Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of Knowledge Quest's TimeMaps

I am firmly convinced that Knowledge Quest cannot make a bad product.  Everything they publish is a must-have product as far as I'm concerned.  In fact, MapTrek was one of my very first homeschool purchases, and five years later I use it all the time.  I was ecstatic, then, to find out that Knowledge Quest has a new mapping program: TimeMaps.

TimeMaps show the progression of history via maps.  See the rise of the Roman Empire.

From 500 BC to 390 BC, watch the trail appear depicting the movement of the Gauls into the Etruscans and on to  Rome.  It is as if you are visually watching history happen.  You are even able to see modern countries come into focus as names and boundaries change.  Best of all, this process is completely dynamic.  This is not a succession of static maps.  It is a visually engaging and constantly in motion mini-film.  There is nothing else like it!

As wonderful as the maps are, though, wait...there's more! Each TimeMap also comes with teacher notes giving suggested activities and explanations of all the maps.  You *don't* have to know history in order to use these maps successfully.  Everything is laid out for you!

The uses for these maps are countless.  They dovetail wonderfully with just about every history curriculum I know.  They can easily serve as the basis for history-based unit studies.  Or, as my family has used them thus far, they are tailor-made for delight-directed learning.  My son is in love with maps. All maps.  I doubt he even realizes how much he's learning when he "plays" with them.

TimeMaps available currently include Ancient China, Rise of Rome, Fall of Rome, Rise of Islam, The Black Death, European Exploration, and Atlantic Slave Trade.  They are available for $9.95 each, or a wonderful price of $44.95 for the whole collection as a download.  For $5.00 more, have a CD delivered to your door.  It is great to have the option only to buy the one(s) you need now, but I can't imagine not having all of them at my disposal.

The only map I have used officially in our homeschool is the Rise of Rome (as we are, conveniently, studying Rome!), but my children and I have pored over all of the maps "just because." There is no way to convey to children the massive impact of the Black Death like showing them how it spread like wildfire.  With TimeMaps you can do that.  And did you ever study exactly how devastating the Rise of Islam was for Christianity? View the TimeMap and you'll see in an instant.

I have to confess that I am a map junkie, so I knew that I would love these maps.  The wonderful thing is, though, that they are probably most helpful to people who are not map junkies.  There is no figuring out keys or legends, no printing multiple maps to show static points in time, and no trying to convince children that history really is fascinating or that things haven't always been the way they are now.

I put off writing this review because I was afraid that I could not do TimeMaps justice.  Suffice it to say that this is one of my favorite products of all time.  To see what other Crew members thought, read the Crew blog.


Disclaimer: I received TimeMaps in exchange for my honest review.  Honestly, I really think this product should be in every homeschool.  I received no other compensation for this review.

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