When I heard that Heirloom Audio Productions was releasing a new Christian audio drama, I was really excited, and so were my children! We were able to review the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package, which included the CD itself, as well as digital downloads with material to accompany it.
In all, we received:
- The CD Set, Physical copy of In Freedom’s Cause
- In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide (Digital Download)
- The full MP3 download of the In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack
- A digital download Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace.
We listened to the CDs while we were driving to various homeschool activities, like karate and Bible study, throughout the week. If we got to a place and we were right in the middle of an intense scene, my oldest children would ask me to please let them listen a little bit longer so they could see what was going to happen next.
This story was told in radio theatre style and was over 2 hours long. The time flew, though, as we learned about the characters fighting for freedom in Scotland. It is touted as the untold account of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. If you’re anything like me, you’ll really appreciate this version of events and enjoy being able to share it with the whole family. I loved that it brought up courage, freedom, faith, and God in a way that was relatable to children as well as adults.
We love audio dramas, and this one is of exceptional quality. From the authentic accents, the realistic sound effects, and the beautiful soundtrack, everything was excellent. My kids even asked me if this was real life and recorded “live”. I had to explain that this story was from hundreds of years ago, so there really wasn’t recording equipment to record a radio drama back then. It gave me a little chuckle, but it’s a true testament to the way that the story comes across.
My kids actually had a lot of questions, so we ended up doing some research. They didn’t have any background on Scotland at all, so we were even able to turn it into a lesson about Scotland.
I also printed out several pages of the study guide. I kept track of where we were in the story, and what I knew we’d be able to listen to that day in the van, so I would print as we went and just do a little bit at a time.
While it comes in gorgeous full color, I just printed it out in black and white to take with us as we were out. Between homeschool activities, I would pull it out and ask my kids several of the questions. For example, the Listening Well questions were great for helping the kids recall what happened in the story. These were questions that would have them recall events and characters in the story.
When I knew we would have a little more time to have a deeper discussion, I would ask the kids a few of the Thinking Further questions. These were more open-ended and made my kids really think. My children are in 4th grade, 2nd grade, and pre-k, so several of the questions were beyond their critical thinking skills. However, I did find several to discuss with them and tried to help them out with thinking about the events, history, characters, and faith in a new and deeper way.
There were also Defining Words in the different sections. Several of these were a bit difficult for my children, but I gladly covered them anyway. Since we don’t have a lot of background in learning about many of the things covered in this awesome CD, my kids weren’t familiar with a lot of the terminology. Several things were related to the time period, or to battles, or are just more formal words for things they’ve referred to before (without knowing it!).
As was the case with Heirloom Audio Production’s last production of Under Drake’s Flag, the study guide for In Freedom’s Cause was very thorough and thought-provoking. In fact, they call it a study guide and discussion starter, and for good reason. For a middle school or high school student, I think this would make an awesome unit study that would cover history and language arts intensely. For a history buff, it would serve as a wonderful way to really bite more into it and enjoy it longer! (I’m telling you, the story goes by so quickly because it is so great to listen to! I would totally get it if a kid, or grown up, didn’t want it to end.)
One thing I love about doing things with all ages at once, such as listening to audio books and radio dramas, is that everyone can listen to the same thing and take different things away from it. For my kids, we listened to the CDs together. They got swept away into this historical story. They learned about a place and a time period that they were previously unfamiliar with. They got to imagine things they’d never thought about before.
Periodically, we would use the study guide to dig a little deeper and to make sure they had an understanding of what they had heard. We would talk about what they thought about certain things taking place, how the characters were feeling, how it made them feel, and if things were right or wrong or Godly. We discovered new vocabulary words and new historical figures.
Everything about In Freedom’s Cause was fun for us. The extra resources were great, too. I really like the soundtrack, and the kids had me print out the prayer. We loved the story and loved the discussions. I would absolutely recommend this set to other families!