We love adding multi-media resources to our history studies. Sometimes this is an audio book of historical fiction, sometimes it is a movie, but other times, it is an audio drama. Not sure what an audio drama is? An audio drama is audio theater – the perfect blending of an audio book and a movie. The visuals are left to the imagination while your ears take in every second of dialogue and action. We love them. The titles by G. A. Henty are some of the best historical fiction we have encountered. When Heirloom Audio Productions began producing Henty books as audio dramas, we were one of the first in line. And we have not been disappointed. Our latest title for listening enjoyment – and education, is In the Reign of Terror.
Not only are we learning about life in France during this time, but we are also placing the French Revolution in a relative timeline to other historical events we can relate to. For my younger children who don’t always see the bigger picture and connections in history, this is awesome! Even though there are tragedies throughout the story, my children were not negatively affected. No nightmares or worries. This is one of the reasons I appreciate audio theater over film for portrayals of battles and war. We get the dialogue and sound effects from a movie without the images.
Some of our favorite aspects of this audio production compared to simply reading the original text by G. A. Henty is how Heirloom Audio introduces the stories. G. A. Henty himself is sharing the story to someone and answering a question by way of the story or illustrating a comparison. In the case of In the Reign of Terror, the French Revolution is compared to the American Revolution. This brought about interesting discussions both while we were listening and also when Daddy returned home. Much of our time listening (just over 2 hours for the whole drama, 2 discs worth) was while we were weeding in the garden. It is neat to have a recollection of a scene tied to a section of the garden we were weeding at the time. This illustrates another way that audio dramas are related to as more than just spoken words. Don’t get me wrong, we love audio books and reading aloud. Mixing it up with dramatic audio presentations brings about more memory-making connections. We enjoy audio dramas at home, on the road, inside and out. We’ve listened to a complete story at once (they are often movie length) or taken 3-4 times of listening to complete.
In our homeschool, we use audio dramas to bring to life the events and time period we are currently studying. We will typically listen through once with nothing additional unless questions come up. Then, during a second listen, we will take breaks and discuss, do further research, etc. We love the study guides available from Heirloom Audio Productions through the membership in the Live the Adventure Club. The Live the Adventure Club has a lot of extras for both parents and children to add to the adventure of the chosen audio drama. Some of the resources are available to anyone with a membership (coloring pages, blog posts, etc.) while others are specific to titles in your own library.
The study guide has questions for comprehension and for digging deeper. There are recommended books for more research, a section for some of the tracks, “Expand Your Learning” that are extra activities (recipes and more), bible studies and background information on the story’s setting. This could form the basis of a unit study around the story or enrich your current history studies. We have done both. We will be encountering this event, the French Revolution, in our history studies this year, so I have saved much of the study guide for later use. The one section we have used during this initial exposure to the story is Defining Words. There are vocabulary words that are encountered during our listening. Each track has its own page of questions and activities. It has been easy to go through and access only this portion as we listen.
Other Crew families have been adventuring with Heirloom Audio Productions and this Henty title, In the Reign of Terror. To read their reviews, click the image below.