This is my second review for Heirloom Audio Productions who produce the most amazing audio dramas. Earlier this year, we reviewed In Freedom’s Cause, and then I immediately went out and tracked down Under Drake’s Flag at the homeschool convention. So, you already know I totally loved this product, because I practically begged and pleaded to be chosen to review With Lee in Virginia along with my other Schoolhouse Crew friends.
Heirloom Audio doesn’t just make audio books, they make audio dramas. Dramas so good, that you can lean back, close your eyes, and practically smell the dew on the grass of a southern battlefield. Okay… maybe you don’t want to smell a battlefield. But you probably could. You for sure will be able to see it and feel like you are standing right there in the middle of the scene. It’s magical. It’s exactly what you always wished an audiobook would be.
I think that is one of the things I love most about these dramas (and With Lee in Virginia) in particular. The drama is so realistic that it sucks you right in. The kids sit silent in the car to listen. And when the track ends, I pause it, and with this story, you could almost feel their thoughts racing. Bug is a very sensitive child, and at times really needed to sit and discuss what was happening with the war, and with slavery and with the country. The Civil War was a hard time for our country. I am still not sure we have fully recovered as a Nation (well, I know we haven’t) and it’s a lot for a child to grapple with. But it is so worth it.
As with the other Heirloom Production audio dramas, this is a Christian production. Meaning, it contains Christian values and lessons throughout and often refers to them throughout the story. For example, faith is discussed along with duty to country and to God, and in reference to courage (and the courage to face battle because God knows the time of your death). Secular homeschoolers will have to make their own call on this, but for us, the discussions of faith are presented as core to the characters and why they do things they way they do and I have no issues with the story. It led to fabulous conversations in our family about duty, honor, courage, faith and how it relates to us, and the people we love. I believe most families of most faiths would probably be able to enjoy these dramas and the conversation they start.
This audio book does also come with a study guide, which includes vocabulary, some background history and biography information, and study questions. This time, I didn’t use it directly with the kids, but I read through it to help me lead the conversations with Bug as we listened. It’s a wonderful resource, especially if you have kids in the 10-12 range listening to the program.