5/16/11

TOS Review: Wonder Maps

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Our family has recently had the opportunity to try out Wondermaps from Bright Ideas Press.  Wondermaps is a customizable collection of over 350 maps.  Mapping is a great way to add geography skills to any literature rich home school. 

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Product name: Wondermaps
Vendor: Bright Ideas Press
Age Range All ages
Price: $49.95
Format: Software available as download only or download + CD
Operating System: Available for Mac or Windows
Website: www.brightideaspress.com

I  want describe how Wondermaps works but I think this tutorial clip does a far better job explaining the product than I could.

Features that I appreciated:

  • Alphabetical Indexes of maps. There is an alphabetical index of maps for the two section that covers the World, Continents, Regions and Nations, and United States
  • Chronological Index for the Historical Maps section.
  •  Thematic Index for the Thematic Maps
  • The Teacher’s Guide section which includes a tutorial video, a Quick Start page and a user manual as well as links to other helpful resources.
  • I could create a map that my student could label and I could use the added layers on the software as an answer key to grade the student printed map.
  • Maps for Mystery of History and All  American History are included.

 Some things I found frustrating:

  • There are a limited number of individual country maps.  If I wanted map of Germany, for example, I would have to go to the regional map, enlarge it and choose to print “current view”.   (Please Note: This is addressed on page 5 of the User’s Guide in the FAQ section)
  • I found it difficult to navigate.  For example, a map that I thought should be in one location, was not in that location but in a different location.  Other maps would be in both locations.
  • Customizable options were not consistent across the different maps.  I would have loved to have had the same options available for all maps such as the color/political layer available for states.  I would have loved the color/political layer for regions such as Western Europe.
  • Maps for Mystery of History were not customizable.  I could not add layers and they were sidewise.

Overall, I think this is an incredible product.  It’s not working as well for me as I hoped but  I think that is a flaw in my character and not with the product.  This is a great supplemental resource and I struggle with being consistent with adding in those great supplements.  Next year we’re going to be using a literature based curriculum that has mapping suggestions on the assignment sheet.  I plan on using Wondermaps to complete those mapping assignments.

Bright Ideas Press has many resources be sure to check out their product page.  I’m partial to the Mystery of History series myself.

 Click on banner below to read what my fellow crewmates have to say about Wondermaps.PhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received Wondermaps from Bright Ideas Press free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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