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Review of The Shaping of a Nation: Blackline Maps of American History

Posted Jul 23 2009 10:34pm

Homeschooling Curriculum

Meredith's Homeschool Reviews

"Pass the colored pencils, Jimmy." Shine was focused on the blank outline map in front of her, filling in places that Lewis and Clark explored on their expedition.

There was silence in the room as the children concentrated on filling in their color-coded maps just right. Silence? Wow! That's not a common thing in our house.

Shaping Front eCover  Knowledge Quest's Shaping of a Nation:  Blackline Maps of American History was just what I needed for American history this year. In past years, I have discovered that maps and mapping assignments really help my children understand history with more clarity. Just seeing the WHERE helps them to remember the WHAT, WHEN, and WHY. My favorite mapping assignment is filling in blank outline maps, but all I have had in the past are large portions of the continents. I can zero in on smaller areas and then enlarge those areas, but it can be frustrating. Knowledge Quest to the rescue!

Shaping of a Nation: Blackline Maps of American History contains 112 hand-drawn maps pertaining to specific time periods. You can reproduce these maps as often as needed for your individual family. There are two versions of each map: a blank map and a map already filled out correctly. A great help if you are not as geography literate as you wish you were! Here is a list of all the topics covered by the outline maps.

Vikings discover North America

Columbus Sails West

World Explorers

Europeans Settle in North America

African Exploitation

The Original Thirteen Colonies

Native American Tribal Groups

The Seven Years' War

The Revolutionary War

Battle of Bunker Hill

AmericanMapsCD Westward Expansion

Slave vs Free States

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

The War of 1812

Trails of Settlement & Exploration

Goldrush in California

The Civil War



The Battle of Little Bighorn

World War I and the Final Allied Offensive

The Great Depression

World War II and Normandy

The Bombing of Pearl Harbor

War in the South Pacific

The Korean War

The Vietnam War

The Gulf War (Desert Storm)



Operation Iraqi Freedom

State Maps

11" x 17" map of the USA

Julianna July 2 2008 (21) At the beginning of the book, before the map section, there is a listing of map directions with short assignments for each map. You could also give your own children different options in using the maps. I just used Terri's assignments. They were easy and fun! Here is an example assignment for the map of World War II and Normandy: choose one color for all German-occupied countries during World War II, write year the USA entered the war, name event that thrust the USA into the war, and color the five beaches of Normandy overtaken on D-Day.

You met Terri Johnson a few months ago when I interviewed her and did a review of her "Homeschooling ABC's," a training course for homeschooling moms.  It makes sense to Terri to study geography alongside history. In Terri's home school, her children compile books for each section of history study complete with maps, narrations from textbooks they've read, and pictures the children have drawn or captioned. When they are finished, they each have their own personal "history book" as a memory of what they have learned.

I agree with Terri about studying geography alongside history. Geography impacts history in such a big way. Most important cities are at a port. Before railroads, all trade routes were on the water. Railroads opened up a whole new world for shipping goods. Historically, shipping routes and railroad lines are important geographical locations. Little towns (which later become big cities) often sprang up along these routes.

When I am studying history, a map of the area during the time period makes everything come alive for me. Your children might be just like me. If they are, then consider using maps in history class. Terri's Shaping of A Nation:  Blackline Maps of American History can be purchased on her website, Knowledge Quest, for $29.95 or can be downloaded for $19.95. I purchased the e-book, downloaded it right there, and printed up maps as needed. If you are studying world history this year, you might want to try Blackline Maps of World History The Complete Set 5,000 BC to Present.  Also check out Knowledge Quest's timelines and What Really Happened in...series.

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1 NIV)

Above all, remember that history is HIS Story and geography is His World. When you look at a map, marvel at the One who created the world we enjoy. God has moved throughout time to draw men to Himself. Look deeper in history class. Find the story that lies under the surface and look for God. Try to discover what the Lord is up to as you look back at people and events. May you draw closer to Him as you study God's sovereign hand in the affairs of men throughout time in the world He has created. Blessings to each of you!

Meredith Curtis  

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