Jul 222012
 
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There are many different ways to approach the study of  history. The chronological approach has been very popular in recent years. Others recommend a unit study method focusing on one particular culture or area. One of the things that I’ve found especially interesting to think about when studying modern history is what has happened to one specific area over time. For example, there was an strip of land on the border of France and Germany that was very important to Hitler. Why? What is the history of that one spot of land?

I have wished for an historical map that would show this types of detail. Recently, I received TimeMaps from Knowledge Quest to review, and it does much of what I had hoped for.

There are 7 different historical maps in the collection. They are:

    • Ancient China
    • European Exploration and Discovery
    • The Atlantic Slave Trade
    • The Black Death
    • The Fall of the Roman Empire
    • The Rise of Islam
    • The Rise of the Roman Empire

TimeMaps are not paper maps, but are dynamic and interactive computer animations that display changes in boundaries, travels of explorers, extents of empires, and much more. Each map begins at a specific date. The user clicks to advance the map to the next date and watches as one map morphs into the next one.

This example shows the first map in The Rise of the Roman Empire. Under the date are 2 symbols: i and Q.

TimeMaps

This shows the same map, after clicking the i for more information. Each of the icons that appear on the map are clickable and bring up boxes with additional  information such as the one titled, “The Mediterranean World in 500 BC.”

TimeMaps

This is the same map again, this time with the questions that appear with a click of the Q icon.

TimeMaps

This map shows the same area, but 400 years later. (I skipped several maps.)TimeMaps

Finally, here is the same map as above with the areas of additional information visible. I like the option of removing those so that the map can be studied without the additional busyness.

TimeMaps

 

Each of the map sets also comes with a Teachers Guide that includes suggested activities, the questions that are in the program, a summary of each of the maps that can be read to the student or used to familiarize yourself to the topic. There is also a blank timeline template with appropriate date markings, and both a blank and completed map for printing.

I like TimeMaps very much. The information included on each of the maps is fascinating. I had my 10 year old test the program for ease of use and after 2 minutes of instruction, he was able to maneuver through the screens independently. Much of the information and questions were above his head, at least for him to complete independently. I especially love how the European Exploration map starts small, and grows with each sea voyage, showing the new area as it was discovered.

I can see so many different ways for this to be used in a homeschool. It would make a great supplement for any history curriculum. The maps are available as a collection of all 7 or individually, so someone could choose to purchase just those that will be studied in the upcoming school year. Those who use a unit study approach to history could use these maps as the basis for the study. Or the maps could be used in a relaxed homeschool to pique a student’s curiosity in a particular topic.

TimeMaps are available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Each individual TimeMap is available for $9.95. The complete collection of 7 is sold for $44.95. Visit Knowledge Quest to learn more about the maps and to purchase.

Disclosure: I received the TimeMap Collection free in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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