It’s time to share my first Schoolhouse Crew Review of the year! I am so excited to be a part of the team again this year, and share even more awesome homeschooling resources with all of you. I know if it wasn’t for blog reviews, I wouldn’t have tried many of the programs on my shelves, so I hope you find them useful too! Today’s review is for the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package, a wonderful audio book with a study guide companion from Heirloom Audio Productions.
About In Freedom’s Cause
In Freedom’s Cause is the story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce who fought for Scotland’s freedom against England. In the story, a young boy named Ned decides to join the fight and goes along with William Wallace who becomes a mentor to him. He learns to fight, and more importantly, learns many life lessons along the way. William Wallace is more than just a war hero in this story, he also takes the time to teach Ned about peace, loyalty and God.
This is so much more then an audio book. This CD is Audio Theater, meaning it feels like you are listening to a stage show instead of a story read by one narrator. The dialog is given by various actors, and the story has a beautiful musical score and interesting sound effects. When battles occur in the story, you’ll hear the swords clashing and feet shuffling. When they walk through a village, you hear the sounds of the morning going on in the back ground. The story is brought to life, and it sucks you right in.
The Study Guide goes chapter by chapter and gives you suggestions for questions to ask your children, both at a basic level (basically re-telling the story) and at a deeper level for older students. Each chapter also has vocabulary words for reference. At the end of the study guide are three simple bible studies with verses to reference as you listen.
I love audio books for the car. My kids are used to listening to typical narrated stories, so when I put in this audio drama, they were blown away. For the entire drive, all three big kids were silent (and, two of the three were slack jawed) as they listened to the story. They are a bit on the young side, so some of them had trouble keeping up with the large cast of characters, but that did not stop them from enjoying the adventure.
My middle son especially loved the sword fights and battles, and came home from our car trips to act out the adventure in his bedroom, where William Wallace always won the battle (in the story, William Wallace meets a more unfortunate fate).
I really enjoyed having the study guide to help me lead a conversation with the boys after listening to each section. As a military family, I worry about listening to stories of war in particular, because these heavy themes sometimes hit close to home. The study guide helped me navigate the more mature themes of revenge, faith, and most importantly, the juxtaposition of yearning for peace, but needing to fight for freedom.
A Note to Secular Homeschoolers
Last year, the Schoolhouse Crew reviewed another title from Heirloom Audio Productions, Under Drakes Flag. I didn’t do that one, because I knew this was a Christian resource, and I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for us. If I could go back in time, and kick myself, I totally would. This is a resource not to be missed. It does include Christian verses and prayers as they come up within the context of the story. In this particular story, William Wallace is described as a man who carried the Psalms with him, and found strength through his faith. Discussions of faith also come up in the study guide. However, I think the audio book portion, and much of the study guide is likely to work well in most homes regardless of religious preference, and I personally plan on purchasing the other titles from The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Collection (hopefully they make more!) for my children.