This post, With Lee in Virginia: Exciting Civil War Audio Drama, was made possible with the chance to review With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Our family loves books. As the boys have grown, they have become avid readers just like me. However, there are times when an audio book is just what is needed. Audio books allow a younger child experience a story they are ready to hear but not read. And, sometimes it is just fun to listen together as a family.
With Lee in Virginia: About the Audio Drama and Added Features
With Lee in Virginia is the third production from Heirloom Audio Productions. Our family has been fortunate to review the previous releases: Under Drake’s Flag (about Sir Francis Drake) and In Freedom’s Cause (about Wallace and Bruce.)
This company recruits actors and actresses who know their craft to provide the voices that bring G. A. Henty’s story to life. For this production, they have familiar actors such as Sean Astin (Sam in the Lord of the Rings movies) and Kirk Cameron (tons of TV and movies like Fireproof) as well as individuals like Chris Anthony (Adventures in Odyssey) and Jim Weiss (Greathall Productions) with experience in radio theater.
With Lee in Virginia has a 15 year old boy, Vincent Wingfield, who embarks on a memorable path when he enlists in the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. There he meets great leaders of the Confederate Army including Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Throughout his journey, he witnesses the steadfast faith of General Lee and is able to reconcile his support of the rights of slaves with the need to fight for the south in what would become known as the American Civil War.
The complete audio runs for a little over 2 hours and is on 2 CDs. Their approach is labeled as ‘active listening audio adventures’ as there is inclusion of sound effects just like old time radio theater provided. This is what allows the listener to quickly generate their own visual images rather than relying upon visual input like in a movie or television show.
Along with the 2CD set of With Lee in Virginia, we received several digital products that help to expand the product: With Lee In Virginia eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter (30 pages), printable copy of the inspirational quote by Robert E. Lee, Official With Lee In Virginia Soundtrack MP3 download, G.A. Henty’s original With Lee In Virginia E-Book with all new colorful graphics and a printable promotion poster (24” x 36”) featuring the star-studded cast of With Lee In Virginia. These same downloads are included when purchasing a 4 pack of CDs (so one for you and 3 to give to family or friends.) Other options for purchase are listed on the website.
With Lee in Virginia: Why Use the Audio in Your Home
Before I give you my reasons WHY you’d want to listen to With Lee in Virginia, I want to share that this is NOT just a homeschool product. Rather, this audio book and accompanying bonuses are a great addition to ANY household that loves history and wants to engage their kids’ imaginations instead of providing the visual stimulation as well.
With that being said, here are my 3 top reasons for using the With Lee in Virginia audio from Heirloom Audio Productions in your home.
1. The cast does a phenomenal job at bringing the characters to life. Reading aloud is great, but I know I can’t do all those voices!
2. The audio recording helps to engage a child’s imagination as they envision the story unfolding using both the spoken words and the background noises. Active listening audio adventures rock!
3. The story shows a different side of the Civil War than some might read in a textbook…the viewpoint of the South! (Henty penned this title in 1890, just 25 years after the end of the war but long before people could start rewriting history that is then presented to the general public.)
With Lee in Virginia: Our Experience
Yet again, my younger boys and I were quite pleased with the newest release from Heirloom Audio Productions. Originally, I had planned to have the whole family listen during one of our long RV trip driving days. However, my husband noted that the speakers would not reach the back section where 2 of the boys were sitting and it might be challenging to hear about the extra road noise we seem to experience in a RV. I suspect a regular car or even our SUV would do a better job of playing back the audio. As we needed to turn up the volume on our DVD player which feeds through a surround sound system, I can say that he made the best call.
We did end up listening to With Lee in Virginia during a few rainy afternoons here in Alaska. We used the change of CD as the stopping point on the first day which kept our total time down.
The boys also occupied their hands a bit with coloring pages featuring Civil War Scenes I had found for free online a while back. This is a technique I used years ago when they listened to other audio books for school as busy hands can help focus their minds.
What I have not done so far is really dig into the study guide. I love having those questions to both check for good listening and to talk about issues that are brought up. And, the eBook of Henty’s novel means that we can now read the original work and see how this audio production modified the story to create such a wonderful experience.
Does your family enjoy audio books or theatrical productions like this one?
Have you or your children learned history through stories like this one instead of textbooks?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the With Lee in Virginia Audio Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.