Tag Archives: TOS

Practice Monkeys – Live Violin Classes ~ a Crew review

miss j playing

Music has a way of opening up joy in your life and I eagerly await hearing my girls practice each day. Miss L, age 12, and Miss J, age 9, are both playing the violin and have been working with Practice Monkeys. The Family Subscription to Live Violin Classes is for live, online classes but there are many aspects to the program that make it exceptional. As you read through this, realize that this is a family subscription – one subscription for all students in the family!

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Practice Monkeys fills a niche that I have seen in the home education world but also in the world of music education in general. Not everyone has access to musical education and to find string education is even harder for most people. Practice Monkeys is a series of leveled classes that are taught live, with plenty of recorded videos to help with practice and instruction when a live class has to be missed.

practice monkeys on the computer

There are currently 9 levels of violin on the Practice Monkeys site. If you are not a complete beginner, be sure to connect with Mrs. Van Kleek to set you up in the right level. Each level meets for about 15 minutes, four days a week. The time for each level is different so it is necessary to find your level to know the class time.

These live classes form the core of instruction and without them, learning violin is extremely difficult. Live classes allow for correction and training that just cannot be done with recordings alone. When you attend a live class, Mrs. Van Kleeck can look at your hand position, your bow position, and help you make those necessary corrections. She can also listen to the sound and advise what might need to be done. For example, without the live class participation, Mrs Van Kleeck cannot advise a student when their bow needs more rosin or their finger placement is just a smidge off. Tuning is another place where attending a live, online class will benefit. When the tuning is off as a beginner, you don’t often hear it or recognize it.

These are the benefits that Practice Monkey gives a student. Live teacher input allows for immediate correction and attention to detail that makes the difference between getting frustrated and giving up and making noticeable progress and learning to play.

Along with the live classes, a subscription to Practice Monkeys gets you access to the Treehouse for your placement level. The Treehouse is where you find practice videos, tuning help, instrument help, printable sheets for the skills in your level, parent tips, practice sheets, and videos for the performance pieces required to advance. It is packed full!

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As with all quality instruction, there are times for assessment and a checklist to help the student advance. The Treehouse has a printable checklist for the parent so that they can do a pre-assessment to know when to schedule a live assessment with Mrs. Van Kleeck. The checklist is clear and the expectations are laid out nicely so the student knows exactly what needs to be done. Once the student can go through the checklist with the parent, it is time to schedule that live assessment. In the live assessment, Mrs. Van Kleeck meets one-on-one with the student outside of the regular class time to go through the checklist and determine if the student is ready for the next level.

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Each week, an email of reminders and helpful hints is sent out. This is a great way to not forget to plan your practice time. One of the reminders is to print out the student’s practice sheet for the week. These sheets help with remembering each aspect of the practice time and to also progress in a consistent manner with the classes, skills, and pieces being learned. There are always helpful tidbits in the email, as well as reminders about any schedule changes for holidays and such.

getting ready for an assessment

These Suzuki-based classes are just what the home school community has been looking for. They offer something that is definitely needed and Mrs. Van Kleeck does a fabulous job of teaching her students. As stated earlier, the classes meet four days per week because music students need this much practice. The classes go from absolute beginnner to the end of Suzuki Book IV. There are also now piano classes being offered that at this point go from beginner to the end of Suzuki Book One.

miss l playing

Interested? At this point, lots of questions may be running through your mind. Hop over to the FAQ page for Practice Monkeys and read up on what is there. If you still have questions or concerns, a form is available on that page to send Mrs. Van Kleeck a message. There are also samples of the recorded classes on the page. If the sample is not quite enough, you can request to attend a single class for free to see how it all works.

Do note – these classes are live and online so there are some things you will need to acquire for the class. Obviously, an instrument is needed. Sizing and rental information is available in the FAQ as well as more detailed information on the FAQ page. You will need a paid subscription to Practice Monkeys. You will need a computer with a microphone and camera that work, as well as an internet connection. This will get you up and running with Practice Monkeys.

