Heirloom Audio is one of our FAVORITE vendors to review. They have an amazing product that time after time is a home run with my little family. They also have the amazing Live the Adventure Club where you will be part of an amazing Heirloom Audio community, have all of your digital adventures in your library, and more. For this review, we received the 2-CD set For The Temple, their latest audio adventure set in 70 A.D, adding to their ancient history line up.
Heirloom Audio provides more than a simple audio book. Their audio adventures are like listening to a movie. Each character has a different actor portraying that character, and they interact with one another like characters on a screen. The only difference is the screen is your imagination.
Now, if you think you may miss out on the action and adventure of an on screen portrayal, you'd be mistaken. There's so much background sound, ambient sounds like the sounds of horses hooves, birds, crowds, etc. that your mind's eye can easily fill in a picture.
Every adventure starts off with a modern day setting and a narrator guy being prompted to tell a story. This is no different, and begins in France. The narrator is at a cafe when a "run in" with a briefcase spurs the storytelling. When the background is set, we are whisked away to 70AD to the days of a faithful Jew named John who must fight to save the Jewish temple.
John of Gamala is the son of a vintner, and he longs to marry his childhood sweetheart Mary, and follow in his father's vineyard stained footsteps. At this time, Jews live in their own land, but they are under Roman rule. Conflict is starting, and Rome isn't going to be very happy.
Mary wishes for some private time with John to discuss their relationship. The solution Mary has is to jump into a boat! Mary does this on purpose to get a chance to be alone with John. John is upset because he worries about what it looks like for the two of them to be alone. He's also concerned about the storm that appears to be brewing. This storm ends up leading them to a chance meeting with Josephus who is impressed with John's bravery. What strikes me the most here is the fact that Mary is only 14, and that's just a little younger than 16 yr old John! They're just kids!
John gets the blessing of his family to give aid to the leader Josephus, and he sees his first battle in Jotapata where he, and his friend, hide on a ledge for days to remain safe.
I do not want to give away the rest of the story, but in the end it is John's choices and his faith in God that not only helps him to protect the temple from the Romans, but also saves him from a life in slavery. In the end, John learns of Yeshua.
One aspect of Heirloom Audio that I love is the colorful Study Guides.
This part includes comprehension style questions to check retention of what you have listened to. This are like reading comprehension questions, but for listening. Sometimes I will have Mr. B write these out like short answer style questions, and other times we just discuss them.
These take it a step father. These are activities that go beyond the listening, and really bring the story to a new level. As you can see from the photo below, this particular chapter includes geography, additional historical research, and even looking up the Cafe! Mr. B really has a LOT of fun with these! And often times, these activities lead to rabbit holes of more learning. He can spend an hour or more just investigating one question, that leads to another idea, that leads to another, and another.
These are vocabulary words. I have Mr. B write these out, then use a dictionary to write the meaning. It gives him penmanship practice, plus we can use that in his portfolio for Language Arts.
Not every chapter has the same kinds of activities. Some have more Thinking Further questions, while others have no Defining Words at all.
The Study Guide includes more than just questions and activities. It also has a few pages of Bible study, and historical background that you can use to better understand the forces at play in the audio adventure.
Overall, Heirloom Audio has once again impressed me. We all love these adventures, and enjoy listening to them on car rides. They have an amazing calming effect on Mr. B that I still can't explain. I love how detailed the actors are, and the background sounds. It is as if you are right there, watching the events unfold.
I really like the underlying themes in the story, especially the idea that sometimes what we want may not be on the same timeline as what God needs from us. I think we as mortal humans can be quite impatient. I know I certainly can be. John and Mary were forced to wait longer than they wanted, which didn't always please them, while John fulfilled what he felt he needed to do. How often have we tried to speed things up only to be reminded that God's timeline and plan differs from our own? Needless to say, I highly recommend this to others.
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