Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: WonderMaps

Now that we’ve covered basic map concepts (compass rose, keys, grids, etc.) and reviewed the continents, it’s about time to naturally integrate some geography into our daily studies, methinks.

For example, we were reviewing the story of Ruth and Naomi.  While we discussed it, Esmé put together her TP-roll Ruth, and on her map we followed the path Naomi took to Moab, and then back with Ruth to Bethlehem.  A great way to put things in context!


Now, where did we get such fabu-ful maps, you ask?  Thank you, WonderMaps!



Choose any one of the 350 different maps and then customize it to fit your child’s level of study. Wonderfully versatile, each map has a variety of layers that you can turn on or off with a simple checkbox. Need a basic outline of a country, it’s there. Want to add cities, borders, terrain, even color? Each is just a click away. Easy-to-use layers even allow you to see how borders changed over time!

WonderMaps is divided into four categories: maps of the world, maps of the USA, historical maps, and thematic maps (including biblical maps). Plus, if your family uses either The Mystery of History or All American History, you will be delighted to know that WonderMaps includes the complete map sets from each entire series! Your options when using WonderMaps are seemingly endless. Using maps in your homeschool will bring needed perspective not only to history, but to literature, science and biblical studies as well.


Recommended Age:  A great resource all through the school years and beyond
Publisher:  Bright Ideas Press
List Price:  $49.95; on Timberdoodle’s site for $44.95
To Purchase: Timberdoodle
For More Reviews: “Because Mom Said!”
To Get a Feel For It:  Watch the tutorial on YouTube


What Mom Liked:

  • Comprehensiveness.  You’ve got current world maps at various levels (world, continent, region, nation, etc.), as well as US maps, historical maps, and thematic maps.  I’ve been exploring the thematic section, which includes World Wars, Explorers, and Biblical Maps amongst others.  So far the Biblical Maps section is my favorite.
  • Usefulness.  If you’d like to use this as part of a curriculum, it ties beautifully with The Mystery of History and All American History.  However, it makes a great resource for any type of educational method, I think – from unit studies to unschooling, and more.  I anticipate using it regularly in our literature units as we put stories in context.  Maps can also be used to locate artist birthplaces, identify natural animal habitats, follow migratory patterns, or serve as a prayer map for missionaries and sponsored kids.
  • Customizability.  Most of the maps come with a set of layers you can turn on or off.  This means you can simplify a map for a younger child by unchecking the cities, rivers, and terrains, for example.  You can view a historical map with modern overlay for context, or not.  You can take off the country names for a child’s memory check, and so much more.
  • Ease of Use.  This program is easy to install.  It uses Adobe Reader, a free software most of us are familiar with.  The maps are broken out into four categories, each with a clickable index that takes you exactly where you want to go.
  • Bonus Features.  There are several resources in the Teacher’s Guide that I am absolutely loving.  Easy mapping projects, salt-dough maps, and a sample unit on Joseph’s Journey that I plan to use very soon, for starters.
  • Printability.  These maps print beautifully on 8.5x11” paper.  No hunting down special legal or 11x17” paper, even if your printer could handle it.  There is even a color overlay for maps that have a lot of color that you can turn it off for cheaper BW printing.
  • Value.  Considering you can use this for years to come, for a variety of purposes, it is an excellent value for the money.  This product makes it on my short “must-have” list for homeschoolers…

Thanks, Timberdoodle, for providing this amazing product!  You can find more Hands-on Geography products, Geography Puzzles, or request a Free Homeschool Catalog from Timberdoodle,  You can also find out about cool giveaways or join in homsechool conversations on Timberdoodle’s facebook page.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.