1 and 2, Twice Born Fly, I Wonder Why, and Free Burma Rangers, parts 1 and 2.

Dutch Underground takes place during WWII. The story is narrated by the children’s great grandmother and tells of her and her husband’s participation in the Dutch Underground Resistance during the German occupation of the Netherlands. It does a very good job of showing the danger and difficulty faced by those seeking to serve God by helping those in danger.

Twice Born Fly addresses facing fears that you have and following God. In this story, one of the young boys accidentally swallows a fly and faces his fear of dying. The father helps by telling a story about a dream he had about being in prison and not being afraid when you are following the right person. This is an allegorical story and includes a lot about life in prison, including a few implied statements that were unnecessary for the actual story.

I Wonder Why is about a family who moves to India to serve in an orphanage. The daughter doesn’t understand why God would send them there and has difficulty in seeing any good. After time, changes take place (though I have a problem with the miraculous way they show this). The daughter has a changed heart and it ends with her happy to be in India.

Free Burma Rangers is about a missionary family, particularly the father. It talks about his growing up and becoming a Green Beret. Then it transitions into a mission they are on to free people in Burma, fleeing an approaching army that is causing destruction and damage to people and property. The Brinkman family are on this dangerous mission with the Free Burma Rangers.

These fictional adventures are an interesting look into lives of missionary minded people around the world. BUT, they are fictional. Names are changed to protect people but also, the episodes are written and changed to be more adventurous and dangerous in the name of entertainment.

There are a couple of places I would want to be aware of before young children listen.

  • Twice Born Fly has a large part that takes place in a prison. It is not a happy place and there is a lot of bullying and extortion that goes on in the story. It is easy to think that the father is a bad man; they do end up saying it was a dream but not until very close to the end. It is very misleading and I do not feel it was appropriate for children under about age 12. My 12 year old questioned many things, stopping it in the middle to discuss it with her older sister to make sure she understood it. Without that, she was confused.
  • I Wonder Why contained much that was “miraculous” and life is not that way for most people. The miracles that took place lead one to think that if you follow Jesus then life will be wonderful and all will be okay in the end. Even with her confidence in her own understanding of the Bible and what God tells us, my 12 year old daughter was concerned about the way the miraculous changes of heart occurred. She expressed concern that people would think that if they just said “God, please come into my heart” then their whole life would be changed and all would be well, that they would be saved. She knows that God does not promise that in the Bible so this is a concern with this particular story.
  • Also, in I Wonder Why, one of the miracles is that a child is healed miraculously from life-threatening allergies. While there is a disclaimer at the end of the recording, warning children with allergies not to just expose themselves and trust God to cure them, it is easy to miss it. (I did – my daughter informed me that I turned it off too soon since I turned it off when they began their “thanks for listening.”) If you have a child with allergies, know that this is in there and needs to be addressed prior to listening to this story.
  • There was a warning in Underground Rising, Part 2 for intense scenes but I did not feel it was necessary. I felt that the prison scenes in another story were much more likely to scare and intimidate a child.

There is much good in Brinkman Adventures and I would not stop my girls from listening to it. It opens up good discussions when they hear things they don’t believe follow God’s word and it shows them how other parts of the world live and encounter God. The view of other places and the work others do for God is wonderful and enlightening. I really like this about these stories.

This season of the Brinkman Adventures reminds us that we should know God’s Word, the Bible, and know what God actually teaches. I would cautiously recommend this season due to the content that specifically states that you can be saved just by silently saying you want God in your life. The Bible tells us differently. Even my daughters registered this issue and asked me to mention it (which I was going to do anyway).

A neat feature of Brinkman Adventures is that they are based on real people and their stories. One the Brinkman Adventures page, they have a link for the Real Stories that inspired these episodes. Please visit their website to read more about these real people who serve God around the world.

Miss L’s thoughts:
I would have liked more of the family because it makes it more relatable. I was expecting that since they have it in the other albums. It is fun to get to listen to the kids. Of Season 6, they were all okay but I didn’t really have a favorite. Two of these didn’t follow our beliefs so it was harder to relate to those.

Miss E’s thoughts:
It was a really good season. I really liked the Dutch Underground episodes because I like reading about that time period. I also really liked I Wonder Why. I enjoy the Brinkman Adventures so much because it is generally about a family that has all sorts of crazy problems. But because they are a family, they are living their life like normal and I like that. Even the things that go wrong. The only thing I didn’t like about this season is that it wasn’t really about the Brinkman family. It was more about other people and their lives, though there were a few appearances. They were in each episode in a small way but I would have liked to have more of them. Because I really like this series, I was a bit disappointed that there were only 6 episodes. But then when there were really only 4 stories, it was really disappointing.

