Thursday, March 18, 2010

TOS Crew Review -- Homeschool in the Woods

Maps have an amazing ability to bring things together the way few other visuals can. They help the child needing connections to put a "face" to a name. For some of my kids they remember nothing of the history we study until they have either a time line or a map to tie it all together.

The wonderful company Homeschool in the Woods offers a map download that has a multitude of uses. These can work in conjunction with just about any study of the United States or world history. Or, they can stand alone as the foundation for a great study of a certain location or time period.

: Homeschool in the Woods Maps downloads
Details: Downloadable maps (one set is all US maps, the other is world maps) that come in a variety of formats to use in various projects. The set also includes notebooking pages, teacher's answer keys, and more. The United States set has over 180 modern and historical maps and the World set has over 130 modern and ancient maps
Price: $18.95 each or $28.95 for both (this price is for the download. If you would prefer a CD instead, add another dollar to those prices)

What we loved . . .
  • Full set. Each of these programs offers a wide variety of maps to cover whatever state or country we were looking for at the time.
  • Print as you go. Some programs I prefer to have hard copies in hand, but this is the perfect product for a download or CD. It is all on your computer and you just print off whichever maps you need that week in however many copies you need.
  • Multiple formats. I really enjoy the different formats that each set includes. If you want countries or states marked, if you want an unlabeled map with borders, if you want just a geographical map with no borders, or a title-less map you can print it right out without having to recreate or doctor up an existing map. This is great for learning countries. You might start with the countries printed in and use the blank one for a quiz later on -- or a pretest and a post-test. All at your fingertips.
  • Quality maps. These aren't those cheesy maps that you can easily find all over the internet. These are well made, accurate, detailed maps.
  • Accompanying notebook pages. In addition to the maps, these sets come with notebooking pages that are great for the more creative child to run with or the less creative child to have a structure to build his project on (we have both in our household and I have quickly seen the benefit to both types of learners). These notebook pages are great for building the map into a whole unit, or at least in compiling a project on a particular state or country. I love the travel brochures that you can use to "advertise" the place you are studying.

Some considerations . . .

  • What you see is what you get. I don't know that this is a downside, but if you aren't a big map user, this might not be a product you will use. If you use maps, you will likely find what you need here. These aren't big wall maps, but are perfect for each student to have right in front of them while doing a project or studying a history lesson. This might not be something everyone will find useful, but I was very impressed with the quality and quantity of information packed into these sets.

These map sets can be a great accompaniment to any curriculum. They give you so much to work with and could be a great time saver when you need to find just the right map. So often when I go to look for a map I find one that I have to change or re-size in order for it to be usable. With these sets we have already found a few that were just right for what we needed, and we have not had to look elsewhere any more. These give you a great resource that you will likely use for years to come.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: These map downloads were provided to me free of charge from Homeschool in the Woods as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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