TOS Review: The Cat of Bubastes (Heirloom Audio Productions)

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Travel back in time to Ancient Egypt and go on an adventure with Amuba, the captured prince of Rebu, a city on the shore of the Caspian Sea. During his journey, he will find friends among his captors, and some enemies too, and in a race to save a friend’s life, discover the One True God. The Cat of Bubastes is another audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have loved every single one that we got to check out so far, and we were really excited to check out this latest release for this review.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Based on the book of the same name by author G.A. Henty, the two-disc set takes you and your family into the book. As always, Heirloom has recruited top voice talent to play the roles, and their sound effects and soundtrack help you feel like you are really in the story. All of the actors do a great job, and as you listen, you can picture the action in your head, as if you were watching a movie.

I don’t want to give away the whole story, but I will tell you that Amuba comes to serve the high priest of Thebes, where he is taken after being captured. He and his friend Jethro become close to the family of the priest, who is very kind and treats all people with respect. Of course, conflict arises on a few fronts when Amuba and Chebron, the priest’s son, discover a murder plot in the city and then have to flee for their lives after accidentally killing the sacred cat of the city. During their adventures, they encounter Simeon, a faithful Israelite, and Ruth, his granddaughter, who help introduce them to the Christian faith.

Full of historical facts, The Cat of Bubastes combines history with drama to create excitement that you can also use as a teaching tool. Each track is numbered, so it is very easy to pick up where you left off as you listen. Along with the CDs, Heirloom gives you access to some awesome extras including a study guide that is chock full of information. There are discussion questions for each track on the disc, questions that include both recalling info from the story and questions that require you to go a little deeper with your thinking.

One thing I noticed in this study guide was the inclusion of other historical information related to the story. The Expand Your Learning sections offer info about a range of topics from Ancient Egyptian games, to the Pyramids, to recipes you can make. At the end of the study guide are three Bible studies you can do with your family. We mostly used the study guide as a source of discussion, but now that my kids are older, I did have them answer some of the going deeper questions in writing and keep a notebook of the vocabulary words.

Other extras include a download of the actual G.A. Henty book, complete with color pictures. I like this option because if you have a reader in the family, they can read the book before or after listening to the audio drama. You can also download the soundtrack, a poster, and more.

We thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Cat of Bubastes. Like the other Heirloom audio dramas, it is pure, family-friendly entertainment that both introduces your kids to history and points them toward God. I definitely recommend this if you and your family like listening to audio books. They are great for road trips or just listening to after dinner. To learn more, connect with Heirloom Audio on social media here:

Heirloom Audio on Facebook

Heirloom Audio on Twitter
Heirloom Audio on Google+

You might also want to check out some of their other adventures like, The Dragon and the Raven and With Lee in Virginia.

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

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TOS Review: Heirloom Audio Productions – Beric the Briton

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions ReviewAs a family, we love a good historical adventure, and G.A. Henty was a master of historical fiction. However, I have one child who does not enjoy reading, and while I do love reading aloud, sometimes I just want to listen to a story too. So, I was very excited to check out the new audiodrama Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have listened to several of their drama’s already and loved every one of them. This exciting tale of the Roman invasion of Brittania met our expections!

First, I have to say the cast for the story is top-notch. Heirloom manages to get great actors and actresses to portray the characters in their stories, including Cathy Sara (Downtown Abbey) and Tom Baker (Dr. Who). They all really bring the characters to life, giving them robust personalities and adding to the excitement to the story.

In this drama, we are introduced to Beric, a young man of 16 who is destined to rule his tribe, but who was taken captive by the Romans as a young boy in order to maintain influence over his mother, the chieftainess of the tribe. After returning home, Beric cannot hide the influence his time with the Romans had on him. However, while there are many things he admires about the Romans, he still longs for his people to be free. But, he is facing an uphill battle, because at the time, Brittania was a loose configuration of individual tribes often at war with each other, and resistant to the idea of uniting to fight a common enemy.