I know I speak positively about a lot of things. I wish I could just continue gushing about this program, though. Truly, I think it is wonderful and such a needed program. I highly encourage anyone looking for string instruction, or piano instruction (though I have not seen this part of the program), to check out Practice Monkeys.

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There is currently a special going on for readers of this blog and the Homeschool Review Crew. A special price is available for those who sign-up to become part of the Practice Monkeys community before February 1, 2019. The special price will be yours for the lifetime of your subscription. Visit the special page to read more and sign up.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There were several other Homeschool Review Crew families who also reviewed Practice Monkeys. Be sure to click on the image below to read their reviews.

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Beloved: 365 Devotions For Young Women from Zondervan ~ a Crew review

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is just that – a devotional book created just for those young ladies who are going through their pre-teen and teenage years, as they strive to grow into women of integrity, women of God. Published by the well-known company Zondervan, this is a lovely book that will visually appeal to just about any young lady. 

Hardbacked with a foil-enhanced image of flowers on the front, this is a comfortable size. It is not a heavy book, even with the number of pages it contains to have one page per day of the year. The ribbon bookmark is secured in the binding and matches the lovely flowers just perfectly.

The beautiful pages follow the same color scheme and floral motif throughout. This devotion had me singing Mary’s song. 

Each page has a motif that matches the cover, only without the foil enhancements. The day is a fancy font and it is a day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) rather than a date (January 1, January 2, etc.) so that this devotional series can be picked up and begun at any time of the year. The Bible verse for the day is printed in pink (which is a tad hard to read for these old eyes) but complements the colors perfectly. The devotion thought is printed in black, making it stand out well. The end of the page has four lines for whatever the young lady would like to use it for: journaling, doodling, adding reference verses, etc. It is a visually beautiful book. 

Let’s talk a bit about each devotion. As I mentioned there is a scripture followed by a few short paragraphs regarding something from the verse. These are fairly simple, without any challenging language or difficult sentence structures. Each devotion takes less than 10 minutes to read, think about, and discuss. My oldest would do each in about five minutes, which is a bit short for devotion times, in my opinion. Most of the devotions end with a real-life application of some sort, such a failing a test, dealing with someone who is unkind, or being afraid. Some of the devotions end with a challenge of some kind, such as the devotion regarding Naboth being killed by Jezebel that challenges the girls to not feel overwhelmed but to pick ONE thing and try to do it. (Day 264)

One thing I really like about this set of devotions is the number of women that are discussed. Your normal heroines are most decidedly included – Ruth, Esther, Mary, Naomi, Hannah and Sarah. However, there are some not so commonly thought about women included as well and that makes this an over-the-top good book, because even bad women can be good examples (of what not to be). Take Jezebel, Hagar, and the mother of Jephthah (the book uses her to reinforce that God can use any circumstance for His plan). While these women might not be ones that you would think of to say “be like her”, you definitely can use their lives to discuss what TO be and that is what this devotion does. Other women in this study include Zelophehad’s daughters, Manoah’s wife, Caleb’s daughter Aksah, and the woman Jesus healed from 12 years of bleeding. There are many, many role models here. 

Our stack of morning time studies that we do as a family. 

Our Use As A Family –
We used this devotion book daily as part of our morning time. I would read the verse from the book and then the devotional thoughts. We would discuss the things that the girls caught in the reading and then address any thoughts or questions they would have. We would do 2 or 3 of these each day. An example of some of the discussion we had involved Noah and his family. The girls wondered about other family members that would not have been on the ark – any other children, any daughters, his wife’s family, his daughters-in-law’s families, any grandchildren. It sparked some interesting thoughts and ideas. We pulled out the Bible to read more of the account and discuss what it really entailed for Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law to be on that boat. Heartache must have been a part of it yet these women were there. 

Another family discussion we had was in regards to Hagar and Sarai. We talked about trying to take control of something away from God and how difficult it can be to wait on the Lord’s time. We also talked about how in the process of taking control of the situation, something came between Hagar and Sarai. So we talked some more about friendships and how to mend hurts. Day 23 talks about Hagar being ugly to Sarai after Hagar became pregnant and how that affects both of them. 

