WonderMaps: A Review by The Hamricks

Platforms: Software
Release Date: 2011
Genre(s): Geography
Publisher(s): Bright Ideas Press
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WonderMaps: A Review by The Hamricks

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Review by The Hamricks

WonderMaps: A Review

My boys LOVE history.  They love learning about it and seeing it, especially as we are in Europe and able to see things that are so very old.  We’re studying the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and tomorrow we’re going to drive about 45 minutes from home to see a real Roman wall and fort.  Living history.

When I was offered the opportunity to review a product that included interactive maps, I couldn’t resist!

WHAT IT IS, IN THEIR WORDS:

WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers that allow you to enjoy great customizable features with just a click. Select:

  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps
  • features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules

WonderMaps includes:

  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II

WHAT IT IS IN, MY WORDS:
WonderMaps is a program for your computer that allows you to print out the maps you need for your students, whenever you need them.  For example, we’re studying Rome and I needed a map that would show the split of the Roman Empire.  In less than 15 seconds, (literally, three clicks from the “Home” page) I had this:

The company who created this fantastic tool is called “Bright Ideas Press.”  Love it.  I do believe this program is a bright idea.

PROS:

  • It’s pretty.  I’m a girl.  I can say that.
  • The maps are organized in four well-thought out categories:
  1. The World (by Continent, Region, or Nation);
  2. United States of America;
  3. Historically (by date: Ancient, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, and the Growth of Nations, and Revolutions to Rising Times); and
  4. Thematic (American History, Explorers, Native Americans, World Wars, Biblical Maps, Chinese Dynasties, and 20th C. Treaties).  This means you can find what you’re looking for very quickly.  If I wanted to find a map of Moses’ time, I could, from “Home,” click on “Historical Maps,” then “The Ancients,” and then look through the list of maps and one of them is titled, “Moses and the Exodus.” Click on that and you see this:

  • I can print the map I want in full color or in B/W so the boys can color the countries themselves, getting an idea of where each country lies in relation to one another. (At the bottom of my review are 10 steps to show how I did this this with the “Europe and the Mediterranean” map.)
  • If one child wants an extra copy for whatever reason, I can go back and print another one.
  • You can print out a map with borders and country names for the student to study. Then you can give them a copy with the country names removed to test their knowledge.  (My dad would have LOVED to have this program.  He paid me $100 to learn the capitals of the States; information I have not retained into my adulthood.)
  • Very simple to use.  The five minute instructional video explains everything very clearly and demonstrates how to use the program.
  • This program works on both PC and MAC.  If you know me at all, you know how important this is to me!
  • They have maps that go along with the Mystery of History books as well as All American History Vols I & II, so if you happen to have chosen one of those as your history curriculum, WonderMaps has done much of the thinking for you.

I am sure there are more pros, but you’d benefit from watching the video, which can be found at the bottom of this page.

CONS:

  • As of now they don’t have a specific section dedicated to “Story of the World” maps, which is the history we’ve chosen to use.  Not too big of a deal, as SOTW provides many maps, though not in color.  Also not a big deal as the four main categories of maps make it very easy to find a map that suits your needs by just clicking through.  The information is not overwhelming… wait, this was supposed to be a con, and it turned into a pro… back on track.
  • I wish it had more detail in Europe.  I printed out the most detailed map I could get of Germany and wish there were more cities so we could circle/highlight those we’ve visited.  We live in Germany (for a few years, anyway, GO ARMY!) and would love to see more detail.  I find myself wishing I could click as far into the WonderMap as I can on GoogleMaps! :) What a spoiled generation we are!

OVERALL:

The information provided in the CD is very helpful, well laid-out, easy to use, and I believe it is worth what it costs.  I think the program itself is easy enough for my 10-year-old to start using in an effort to become more familiar with where we are in the world, though I know the intentions are not for the child to use, but the parent to print out for the child.

My boys holding their hot-off-the-printer maps. Carson has the full-color while Bailey and Hayden are each holding maps they will color in themselves.

While we’re talking geography, look at this:  240-Piece Puzzleball.  I admit.  I want.  Other GeoPuzzles can be found here.

Of course we all like free.  If you would like a free hard-copy of the 2011 Timberdoodle Homeschool Product Catalogue, click here.

I’ve written the step-by-step instructions with pictures, explaining how I got the maps I used above.
Disclosure:  I am honored to be a new member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team.  I received a free copy of WonderMaps in return for my honest review of the program.  I am not afraid to mention the things I don’t like, while sharing the things I do.  I have not, nor will I be, compensated for my review. You can find Timberdoodle on Facebook by clicking here.  They sell homeschool supplies as well as homeschool curriculum.  The reviews they receive are in an effort to provide their customers with the best possible products available.



Posted by Timberdoodle Co. | 12 Oct 2011 | 5 star, All Reviews

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