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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Beric the Briton {TOS Review}

In case you didn't already know, I am a huge fan of Heirloom Audio Productions and their exceptional historical series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  This time we were given the privilege of reviewing Beric the Briton.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Beric the Briton

Heirloom Audio Productions has a way of adapting Henty's writing and making it more than just an audio book.  They turn them into a first class listening experience.  Beric the Briton contains an all-star cast, as usual, and the music and sound effects make it exciting, daring and truly adventurous to listen to with the kids.  It is the story of the Roman invasion of ancient Britannia.  Beric, our protagonist, along with his best friend Bodouc, just as in every Henty novel, live out adventures almost too wild to believe.  Beric becomes a chief, they are captured by Romans, trained to be gladiators, and even serve Emperor Nero.  It is when they are confronted with their pagan past that we see the true theme of forgiveness come to light.  Heirloom Audio Productions strives to make history accessible to families, but they also bring out the noble themes in Henty's writing.

What's Included?

Along with the physical two-disc CD set, with over two hours of audio, I also received multiple digital components that are available with different purchase options.  These include the following:

  • MP3 set of the audio
  • original book in e-book version with new illustrations
  • MP3 soundtrack
  • printable posters
  • study guide
  • behind the scenes footage

The study guide is the heart of the extras.  Just like previous study guides, it is of excellent quality.  It's beautifully illustrated, though not very print friendly.  It's perfect for pulling up on a tablet.  I like to use the study guide to familiarize myself with the vocabulary, themes and overall story.  It's helpful for introducing unfamiliar words or interesting topics beforehand and being prepared for topics that might arouse questions from the kids.  I can also use these questions in a more natural way during conversations by going over it beforehand, rather than doing the Q&A approach.  If my kids were older, I'd use it more thoroughly as intended and have them complete the work on paper.  This is the first guide that I've noticed recipes, which is an awesome touch!  Additionally, the study guide includes three distinct Bible Study guides, so you can truly get a well-rounded study from Beric the Briton and the digital study guide.

Final Thoughts

As always, Heirloom Audio Productions has done a superb job.  If you close your eyes, you can easily immerse yourself right into the action thanks to the quality acting and superb sound effects and music.

I do think there can be intense scenes and conversations (for instance, Beric the Briton mentions sparing no man, woman or child) and if you have sensitive children, I suggest listening to the full story before allowing your children to listen to it and being prepared for potentially difficult conversations.  Overall I think middle-upper elementary is the ideal starting point, with teens definitely getting more out of the stories.  Young children can certainly listen in and enjoy it, but the stories are often fast-paced and the names and places can sometimes get confusing.  My boys are still on the young side (6 and 9) and I just use these for more exposure to history, in an attempt to make it more than just "a battle" but to show there were real people who lived and died by their morals, convictions and faith.  The boys enjoy the fast-paced action and inherently adventurous nature of the stories, but as they get older and we continue to use these alongside our history studies as unique resources, they will appreciate the development of the characters and the historical aspect along with me much more than they can now.

The one thing I still don't understand is why Heirloom Audio Productions has a separate website for each title they've produced.  The individual websites feel very infomercial and visually cluttered to me, and I would much prefer one standard website with everything available together.  If I was a regular consumer, I might be on the Beric the Briton website and not realize they even have other titles for purchase.  I truly think it should be consolidated under one banner, even if the individual web addresses redirect to one primary website.  (I feel the same way about their multiple social media accounts.)

More History

If you're interested in learning more about the other fabulous titles produced by Heirloom Audio Productions, feel free to check out my other reviews.
Under Drake's Flag
In Freedom's Cause
With Lee in Virginia
The Dragon and the Raven

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

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©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

52 Lists: The Things and Places that Make Me Feel Safe

I'm late on my list this week, so after last week's more challenging topic, I'm relieved for a topic that's a little less personal.  I know the point of this exercise is often to stretch us and challenge us, but sometimes I need a break from the stirring of raw emotions.  So . . . this week's list is for The Things and Places that Make Me Feel Safe.  Much less overwhelming!

  • HOME
  • By my husband's side
  • The dog sleeping at my feet {I adore the little ones, but the Labrador is our protector!}
  • In prayer
  • With family
  • At church
  • In bed with a good book
  • On quiet walks surrounded by nature

52 lists with Chasing Slow

©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tiggly Math iPad toys & app {Timberdoodle Review}

Tiggly Math

If you have a little one who likes to use tablets, but want to make wise use of their screen time, you might really enjoy Tiggly Math for preschool and early elementary math games.  Tiggly Math is a set of award winning math toys designed for use with iPads and certain Android devices.  It consists of five uniquely designed magnetic counting rods that are conceptually similar to Cuisenaire Rods, which gives me the ability to use educational apps for my preschooler in a way that makes learning interactive and tangible, the way it should be at this age.

Tiggly Math

There are three apps for Tiggly Math, and instructions are included for downloading and accessing the full content of the apps.  The set is recommended for ages 3-7 and I used it with Eleanor (3) for some fun time together.

Tiggly Cardtoons  ~ Focus on Counting
Tiggly Adventures ~ Number Line Practice
Tiggly Chef ~ Early Addition Skills

Tiggly Math

Each app has a different focus and different game play, so children can transition into different apps or grow into the skills of each app without feeling like they're doing the same thing over and over.  Eleanor hasn't really explored Tiggly Chef much yet, but she can do can do Cardtoons completely independently and only needs some guidance for Tiggly Adventures.  I really appreciate how the apps focus on a variety of skills--academic skills like number recognition, counting and addition are important, but critical thinking, problem solving and creativity are also major components of the apps as well.

Tiggly Math

Our Thoughts
Technology isn't going anywhere, and I think it is appropriate in moderation to teach our children to use it wisely.  I think Tiggly Math is a quality product that helps me reach that goal.  These number rods are large and chunky and the perfect size for little hands.  They also seem durable.  I love that my preschooler now has a very hands-on way to use the iPad.  The little storage bag that comes with it is a great touch.  It is educational, but more importantly, I really like that Tiggly Math encourage interaction, not just passive edutainment.

Tiggly Math

Eleanor has thoroughly enjoyed the Tiggly Math toys and math apps.  Emory's on the older end of the recommended age range (turning 7 soon), and having completed first grade math already, these apps are too simple for him, but overall they are certainly still appropriate for the target age range since all children develop at different rates.  I am definitely adding Tiggly Math to Eleanor's preschool choices.

Also ~ I'm reviewing Tiggly Words soon, so stay tuned!  I will say, if you didn't quite get how we feel about the Tiggly products after this review, I'll just share that I'm adding Tiggly Words to her Preschool choices too, and I'm adding Tiggly Shapes (2-5 years) to my list for tor the girls for Christmas.  The girls will be 2 and 4 shortly after Christmas and I think the shapes would be another fun addition to our preschool toys.  Tiggly is such a neat activity for the curious preschooler!

Links to Explore
Tiggly Math
Tiggly Words {I'll be reviewing this one very soon!}
Timberdoodle Pre-K Kit

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©2011-2016 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.