Friday, October 31, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Jim Hodges Productions #hsreviews

Jim Hodges Productions Review

If you've visited with us very often, you know that we are big fans of both Audio Books and Audio Dramas. I grew up reading books along with my little red record player -- you know the one?  It played those 45 single vinyl records and there was usually a little bell tone that reminded me to turn the page.  I think that began my love for all things audio and I shared it with my children when they were little as we listened to books on tape together when we travelled back and forth across town or out of town on our visits to grandparents.

The technology has definitely changed.  We have continued our "audio school" enjoyment and listened to some literary classics last year for Book Club.  This year we've become fans of G.A. Henty's high adventure tales (I know, I know . . . what took us so long?).   We have all enjoyed getting to know his heroic characters through audio productions and want to make sure that you have been introduced to them as well.  Jim Hodges Productions is a great way to introduce your family to the Henty novels. Jim Hodges records these historical novels in an attempt to encourage boys in their walk with CHRIST and inspire them to become Men of Valor.  Hodges knows that children need heroes and he offers them through the stories of action and adventure.

I allowed the Eagle Scout to choose which Henty adventure we'd journey onto next, and he chose a story that fits right in with our current history studies.  He surprised me with his first choice pick of Beric the Briton:  The Story of the Roman Invasion ($25 for the MP3 CD or $18 for the Digital Download) because I just knew he'd want to start with a Civil War tale.  There are Henty stories that cover most historical events and time periods.  His choice for us was perfect and we have enjoyed listening to it daily. Isn't it cool when you can add extras that complement school studies so well?

Jim Hodges Productions offers high quality audiobooks on mp3 CDs that present crisp, clear sound and soothing narration. The cd sounds great in our xBox, on our computer, and in my husband's truck (But don't try to play it in your 15-year-old van that's way behind the technology times.  This is a computer CD so will play in any computer compatible player). The Henty stories are most appropriate for students ages 10 and up and my 8th and 10th graders are enjoying the added element that they bring to school studies.

Beric the Briton tells the exciting story of the Roman Invasion in AD61 through the eyes of man who would become leader of the Britons.  Sent to the Romans as a young boy, Beric infiltrates the Roman way while refusing to become "romanized."  Beric the Briton takes the reader/listener on numerous adventures as Beric fights against the Roman.  Students follow along as Beric exploits his knowledge to remain true to himself and bring honor to his home as a hero to his people.  This unabridged reading of the original Henty story provides students the opportunity to listen and/or read along word for word.  I was even able to download the original book to our Kindles so that we could both see AND hear the words come to life.  The 21 Chapters have a total runtime of 13 hours, 19 minutes with chapters playing between 35 and 55 minutes each.  For us, this means listening to one chapter at a time and discussing it before moving on to the next chapter.

In addition to the Beric the Briton CD, we also received the accompanying Study Guide in PDF format ($12).  This 62-page guide is simply superb.  Broken down by chapter, students define vocabulary words (anywhere from 5 -35 words, depending on the chapter), answer discussion questions designed to insure comprehension (5 or 6 questions per chapter), and complete hands-on activities where they sketch clothing designs, construct architectural models, watch related videos, and even cook authentic meals.  Each chapter has 2 - 3 activity choices that help bring the audio book to life.  My children enjoy the hands-on aspect -- especially taste testing and model building.  I like the vocabulary and short answer sections because they help make sure that my children are actively listening as Mr. Hodges reads aloud.  The Study Guide includes 4 Quizzes (one every 5 or 6 chapters) and Answer Keys for all the Chapter Guides and Quizzes.  As an added benefit, you are welcome to make copies of the Study Guide for each immediate family member so each student has their own.

We have used the Study Guide in conjunction with Beric the Briton as a literary unit at Long Leaf Academy.  As they listened to each chapter, the Princess and the Eagle Scout were able to make notes about the vocabulary words.  At the conclusion of the chapter, they answered the discussion questions separately and then chose an activity to complete based on their individual preferences.  For example, in Chapter 11 the Eagle Scout enjoys studying weaponry while the Princess prefers creating mosaics. There is something here to appeal to the learning style of all students.  I like that I can offer fun reinforcements for history.

You can connect with Jim Hodges Productions and find out more information on Facebook
and YouTube.  And don't forget to sign up for the email list (found under the @ sign on the lefthand side of the website) to find out the latest information about sales, new titles, and special promotions. Join with me in making sure that our children have heroes worth emulating.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Beric the Briton:  The Story of the Roman Invasion as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other audiobooks as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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