Topic: Homeschool Product Review
Most of you know that our middle child Joshua has Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum. Many people call aspergers kids "Mini-Professors" because those kids grasp on to topics and almost become obsessed by them. They learn everything they can about them. Joshua's first obsession was Thomas the Train. He learned everything he could about that great video/book series. That progressed to trains in general, then to helicopters. Before he could even read he could look at a helicopter and tell you right away what kind it was and all about it. The past year or so it's been football and professional wrestling (yes I said professional wrestling - that's a story for another post ). Recently, however, he has been entranced with geography, and I have to give some of the credit to Wonder Maps.
What are Wonder Maps? Well, sit down and let me tell you. I say sit down because I don't want any of you falling over in amazement at this totally awesome resource. Let me start by asking you a few questions (well maybe a little more than a few):
Do you ever find it hard to find good reliable maps for you homeschool use?
Do you ever wish that you could pick and choose what was listed on your maps instead of relying on just what was there?
Do you find it hard to find unlabeled maps for the use of your students?
Do you ever wish that you could see exactly where in the world things happened in Bible times?
What about during the Middle Ages?
What about during the Revolutionary War or the Civil War or World War I or World War II or...?
Did you ever wish that you could turn off all of the colorful stuff on a map and make it black and white so that you could see it more clearly?
Well, wish and want no more because Wonder Maps is here!
Wonder Maps was developed by Bright Ideas Press, the great people who put out The Mystery of History and that fantastic book that I reviewed last year, Hands on Geography. And it does all of the things that I mentioned above and more.
Wonder Maps uses this great thing called layers. You just bring up the maps that you want and you can pick and choose what you want to see. Don't want to see the river names? Just click a button and they are gone. Don't want to see the rivers? Click another button and they are gone as well. Don't like all of the terrain stuff? Poof...it's gone? Want a black and white map with just the borders so that you can test your kids? You got it! What ever you want you can print out with just a few clicks of your mouse!
And that's just the geography stuff! I haven't even gotten in to the historical maps yet. They have maps for everything. Ever wondered where Abraham really walked? Doing a study on Ruth and Naomi and want to know where exactly Moab was and how far they had to travel? Want to know what modern day countries you would have to visit to see where Paul stopped on his missionary journeys? You can do all of those things with the Bible Map section.
In fact, you can do similar things with all historical eras. Just click a few buttons and there they are. You can turn on and off features that you want or don't want with the historical map section as well. For example - if you were doing a study of the Revolutionary war and wanted to test you child on the names of all of the battles, you could print out a map with the locations marked but not labeled.
You could print out any of those things with Wonder Maps...or...nothing at all. Which brings me back to Joshua. He loves to just get on Wonder Maps and explore. Just the other day he said, "Hey Dad, I see where Marcelo lives!" Marcelo is our Compassion International son from Bolivia. He even asks to get on Wonder Maps just to play. Hey, anything educational that my children asks to get on has got to be good! I'm hoping that this will catch on and he will become a geography/history whiz just like he's a helicopter and...yes...a professional wrestling expert.
Okay, enough about Joshua! I want to talk about me (isn't that a country song?). Anyway, if you are map challenged like I am, you may wonder what in the world you would do with all of this stuff. How do you really fit it in to your program. Well, if you use one of the Bright Ideas Press history programs, there is a special button for you to push and all of the recommended maps that come with that program are ready for you to call up and print out. No more trying to bend the spine of your Mystery of History book or All American History book to try to copy the maps.
But, say you use another curriculum, or maybe no curriculum at all. Well, Wonder Maps has everything - even a Teacher's Guide! It contains gobs of information like audio and visual downloads of great ways to use these maps and learn to love geography. There are also some great articles that will inspire you like "How to make a salt-dough map", and "Fifty bright ideas for using outline maps". I have had a blast just looking through them and getting excited about how I can teach geography with stickers, current events, and even by following the schedule of my favorite sports team! Really neat ideas.
You may think that a resource like this must cost up toward $100 or more. I mean, after all, a good world atlas at the book store would cost $60, $70 or more and you can do much more with Wonder Maps. Think again! The Wonder Map CD is only $49.95. The only thing you need is Adobe Reader v9.1 or greater and you can download that for free. Check out Wonder Maps by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Also check out what other TOS Crew Members have said about this great product by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free download of Wonder Maps (sold on CD, not available for retail as a download) in order to try out and review on this blog.