Thursday, July 30, 2015

With Lee in Virginia- Schoolhouse Crew Review

It is always a pleasure to team up with Heirloom Audio Productions and review their products!  This amazing company has taken on the monumental task of taking G.A. Henty's books and making them come alive.  We have enjoy Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause previously, and now have been blessed with their newest release, With Lee in Virginia.

With Lee in Virginia is an exciting tale of a band of friends and their adventures in the Civil War. Complete with plantation owners, slaves, and cannons blasting, this audio drama is sure to keep your whole family on the edge of their seats.  After a gentleman by the name of George takes responsibility for two young men riding a train without tickets, he sits them down and tells them a story of two men he thinks are much like them. The tale begins with Vincent (a young southern man who has lost his father years past) defending his neighbor's slave.  This leads to a tension that ensues for the rest of the story.  His own faithful servant, Dan, follows him through a series of twists and turns that even lands him in the enemy's prison. As usual, Heirloom Productions has hired some of the best actors out there.  Names like Sean Astin (who plays General Jeb Stuart) and Kirk Cameron (who plays General Stonewall Jackson) are sure to draw in listeners of all ages..

This two disk set provide over 2 1/2 hours of adventure.  Be ready- this is no quiet bedtime tale.  The audio includes sounds of guns and cannons, slaves being beaten and troops fighting.  Because of the intense subject matter, I do recommend you preview the drama before allowing younger children to listen to it, though I can tell you that our 8 year old loves it.  The intense scenes are often sandwiched in between humor that allows for comic relief. 

Also included with the purchase of With Lee in Virginia is a study guide that is over 50 pages.  Like the releases before, this study guide allows you to take one step further and use this audio drama as a springboard for learning and digging deeper into history.  After quick bios on author G.A. Henty, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas Jackson, there is a great map showing the major cities and battlefields that are talked about in the audio drama.  After that there is a page dedicated to each track on the 2 disks.  The track is broken in three parts- Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words.

Listening Well asks a handful of questions that help you check for listening comprehension.  These are the who and where and why type questions.
Thinking Further digs a little deeper and gets you and your child to think outside the box a little. There is not a right or wrong answer to these- they are intended to get the creative juices flowing.
Defining Words are to help build and expand your vocabulary and will often have to be looked up.
At the end of the study guide there is an additional reading list  provided as well as two Bible Studies to help you further study some of the Biblical themes that are addressed in With Lee in Virginia.
Our favorite quote from With Lee in Virginia-

The How's and What's!
As soon as our family received With Lee in Virginia my 13 year old took off with the CD!  He is a huge history buff and loves anything war related.  Luckily, I was able to get it back from him for a trip we had and we listened in the car as a family.  (Warning to the driver- loud sounds may cause you to jump! Ask me how I know this?!)  
We are now currently working through the Study Guide for fun to see who can remember the most.  I love that the open ended questions in the Thinking Further sections encourage lots of lively conversations.  If you were doing a unit study of the Civil War, this would be a great addition to your curriculum!
We love listening to all the Heirloom Audio Production releases, but this one may be our favorite so far. I love that my family can listen to something together and all ages can be equally entertained.  I also love that we can listen to true stories that encourage honor and truth and determination and have a focus on God!

Heirloom's mission is "To engage our listeners' imaginations by taking them back in time and immersing them in history."   They do just that and so much more!  
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With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
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