Archives For geography Review

Heather —  September 15, 2011
Loads of FREE Lessons, games for kids

Loads of FREE Lessons, games for kids

You know, Kids seem to respect being asked to earn things. If you just give them things…well, they will take them, usually. But, they are proud when they have earned something.

Somehow, has tapped into finding a way to get kids to want to earn computer games through doing online lessons.

Who knew? You don’t have to hide learning IN games (although many do) you just have to make kids earn things. Have the creators met my Dad?

So, exactly what is BigIQKids game page for kids?

Well, children in grades k-12 can complete interactive lessons designed for their ability level in spelling, math, vocabulary, U.S. states and spelling programs. There is even a new SAT study portion and one of my daughter’s favorites is a section where you can hold Spelling competitions with family and friends and Math.

When I first went to the site, I was not so into the funny artwork. The graphics are big and bold and the site has electronic “tutors” who talk in computerized voices. It is different, but actually pretty cool. This site must have tons of programming and such. It loads super fast and all the lessons are very interactive. The tutors help the students by giving very clear direction on what needs to be done. Children cannot move forward in each lesson until each desired skill is learned. But, they can earn coins to play games in several subjects if they spend a bit of time.

You can use the content on the site in, say, spelling and vocabulary and math. You just choose age/grade levels…or you can import specific things you want your student to learn– like your own vocabulary list.

I like that the program is set up to email tons of information to parents. I have my settings set to get information on what Em does and I got all kinds of emails. For example:

bigiqkids email2

BigIQKids even tells me what to do next:)

Overall, I think this is a worthwhile site that really seems to appeal to children. Many portions of the site are available to use for free! You can also purchase a premium membership.

See what my crewmates have to say about Big IQ Kids.


I received a trial subscription to Big IQ Kids through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.


I have always appreciated the Bright Ideas Press motto: “Practical, Fun, and Affordable History, Geography, and Science Resources!” And they always deliver for us.

Now, they have done it again. The newest addition to their product line is a Map software program, WonderMaps , that allows you to customize a collection of over 350 maps.

This is a fantastic resource to have at my fingertips. We have already used it many times, just messing around and looking up and creating customized maps that we had looked for and never exactly found in the past.


For example, we went back to our Mystery of History Volume 1 and just started looking up corresponding maps. I remember when I first did MOH, I was frustrated when I couldn’t find an ancient map that fit a project we were working on. WonderMaps would’ve been perfect back then!

So Cool!

So Cool!

Oh well, we have it now. You can look up specific maps based on time period, or political boundaries, you can choose to have the maps in black and white or color, even look up a map that corresponds to some of the Mystery of History and All American History curriculum.

And everything can be printed exactly as you choose. This is just fun for kids to play around with and can save a lot of time and frustration when you want to include pertinent maps in a lesson plan.

My kids have fun just clicking around--tons of items are clickable

My kids have fun just clicking around--tons of items are clickable

WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers. You can select from:

  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps
  • features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules

Wondering how they do it? Take a look at the tutorial:

WonderMaps includes:

  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II

They also include a resource section that includes some geography and teaching ideas and projects.

The software is $49.50 and is available for PC and Mac. One note, the software requires Adobe Reader v. 9.1 or higher to run, but you can download that free at

And, coupon alert! If you subscribe to TOS, check your magazine for a 20% off coupon code. Also, be sure to sign up with the BIP newsletter for ongoing curriculum ideas and special discount codes. Click Here to visit Bright Ideas Press.

See what my crewmates have to say about WonderMaps and Bright ideas Press.

I received a download of The WonderMap software for PC through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion. *I am also a proud affiliate for BIP!

Homeschool In The Woods

Summary & Rating: 5. Most definitely a 5 for a rating. Homeschool In The Woods produces some magnificent resources. My download sounded innocent enough—Maps. Then, when I actually opened up the files, I was overwhelmed—I had over 300 maps, notebooking pages, State  and Country fact sheets, and brochures…my head was spinning with map project ideas! I received the combo-pak of gorgeous hand-illustrated Black and white maps to review.

My download included two sections:

  • Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps: This section has tons of maps in Ancient and Modern styles, so you can use them in many different ways. This section includes over 40 World notebooking pages
  • Olde World Style Modern and Historical Maps: United States Maps: This section includes several versions of maps for each state, and maps pertaining to American History. Also, there are fact sheets for each state.
Hand-drawn illustrated maps

In our homeschool, I am always looking for just the right atlas and map to suit a particular lesson or project. Having these maps from Homeschool In The Woods really gives me some freedom–the children and I have what we need, and better yet, we can create our own fact sheets and notebooking pages to go along with other lessons. I think many of my lessons will become a little more “unit” like, as we begin adding more geography to our regular literature or history lessons using the maps.

There are countless ways to use these maps. One of my crewmembers, Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool mentioned using the outline maps as bases for salt dough maps for young kids. What a great idea!

Sheri at  What’s In The Box used these maps, the workbox idea and some other supplies to create a geography center for her homeschool. You can see her Geography Center in progress, here.

You can view more information and samples of the maps, here. Or, go here for samples and to see some freebies!

The downloads are priced at $18.95 each, and the CD version is $19.95 each. They also have a Combo-Pak (both sets together) priced at $28.95 for the download and $29.95 for the CD set.

Do check out Homeschool In The Woods for some excellent history resources.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

A Combo-Pak map download was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.