This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. You can find my disclosure page here.
If you’re looking for a way to bring history to life for your students, you have to check out the amazing audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions. We recently received a copy of Captain Bayley’s Heir, and it was fabulous!
Some of the kids and I listened to this production on our trip to Lewiston for a Tanner family reunion. We listened to the first half on the way down, and the rest on the return trip. It was hard to wait to see how it ended though!
This audio drama is on two CDs. I also received access to the Live the Adventure Club materials associated with Captain Bayley’s Heir.
I must admit, we were a bit confused at the beginning of this drama. After reading the back, we knew it was set in the Gold Rush. But, it opens at a school in England, where Frank, the main character, breaks someone’s nose in self-defense. He’s offered a chance to have everyone “forget” about this if he pays a fee. He doesn’t have the money, but miraculously it appears in an envelope right before it’s due.
Except, a bit later, Frank is accused of theft.
He doesn’t want to admit to the theft, as he knows he is innocent. So instead, with the help of a friend, he sets out for America, with the hopes of eventually clearing his name and proving his innocence to his uncle, Captain Bayley.
Once he makes the long voyage across the ocean, he finds work with Hiram on a riverboat on the Mississippi. His quick thinking helps rescue the crew from a perilous situation.
After reaching Omaha, Frank starts west with a group of cowboys. He has many adventures both on his trip west and once he reaches California. Through it all, the theme of God’s grace is evident.
The Study Guide
To get even more out of this audio drama, you can utilize the study guide. For each track of the story, you’ll find two types of questions to ask your students.
Listening Well questions ask your students about what happened. They can find the answer just by listening to the words.
Thinking Further questions go beyond just the words. These ask your students to dive deeper, do some additional research, or really think about what the bigger picture is.
Additionally, you’ll find words to define for each track. These would make a great vocabulary study!
Scattered throughout the guide are sidebars called “Expand Your Learning” which provide additional insight into a related topic. Here’s an example:
Live the Adventure Club
I was impressed with the quantity and quality of material in the Live the Adventure Club. It wasn’t just the study guide.
Perhaps my favorite of all was an ebook version of G.A. Henty’s Captain Bayley’s Heir, the book this audio drama is inspired from. It had a beautiful background and was easy to read.
There was also:
- The soundtrack
- A printable cast poster
- An inspirational hymn poster with the lyrics to Amazing Grace – a hymn that plays a role in this story
- A downloadable playlist version of the drama
- Wallpaper for your desktop
Altogether, it was a bunch of excellent resources to get the most out of this product.
I though the story was a bit slow at first. There were random people introduced, and you didn’t really learn about why they were important until later.
But, once Frank heads to America, the story definitely picks up. There’s a lot of adventure at this point and this momentum continues throughout the rest of the story.
I love the quality of sound. The cast does a fabulous job and the sound effects add a special element.
I know we’ll listen to this story again, and I recommend it, especially if you’re studying the Gold Rush.
Heirloom Audio Productions has many other audio presentations. You can find my review of their In the Reign of Terror here.
To see what other families thought of Captain Bayley’s Heir, click on the banner below: