As a homeschool mom, I enjoy finding ways to make learning exciting, fun, and interesting. For many years, one of the mainstays in our home and homeschool has been both audio books and audio theater. Ben has always loved being read to (and I cannot possibly read aloud to him enough), and he loves drama of any kind — even the audio kind.
Over the years though, I have discovered that not only does using audio books and audio drama save my voice and add a fun aspect to learning, it also has many benefits, not only for children, but for families in general.
Benefits of Audio Theater include:
- Audio theater brings families together. Audio theater is fun and engaging for both children and adults. It’s an activity for all ages and is a superb choice of activities for the entire family.
- Audio theater is great for those times when you need your children to calm down, settle in, or play quietly. It’s better than any movie or other screen activity. And they can quietly draw, create with playdough, or play with Lego while listening. It’s not unusual for Ben to fall asleep at night to an audio book or drama.
- Audio theater encourages imagination and creativity. It demonstrates the power of the spoken word and unleashes the ability to see the scenes unfold in the mind’s eye. This will come out in a child’s creative play, art, and conversation.
- Audio theater engages those children who are struggling readers or think they hate reading. Many audio theater CDs are based on books. This is an invaluable tool to help those who struggle see that books open the door to amazing adventures.
- Audio theater inspires reading in children who don’t struggle, too. Ben does not struggle with reading, but he is often excited to read the book after listening to an audio drama on which it was based.
- Audio theater teaches critical listening skills. When you don’t have the benefit of visual cues in a story, listening intently becomes more important than ever.
- Audio theater encourages meaningful conversation. Listening together is fun, and will likely provide opportunity for great discussion you might otherwise have missed. Most of the audio theater we listen to is filled with opportunities to observe growth in character, biblical and moral values, and eternal truth. Audio theater has sparked some amazing conversations in our house.
- Audio theater can be educational. Our favorite audio theater CDs are based on the historical fiction books by G.A. Henty. We use all kinds of audio theater in our homeschool to teach history, character, bible, apologetics, and more.
Because Ben is such a huge fan of audio books and audio theater, we have used this method of entertainment in our homeschool, for car travel, and in his bedtime routine for much of his life. Hands down, our favorite audio theater productions are those from Heirloom Audio Productions. We were introduced to this company a few years ago when they released their first audio theater CD, Under Drake’s Flag. Most recently, Ben has been listening to The Dragon and the Raven. Heirloom offers intriguing stories based on the historical fiction novels of G.A. Henty.
Every audio theater CD we have from Heirloom is of the highest production quality, with an incredibly talented cast of characters, beautifully composed musical score, and special effects that bring the story to life. Heirloom spares no expense to bring the best of the best to their productions. In The Dragon and the Raven, you’ll recognize notable actors such as John Ryhs-Davies from The Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones, Helen George from Call the Midwife, Brian Blessed from Star Wars, Tarzan, and King Lear, and John Bell from The Hobbit. The musical score was written by Emmy-award winning composer, John Campbell.
Set in the 9th century, The Dragon and the Raven tells the story of King Alfred the Great of England as he battles the invading Danes. It is based on the historical fiction book of the same name, written by G. A. Henty. The tale unfurls through the eyes of fictional character, Edmond, who becomes Alfred’s mightiest warrior. When Danes overrun the land and the Saxons surrender, this young knight trains and leads the fight to recapture the kingdom.
Part entertainment and part history lesson, The Dragon and the Raven can be enjoyed by the entire family, but specifically targets children age 6-16 in its 2.5 hours of adventure (and both boys and girls will love it). Just like all of their CDs, it includes a downloadable study guide (this one is 48-pages) that helps parents engage their children further.