Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wondermaps Review for Timberdoodle Co.

I was recently accepted as a reviewer for the Timberdoodle Blog Reviewers. How exciting is that! I mean it doesn’t take much to excite a homeschool mom who loves to explore new products to use in your homeschool.

What is even more exciting is my first review. Wondermaps!!!! We love maps around my home just as much as Bug loves her bugs! My kids are absolutely crazy about maps. They want a map of everything. I just can’t get away without a map or globe. I always hear them say, “ mom show me were it’s located on the map.” Which I will gladly do!


Product name:
Wondermaps
Age Range: All ages
Price: $44.95
Format: Software available as download only or download + CD
Operating System: Available for Mac or Windows

Needless to say I have spent hours searching for maps online, books, and I even have a software program that hasn’t saved me hours of searching just hours of frustrations. I wish I would have had Wondermaps at my fingertips when we studied Ancient History and Biblical History last year. It would have been such a time saver.

I was able to quickly add some maps for to our studies with Wondermaps. I found all my maps in one place. Did I mention that I didn’t spend hours searching:0)


Here are some of the maps you can choose from:

*Choose any one of the 350 customizable collection of maps. Next you customize it to fit your study
.
• 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 graticule's
WonderMaps also 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”

WonderMaps contains "layers" for each map… which is what makes it customizable for you. You can view or remove the lines of latitude, longitude, rivers, cities, geographical formations like mountains are shown and/or identified. 

Do you need a colored or black and white maps? Easy now you can choose. You can turn on or off any of the features available for most of the maps...and then print the map you created. The maps are viewed in Adobe Reader.

If your family uses: The Mystery of History or All American History, you will be ecstatic to know that WonderMaps includes the complete map sets from each entire series! I look forward to using it with my Mystery of History!
What did we do with Wondermaps?

We have been learning the continents and so I printed out a world map for the kids to color and practice the continents. We sang our geography songs while the kids colored the continent map.
Our World maps!
We have been praying for countries that we study. I let the kids choose which country they wanted to focus on. Little Man is praying for Egypt and Bug Ethopia. We are doing this with the Window on the World book. Maps make it more fun when you can see where in the world is that country located. 
 We also added some maps to our Kansas history studies.
The kids had to find Kansas on the map. I pulled up a map of the United States section from Wondermaps-then clicked on the region I needed. Simple and quick! They both found Kansas on their maps and then they had to identified the bordering states.

We have worked with several maps during this review. We have done mapping of the Middle East, and lots of other Historical and Biblical maps to supplement of studies.

My thoughts on Wondermaps:

Pros: 
WonderMaps is easy to install via download. Once it was up and running, we had a lot of fun playing around with the various features you could turn on and off. Nothing complicated about it. I didn’t even need to use the tutorial. But for the sake of this review I did look at it afterwards. Bug and Little Man figured out how to use Wondermaps all by themselves. They viewed it as a neat new map game! LOL! Little Man printed a map and he played pirates with it. It was a great treasure map.
I like that it has an alphabetical Indexes of the maps that covers the World, Continents, Regions and Nations, and United States. Chronological Index for the Historical Maps section. I loved the Thematic index for the maps. The maps are easy to locate on the software.

My favorite feature is the ability to choose what I want /don’t want on the map. Names of locations can be included or removed, geographic features are optional, I can choose color or black and white. I get to choose how I want my map to look. No wasted ink if I don't want to print in color!! The kids can color it themselves.

With purchase of Wondermaps you can register your product on Bright Idea Press site and you will receive updates as they create them. Face it my endless Atlas and other books are probably obsolete, so it's nice to have something available that won't be rendered inaccurate shortly after you buy it because of all the world events. Which-I have some inaccurate Atlas sitting on my shelf already.
 Cons:

Not all the maps have the same layers. I would love to see every map have the same layers to choose from. I want to customize every map to fit my needs in my homeschool. 

I would like the ability to focus on just one country not the region. Some countries you are able to see by themselves. Not every country has it's own map. You are not able to pull up to see those country details. Okay, I am spoiled I want the whole world at my finger tips. You know click, go away this country I only want to see you- type of thing. I don't want the distractions that it causes my family when I don't want to focus on that other country. My kids just want to know what everything is on the map page. If I could have one country an choose if I want to show the bordering countries  or whole region that would be a great feature.

Only the US can be seen one state at a time, but other continents are only able to see in regions within. I love the regional maps that are available in the United States Map. I would love to choose to not show some of the states. I know I want the world! Really the cons on the Wondermap are little compared to the time it saves and all the features that it does have at my fingertips. 

Would I buy this program – YES! I think it’s a wonderful investment that will pay for itself as I can see it being used for years to come. I know that I can update as it comes available. Five stars for this busy homeschool mom.

If you love geography stop by Timberdoodle and check out what they have to offer for geography. They have a great selection of geography puzzles also. While you are there don't forget to sign up for a Free Homeschool Catalog and see what a great selection that they have for your homeschool.
Timberdoodle is a wonderful homeschool company.
I received a free download of WonderMaps for free from Timberdoodle Co. in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. The download is the only compensation I received.


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