Discussion together at night about submission after reading about God telling Hagar to return to Sarai.

Our Use As A Mother-Daughter Time –
Miss J and I were also reading this at our bed time readings. We had the book of Charlotte’s Web going so we just added a couple of these devotions to our time together each night. It was easy and only added a few minutes but it added a lot in terms of discussions and bonding. Miss J always had a comment to make about the reading (contrary to what it looks like with her quote below!). She often asked to read the passage from the Bible or to continue telling the story from the Bible. Some days, when she didn’t have much to say we might read three of the devotions. Other days, we would only get through one. This time allowed me to tailor the thoughts a bit more to her 9-almost-10-year-old-thinking. And it worked well. 

A Heads-Up! Day 237 is a discussion of sex. No anatomy discussion or anything like that but it does talk a bit about the difference between martial relationships and extra-marital ones. The context is David and Bathsheba. For some this might be a deal breaker; for others, they just want the heads-up. So here it is. . . I have not read every single devotion so I cannot tell you for sure if there are other days that may have topics your young lady is not ready for. 

The recommended age for this is 13-18. Middle school and high school girls could easily use this independently but I think it is appropriate for younger girls as well, just pre-read if you are concerned about content. 

Thoughts from Miss E:
I think this is a really good book but I would enjoy it more if the devotions were a little bit longer. It felt like there wasn’t enough space for there to be a fully-formed thought on some of them. It felt like it didn’t go deep enough to really be a devotional and I would enjoy it more like that. Also, I like the fact that they included lots of lessons on good role models. Ruth and Naomi had a number of lessons each. Even though Ruth only has 4 chapter in the Bible, the devotions captured different characteristics of each woman and had a single devotion for each of those characteristics. I really liked that. I would really like to have seen this include an index that grouped the devotions by topic such as getting married, choosing your career, handling disappointment, and others. That would make this useful in more ways. 

Thoughts from Miss L:
The ones we have done as a family have been good. I have enjoyed them. It doesn’t take a long time for each devo to get to the point so each one doesn’t take a long time. 

Thoughts from Miss J:
I liked it. The flowers were very pretty. It was nice to read together.

Blessings,
At Home.

To find out what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought about Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women, please click on the banner below to read their reviews. 

Favorites of the Year ~ a Crew “review” of our favorite reviews

Looking back over the wonderful resources we have gotten to review is always a lot of fun. We take a seat at the table with our list of vendors and reviews. We grab a sheet of paper to keep track of our favorites with and we begin debating. 

The Homeschool Review Crew has certain categories for us to vote in and those tallies for the whole Crew will come out later this week. Ours, though, are coming to you today. Here, in no particular order, are our favorites. (As a note – we did not all agree on every category and Mom had to pull out the old “my vote counts more” to come up with a winner in a few of these.)

Writing Curriculum: Reading Eggs

Vocabulary Resource: Roman Roads Picta Dicta

Penmanship Curriculum: Cursive Logic

Literature Curriculum: YWAM

History/Social Studies Supplement: Heirloom Audio’s St. Bartholomew’s Eve

History/Social Studies Curriculum: YWAM

Science: Apologia (Exploring Creation With Human Anatomy and Physiology)

Foreign Language Supplement: Roman Roads Picta Dicta

Fine Arts: Artistic Pursuits

Elective: Practice Monkeys (review still to come in early January 2019)

Christian Education Curriculum: YWAM

Christian Education Supplement: Brinkman Adventures

Elementary Product: Branch Out World (Paddington Unit Study)

Junior High: Critical Thinking Company (Something’s Fishy At Lake Iwannafisha)

High School: Code for Teens

Parent Product: Northwest Treasures

Best Product I Didn’t Know I Needed: CashCrunch Careers

Best Online Resource: Kids Email

Best E-Product: Homeschool In The Woods

Best Audio: Brinkman Adventures

Best Book: Carol P. Roman

Kid’s Choice – Miss L: Critical Thinking Co.  (Something’s Fishy At Lake Iwannafisha)

Kid’s Choice – Miss J: Reading Eggs

Teen’s Choice – Miss E: Princess Cut movie

Parent’s Choice: Drive Thru History Adventures

There were so many wonderful resources that it was really hard to choose favorites. We did “edit” a couple so that we could make sure to vote for all those we loved. Even so, I still didn’t get to include By The Way Books anywhere since my kiddos outvoted me in a couple of places. So, I am using this opportunity to say how much I do enjoy them. 

