Once upon a time… a familiar and popular opening to tales of yore. Yet, sometimes history’s unfamiliar faces and places can keep kids from understanding the era. Here’s where dramatizing history for kids helps students gain entrance to an unfamiliar, long-ago world! Our family has enjoyed our review of The Dragon and the Raven, an amazing audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions.
Heirloom Audio Productions creates top-notch, professional audio reenactments of historical stories. Famous, award-winning actors (from movies like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and The Hobbit) and movie-industry professionals collaborated to create exciting, clean entertainment that doubles as a solid learning experience.
It’s truly an exciting way of learning history. The Dragon and The Raven, a story by author G. A. Henty, is one of several entertaining productions.
Benefits of audio drama for learning history
A favorite memory of my grade school years was riding home from school, listening to Christian audio dramas on the radio. Those beautiful productions are sadly missing from kids’ lives these days, since video has taken over. Heirloom Audio Productions brings high-quality audio drama back in a BIG way for kids and parents!
With The Dragon and the Raven, we received a 2-hour CD audio drama that adds professional actor’s voice overs, sound effects, and stirring music to the G. A. Henty story. This is leaps and bound beyond what I could provide by way of dramatic read-aloud (and I can get pretty dramatic!) – this is drama factor increased a hundred times over for my boys!
The Dragon and the Raven audio drama brings the story of Alfred the Great and his fight against the Vikings into vibrant reality. The story narrates an intriguing point in history: Anglo-Saxons battling the Vikings. All the while, it keeps the Christian perspective in history. Heirloom Audio Productions’ philosophy is that history is Christ-centered, with the arrival of God’s son as the pivotal historical event. I love knowing we are sharing history with our boys with a Christ-centered view, not a humanistic view.
Including audio drama in your homeschool curriculum
There’s so many reasons I’ve loved being introduced to The Dragon and the Raven. Audio drama can be included in a homeschool curriculum in many ways. It’s also perfect for the traditional schooling family to add learning fun to family time.
- Opportunity for active listening – without the visuals, kids learn to exercise listening skills to accumulate the storyline. This is valuable practice for later in life, paying attention during long lectures or meetings (which, sorry, will not be as exciting as The Dragon and the Raven, but at least they’ve practiced the skills they will need!).
- Exciting addition to history curriculum – looking through books and pictures is great, but hearing the sounds of a ship creaking in port, the clang of armor in battle, the hushed whispers of two scared boys as they await the Danes… history springs to life inside your living room like never before!
- Gives parents a break from reading-aloud while still sharing great literature – I wish I could read-aloud to my kids all day. Yet, for one, my voice tends to give out after about forty minutes. And… there’s little things like getting dinner ready, laundry, etc. So when I can’t read-aloud to the kids, I put this audio drama on and we all enjoy it, no matter what task!
- Perfect for long road trips – families can enjoy the scenery and a dramatic story from history as they travel. Make the miles fly! I can’t wait to take this on our spring and summer vacation trips!
Use the study guide to walk kids through this audio drama
Heirloom Audio Productions provides a variety of downloadable resources once you purchase the CD. From gorgeous printable Bible verses and posters, to a downloadable MP3 version, you will get so many extras with your purchase.
My favorite resource is the 48-page study guide, which I downloaded to my iPad. This proved invaluable during our first couple of listen-throughs of The Dragon and the Raven. Because the action moves fast, and a few of the characters have similar-sounding names (a lot of names starting with E!), I needed to guide the boys through the story a few times.
The study guide provides listening and critical thinking questions and activities. Plus, there’s a list of vocabulary words for parents or children to define.
I used our study guide a bit in reverse. First, I defined vocab words they would hear in advance. I printed out coloring sheets (which I googled to add to our CD listening) to go along with the words, like Viking longships (yachts), and the Alfred Jewel. Coloring while listening helped them stay focused.
Then, I would use the guide to prompt active listening: “Try to figure out where the boys are located!” and “Listen for the name of Mr. George’s yacht. Remember a yacht is a type of boat.” After each track, I’d ask the boys if they’d heard the things I’d asked them to listen for.
They are a bit too young for some of the critical thinking questions, but the activities (like finding places on a map, or looking at pictures of the Alfred Jewel) were just right for them.
There’s so much material in the study guide, you could use this guide year after year as you enjoy this audio drama!
Introduce your kids to audio drama and enjoy history in a whole new way!
The Dragon and the Raven is just one in a series of The Extrordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty. You can visit the Heirloom Audio Productions site to see the entire collection, and listen to clips of The Dragon and the Raven!
- The Dragon and the Raven 2-CD set plus 3 bonuses is $29.97.
- The Dragon and the Raven MP3 Download with 2 bonuses is $19.97.
- If you’re looking for some great gifts – there is a “Family Four Pack” set with FOUR copies of the CD plus 7 bonuses! $99.97
Find more reviews of The Dragon and the Raven from Heirloom Audio Productions, and see how other families are using this great history resource!