Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wonders of Old - A Product Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a product called Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old is an heirloom quality timeline book that the student fills out himself.

Wonders of Old was created by Terri Johnson for Knowledge Quest and Bramley Books. For many years now I have been working my way through the Ambleside Online curriculum with my son. It is a Charlotte Mason style program, and one of the areas I have struggled to implement is the "Book of Centuries", also known as a time line.

Several times, and in various ways, I have tried to implement the practice of using a timeline. This usually resembled the practice of writing a line on notebook paper, dividing the line by decades, indicating what century we were in, etc. No matter how hard i tried, it was trashy, uninspired, not respected. Pages would tear out of the notebook, or they would never reach the notebook and would become wrinkled in a pile of unfiled papers somewhere.

We even do Notebooking Pages, where we indicate on the page the time period of the individual we are considering, be it an artist, a composer, a poet, or a historic figure. The time era just floated out there in some sort of esoteric, spacey place that our brains could not pin down.
(Caspar David Friederick's Trees and Bushes in the Snow, as depictd by my son with fire, I think)

Then Terri Johnson offered to let me review Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old.  My son hates it. (Don't let that bother you -- he hates almost everything for the first two months or more... Especially if it resembles school work.)

Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old is divided nicely into the different time eras -- Ancient History, Medieval History, New World History, and Modern World History.
Each section has, at the end of it, a listing of important things that occurred in that time period.
We've been working our way through the 1800s this year.  The way that we have been using Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old thus far is to do our regular reading, and then when we come across an individual and date worthy of remembering (especially Presidents for us right now), a notation would be made at the appropriate spot on the timeline.
Reasons this is working for us:
  • My son is able to recognize and respect the value of this beautiful book, Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old, so he takes the effort to do a good and careful job on his entries.
  • The pages are high-quality, sturdy, and will stay intact. This book is sturdy enough to take the handling of a 13-year-old boy and still survive as a keepsake for him to take into his future.
  • When it is time to make an entry in the timeline, WE CAN FIND IT! It's so nice. We put it on our school shelf. It's not in a 1" binder, blending in with all the other 1" binders. It's not. It's a book. It's beautiful. And we respect it, we put it away, and we can find it when we want it. It doesn't require pages be filed... Can you tell I love it?
  • We stumbled across wonderful complementary products that we have also been able to integrate into our use of Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old. Specifically, a year ago I had purchased from Sonlight two sets of timeline figures (peel and stick) from Homeschool in the Woods. I had not even used them because I could not see putting them on a piece of loose-leaf notebook paper that was going to get messed up and trashed. I have been able to (occasionally) get the right picture figure ready at the right time so that my son could spruce up Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old with these timeline drawings. It is a great complementary purchase to supplement Wonders of Old. Wonders of Old. 
Wonders of Old is sold by Bramley Books and is available for $24.95 and is a worthwhile investment for students in grades 5-12.  Is it worth my money? Absolutely. Is it worth our time? Absolutely. We'll be using this book until he graduates, and then he'll have a keepsake.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of Wonders of Old in exchange for my honest, uninfluenced review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

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