Thursday, March 3, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: The Dragon and The Raven (Heirloom Audio Productions) #hsreviews #HeirloomAudio

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist.  Children already know that dragons exist.  Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.    ~G. K. Chesterton

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}
Heirloom Audio Productions has fast become a favorite at our house --winning over the hearts of my entire family with their first three "extraordinary" adventures.  They've easily stolen our hearts again with the newest member of the Heirloom family, The Dragon and The Raven.  The Dragon and The Raven tells the story of King Alfred the Great and his quest to save his country from the invasion of the Danes.  The battles are fierce and the loyalty is strong as we join the ranks through friendship and faith, but my all-time favorite part of the story comes when Alfred shares his thoughts on literacy.  He says:
Literacy is power, my friend.  The power to unlock knowledge.  To share ideas. And most importantly, to impart truth.
Now that will preach -- and this homeschooling momma appreciates the fact that my children are encouraged to serve GOD first and foremost AND to read, read, read so that they will be have knowledge, be able to share ideas, and impart truth.  How about you?

So far we have LOVED each of the audio dramas that we've been able to review (Under Drake's FlagIn Freedom's Cause, and With Lee in Virginia) but this one was extra special.  Is it kind of funny that I always seem to say that?   I can't help it.  Heirloom Audio just seems to get better and better as they craft fresh, new adventures out of the old stories of G.A. Henty.  With heroes, villains, and battles galore, The Dragon and The Raven keeps the listener on the edge of their seats anxiously awaiting the rest of the story.  I like being able to share Christian heroes with my children and having them read, hear, study, and learn about teenagers who find the WAY is extra special.  These classic stories of faith are still relevant today.  The all-star cast of voice actors are on point.  It's fun for us to hear some of our favorites in reprisal roles (Brian Blessed IS G.A. Henty in our book) and catching the voice of new-to-Heirloom actors that we love in other things is even more fun (Call the Midwife or Dr. Who, anyone?  Yep, Helen George and Sylvester McCoy are here.).  An all-star cast brings the story of Alfred and teen friends Gerald and Ned to life in a way that makes us all realize that we CAN be heroes.

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

We were fortunate to have been chosen to review The Dragon and the Raven and have enjoyed all of its packaged components.  We received the physical 2-CD set and a host of extra resources as digital download including an eStudy Guide, the Henty eBook The Dragon and The Raven or The Days of King Alfred, a printable Scripture poster, and the complete audio drama soundtrack.  What a great way to learn history!  And how lucky for us that we were scheduled to make a long distance trip the day that the CD arrived.  Car rides can be tiresome and nerves can become rattled when travelling, but Heirloom Audio erases all of that for us as we step into another time and another place.  This over two-hour story of loyalty, perseverance, and sacrifice is good for the soul.  

We enjoyed listening to the audio drama uninterrupted as we traveled and my children don't mind working through the Study Guide (49-pages) on their own.  The Study Guide has three sections of study for each track on the CD.  The Listening Well questions cover listening comprehension as they test what students remember, The Thinking Further questions direct students to research topics discussed, and Defining Words strengthens vocabulary skills.  Illustrations and historical references throughout serve to deepen the understanding and comprehension so that students truly grasp the story.

I always enjoy printing the Bible verse and hanging it in the kitchen as a reminder of where our focus should be as we listen, read, and study together.  I print these full-page and shrink-to-fit so that the entire verse is readable and the picture is not cut off.  I love that we are able to continue discussing what we listened to weeks ago and that new insight continues.  There is power in the art of storytelling and Heirloom Audio shares it perfectly through these avenues.

For purposes of review, we were given access to the Live the Adventure e-Newsletter that encourages us to see the history of the world through the hand of GOD.  It is well worth reviewing and reading as it explains audio adventures and offers HOPE through history.  The Parent Resources section includes valuable tips for homeschooling, organization, storytelling and more.  I found the article entitled "Bring Back the Forgotten Arts in Life" to be very refreshing.  Make sure you read it and let me know what you think.

We have enjoyed listening to the hauntingly beautiful audio drama soundtrack (by composer John Campbell) and have often left it playing as the background music to our day.  It is truly lovely and keeps us moving.  It's kind of fun to have a soundtrack for life and makes us feel special to boot.  The ominous sounds of battle really make household chores interesting and the exciting sounds of homecoming keep us praising.

We were thrilled to receive an eBook copy of The Dragon and the Raven by G.A. Henty.  The Eagle Scout is currently reading it as part of his Junior Literature course and he is quick to point out how closely the book and the audio compare.  The 266-page eBook is divided into 19 Chapters.  The illustrations in the book are visually stunning and the language has been slightly modified for easier reading.  These and other resources are available to you as well.

You can find out more about The Dragon and the Raven and Heirloom Audio Productions by visiting the following Social Media Sites:

The Dragon and The Raven Facebook
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook
Twitter @HeirloomStories

What a great way to kick off  Spring and enjoy the longer days together.  Listening to educational entertainment while digging into history through a Christian approach is perfect for students (and families) of all ages.  I guarantee your children will thank you for introducing them to Heirloom Audio Productions.  Mine are excited every time a new adventure is introduced and area anxiously awaiting the announcement of which extraordinary adventure will be next.   

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review The Dragon and The Raven by Heirloom Audio Productions 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 products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}
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