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DISCOUNT: Brinkman Adventures is offering a 10% discount to my readers. The code is FALL10 and is good off of purchases from their online store. The code is good from October 10 – October 31, 2018.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are many other families who have been listening to Season 6: Underground Rising. Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what they have to say about these stories.

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Wulf the Saxon (Heirloom Audio Productions) ~ a Crew review

Wulf the Saxon review

Experiencing history is a memorable way to understand it and Heirloom Audio Productions treats their listeners to an experience of history each time you turn on one of their audio theater productions. Wulf the Saxon follows the tradition of great productions that Heirloom Audio has created. This 2 CD set brings your family almost 2 1/2 hours of entertainment focused on history, values, and adventure.

Heirloom Audio Productions has created a series on The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty, based on the novels written by G.A. Henty. Henty was an adventurer who traveled around the globe to find out as much as he could about the truth of the past and then he wrote novels based on those happenings. Heirloom Audio has taken those wonderful novels and with the help of fantastic script writers, great researchers, and amazing voice talents, they have created a series of audio theater productions.

These are much more than audiobooks; these are audio adventures. The voice talents that participate create an atmosphere that brings the listener right into the story, complete with sound effects and a soundtrack of music that adds to the story. The listener is transported into the story.

Wulf the Saxon

In this case, we are transported into the events and battles leading up to the battle in which the Normans beat the King of England, and then William the Conqueror is named king. At the beginning of the story, Wulf the Saxon is a young man and Edward the Confessor is on the throne of England. Wulf is a thane. He is well liked by the people who work his land and he is considered a fair-handed ruler who keeps his promises.

Wulf is a thane under Earl Harold and spends much time with him. Harold and his men went sailing and were blown off course when a storm came. They ended up in Normandy and were imprisoned. Wulf and another young man escape and are able to make it to the home of a nobleman who is friendly to Earl Harold. He secured the release of the Earl and treats them all well until they are able to return to England. During their time there, there is a battle in which Wulf shows how good his instincts are. Wulf is a significant contributor in the battle win. Harold and his men return to England.

Before too much time passes, the Welsh invade England. Wulf the Saxon once again shows his knowledge and instincts by securing the castle of Prince Lewellyn without any bloodshed.

After about a year passes, the northern areas are in a rebellion against the crown. The king becomes very sick and must pass the power of the crown to Harold. When the king dies shortly thereafter, Harold is named king. Wulf is right there in support of this man who had always treated him and others fairly. As king, Harold almost immediately has to fight off the Norsemen invading the north and finds out that the rulers betray the crown. A slaughter occurs and while this is going on, William of Normandy sails to invade.

King Harold assembled his men to fight when he realized that the Normans were going to take advantage of their weakness. They fought bravely but lost and the king lost his life. While protecting the body of the king, Wulf and others were saved from certain death by the Baron who rescued them years before by providing ransom in Normandy. He took them as captives and returned to his home. This was quite advantageous for Wulf as he had fallen in love with the Baron’s daughter. The end of the story is lovely in that Wulf and Agnes are able to marry for love.

inside CD case of Wulf the Saxon

This is a story that rises and falls with the crown and its power. It takes you on a ride, for sure. There are a lot of people in this story and it isn’t easy to understand who they all are. It is still a captivating story and you can’t help but learn more about the history of England. There were themes thrown into this story that are great life lessons. Some of these:

  • Sacrifice is not in vain – good things can come out of your sacrifice and your sacrifice doesn’t make your life worth less.
  • Love vs. Patriotism – which is more important and how do you make the decision; was it right for Edith to sacrifice her own love and happiness for England when it hurt others?
  • Loyalty – how do you show loyalty? why is loyalty important? when you look at others, how do you determine their loyalty?
  • Betrayal – what is your word worth? what do you do when someone betrays you?
  • Friendship – the ways in which friendship is shown is strong, courageous, and bold in many places in the story.

As always, the minute the CDs arrived, they disappeared into the bedroom of Miss E and were not seen again until I asked for them, knowing I needed to listen to the story for this review. She adores all of the Heirloom Audio Productions and knows so much history because of them. She was able to help me place where this one falls in the timeline of the Heirloom Audio stories.

As a parent, I like knowing that there will be no questionable material on the discs when they come from Heirloom. I can trust that the girls will be exposed to solid history and when appropriate, the Christian values of the characters are brought out. This particular production does not have as many obvious Christian elements as others they have done in the past but it is still full of quality values. As a parent, you will want to note that there are several battle scenes in this, and while they are not gory and blatant, Heirloom does a solid job of sound effects that add to the reality of the scene and experience.

