As a homeschooling mom, I maximize every learning opportunity. Once a week, for two hours, I have a captive audience as we drive to classes my children take outside the home. Car schooling? We got it.
Recently, I found the perfect combination of fun and learning: a family audio drama series called The Brinkman Adventures Season 2, Episodes 13-24, produced by The Brinkman Adventures.
The first time we listened to it in the car, the kids were not paying attention that much. Too much going on. They did not know what to do with these sounds coming at them. How can you have a story without pictures? It was a bit of an adjustment. All the more reasons to press on and try again.
The second time around, I started playing it on my laptop on a Friday night, at home. We were all winding down from a busy week. My daughter climbed onto my lap at the table, but then she said, “I want to listen to it at the carpet.” She meant on the couch, which is where we have a large carpet over the hardwood floor.
I brought the laptop to the couch area. My son built a LEGO project on the carpet in front of the couch and my daughter climbed onto my lap again. They loved listening to it. As they got to know the characters, they started reacting to things they said. For instance, they really like they youngest Brinkman child’s voice. They can tell she is the smallest and they think she sounds cute. They imitate her and repeat her words.
Even so, it took another week for them to get the concept of audio drama. They asked me to turn it on so we can watch it. My son, who is six, finally understood and left it alone. My daughter, who just turned four, kept asking me to let her watch the people. I told her for the fifth time that it’s only for our ears. No pictures. She finally said, “It’s a hearing movie.” I said, “Yes.”
Another day we listened to it, when the youngest Brinkman character was looking for her flip-flop in Blue Hat and T-Shirt Bible, my daughter asked, “What’s a flip-flop?” This was just the first of many times during the Brinkman Adventures that we had to stop and explain new vocabulary. Great learning was had by all.
When we listened to it at home, we trimmed nails and blew noses (spring allergies are in full swing) while listening. I did some sewing while my son built with LEGO bricks and my daughter played with her dollies. It was such a peaceful family time.
The experience took me back to my childhood. We were glued to the radio on certain nights either for audio drama or concerts, while my mom ironed nearby or trimmed our nails and blew our noses.
The story of the Chinese Christian woman who longed for a Bible touched me very much. She did not ask for money or clothes. I do read my Bible every day and I treasure it, but this woman’s devotion to the Word of God took me back to my initial love for it.
I also appreciate the quality of family interaction, especially because the Brinkmans have – gasp! – eight children. The children obey immediately with a “yes, sir.” In several episodes, we hear how the parents teach their children gently on different issues. Also, we get to hear Kate’s song for her unborn sibling – what a great voice and what a touching song she wrote! She tells the baby she cannot wait to beep his nose and tickle his toes. How cute is that!
Episode 5, the one with the trip through Mexico, was a big hit with my son. He listened to the chase scene four times. I have always wondered why thrillers have chase scenes. Now I know. My six-year-old son gave me an answer without even knowing he did so, as he started that scene over and over and over again. He said, “I love the sound of the engine heating up…” Of course, it was the suspense, too, that got his attention.
We listened to the bulk of these CDs in the car on the way to appointments. The stories take you all over the world: China, Mexico, Belize, Texas, Northern Africa, and France. When we got home, I pulled out a map and showed the kids where the stories took place.
I like how they define so many diverse concepts throughout the stories: epipens, Jean-Paul Sartre, Bach, what to do when chased by bandits in Mexico, what the missionary life is like, how to deal with grief and loss, how to like annoying people, how to rejoice with those who rejoice even when they got what you still don’t have and many others. This audio drama certainly has broadened their horizons.
For $25, you can get all 12 episodes of the second season on four CDs. If you prefer the MP3 album, it is only $17.
I would like to know how Susan Brinkman keeps her voice calm, cheerful and gentle while pregnant, grieving the loss of her stillborn twins, taking care of eight children, AND traveling overseas. I only have two children and a one-hour trip is a major stressor.
The stories are intended for all ages, but several episodes get a bit intense for younger listeners. Jack Brinkman comes on to give you that warning in the beginning of those particular episodes. He says that, if the kids are under 10, they should make sure they have a parent listening with them. I can see why. After listening to the two episodes on Sapphire Slaves, my son told me he was a bit afraid and sad for the boys in the mine. He even had a bad dream about it.
If you wanted to learn more about the stories and the people in the stories, their website contains pictures, videos and more information about each episode. They encourage the children to open their Bible, find their favorite verse, and share it with them on their site.
Connect with Brinkman Adventures on Facebook here.