Over the course of the story, Beric wins his tribe over to his idea of fighting in a more unified style, and they begin to make some progress in their quest to defeat the invaders. After a hard-fought battle, Beric once again finds himself, and his friend Boduoc, captives of Rome, and sent off to gladiator school. A large part of Beric’s journey coincides with the spread of Christianity in Rome and the Great Fire. As Beric begins to hear whispers about “Christians” he finds some of his Roman friends are committed Christ-followers and they introduce him to the faith. While it takes some time for Beric to decide what he believes, he is intrigued by the idea, and comes to the defense of a Christian friend who is set to be fed to the lions after the fire.

Now, I don’t want to give too much more away, but I can tell you, it is an amazing story. One thing G.A. Henty was very good at was weaving Christian themes into his stories. They mesh seamlessly, and you can’t help but get caught up in the adventure. I love the way he ties together the historical and Biblical events. Hearing the story of Paul’s shipwreck told in context of what was going on at the time in the country, has a very powerful impact. Listening to this story as a family gave us a fantastic opportunity to talk to our children about God’s hand in history and in the world.

We listened to this story in the car during vacation, and it is labeled in chapters on the CD, so it is easy to pick up where you left off if you need to take a break. Heirloom Audio also offers some great extras that help enrich the story. First, there is a 50-page downloadable study guide that includes background information about the people featured in the story, and questions for each chapter. The questions range from basic recall questions to vocabulary, to questions that challenge listeners to go deeper and get to the themes of the story.

One nice feature of the study guide is that it has the track number and exact time where you can find each chapter on the disc listed with each set of questions, so if you want to go back and listen again, you can easily find it. At the end of the study guide, there is a list of books you can check out for further reading if you want. It also offers three different Bible studies you can do with your children.

Other cool features offered by Heirloom Audio include an eBook copy of the original story with illustrations. My older son likes reading so he always wants to check these out, and it is helpful if you want to encourage a child to follow the story in the book as they listen. You also get an MP3 version of the book and the soundtrack as well as posters and some other items. The best thing is, the extra resources are all flexible, so you can use as many as you want.

If you love history, exciting stories, or listening to books on tape, I would definitely suggest you check Beric the Briton out. There are multiple options for ordering the audiodrama so you can find the one that works best for your family. For more information, connect with Heirloom on social media:

Beric the Briton on Facebook
GA Henty Series on Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions on Twitter
Heirloom Audio Productions on Google+

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this adventure, click here:

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions ReviewCrew Disclaimer

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TOS Review: YWAM Publishing

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}I love to use biographies and living books for our history and science studies whenever possible. That works especially well when I find a person or topic to study that really has a personal interest for my son. Having grown up in Brevard County, Florida, NASA and the Space Program has always been a part of their lives. We are fortunate enough to be able to stand in our yard to watch rocket launches from the Cape, and my boys grew up watching the shuttle launches (as did I!). So, we were really excited to check out the Digital Unit Study for the book Heroes of History-Alan Shepard from YWAM Publishing. It came in especially handy since we worked on the study before a scheduled trip to the Kennedy Space Center with our homeschool group!

I did this study with my 8th/9th grade son, and even though he could read the book on his own, we like to do history together, so we took turns reading it out loud. He found the biography to be very exciting as it described Shepherd’s journey from a young boy with a keen interest in aviation to an astronaut who would eventually journey to the moon.

The unit study itself comes with a wealth of materials you can use to enhance your understanding of the book and learn more about Alan Shepard. First, there is a short summary biography to give you a brief background, which is a nice introduction, especially if you don’t know a lot about him to begin with. The Homeschool introduction is pretty much a parent’s guide, giving you info on how to use the digital study, suggestions for scheduling, an explanation of each part of the guide, and options for setting it up as a parent-directed or student-directed study. I really like that it offers that option, because it gives you a lot of flexibility. If you have an older child and are in a busy season, you can structure it as more of a self-directed activity without having to plan it all yourself, or, if you want, you can just follow the directions for using it with your child. Like I said, we do history together, but my son completed a fair amount of activities on his own due to life circumstances!

The guide itself is broken into sections, starting with a collection of quotes from a variety of people that relate to the themes of the book, and suggestions for a “display corner” that students can work on throughout the study, where they collect items and memorabilia related to the person they are studying. The third section really gets into the meat of the study, with questions for each chapter. The questions focus on a variety of skills including vocabulary, basic recall, and more open-ended questions that require students to take what they have read and use it to form an opinion or relate it to other knowledge.