Miss E’s take on this story –
My favorite parts were the beginning and ending scenes where the two young brothers were talking with Mr. George before and after the story. During the story, it was kind of confusing to try to keep track of who was who and what they did. I did like this story but it is not my favorite of the Heirloom stories.

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club

Heirloom Audio Productions has an online community: Live the Adventure Club. As a member of the Live the Adventure Club you will have access to digital files of the stories, listen and learn script read alongs, quizzes that go along with the adventures, and materials to further the learning related to the adventures such as Thinking Further and Defining Words.  There is also access to old-time radio programs, encouragement and devotional thoughts, and other parenting materials. The community forum is also a place where members can chat about the adventures, education, and other topics of interest to them.

other adventures

Heirloom Audio Productions does not disappoint with their latest audio adventure, Wulf the Saxon.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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Brinkman Adventures Season 4 ~ a Crew review

Brinkman Adventures review image

Our first experience with Brinkman Adventures was when we were asked to review Season 3. Miss E absolutely loved it so when Brinkman Adventures Season 4
came up for review, she jumped for joy and begged. She was thrilled to get selected to review another season of adventures.

Brinkman Adventures 

Are you familiar with Brinkman Adventures? This audio production is based on real-life family and real-life missionaries that they have met, encountered, and heard of. The stories are true and about modern missionaries, though some of the details may have been adapted or fictionalized.

Season 4 consists of 12 episodes (officially episdoes 37-48). Each episode is based on a true story and you can read about those true stories on the website for Brinkman Adventures.

Some of the favorite episodes in Season 4?

  • A Paradise Lost – The Brinkman family is hosting a Bible camp at a lake but the dam broke so the lake is gone. A big storm comes while they are playing games and they cannot find the campers. Through all the chaos of storms, games, tornadoes, and even Mom going into labor, they turn to prayer and find that it calms them.
  • The Crashed Kitchen – Aunt Sara is part of a mission in Zambia, Africa. She runs a kids’ club but most of them have stopped coming. She begins to feel she is doing more harm than good. Someone else has to leave and she has to drive without knowing very well what she is doing. She accidentally crashes into a kitchen that belongs to the family of one of the children from the kids’ club. His father is sick. The father had bought charms from a witch doctor believing they would heal him. When they did not, he followed the understanding that his child had and went to Aunt Sara. They started praying together and he came to believe in Jesus. He got better right away.
  • War of the Raccoons – (This one is stated as being completely fictional.) Ian is trying to build a robot called RD. It is supposed to unlock doors and do some of his chores. Their neighbor is Mr. Pennington and has fish. A raccoon ate one of the fish and Mr. Pennington wants to shoot the raccoons. So, he borrowed a paintball gun and RD, attaching the robot to a rover to move around and shoot the raccoons. Hilarious things go wrong (including painting a car orange) and Ian seems to be causing more of them by not keeping his word. At the end, Ian realizes that he has not been keeping his promises. He prays to God and tries to be better at keeping his promises.
  • What Brings Us Together – Anthony and Michelle are getting married. Things keep going wrong – the catering company is did not get the confirmation so is booked elsewhere; Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice cause a fire which burns down the tent; Dad gets reported to the police as a thief. Before going down to the police station, Anthony and Michelle prayed together and a realization that is brought to mind helps clear Dad of any wrongdoing so the wedding can go on.

Prayer seems to be a bigger theme in this particular season than in the previous one we have listened to. What a wonderful theme to have! Prayer should always be our first response and Brinkman Adventures shows us real life examples of its power (plus some fictionalization that does the same). These adventures bring life to ideas and show real examples of prayer.

Brinkman Adventures is a series that I really like having around, as do the girls. I like having adventures for them to listen to while their hands are busy with other good things and to know that that what they are listening to is encouraging them to live out The Great Commission as found in Matthew 28:18-20. They are hearing about folks who, though we hold beliefs that may be different in a few places, are giving their lives to the one true God who can work through them to save souls. The girls are hearing stories about people who trust in God with their whole lives and believe in Him wholeheartedly. They are hearing about God responding to prayer in all sorts of ways, big and small. While some of the story may be dramatized for effect, the stories themselves are encouraging. They show that while the life of a missionary (at home or abroad) might be hard or bring surprises or have you end up someplace completely different than you thought, it is God’s will guiding you on the path He directs if we turn to Him for guidance.

listening to the adventures

As I am typing, all three of the girls are snuggled into one room with these playing, excitement to hear more floating down the halls. “Come on! Let’s go listen to another one!”

