Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Homeschool in the Woods- Revisted

From my experience, time in the woods brings about relaxation, refreshment and renewal of spirit. Founded by artist Amy Pak, Homeschool in the Woods offers products which will visually enrich your homeschool bringing refreshment and renewal to tired old lessons. Offering timelines, timeline figures, maps and unit studies with lapbook elements designed by Pak, Homeschool in the Woods products are educational works of art.

As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew I received a free download of Homeschool in the Woods Olde World Style Modern and Historical Maps: United States and Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps for use in my homeschool in exchange for this review.

The maps are available on the Homeschool in the Woods website, as instant download zip files for $18.95 each or on CD for $19.95 each. For customers wishing for both sets of maps, a downloadable combo pack sells for $28.95 while the CD combo pack sells for $29.95. I received the instant download zip file maps, easily extracted the files and was ready to preview and print the pages I desired. I am not usually a big fan of e-books and computer based curricula, but I found the convenience of scrolling through the various maps and then printing specific quantities to supplement our history lessons a refreshing option to old school copying from books.

Each Olde World Style map selection comes with five separate files which include:
  • Acknowledgement/ Introduction information plus color or black and white cover pages for notebooks
  • Grouped Map Sets
  • Individual Maps
  • Notebooking pages
World Map notebooking pages include Country Fact Sheets, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Geography Page, and Brochure template to enable students to create a brochure of specific countries. US Map notebooking pages include fill in the blank pages for each state, teacher key and full color State flags ready to be cut and added to the pages for each state.

Mapping activities usually fall off the radar in our homeschool. Even with a history curriculum which recommends mapping activities to enhance study we always seem to run out of time or interest to follow through. Homeschool in the Woods Olde World Maps cured us from missing out on this valuable activity. Since we are studying World History of the middle ages this year, I chose to print a number of maps from Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps. A map of the Sui and Tang Dynasties of China, Paul's Missionary journeys, the British Isles, France, India, Japan and Korea allowed my kids to visually plot their history lessons. Pak explains in her introduction of Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps why mapping activities are an integral part of the learning process of history.

"History is made of stories and legacies from a different time and place. Each story taught is like a puzzle piece--it has its own shape, size and image, but may pose a challenge when trying to connect it to other stories, making it a random happening or isolated event. In order to make sense, these "happenings" need to go from random to concrete, and that's where these two important elements come in. Timelines are used to plot the "when" in history.....and mapping, in turn, plots the "where", says Pak.

Our test marketing crew agreed with Pak's analysis of the importance of partnering mapping with history study.

"I liked how there were maps for each one of Paul's missionary journeys. It helped me figure out where he was in the world at this time. If he was stranded or if it was hot somewhere, etc. Using the maps really helped me understand more about the stories I read", said Micah, age 12 and 7th grade history student.

Jonah, age 15 and 10th grade history student appreciated the quality of the maps included with Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps.

"They are very informational. I liked all the detail presented on each of the World maps. They were easy to use because the printing was clear and well defined. These maps made geography study of my history lessons easy,"he said.

Due to our current world history studies our family did not take advantage of all the Olde World Style Modern and Historical Maps:United States had to offer during this testing period. We did however, print out all the information for the State of Ohio to send back with a flat traveler visiting us from Canada. With a detailed State Facts sheet, State Flag and maps of Ohio we created a small booklet of detailed information of our beloved home state to send home with our flat visitors. I found the design quality of each of the maps and the facts page to be superior. Everything printed easily and quickly from the PDF file.

Never again will geography lessons slip off our homeschool radar. Homeschool in the Woods
has enhanced our history lessons with beautifully designed resources. I encourage everyone to visit the company website and breathe deeply of the rich resources that await your homeschool.

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