I don't know if you've ever felt like a homeschool vendor read your mind, but I'm certain the folks who developed TimeMaps did just that! Developed by TimeMaps, Ltd., they are available to those of us in the homeschool realm via a partnership between TimeMaps, Ltd. and Knowledge Quest. Currently, there are seven time periods/locations available: Ancient China, Rise of Rome, Fall of Rome, Rise of Islam, The Black Death, European Exploration, and Atlantic Slave Trade.
So what exactly are TimeMaps? They are "Maps That Move Through Time". And they are really, really cool. They are dynamic maps of an area and time period that move sequentially in chronological order at the click of a button. Each slide contains not only the full color map and the time reference, but also encyclopedia type information about who all the "main players" are and what exactly is going on during that time. Moving graphics on some slides show the movement of armies or people groups. It's probably better if I show you (and please, DO watch this...your jaw will drop, I promise!):
Each TimeMaps sold by Knowledge Quest also comes with suggested student activities and teacher resource pages. For example, for the Rise of Rome, there are 20 pages of teacher info offering an in depth look at what was going on historically in relation to each slide. In addition, two of Knowledge Quest's printable maps (one teacher map and one student map from their Map Trek series) are provided at the end.
The pros: I think TimeMaps is brilliant.
Most students, most people, are visual learners, and this allows history to visually unfold right before your eyes. You can literal watch boundaries change and armies advance. Additional information is available at the click of a button, so you don't need other books or the internet to make the learning complete. And each TimeMaps set also has a button that points you to their free World Atlas online which provides information on other time periods that TimeMaps sets don't exist for yet.
The cons: Not all time periods and places are available yet- and you are going to wish they were!
The bottom line: Since I first saw these TimeMaps, I have been drooling over them. But being a bit of a map nerd, I own many, many map programs already so I just could not justify buying it when it was first released. But of all the maps I own, I would say that this is hands down the best. And they are maps that teach, not just show. And since they each come with a printable map as well, you have a way to allow your student to record what they've learned on paper to cement the learning. And you can use TimeMaps with any curriculum you are already using for history. I have to say, for me, this is love at first sight!
To purchase TimeMaps or any of the other wonderful products Knowledge Quest has to offer, go to Knowledge Quest's website. Each map set is available individually as a download for $9.95 each. They are also available as a collection via download for $44.95 or on CD for $49.95. Some members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Map Trek instead of TimeMaps. To see what they had to say, or to read other TimeMap reviews, go to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the Review Crew, I received the complete collection of TimeMaps as a download for the purpose of giving my honest review. That was the only compensation I received. All opinions expressed are my own.