Friday, February 15, 2019

For The Temple - A Review of an Audio Drama by Heirloom Audio

I have been aware of Heirloom Audio productions for awhile. We have done a few listening sessions using their products quite awhile ago when my boys were younger. So I was especially pleased when I was given the opportunity to review the newly released drama For The Temple. When we were in the thick of homeschooling, read aloud time was always a part of our family activities. For myself as an elementary school student many years ago, some of my fondest school memories were in the classrooms where the teacher spent a substantial amount of time reading aloud to students.

At one time, I simply considered listening to audio theater to be comparable to a read aloud or listening to an audio book. It is, but it is also more. Listening to For the Temple as a reviewer, I have reconsidered that conclusion. Listening to audio theater ups the game. It is more involved, requires more concentration and better listening skills. It also provides a greater audience reward with a deeper understanding of the characters and the stories. Not to discourage anyone from the joy of listening to audio theater, but the effort of setting the stage for listening without distraction and developing the required listening skill takes a little more preparation (at least at our house). It is so worth it.

I attempted to listen to For the Temple while fighting off a bout of the flu. Snuggled up, ready to rest, the voices became the background to my recovery but I didn't completely hear the story. My daughter and I listened together again while doing some hand crafts and stitching. The stitching activity allowed for enough attention to really listen and hear the story.

George Alfred Henty (1832 - 1902) was an English novelist. He is our For the Temple storyteller and begins our listening adventure by telling this story to an artist in a Viennese Cafe where they have met.

The actors bring the characters to life. Listening to the first century
Cafe Landtmann in Vienna
Who wouldn't like to hang out and
hear a story or two?
story as a dramatization improved our understanding of the reality of the characters as actual historical figures. I especially enjoyed the developing relationship between John, the main character and his betrothed Mary. Hearing the voices of characters as they interact with each other makes it clear how they are real participants in history. When John meets Titus the interaction they have really drew me in with the anticipation of how that relationship will play out. (No spoiler here.) The surrounding sounds of the environment from a storm on the sea to destruction in Jerusalem engage the listener.

From the attitude, life and times of the original storyteller G.A. Henty, to the times and place of the story told and the characters involved, there is historical depth and nuance available for our understanding through the Heirloom Audio productions. The use of the accompanying study guide creates a complete learning opportunity. The questions included range from listening comprehension questions to ones that encourage deeper thinking. There are also geographical prompts and vocabulary lists by section of the drama.

In her comments about the production of Beric the Briton from Heirloom audio, cast member Cathy Sara says "Yes, it can be used as an education tool, it has message, it has meaning. Anyone would find that place in these stories." I agree with Cathy whole heartily. Listening to this adventure adds value to my crafting, knitting, textile working time, whether homeschooling kids are joining me or not!
During a recent stop at the bank the conversation with two young women tellers turned to the topic of homeschooling. Living the life of home education, I am still sometimes surprised by some of the questions I am asked about our family's choice. Mostly, I am surprised by the questions regarding educational materials, books and curriculum. When asked about materials my response is probably so emphatic as to be unbelievable. There is so much available it is hard to even fathom. There are so many resources available of such high quality, that from my point of view, as a homeschooling mom, is hard to grasp not utilizing it all. The Heirloom Audio dramas are an excellent example. Listening to these and going through the study guides could easily provide the basis for understanding a large portion of western history. Don't miss accessing these materials!

Find more reviews of For the Temple linked on the Review Crew blog, click on the banner below.

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