The Audio Drama In Freedom's Cause: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I have to admit that I’m probably a bigger fan of audio drama than my kids are. Still, I coerce them into listening along sometimes. Because even though it may not be their favorite thing, there are some great stories to listen to, and often I see them enjoying a new story that they didn’t think they’d like. So I was excited to be able to review a new audio drama from Heirloom Audio ProductionsIn Freedom’s Cause, the story of William Wallace. I’ve long enjoyed the story of William Wallace’s fight to lead Scotland to be independent from England, so I was excited to hear this audio drama.

We received the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package. This package (which sells for $29.97 on the website) includes :
In Freedom’s Cause (CD Set – Physical Copy)
In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide (Digital Download)
In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download)
Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace. (Digital Download)

The story of In Freedom’s Cause is based upon a G.A. Henty book of that same name. But this is an audio drama, not just an audio book. So these are actors who are reading the parts, not just one person who is reading the book aloud. The story is 2 and 1/2 hours long divided over two CDs. Some of the actors and actresses were fairly well known to me, including the English actor who plays Edmund in the Chronicles of Narnia movies and an English actress from the Downton Abbey series.

Along with the CD, the package has an MP3 download to make it easy to take the story along on a portable device, a PDF file study guide, and a beautiful printable of the prayer of William Wallace, which is Psalm 23, a psalm that is important to Wallace throughout the story.

We listened to the CDs as a family at our lunch time. We typically have some sort of read aloud going through lunch, so I took a break from reading aloud, and we listened to In Freedom’s Cause instead. The CD gives an age recommendation of 6+. As a family we had a 9 year old ranging upwards to me, an adult. None of the story was over the head of even my 9 year old, but the story of William Wallace is a pretty brutal one. And, although there isn’t lots of descriptive violence, there is quite a bit of war and death and killing. My 9 year old was okay with it, but there may be some who aren’t. Because of the great quality of the drama, even adult family members can really enjoy listening. I dare say I probably liked this one more than the kids because my kids aren’t always fans of audio drama. I, on the other hand, enjoy them and love the story of William Wallace, so I was pretty thrilled. And the story was fast paced and interesting to draw in even my reluctant listeners.

The CDs are divided into “chapters” ranging from a little over six minutes to almost fifteen minutes in length, so we didn’t have a set number we listened to each day. We just listened until lunch was through. I also noticed that it seemed easier for us to listen and process the story if we didn’t try to listen to too much at a time.

After we listened each day, I would use the study guide to guide some discussion about the parts we had just heard. The study guide is also divided up into sections, but the sections don’t necessarily match up with the CD sections. Some of the CD sections covered multiple study guide sections. Anyway, it wasn’t too difficult to look over the study guide and see what fit.

Then for each section, there are some comprehension questions, some more in depth questions, and some vocabulary words. I would use a few of the comprehension questions and one or two of the thinking questions each day.

At the end of the study guide are three different Bible studies. These studies deal with three different themes found in the story. For each theme, there are some points to think about and a set of Scriptures to use to discuss these points. These would be nice for using with an older student to really explore some of those themes.

I liked having the study guide, although I wasn’t assigning it for the kids to complete as a school assignment. Instead we were really using it more to guide some conversation and wrap up what we had just heard. The guide gives some background information about the characters and the historical period.

I really enjoyed this audio drama. The story is exciting, and the actors do a good job portraying the characters and relating the action that’s going on. One of the key things about audio drama is that the actors have to be good enough with their voices to help the listener visualize what’s happening. I think the actors and actresses in this drama accomplish that. My one complaint is that, because of the English/Scottish accents, I sometimes had difficulty being able to tell who was talking.

The study guide is very useful and made for good discussion. And the printable prayer of William Wallace was beautiful and served to drive home the heart that Wallace had for the things of the Lord (something not communicated very well in the Braveheart movie about the character).

To Sum It Up:
Company- Heirloom Audio Productions
ProductIn Freedom’s Cause audio drama (including MP3 download, study guide download, and printable prayer of William Wallace)
Age Recommendation– 6+ (from the CD cover)
My thoughts- This was a very enjoyable audio drama and fun to listen to and discuss with the family.

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In Freedom's Cause Review

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