Tuesday, July 28, 2015

{Crew Review} With Lee in Virginia

It has been a few years since we've learned about the Civil War, and I know that Luke and Levi had (barely) a passing knowledge of who General Robert E. Lee was. So, I was happy to use the audio drama With Lee in Virgina, based on a G.A. Henty novel by the same name, to sneak in some learning on a recent Summer Road Trip.

I was given a single copy of With Lee in Virginia, which included:

  • 2-CD audio drama lasting over 2 1/2 hours
  • 50+ page digital copy of the study guide
  • An opportunity to download the soundtrack of the production as an mp3
  • PDF of a printable quote

Heirloom Audio Productions does an absolutely amazing job of creating radio theater at its finest. They do not skimp on audio production quality or the depth of the audio product -- from every detail you might here in a battle to just the best acoustics that you might hear in an intimate conversation.

This production features the voices of Sean Astin (we love his work in Lord of the Rings and Rudy) as well as Kirk Cameron and several voices were were familiar with from Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey -- Chris Anthony and Kelsey Lansdowne.  There were dozens more voices that contributed to the production, and you can read about the cast of this amazing Christian audio adventure.

This audio adventure story is a piece of historical fiction.  Using fictional main characters on the backdrop of Civil War, we are able to learn about the character of General Robert E. Lee, who was a devout Christian.

In the story, the primary character, Vincent Wingfield, is a 15-year-old southerner who is heir to his family's plantation.  Vincent is very compassionate to the plight and struggle and mistreatment of a slave, Tony, and his family who live on a neighboring plantation.  In the first part of the story, Vincent helps Tony to escape to Canada.

In the next part of this Christian audio drama, Vincent enlists in the southern army, and is accompanied by Dan, a same-aged slave that Vincent has practically grown up with.  Here, Vincent and Dan are introduced to many of the amazing men who lead the south in the war effort.  Vincent sees first hand the horrors of war as he experiences the death of a close friend.  He also receives counsel from Gen. Lee and begins to understand the concept of duty (even in the face of potential defeat) as well as broadening his view of the humanity and equality of the men and women he grew up knowing as slaves and servants.

There are SO many good lessons of Christian character in this audio drama!  I love the gentle reminder to pray for our enemies that is modeled in this presentation as well as the reminder to do our duty without worry about the consequences.

The boys and I also had the opportunity to discuss the Civil War within the context of current events in the United States.  We listened to this shortly after we recieved it in mid-June on our midwestern road trip.  By the time we finished it, tragic events had unfolded in our country that led to a renewed discussion about the Civil War --  its flag and the men who have been honored for their service and character in defense of the South.  Luke and I had some interesting discussions over our hotel provided breakfasts.

Study Guide: The boys and I had the pleasure of reviewing a previous Heirloom Audio Production, In Freedom's Cause, however, I did not find that the Study Guide was as helpful as I'd hoped (you can read the review at the link above). This study guide, however, has seen many upgrades and tools to make it significantly more

The guide is divided into several parts:   Listening Well (comprehension of the events of the story), Thinking Further (discussion questions) and Defining Words (vocabulary development).  I loved that the guide was tagged with the chapters on the audio CD so that we could stop the drama to discuss and define.

There are also Bible verses pegged to concepts within the audio drama and there are biographical sketches of some of the main historical figures. A map shows the trail that Vincent and Dan traveled after being imprisoned and other information the Civil War.

Final Thoughts: This is a wonderful supplement to any study of character or history.  I highly recommend it!

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