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to find out what the final tally of votes for all of the Crew was. There are several categories that we did not vote in since we did not review anything from that categories (ex: preschool). The post will be live on the blog for the Crew on Friday, November 30, at 8 AM EST.

We have truly been blessed again this year by the vendors that work with the Crew. I encourage you to visit the links above for any (and all) of the products that you find interesting or perhaps might be interesting for your own students or personal education. 

Blessings,
At Home.

Looking for More Friends ~ Join the Homeschool Review Crew

(*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through a link and choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission from your purchase. Thank you!)

Looking for More Friends

I’ll put the info here so you don’t miss it! Applications are open and it might be the best fit for your family! Check it out by clicking through to see. But read on, too, and see how the Homeschool Review Crew has influenced our family and our education. If you aren’t sure – keep reading. Maybe I can convince you. . .

I have been working with the Homeschool Review Crew almost since we began homeschooling the girls. Miss E had just started “fourth grade” and Miss L has just started “second grade.” Miss J was still a preschooler who had fun with everything. The having fun part hasn’t changed but she sure has – now she is a very confident “fourth grader.” Miss E is in high school and Miss L is in junior high! Life as part of the Crew is just what we do – Crew schooling!

And you know what? We love it! We are at the slow part of the year for the Homeschool Review Crew so we aren’t reviewing hardly any products at this point. Miss E asked just the other day when the next product was coming in for a review. When I told her it would be a couple of months as the years changed over, she was really disappointed. She has loved the products that we have reviewed over the last year or so that were for her, so much so that she made sure she got do to coding this year for her high school work (Thanks Code For Teens) and that she had access to all of the audios we have (Thanks Heirloom Audio and Brinkman Adventures). Additionally, Logic is on her weekly agenda and her algebra class is a previous review product that we have pulled back out. She is working through a speech class from SchoolhouseTeachers. Her Latin is from a Crew review (Picta Dicta) and she looks us the Daily Writing from SchoolhouseTeachers each day. Chemistry (Friendly Chemistry) is found on SchoolhouseTeachers, also, though we bought the extension for the course from the company. Her course load would be totally different without the Crew!

Miss L’s school work looks quite a bit different but she enjoys doing things for the Crew, also. Practice Monkeys is a current review for live online violin classes. She is taking a Marine Biology class from a company that we reviewed a couple of years ago (Supercharged Science). She uses SchoolhouseTeachers to find information for the history that she designed on Parties Through The Ages. Her language arts is made up of Dynamic Literacy, Phonetic Zoo, Grammar Planet, and some writing that she does.

Miss J’s classes are arranged due to some Crew vendors, as well. Mind Benders is probably her favorite and these come from The Critical Thinking Co. (We did not review Mind Benders but because I liked what I saw on from the company in reviews we did, we were more than happy to purchase their products.) She works on Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia and we have printed a few history worksheets and found some links on SchoolhouseTeachers to supplement the readings we do. She is also doing the current Practice Monkeys violin review.