Usually, after reading the chapter, I had my son complete the chapter questions in writing on his own, but you could easily do these orally with younger students or with more than one student. The Student Explorations portion of the guide consists of a range of activities that are great for completing the study. Essay questions on a variety of topics give older students a chance to practice their writing skills while also showing off what they learned, and the creative writing topics are a lot of fun. In addition, there are some great suggestions for hands-on projects, which is awesome for students who’s strengths lie outside of writing or narrating.

The guide also offers ideas for mapping and timeline activities, suggestions for other related books, movies, documentaries, and websites you can use for further study, and an outline for a “culminating activity” where students can host an evening event where they show off what they know for family and friends. I think this particular activity would be great if you were doing this study with a large group, in a co-op or with several of your children at once.

 

We made our own rockets and got to launch them!

In addition, the guide comes with some printables, including an Alan Shepard fact sheet, maps and a timeline. In all, this is a great study for a great price! And, there are tons of people to choose from. To learn more, connect with YWAM Publishing on social media here:

YWAM Publishing on Facebook

YWAM Publishing on Twitter

YWAM Publishing on Pinterest

YWAM Publishing Blog

See what other members of the crew thought of this, and the other guides we got to check out, here:

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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TOS Review: Heirloom Audio Productions (The Dragon and the Raven)

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}As the mom of two boys, I am always looking for ways to get them excited about history. For the most part, traditional history textbooks bore them, and while they do find some novels and movies exciting, those are kind of hit or miss. However, I have found audio books to be a hit, if I can find the right ones. Luckily, through the crew we get to check out some pretty cool products, and for this review, we got to check out The Dragon and the Raven an exciting audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions.

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}We’ve had the pleasure of sampling products from Heirloom before, and we’ve never been disappointed! Based on another book by G.A. Henty, this story focuses on the story of Alfred, a Saxon King who fights the Danes to preserve his kingdom. Told through the eyes of Edmond, a thane who pledges himself to serve and fight for Alfred, it is a tale of honor, devotion, and faith in God.

 

The two disc set comes in chapters, as all of the products from Heirloom have thus far. This makes it really easy to keep track of where you are at while you’re listening to the CD. You can easily pick up wherever you left off whether you are in the car or at home. I also love the artwork on the cover and the CDs and the quotes inside.

The voice talent Heirloom lines up to play their characters is seriously unmatched. You’re talking about actors who’ve appeared in major movies like Star Wars and The Hobbit and it shows. This is one thing that sets them apart from your typical “books on tape” that you would normally get. You aren’t just listening to a book read on tape by one narrator. You are listening to a full-on acted out play! If you close your eyes, you can pretty much picture every scene. Even the sound effects are amazing. The swords clink in battle, you can hear the horses hooves on the ground. The attention to detail is so incredible, it’s like nothing I have heard anywhere else!

Heirloom’s retellings of G.A. Henty’s stories always make sure to point back to the Lord, and this is no different. If you are looking for something that will give you active opportunities to discuss your faith in God in general, and how to have faith in Him during difficult times, The Dragon and the Raven is a perfect opportunity for that. It weaves together the story of Alfred and Edmond, and their relationships with God, in a completely effortless manner.

Heirloom also offers plenty of extras when you purchase one of their audio dramas, including a full study guide that includes discussion questions and vocabulary  for each chapter. The questions range from basic recall to other questions that encourage students to take what they have read and really think about it and apply it to their world. The end of the study guide also includes a Bible study that focuses on topics like literacy and loving your enemy.

Other extras include a downloadable copy of the text of the book, which is absolutely beautiful and includes illustrations, and an MP3 so you can listen to the book. You can also download posters and quotes. As always, when I received this package in the mail, my youngest son and I were the most excited, however, my entire family got sucked in as usual. We all love every single thing about the audio dramas from Heirloom, and The Dragon and The Raven was no different. The company offers several options for purchasing this drama, from individual downloads to family packs, and if you want to add to your history studies or are simply looking for some good family entertainment, I would highly recommend checking them out!

