Faith and Courage in the Crux of History

Faith and Courage in the Crux of History

We were super hyped when Heirloom Audio Productions sent us a free copy of Beric The Briton to review. Hyped, I tell you! And for good reason.

Briefly, Beric the Briton is an audio production of the amazing adventure of a 1st century Briton in a Roman world, based on the book by G.A. Henty.

Heirloom Audio Productions does amazing work. As music missionaries with Christian music CDs for sale, we are ear-deep in the Nashville production world. We see the difference between the good stuff that accomplished artists create and the work of the fly-by-nights, and boy-oh-boy-oh-boy, Heirloom produces the good stuff.

Of course, authors like G.A. Henty deserve the good stuff. When you take an adventure like Beric the Briton and you throw in the voices of some of the great, such as Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, Robin Hood) and John Ryhs-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones) among others, you’re destined to have a great product. And the soundtrack–brilliant!

You’ve heard me rave about Heirloom Audio Productions before, so I won’t get redundant. Suffice it to say that Heirloom is excellent, Beric the Briton is magnificently produced, and any of the Heirloom Audio Productions would make an outstanding addition to your history, literature, and character studies. There’s more I want to say, though.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review

There are two things I want to emphasize:

  1. The value of this study (all the Heirloom Audio productions).
  2. The extensive ways you can use this product (specifically Beric the Briton).

The Value

Have you noticed the similarities between our government and ancient Greece? Between our nation and ancient Rome? Between our leaders and early 20th century Germany?

What we do not see and do not comprehend we are destined to repeat.

From the executive producer of Heirloom Audio, Bill Heid:

The Bible … admonishes us to constantly “remember” and to teach our children to do the same. That’s why it’s so important to know where we’ve come from and who we are as Christians. If we forget our history and allow ourselves to become culturally conditioned by the world, we will lose our greatest possession.

So while we do everything we can to make our stories fun and exciting…there’s a lot at stake here…nothing less than the heart and soul of civilization itself.

Heirloom Audio Productions adventures are an exciting way to “ignite a passion for history and Christian character in the next generation,” and, quite frankly, this old generation, too! They’re that good…and that important.

Using It

So you see the value of this study. How can you make it more than simply an exciting two-hour listen?

Great question.

While the crux of the study is the audio production, there are numerous digital downloadable extras to enhance your experience. Extras include the sound track by John Campbell (hooray!), a digital version of the audio (or you can buy the digital instead), access to the adventure newsletter, the Henty ebook, two posters, a behind-the-scenes production video (love those!), and most importantly, the big boy in the bunch, a study guide.

All About the Study Guide

The study guide is fantastic. It offers historical context, an introduction, three Bible studies, and a recommended reading list, but those are just the bonuses. The study guide itself breaks the story into listening segments of 4-10 minutes. Each section includes “Listening Well” questions to help the child recall and understand what he has learned, which is great for the younger crowd that might not “get it” right away.

It then has questions that require more thought than recall, appropriately named the “Thinking Further” section. These would be great as writing assignments or open discussion with the older set. Then there are vocabulary words–always fun…seriously…because we like words and dictionaries and yes we are geeks thanks for noticing.

Now, to be honest with you, my kids, who were so enthralled with our previous Heirloom Audio adventure The Dragon and the Raven, tore into this and started listening with no pause for the study guide. Yup. But the fun didn’t stop there.

Other Ways to Enhance the Study

Because I am working through this at a slower pace for “official school,” there are many activities that we are doing or have planned. Most of them fit right into the study and may give you an idea of how you can use this program for your own homeschool or some fun summer learning together:

  1. Timeline work–Henty is already in our timelines, but Boadicea and Nero are not in the younger children’s timeline books.
  2. Have a Roman bread breakfast.
  3. Eat as the upper class Romans would have–lounging, not using forks, and having slaves cut your meat and clean up (take turns being slaves).
  4. Study leviathans and dragons.
  5. Launch into readings about Christian heroes (Hero Tales, Christian Heroes series, Ten Boys/Girls Who…series).
  6. Map work–we like to post a map while we’re going through something. Tracing the travels and mapping the battles would be helpful also.
  7. Character “mapping.” We sometimes draw family trees or “relationship trees” or write information about each character on a piece of paper and post it on the wall (a real wall, not like Facebook or something) to help keep everybody straight.
  8. Study the biblical nature of oaths, words too quickly spoken, and keeping your word, and have the children consider establishing a personal principle regarding oaths and promises.
  9. Make and eat Roman apple cake…and did I mention eat it?
  10. Discuss shipwrecks in the Bible and also near my home, which was along a treacherous shipping route known as Death’s Door. Sounds like a field trip when our travels have us back in that area!
  11. Recreate the Roman machines used to capture Beric…if that can be done out of toothpicks, plastic spoons, and whatever else we have in our home-sweet-travel-trailer.
  12. Study Nero.
  13. Study gladiators and the Roman Circus and parallel the fascination with today’s culture.
  14. Compare our God with the many gods of the Britons–somehow I want to make this a visual, but I haven’t figured out how yet. That’s okay; I have until page 24 to “figger” it out.
  15. Discuss the importance of Creation in view of the Gospel.
  16. Make Roman Noodle Bake.
  17. Build a diorama of Rome…and burn it.
  18. Discuss the good that comes from bad, such as the spreading of the Gospel that resulted from Christian persecution. Apply this to life.
  19. Write a story in Henty style, and turn it into an audio drama or reader’s theater.
  20. Eat Swiss chocolate. Why? Because the Papal Swiss Guard is one of the oldest military units in the world, and represent how important rulers often hired foreign soldiers. Any excuse to eat chocolate!
  21. Talk about Christ allegories…and watch Narnia…with popcorn.
  22. Read more about 1st century Rome from the book list at the end of the study guide. (Elijah just finished two books from this time period.)
  23. Watch a movie set at this time period…or at least Charlton Heston’s BenHur, which is close enough time-wise. It gives the imagination a little help for costumes and settings.

I barely tapped into the number of discussions that the study guide encourages. Many of them would make excellent writing assignments as well, never mind the fantastic dinner conversation fodder!

A Couple Thoughts

This, perhaps more so than some of Henty’s other works, has a strong Christian emphasis. It would make an excellent outreach tool as well as a character study and adventurous listen.

The study guide has a Creationist perspective. So does the Bible. Isn’t it great when people stick to the Bible!

The study guide also seems to teach that baptism symbolizes the forgiveness of sins. We understand baptism as a means of grace, not just a symbol. That’s a pretty big deal to us.

Additional Thoughts for my Fellow Roadschoolers

This takes up practically no space and almost no internet connection apart from a few downloads if you want ’em. Seriously good travel listening for the whole family…not like that one annoying song your kids sing over and over and over or those certain audio kids books where the narrator uses a squeaky voice that burns your ears. Nothing like those!

This is one of those “just do it” purchases. Listening to it over and over doesn’t get old either…not ever. I want the whole collection and so do my minions…and my kids.

Here are some thoughts from other Schoolhouse Review Crew members:
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review

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