Do you all see what a lovely and varied course load the girls get due to the vendors from the Crew? We have such benefits! These are just a few ways in which the Homeschool Review Crew is a lovely place to be a part of. To name a few others:

  • friendship – I have some wonderful online bloggers who are dear friends that I would not know if not for the Crew.
  • mentorship – The Crew offers an amazing wealth of knowledge amongst the bloggers and they offer you support and encouragement. The forums available open up areas of growth that I had no idea I would grow in and yet I have. From homeschooling to blogging to writing to starting a business, the mentoring I have found on the Crew is amazing.
  • encouragement – The encouragement is unmatched anywhere else. The ladies on the Crew are there for you when you need it. Whether it be prayer for strength to get through a tough day or a group to pray for you over the course of a year when your husband is deployed or a medical emergency or a decision you are anguishing over, these folks with offer encouragement and advice. On top of that, there is no judgment. They are truly an amazing group of ladies to be a part of.
  • understanding – Crew schooling is a big of different beast in the world of home education. The Crew folks get that and they are all doing it, too. So, when someone questions your choice to change your kiddos curriculum mid-stream (hey – you have a math program to review, you have to change for a few weeks!), the Crew understands and supports you on that. They also have advice and ways to make things work that others might not have thought of.

Okay – do you see? These are amazing people to work with. I am blessed.

I could have written this post a hundred different ways because our family has been truly blessed to be a part of the Homeschool Review Crew. And do you know how I found them? By reading through a post like this. They are currently accepting applications to add to our team. We want you. Click through this link to see if you think you might want to apply and then do! Make a spur of the moment decision and apply. It might just change your life.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Kidzaw.com Master Kitz ~ a Crew review

Read the Review for Kidzaw.com

Art is something that can be implemented in a gazillion different ways and all of them are good. Kidzaw.com is a company that has presented us with the opportunity to review one of their Master Kitz. This is a kit that teaches the student a bit about a master artists and then helps them recreate one of that artist’s masterworks. In this case, we received Master Kitz The Starry Night to help us recreate a painting by Vincent van Gogh.

what comes in the Master Kitz

The kit arrived in a compact box that is study and contained everything we needed except for a plate or palette for the paint and clean up supplies. If the students want to add more color than yellow, orange, white, and blue oil pastels, then that will also be something that you will need to supply. The kit includes:

  • 2 pieces of deluxe art paper (16‘x20’)
  • 4 oil pastels (it says 5 on the box but ours came with 4)
  • custom “van Gogh” paint roller
  • three acrylic paints
  • star mask sheet
  • sponge roller
  • composition stencil
  • instructions
  • learning materials

A couple of days before you plan to work on the project, it is a good idea to get your paper and stencil out of the box, roll it gently backwards of the curl in it, and then place it under something heavy to flatten it out so it will be flat for the project. That will make it much easier to work with.

The process is pretty straightforward and the instructions (inspiration!) are step-by-step and clear. From the placing of the star masks to using the rollers, most of it was easy to do. The stencil required multiple hands, though. When Miss J was working with it, both Miss E and I had to help her keep the interior parts of the stencil flat so that paint would not get under it. When Miss E was using it, it was a little easier and I was able to help her on my own. It is such a large stencil (almost 16″x20″) and it has such a small amount of interior support, the roll that was put in it from the box was just problematic. However, do take a look at our finished products and you will see it didn’t really hinder us. Yea – we had to have additional hands but we were all around the table anyway so it wasn’t an issue.

Kidzaw.com background work

Before we began, Miss E read to us from the instructional materials that were included in the kit. We talked a bit about what we remembered from previous studies of van Gogh and as additional artist names came up (he was influenced by a number of people and had a number of famous contemporaries), it was good to be able to talk about things the girls recalled and how they all intersected.

We learned a bit about using the different materials – acrylic paint, stencils, rollers, and oil pastels. We learned about how to “mask” (or protect an area) from paint so that it will remain the color you want. We learned how to combine textures and materials (oil pastels over acrylic, mixing color in oil pastels, etc.).

Master Kitz Starry Night from Kidzaw.com

We were able to use this for two projects at the same time, though it did take a bit of finesse with materials going from one paper to the next, having to make sure they were dry before the second paper, etc. There does appear to be enough of everything in the box except for the paper to create a third project. The star masks we had to be very careful with – they had a tendency to stick too hard to the paper and we did have a couple of places tear, in addition to making sure the paint didn’t smear when taking them off and the paint being dry when putting it on the second page. For the most part, the materials were of good quality and with everything being in one place, it was a very convenient activity for a rainy day.