To learn more, connect with Heirloom here:

Heirloom Audio on Facebook

Heirloom Audio on Twitter

Heirloom Audio on Google+

Heirloom Audio on Instagram

The Dragon and the Raven on Facebook

To see what other crew members thought about this product, click here:

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

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TOS Review: Home School In The Woods

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak ReviewLapbooking is so much fun. I love watching my boys create projects that demonstrate what they have learned and they make teaching so easy. However, I am nowhere near creative enough to come up with all of those neat ideas on my own, so I am really thankful for companies like Home School in the Woods. We have used many of their products before and for this review we got to check out their HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections study. I was really excited about this since it was such a timely topic at the moment.

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak ReviewNow, here are some things to know about lapbooking if you’ve never done it before. First, your lapbook does not have to look exactly like the examples you see in the instructions. Those are there as general guidelines, and they are very helpful when putting your own lapbook together. However, one thing I have learned about doing these things is that each lapbook is specific to you and your kids and you can make it however you want. For example, these are what some of our projects currently look like:

 

Notice that I did not print my projects out on all different colors of paper. That’s because I buy my paper at our local Dollar General store and they only offer white paper. But that’s okay, because I just have my kids color their projects in. However, I do suggest that you invest in one pack of card stock because some of the projects really need to be printed on thicker paper. A single pack of card stock can last you for a couple of lapbooks.

 

Now, let’s get into Elections. There are a couple of options for how to print the text, including making it into a pretty cool booklet, but ink is expensive, and since I was doing this study with my son, I just chose to read the text out loud from my computer. The text is very well written and set up in easy-to-manage chunks so that you can spend 20-30 minutes a day working on this and do 2-3 projects if you want. I felt it explained everything very well in a way that made it easy for kids to understand.

 

 

 

After giving an overview on the history of governments in general and learning a little about the American government, students go on to read about topics like voting rights, how campaigns are run, the election process, political parties, what each office actually does, term limits and much much more. The cool thing is, the learning is broken down into bite-size pieces, which makes it great for kids that are easily distracted or easily overwhelmed by too much information at once. Also, doing the projects appeals to other learning modalities. And, having a lapbook to share with the family and others at the end of the study is pretty cool.

You can definitely make this a much larger learning experience by checking out books from the library and using the internet to do more research, and for older kids (like mine) that’s what we did. In fact, there are other suggested resources included with the Lap-pak. If you wanted to, you could use the Elections Lap-pak as the basis of a unit study on elections, especially right now since we are in the midst of the Presidential campaign. If you are looking for a fun way to work some civics instruction into your homeschool, I would highly recommend you check this out. The Elections Lap-pak is available as a CD or a download.

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak ReviewTo learn more, connect with Home School in the Woods on social media here:

Home School in the Woods on Facebook

Home School in the Woods on Google+

Home School in the Woods on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak ReviewCrew Disclaimer

TOS Review: Brookdale House

 Brookdale House Review

Geography is not my favorite subject. It’s not my least favorite either, it’s just one of those that I don’t get around to much. However, I do think it’s important to learn the location of the states and their capitals. So, I was excited to get a chance to check out Drawing Around the World:USA from Brookdale House. It’s a program designed to make teaching U.S. geography simple and easy.

 Brookdale House Review

With Drawing Around the World USA, parents get a printed workbook or printable eBook that offers a four-day learning program. Kids follow the same routine each week, which makes it very easy for them to pretty much complete the program on their own, once they get going. On day 1, students fill out a fact sheet for their state, or states, where they note information like the state capital, population, statehood, and other items. They also trace an outline of the state, and then locate, draw and label the state on a map of the U.S. On the subsequent days of the week, students locate, draw, and label their state on the U.S. map, and then on the fourth day, they list from memory, their state, and draw it on a blank map.

Each week, students add a new state to their knowledge, and when they draw their new state on their map, they are also supposed to draw the states from the previous week as well. They also need to list all they states they have learned on the fourth day as they go through the program. In all, they will have gotten through all 50 states at the end of 27 weeks, with some weeks having only one state and some weeks having two.

For my son, I introduced this program the first week and completed each day with him. The pages are labeled “Day 1”, “Day 2” etc., so I could just print them out and put them in his folder. If you have an atlas available, you can use that to look up information for the fact sheet, or you can just use the internet like we did. The Drawing Around the World product page includes links to useful pages for geography info and some fun games you can use to encourage your kids to memorize the states and capitals, as well as names of the Great Lakes, geographic regions, rivers, and much more.

