Under Drake’s Flag ~ A Schoolhouse Review

We love books. Living books that is.  BUt so many of the classic books that I really wish to share with my children; its too much.   So, when I had the chance to review the newest release from Heirloom Audio Productions, an audio drama adaptation of G.A. Henty’s Under Drake’s Flag, I was so excited.  I was sure that the children would find this to be an entertaining introduction to G.A. Henty’s works. And we have quite a few of them already that I cannot wait to read with my children!

We received a CD set of the audio drama along with a small study guide and a copy of Sir Francis Drake’s prayer.  We also obtained access to a PDF of a longer and more intense study guide.  The packages on their website list the physical CD’s at $29.95, but you can order the MP3 download for $20.00. 🙂 There are also many additional bonus products that come with the available purchase options:  You can see the complete bundles available here.

These are geared toward the whole family, but because there are some moments that are a bit more intense, Heirloom Productions recommends it for ages six and up.  We enjoyed these CD’s both at home with the whole family. My husband and I, as well as our eight and now five year old boys, were fascinated, my daughter however, who is three, was not such an easy sell. It definitely was not up cup of tea but the rest of us really did find this a fascinating tale ad thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this one!

We listened to this story a number of times.   My eight year old son was especially taken with all the adventure and the possible romance in this story both fascinated and “grossed” him out.  My five year old son, on the other hand he really loved how action packed this story was. Of course he was also partial to it the moment he saw the giant ship on the cover! I personally loved how Drake’s character makes you want to be like him; you see him through the whole story simply wanting to be more like Christ, a fitting servant for the Lord. Its an excellent character example for our children. This is a very action packed adventure; perfect for boys. The story includes fighting Spanish warships and invading Spanish controlled lands (this is awesome with us studying the Spanish explorers), looking for treasure to bring to the queen.  Even though  numerous acts of piracy are committed, Drake and his men still hold themselves to a higher moral standard, showing the value of work as he shows his dedication to the crown in all he does. Within the story, not once do they attack men, women or children who are innocent, only fighting those who are fighting against them.

This production is such high quality, you really feel like you are there and a part of the story itself. Again, this is action packed, and leaves you on the edge of your seat so often; hanging on every word. Maye it was coincidence but in the midst of this, my five year old fell off the couch at one point. There are some very emotional scenes and this resulted in a great deal of discussion, explaining details about Inquisition to my boys, as so that they could have a greater understanding of the Inquisition itself and its purpose in history.

I had planned on using this for more intensive work with the study guide provided, but we ended up doing bits and pieces as their interest was peaked.  Heirloom did provide some excellent resources that will make things s when simpler I think when we eventually do explore this portion of history again a bit later on.  We did also receive a PDF download of a study guide to use alone with the audio of  Under Drake’s Flag.

The study guide is broken up into three main sections:

  • Listening –These are  comprehension questions that test your child’s understanding of the story. We used this part more for discussion and narration purposes as my son does struggle sometimes with retention.
  • Thinking Further–This is material to contemplate, to meditate upon the meaning of the events in the story; this requires children to come up with ideas of their own in regards to things that occurred in the story.  There are some mapping questions which we did not do too much but plan to expand upon in the near future. Great for research and maybe some creative projects. My oldest loves to create and draw.
  • Defining Words–This is a great opportunity to really dig into those more complicated words within the story and understand more the meaning and purpose with which they are used. We really liked this one.

There are also three Bible themed studies to use that revolve around the life of Sir Francis Drake and this story itself.  These include: (1) Godly Characteristics, (2) True Manhood, and (3) Confessing Christ.  And there are also a number of wonderful resources that are recommended for further study outside of the materials provided here.

This audio story was perfect. It was good, wholesome, entertainment; high-quality material that your children can enjoy while also learning and growing from it.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to review this one and be able to share history and G.A. Henty in such a way that my children are able to truly experience a bit of history. When it comes alive, that’s when the learning really begins!  I am hopeful that we will have more stories like these available to use in our studies in the future. my boys both agree that “history is awesomer” now than before. haha  This was such an inspiring and refreshing experience indeed!


Under Drake's Flag Reviews

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