It took a couple of hours to get these two paintings to the color stage – where they were using the oil pastels to create the stars and add any other additional color. From that point, it is up to the individual artist how much longer they want to spend adding details. Miss E took about two more hours to decide on her colors, practice and put that on the artwork. It is certainly not a quick project but will definitely be shorter if you are doing just a single project. Clean up took a while, as well, since we did try to preserve the materials for another go at the project for Miss L after we get some more large paper.

Miss E's finished productMiss J's finished product

One comment Miss J made I need to share – “I didn’t like that we didn’t get to use a paint brush and learn to paint.” That is a mistake on my part. I must have misled her accidentally by talking about doing a painting similar to one created by van Gogh. She thought she was going to get to learn how to paint like him. I am sharing this so that others might not make that same mistake with their kiddo. She did actually enjoy the project once she knew brushes were not involved.

I am looking into the additional kits that are offered by Kidzaw.com, including Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, and Water Lilies by Claude Monet. Check out their website for more options. They would make fun gifts and projects so with Christmas on the horizon, this may be a very good item to add to wish lists.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews of the Kidzaw.com Master Kitz projects from other families.

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Balancing Diapers and Deadlines ~ a Crew review

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We all have times where we have to balance a load of things – from work to children to studies to teaching to daily chores to, well, you name it. We all have it and this review was an easy to process online course that helped me to think through some of the day-to-day that bogs down through time. Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is a fully-online, reading-based course that takes you step-by-step through daily life and choices. Brought to you by Lisa Tanner Writing , there is something for everyone in this course.

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Lisa Tanner is a mom and business owner. Working from home with 8 children around her, she has had to think carefully about how to help it all run smoothly. Now, I don’t have 8 children that I am trying to mother and educate and help guide but I do have three. And with this blog, I have business-like items I need to consider and plenty of deadlines I have to keep in sight. And we live in a house we would like to have somewhat neat and tidy with laundry we would like to not wear dirty. 🙂 So, there was a lot in her course that touched my daily life.

Once you purchase the course from Lisa Tanner Writing , you will have access to the entire course right away. You just start at the beginning and go through it one online-page at a time. After each page, you click a box that tells the program to mark that section complete and you will be able to find where you are the next time you log in. There is no need to write it down; just look for the little green check marks next to the titles of lessons to see what you have finished.

Table of Contents showing completions

There are 6 units, in addition to an introduction and a closing thoughts. Each of the units has several chapters in it and each one of those has at least one activity that will help you put your thoughts and ideas down on paper and make the decisions that need to be made. These action steps are small and easy to accomplish.

I worked through this course a little at a time. I would sit down with my notebook and pen and some tea. After logging in and pulling up the next chapter, I would read the ideas and personal testimony Lisa shares. Then I would look at her action step for that topic. Some of these steps took just a couple of minutes and others took a bit longer. Many were things I was already doing. (Yay for feeling like I was on the right track!)

morning routine

Many topics had print outs to help you with the action step, whether it be a schedule or a sample of her schedule or a checklist or something else. From making a plan for the day or figuring out the laundry or scheduling tasks related to the business, there were plenty of ideas, suggestions, and personalized discussions, making this an easy to read and implement course.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is designed for anyone who has multiple parts of their life that they are trying to keep in order, particularly if you are running your own business and trying to grow it. Now, at this moment in time, I am not actively trying to start or grow a business but there were a lot of action steps that did apply. Some of these included were thinking through a morning routine or scheduling quiet time. Maybe you need some ideas about how to schedule your meals (insert the lesson here about the year long menu!) or getting your children involved in helping with your business.

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There is something here for everyone, even if you feel like you have your life running smoothly. The thing is, we all have places in our lives where we can improve our systems or get our children more involved. The ideas and baby steps included throughout Balancing Diapers and Deadlines will help you and your family.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please make sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew anchor post for Balancing Diapers and Deadlines reviews by other families, many of whom are growing their business. See how this course from Lisa Tanner Writing  can help you!

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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.

St-Bartholomews-Eve-Heirloom-Production-Homeschool-Reviews

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