Basically, the hardest part for my son was finding the place to mark the state on the blank map, but that was hard even for me. Orientating where the location of the state was without the outlines is harder than you would think! At first, I started placing the map with the outlines underneath the the blank one to help him out, until he got more comfortable with that part. Since we used the eBook version of this program, I kept the printed sheets in a binder after he completed them, so eventually he will have a face sheet for each state. But I am not keeping each map because he adds the states to them each time.

Overall, I feel like Drawing Around the World is a great way to give your kids a solid introduction to U.S. geography. For a mom like me, who wants an easy way to work geography into an already busy schedule, it is perfect. You could also use this as part of a bigger geography unit study if you wanted to. To find out more about Drawing Around the World USA, connect with Brookdale House on social media here:

Brookdale House on Facebook
Brookdale House on Twitter
Brookdale House on Google+
Brookdale House on YouTube
Brookdale House on Pinterest

To find out more about this product and the other products that my fellow crew members got to check out, click here:

 Brookdale House Review

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YWAM Publishing

History is one of our favorite subjects. There is just so much to be explored! We particularly love unit-study type lessons because they allow us to go off on so many rabbit trails. My youngest boy enjoys learning about heroes from the past, so I knew this curriculum would be right up his alley. For this review, we go to check out, Daniel Boone: Frontiersman from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing, including the book and the corresponding Unit Study Curriculum Guide.

The Heroes of History series focuses on numerous American heroes, with inspiring biographies of their lives. I chose Daniel Boone because my son is an avid outdoorsman himself who loves fishing, camping, climbing trees, and just being outside in general. I thought he would relate to Boone’s love for the outdoors and his desire to explore the wilderness.

The set comes as a book and a CD, or a download. The book is 19 chapters long, and I thought it was very well-written. My son (an 8th/9th grader) could have read it on his own, but we like to do history together, so I read it aloud to him. He found Daniel’s adventures to be very exciting. The pace of the book was very good, and the chapters were perfect for daily reading.

The disc includes some short background info on Boone (perfect for an introduction) and a detailed overview with suggestions for how to use the guides. Of course, you can create your own routine (which we did), but if you are new to unit studies, this part is very helpful for scheduling purposes. The first part of the unit study contains the bulk of the information you will use, including Key Quotes from well-known people like authors and statesmen that somehow relate to the book, chapter questions, ideas for essays, creative writing, and projects, field trip suggestions and ideas, mapping activities, cross-curricular themes to explore, and an idea for a culminating event for the unit study. The appendix lists other resources you can use with the study including internet websites. The second part of the unit study contained some printables like a Daniel Boone fact sheet and maps.

Now, one thing I love about this unit study is the plethora of information it provides, but it can seem a little overwhelming at first. Remember that you do not have to do everything. You can pick and choose which parts of the study you want to do based on the time you have available, and the age and interest of your child. For young children, you may just read the book, ask some of the questions aloud, and then do some hands-on activities. And that’s fine. Since my son was older, we were able to utilize a lot of what YWAM had to offer, but even we couldn’t do it all!

I actually started with some of the websites listed in the appendix to let my son gather some of his own information to pique his interest before we got into the book. Then as we read the chapters, we answered a lot of the questions orally, with him writing down some of the facts on his sheet as we went along. He has also been mapping some of Daniel’s journey, and since we live in Florida, he took a particular interest in that part (I never even knew Daniel Boone came to Florida!). After reading the first few chapters, I decided to assign one of the creative writing tasks, keeping a Daniel Boone journal, to my son. So now, after each chapter, he writes an entry in the journal from Boone’s point of view. I figure this will make a nice keepsake and a good way to evaluate his understanding of the book at the end.

Looking ahead, I know that when we get to the end of the book, I am going to assign a few of the essays as a sort of “test” at the end, and probably have him choose one of the projects as well, but he likes those. We will also complete the mapping activities as well. In all, this will have covered the first couple of months of history for us (doing history 3-4 days per week), and I think we are both very satisfied.

To learn more about this program, connect with YWAM Publishing on social media here:

YWAM Publishing on Facebook

YWAM Publishing on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew had to say about Heroes of History and the other programs we got to check out, click here:

YWAM Publishing Review

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