One of the greatest perks of homeschooling is that not all learning comes from a textbook. Whether it's videos, virtual "field trips", living books or hands on, learning can be done utilizing so many different tools accessible to families. One of my families favorite learning platforms would be the audio theater offered by Heirloom Audio Productions. Heirloom Audio Productions recently released their 5th audio theater production, Beric the Briton, and we were absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to review it.
Beric the Briton is based on the book by the same name by G.A. Henty and is part of Heirloom Audio Productions series "The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty".
What We Received:
I was given the opportunity to review the 2 CD performance of Beric The Briton presented in a visually stunning, full color trifold case. I also received the accompanying Study Guide as well as the extras that included access to the MP3 download of the performance, an Ebook copy of Beric The Briton by G.A. Henty, Beric The Briton Soundtrack MP3 download, a printable cast poster, a printable poster containing an inspiration quote, access to the newsletter website and access to the documentary of behind the Scenes of producing Beric the Briton.
If you've read any of my previous Heirloom Audio Production reviews, you'll already know that they are one of our absolute favorite companies. As soon as the package arrived, we ripped it open and were completely blown away by the cover art - it's very striking and symbolic in so many ways, from the Lion representing both the Roman prosecution and execution of Christians as well as Christ himself, the army's clashing against each other and the Roman Colosseum looming ominously in the back ground. Without a doubt, I do believe this is the best looking cover Heirloom Audio has done yet and I've thought all of them were very striking.
Heirloom Audio productions always tell a story of characters overcoming hard times and rising above them through their faith in the Lord. Beric the Briton is much the same as it tells the tale of a young Briton named Beric who watches the fall of his queen to the Roman Empire. Beric is captured and placed in Gladiator school. After his friend Julius is given to the lions for his Christian beliefs, and act of bravery puts Beric into the good graces of Nero, the Roman Emperor, who then places Beric into a high position of honor. However, Beric's own personal convictions leads him to conflict with Nero when a command he is given goes against his beliefs.
This particular story came at a perfect time for us as the kids are currently learning about the history of Britain and we've been discussing the various invasions of Britain by the Roman Empire and how the Romans captured the conquered in order to have them fight for their entertainment. We also have been discussing about how Christians were prosecuted and killed for their beliefs both during the time of the Roman invasions but later in history during the times of Queen Mary. It made it a really easy transition to go from what we had been learning in our books and then apply it to what we were hearing in Beric the Briton.
As with every other Heirloom Audio Production, an all star cast and an amazing soundtrack by John Campbell leads to a 3 hour journey that engulfs you in the story. While the main characters are fictionalized, many of the supporting characters are integral parts of history, leaving the listener with an entertaining, action packed story seeped in history that educates the listener to the situations many Christians faced during that period of time.
Once again, Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan) returns to the sound room to voice our story teller, G.A. Henty. Other well known voices are Brian Cox (Braveheart) as Nero, John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones, One Night with the King), Cathy Sara (Downton Abbey) and Tom Baker (Dr Who).
As with every other Heirloom Audio Production, the purchase of either the physical CDs or the MP3 downloads come with the complementary full color, downloadable study guide and Discussion Starter Ebook. These study guides are always a welcome addition with the audio as they provide a good amount of information in the life and history behind the period of time the story takes place. The Study Guide is a wonderful addition as it allows me to ask the kids the questions as we progress through the CD's and check to see how much they are actually picking up from the recording.
Time stamps are included at the top of each page in the study guide. This makes it extremely easy for people like myself who prefer the convenience of listening to the MP3 format on tablets, computers or phones to jump ahead quickly to find the proper track to match with the guide, as the MP3s are not divided into individual tracks.
Included in the 49 page ebook Study Guide:
Listening Well Questions: These provide the perfect opportunity to test listening comprehension in regards to what your child has heard and remembers. All answers are easily found within the listed track.
Thinking Further Questions: These questions require a bit of independent research or deeper thinking beyond just what was heard. These are great for older students as a platform for independent study on the various topics covered in the recording.
Defining Words: These provide vocabulary lists of words that were used in the recording that students might not be familiar with. These words are easily found within a standard dictionary.
Bible Study: A three page study is also included. Each page uses Bible verse to allow students to see what the Bible says in regards to The Importance of Studying History, Thou Shall Not Kill and that there is only One Way to God.
The study guide ends with a few page that discuss the Significance of the Colosseum in Christianity, the site of the martyrdom of many Christians.
In addition to the Audio production and the Study Guide, Heirloom is generous and also includes a downloadable full text version of the original G.A. Henty book that the recording is based off of. This ebook is in the popular PDF format which can be read on most tablets, phones and computers and is published in full color with beautiful photographs as a backdrop for the story. I always enjoy this extra as I can easily transfer it to my Kindle and read it at my own leisure. It's also something I look forward to giving to the kids when they begin to read the Henty books on their own as I find it to be so much better than just reading the plain black and white text on a reader.
We can't say enough how much we love Heirloom Audio Production as a family. They provide a entertaining yet educational product that allows us to turn off the TV, pop some popcorn and just pile up in the living room and listen. I also love that it it engrosses the kids to the point that they ask questions, which tells me they are truely listening and trying to process what is going on with the story. As far as Beric the Briton, we found it to be action packed and Charles even said that this is one of Heirlooms best.
For more information about Beric the Briton as well as the other 5 Heirloom Audio Production Audio Theater selections, be sure to visit their website or any of the following social media platforms:
Beric The Briton FB Page
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series FB page
Heirloom Audio Productions social pages