Monday, May 16, 2011

Where, Where, Where ~ A Map Software Program Review

How would you like to have over 350 different maps at your disposal at just the click of a button? That sounds good to me.

Thanks to the TOS Review Crew and Bright Ideas Press I received just that, with BIP's new WonderMaps.

You can get WonderMaps as a download or CD-ROM. We received the download. It was easy to install. Then I just clicked the button on my desktop and opened it up.

Once you open it up you see the screen the same as on the picture above. The easy to use, and access, home page has a number of button options to help you find just the right map for the topic you are studying.

Small oval buttons top left and right:
  • blue - Contact and License - Contact information for Bright Ideas Press, License information, and a BIP catalog.
  • red - Teacher's Guide – The teacher’s guide includes a Quick Start Guide, a copy of the tutorial video that you can watch below, a 6 page User Manual with help for how to use the program, 2 mp3 downloads of workshops and some extra Resources like “50 Bright Ideas for Using Outline Maps
  • yellow - Mystery of History - Maps that go with MOH I (1st edition), MOH I (2nd edition), MOH II, and MOH III.
  • purple - All American History - Maps that go with AAH I and AAH II.
Then there are the big colored squares and their indexes underneath: 
  • Blue is for the 60+ maps of the world in The World Continents, Regions, Nations section. Under that is an alphabetical index so you can easily find what you need.
  • Red is the 60+ maps of the USA and the Alphabetical Index
  • The yellow is the 125 Historical Maps. They are then divided into 4 sections: Ancients, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations and lastly Revolutions to Rising Times. Underneath in the small rectangle there is also a Chronological Index.
  • Purple is the maps listed by Theme – these are the same maps as the ones listed above but divided up differently: American History, Explorers, World Wars, Biblical Maps and more.
So far you have a lot of maps. But is this map set any different than other sets??? Yes. Here is what sets WonderMaps apart from all the other map sets. WonderMaps has layers for each map. The layers allow you to customize each map before you print. Turn off a layer and make the map an outline map or leave it on and print them in color. Some of the maps also have a Black and White overlay along with the color or outline only feature. You can also turn off and on map features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, graticules and more. Using these maps with your children you will learn things too.   Before I got the WonderMaps I not only didn’t know what graticules were but I had never even heard the word. LOL So, even mom’s can learn things with WonderMaps.

Thanks to the layers there are outline maps, reference maps, political maps, and topographical maps. Most of the maps can be printed in more than one of the types listed above.

Are you confused?? Maybe this tutorial that Bright Ideas Press put on their website, in the software, and on YouTube would help. It helped me considerably. It takes you through all the features of this wonderful map software.
Be careful if you watch it though.

Once you see all the things this software can do you will feel the need to BUY it!

So how did we use this software?? Well I loaded the software on the school computer and on my computer upstairs. I put it on my computer so I could print the maps. On the school computer the boys used it to just browse. I also use it if we need to look something up for school that I didn’t print out. Christopher was browsing around one day on the WonderMaps software and was excited to find Penzance, England. He likes the Pirates of Penzance movie and we recently bought a copy. He was excited to find it was a real place. I printed out historical maps of the things we were studying: Ch’ing Dynasty 1644-1912 AD, Atlantic Slave Triangle 1550-1831 AD, and The United States – Original States and Claims 1500-1800. Then two maps for Bible: Spread of Christianity Acts 8-12 and The Seven Churches of Revelation 33-100 AD.

I like to do overlays with maps when we can, they make things more interesting and fun. We did an overlay with the Ch’ing Dynasty map.

DSCN4738I printed each of the boys a copy of the map with just the color overlay and the key. I printed it on cardstock (see picture on the left). The color overlay layer has the topographic areas on it. Then I printed the same map on regular paper with the Ch’ing Dynasty layer on.

DSCN4730Then they took the transparency and placed it over the map with the dynasty on it. They traced the outline of the dynasty and the territories using permanent thin line markers in the colors the key showed. The picture on the left shows what one of the transparencies looks like with white paper underneath.

DSCN4742Now they taped the transparency over the map. This is the finished product. This is also a good technique to do with maps of the explorers travels. You can use different colors of marker for each trip the explorer took.

I will be using these maps for the next 4 years I have to homeschool. My boys and I love them. I recommend everyone buy this. These are the best maps I have ever seen and I have a lot of map programs and books. One of the great things about these maps is their diversity. You could use them no matter what other curriculum you are using. You can use them with Bible class and History of course, study U.S. or World History, use it with all your children in any grade as well.

Download or CD-ROM | Grades K–12 | $49.95

Out of five stars both boys and I give the WonderMaps:

Before you buy you may want to check out what my friends at the TOS Homeschool Crew had to say about WonderMaps.

***Bright Ideas Press provided me with WonderMaps and though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of it here in this post.

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1 comment:

Me said...

this looks like a good product...and it goes along with the history books we used this year...but alas, this is my last year home-schooling. Three more weeks and then we are done :-) Well, if we were going to continue, i would have bought this, lol.
Good review.


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