Wednesday, August 2, 2017

In the Reign of Terror - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew
 In early July I was blessed to receive a package from Heirloom Audio Productions.

The package was a CD set of a new audio adventure entitled "In the Reign of Terror".

It also included a letter with my personalized information to access additional bonus material including a comprehensive Study Guide. We also received a short-time access to the new Live the Adventure Club. So I quickly logged myself in to the bonus materials page to see what was there. Included was the following:
  • In the Reign of Terror ebook, by author G.A. Henty;
  • In the Reign of Terror cast poster PDF;
  • Official script PDF of content of In the Reign of Terror audio adventure;
  • In the Reign of Terror Quote poster; and
  • In the Reign of Terror Study Guide.
Time to listen to the adventure. Initially I began by listening to the CDs in the car whenever we were out and about. Then occasions came up where I'd left the CDs in the car but I wanted to continue listening to the adventure. So my next move was to log in to the Live the Adventure Club. Oh my! What a treasure trove!

Through my access to the Live the Adventure Club I had access to listening to the adventures on line. Within Live the Adventure Club In the Reign of Terror was broken down into listening segments by chapter. Each chapter has the option of:
  • reading the script while you listen to the adventure;
  • taking a quiz on the chapter that immediately corrects wrong answers, marks correct answers correct and gives a score at the end of the quiz;
  • further questions to ask for deeper study (think older students);
  • vocabulary words with definition (when you hover over the word) to expand vocabulary.

So over the weeks, sometimes in the car, sometimes on the laptop, the adventure was experienced in our home. Let me give a warning here -- this adventure is intense, and the title is appropriate. I advise parents of younger students to listen to this adventure in advance of your children. Knowing your own children, decide thoughtfully when they are ready to listen to this adventure of a horrible time in history when there was such horrific loss of life.

In case you don't already know, this adventure is about the French Revolution. The recurring theme of the Heirloom Audio Productions is that Mr. George (George Henty) is telling the story to a lad, in this case a lad named Harry. As our story begins, a 16-year-old English lad, named Harry Sandwith, is sent by his father to spend time with a French family, the family of the Marquis de St. Caux. Harry will be companion to son, Ernest ("Count Ernest"), and will also be living with the other children in the family, Jules, Marie, Jeanne and Virginie.

Harry works with Ernest and Jules for months, teaching them English and about English customs. There is an awkward aspect to the relationship Harry has with the St. Caux children as they are of noble blood and consider Harry a commoner, not being of nobility.

This relationship changes though. First, a situation arises where the family dog, Achilles, becomes rabid (having been bitten by a fox) and endangers Jeanne and Virginie. Harry does not hesitate, but moves in to rescue. Using his jacket to cover Achilles' head, he kills the dog with a blow to the chest. Jeanne and Virginie are in his debt, and the Marquis is (obviously) extremely grateful. Ernest drops his airs and considers Harry his equal.

In his next adventure, Harry saves Ernest's life, and then Ernest saves Harry's life as they kill a "demon wolf" on a wolf hunt with the local men.

The real meat of the story begins, though, when the violence of the French Revolution reaches the area of the Marquis de St. Caux's home in Burgundy.

I would love to tell you a short version of the entire story, but that would be too much to put in this review. The really short version: there was much senseless death in the French Revolution. The French common man "Sans culottes" (translates "in work pants") rose up against the nobility. Trials were held where the charge against an individual was were they of noble blood. If they were, they were put to death, often by guillotine. Very few escaped. Members of the family de St. Caux died. There is a lot of sad content.

We meet and learn about Maximilien Robespierre and other members of the insurrection. We learn of more horrors and atrocities that occurred throughout the countryside. In the end, we learn of Harry and some members of the family de St. Caux who survived, some fleeing to England, some remaining in France.

In the Reign of Terror's Study Guide gives fuel for even more study. It contains only 43 pages but has similar and different features to the material on the Live the Adventure Club pages. There are additional questions for each chapter, and more vocabulary words to learn. The questions are two types: first, "Listening Well"; second, "Thinking Further". There are history highlights, "Expand Your Learning", for learning more and going deeper. I found a recipe for no-knead French bread that I want to try some time (or get my son to make!). There is also a simple Brioche recipe that I'm curious about. Brioche is a cake made out of yeast dough (most cakes use baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast).

The Study Guide also gives a list of book titles for further study of the French Revolution. This book list is followed by a Bible study on When God Means Evil for Good. This is followed by a second Bible Study, Resistance to Tyranny. A third Bible study follows entitled True Manliness. These Bible studies are followed by a section about the historical background behind the Reign of Terror. The French tried to argue that it was their parallel to the American Revolution, but the two wars were quite different. The American Revolution was actually a war of independence. The French Revolution was an uncontrolled revolt of commoners to overthrow the nobility, an insurrection if you will.

In the Reign of Terror is an excellent production and I applaud Heirloom Audio Productions for once again hitting the ball out of the park. As I said, though, I recommend this material with caution. My son was a tender soul as a young student, and I would not have had him listen to this material at certain times in his childhood. He can handle this material now that he is more mature. Each family will need to determine for each of their students when to study this era deeply. It was a bloody, disturbing time.

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed In the Reign of Terror. To read more reviews of this product, please click the linked button below. Also, feel free to throw me some love by leaving a comment!

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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