That is a winner.

You can find more about Brinkman Adventures on their website, including a sneak preview of Season 6. There are the real-life stories, a blog, and samples from each of the seasons so far.

At Home.

Read what other families thought about Brinkman Adventures Season 4 by clicking the banner below.

 

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Captain Bayley’s Heir (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

Captain Bayley's Heir cover

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.

study guide and CDs

STUDY GUIDE:

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.

online quiz

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.

online word search

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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.

Captain Bayley's Heir inside CDs

If you are interested in other productions they have created, you may visit these reviews:

The Cat of Bubastes ~ a TOS review

Beric the Briton ~ a TOS review

The Dragon and the Raven ~ a TOS review

With Lee In Virginia – a TOS review

A TOS Review: In Freedom’s Cause

A Review: Under Drake’s Flag

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.

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Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury ~ a TOS review

christmas-treasury-review

Funny . . . silly . . . full of fun. The The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection will cheer your family this holiday season while ushering in the spirit of family fun. Brought to you by The Familyman, Todd Wilson, this collection of holiday tales will brings gales of laughter to the entire family.

The Christmas Treasury is a set of 6 holiday tales written by The Familyman himself. Available either on CD or as Digital Downloads, these tales will thrill the listeners as they giggle at the man in town who sits in trees and chats with squirrels, live through memories of Christmases past, quake at the sound of a knock at the door, or become a super hero who changes the world, and not for the better.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

The Familyman, Todd Wilson, is a well-known name. Focusing on the mission “to remind dads of what’s most important” is what The Familyman does. Whether it is through speaking, audio, or writing, Mr. Wilson’s humor, experience, and straight forward talk makes him a favorite. He has written books such as Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom and appears as a guest with Focus on the Family. His wit and humor come through clearly in The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury.

The Treasury tales are Captain Chaos and The Manger Blaster, Cootie McKay’s Nativity, The Stranger, The Bishop’s Dream, Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest, and Gladys Remembers Christmas. We also received It’s Called Christmas and The Secret of Snow Village. We received all of these as digital downloads and also Cootie McKay on CD.

Captain Chaos is a story of what you probably expect from the title: a superhero who is not so super and creates chaos for the young boy of the story at Christmas time. The story was fun and we laughed a bit, though it is certain to be appreciated more by boys than by my giggly girls. This story was quite a discussion starter and gave us a chance to talk about biblical salvation. We also had the opportunity to talk about denominations vs what the Bible says.

Gladys Remembers Christmas was a sad but thoughtful reminder of our blessings. Gladys was cleaning out her childhood home when unexpected finds brought joy to her life once again. This story of traditions and memories was a sweet reminder of how one small thing can spark wonderful changes.

The Stranger challenged us to live by Jesus’ words and example. One by one, the members of the church turned away the stranger who came to them. A door was finally opened to him on Christmas Eve and that brought suprises, beautiful ones, to that family. Miss J said, with heartfelt enthusiasm and relief, “I’m glad someone finally let him come in!” It was a lovely story about entertaining angels.

familyman-cd

Cootie McKay’s Nativity was probably my very favorite. I listened to this hilarious story more than once and I laughed pretty hard each time. In this story, the town’s nativity needs replaced (the reason is hilarious so I’ll leave that for you to listen to) and Cootie McKay is the one to do it. What starts as a way to let Cootie know what is needed for the nativity turns into a study of the Biblical account of the nativity and a study that touches the heart. This story had several meanings for me: people rise to meet a challenge, there is great joy in God’s word, and do not underestimate the power of God’s word.

Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest was a beautiful story about how God touches our lives through others. When Harold Grubbs chooses to change his life and follow God, the whole town is surprised. His change touched everyone and his Christmas Vest became a yearly reminder of God’s ability to touch life. This was a very pleasant story and I enjoyed it very much. It is another opportunity to talk with our children about Biblical salvation.

These are wonderful family stories that will prompt laughter right alongside thoughtful discussions that will grow your family in God. Be prepared to discuss and correct Biblical teachings. There are references to various denominational churches and that salvation is received by “asking Jesus into your heart.” Because these are not Biblical teachings, we did not let the girls listen to these without a parent the first time so that we could guide and teach them according to God’s word.  These are teaching and learning moments so don’t let that keep you from considering the purchase of this collection of wonderful stories.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

The Familyman’s Christmas Treasure is a lot of fun; we have really enjoyed the stories and the laughter. This is a great product to bring your family some fun time together this holiday season.

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The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
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