For the past several weeks our family has been reviewing the latest G. A. Henty audio adventure from Heirloom Audio, For the Temple. As we always do, we’ve loaded up our digital version into Google Play Music and have been listening to it on weekend road trips and while doing errands around town.
Recorded in the same high quality we have come to appreciate with Heirloom’s other radio dramas, this adventure was full of action and terrific sound effects that helped put you in the scene.
What are these stories
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For those of you who may not be familiar with his work, G. A. Henty was a prolific journalist and story-teller who’s amazing works are filled with the tales of honest and courageous young men who lived their lives in historically exciting yet troubling times. Heirloom Audio has taken these powerful works one step further and turned them into an amazing collection of radio dramas that bring history to life for today’s young people.
While these stories are dramas, I understand Mr. Henty was fond of doing a lot of research before he began his novels and also, that much of his work came from personal experience as a special correspondent so they contain a lot of important information about the historical periods they convey. Again, Heirloom has done a wonderful job of keeping his vivid descriptions in their recordings, adding to the listeners’ enjoyment.
*I must add here that some of these quite vivid scenes can be a bit much for younger listeners so a parent listening through first is a good idea. Even though EJ is almost twelve, he found some of the battles a little too realistic for his liking, particularly the burning of
For the Temple
In this particular adventure, we follow the life of young John, the son of a farmer who, “raises the best grapes in all of Israel.” While he wishes for nothing more than to be wed to his Mary and work on his father’s farm along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he is pulled into a battle that will test his never-failing integrity and bring stress and worry to his family at home.
Covering the period of time during the Roman occupation and political fighting that resulted in the destruction of Herod’s Temple in AD 70, this two-plus hour work introduces listeners to the conflict between Rome and other various groups and shows how at least one good man was able to keep his integrity and fight for what he believed was right.
To accompany For the Temple, the folks at Heirloom Audio have created a study guide that takes us through each scene and helps us better understand the drama and adventure we are listening to.
Questions are broken into three sections:
Listening Well – These are all about what your child has heard and remembers. Most should be fairly simple but we did have to hit rewind a few times, particularly when there was a lot of action in a scene so EJ could keep things straight.
Thinking Further – These help kids dive deeper into their understanding of the subject. In one instance, EJ decided Nero sounded like a large man and was proven correct when he looked up a picture of him. There are many opportunities for kids to do additional research and also to delve deep into their own opinions of why a character might be behaving as he is.
Defining Words – These are word lists from the drama that may be new to your child and gives them an opportunity to look up their meaning.
In addition, there are a number of “fact panels” contained in this 51-page guide that are designed to help kids understand what they are hearing in the recording.
To round things out and add more for your older students this guide contains Bible Study plus background on the story.
As always, I enjoyed this Heirloom Audio Production. The professional level of work is amazing and helps pull me into the adventure. I also appreciate all of the work that goes into the study guide. This resource helps make this an important addition to our homeschool history and language studies.
Again, as I stated earlier, I do feel some children may be a bit scared of some of the battle scenes. As a parent, you know your child best and may find you have to adjust your listening a bit for the youngers in your family.
Of course, having a learning resource that is enjoyable for the entire family to listen to together is important to me so I appreciate the design and performance of these tracks. I like how attention is paid to the interpersonal relationships and not only the exciting battles and seas rescues (yes, there is an exciting sea rescue early on in this adventure!)
At almost twelve, EJ is becoming more interested in listening to the detail contained in these dramas. We found him listening quite intently and, in fact, found ourselves being asked to keep our comments to the end of the scene so he could, “listen to everything that is going on and keep it straight in my head.” Having ADHD, he does find it a bit of a struggle to process things, especially when there is a lot going on in the background but he also enjoys listening to busy scenes. He was disturbed at some of the scenes, particularly when John and Jonas were hiding and heard bodies being thrown over the walls at Jotapata. He was angry at the Romans for being so violent as he heard the flames of the town burning. But he also was pleased that at least one Roman, Titus, worked very hard to keep his promise to John of not destroying the Temple later on in this “movie for your ears.”
Once we got into the study guide and questions I was amazed to see just how much of the information EJ had retained. I was also happy to find he didn’t complain about having to listen again if there was something he had missed. I credit the depth of production for this since there is just so much to keep a young person engaged in the action.
We found For the Temple from Heirloom Audio a good fit for our family. Not only did we enjoy listening together, but it also created opportunities for discussion about the history of the time as well as the greed and political motives that helped bring about disastrous results. We also talked about how important it was for young John to stick with his morals and beliefs and not give up.
“The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty” certainly do live up to their billing. You can read my review of another of his adventures, St. Bartholemew’s Eve here. It tells the tale of the Huguenots and their persecution.
For more from other Review Crew families about this latest audio adventure please click on the image below.