Microsoft OneNote and History in the Budget Home School

This week I am going to be talking all about technology in the home school and easy ways you can integrate some great tools.

There are many uses for Microsoft OneNote in the home education program (I’m a Microsoft OneNote Junkie) but I am going to start out today with showing you how this great program can benefit your study of history with your children.

First, I want to tell you a little bit about OneNote though for those who are not familiar with the program.


Microsoft OneNote is like having a traditional notebook with tabbed dividers where you can fill in your own original content, copy content from the web or even borrow a notebook shared on the web and collaborate.

Parents and Students can either type information in or write by hand using a stylus on a tablet PC. This feature comes in particularly handy for having your child fill out worksheets or to practice their handwriting without wasting all of the paper.

When adding content (notes) to a OneNote page there are many tags you can add to a page, such as to-do, book to read, movie to watch and more.

There are many more features as well that you will become comfortable with after using OneNote and would be happy to walk any one along who wishes to try out the program and needs a little help.



There are many ways in which you can buy OneNote, with the prices as of today from Microsoft standing at:

It is available as a standalone program for $79.99 or $69.99 for the Home and Student Version that is suitable for a home educators needs.

OneNote is available as a part of the Office Home and Student Suite 2010, which also includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint for $149.99.

The Office Home and Business 2010 suite is $279.99 and includes full versions of the programs available in Home and Student as well as Outlook.

Finally, there is the Office Professional 2010 program suite for $499.99 in which Publisher and Access are added into the mix of programs.

If you do not have a word processing system or yours is outdated, I would highly suggest the Home and Student package as I feel the price is nothing compared to what you would spend on ink, paper and workbooks.

If you are satisfied with your current software however, just purchase the standalone OneNote, which will quickly pay for itself as you save on paper and ink cost.


OneNote comes in versions compatible with Windows and MAC. The program also has a web app, which provides many of the functions of the full program.

You can also utilize your OneNote notebooks, updating them and more on the go using a Windows or iPhone.

OneNote and History

 Many homeschoolers are fond of using a few good spine text and then supplemental books to provide their students with a study of history complemented by wall timelines or what is called a Book of Centuries.

I have issue with both methods because we just don’t have the space for wall timelines and in my opinion, creating a book of centuries uses up entirely much paper for family that tries to be a sustainable and eco-conscious in our schooling choices as possible.

Choosing to document your child’s history studies with OneNote instead eliminates the need for either. Instead, you can keep a detailed folder of history in which you can add endless pages of information as your child learns and grows.

Here is a sample History notebook I have created for you to view “Our History Adventure.” Simpley click on the notebook and it will open in a view only format. If you would like a copy of this notebook for your own home school that you may edit and add to, contact me and I will be happy to share it with you.

(You can also take the time to click on the Personal/Web notebook to learn about all of the features of OneNote and how to use the program)

In this notebook, I have divided the tabs up by time periods in which information will be filled in as it is studied.

Look under “Prehistory: Paleozoic Era” to see a sample of how information can be filled in. For a younger child you could do what I have done, find relevant useful info for the particular time in history, and paste it in to study with your child. Documenting helpful videos to see, books to read etc.

After studying the information you could quickly add a page to document your child’s understanding of what they have learned filling in a narration or writing up your own multiple choice review for them answer.

There are so many directions in which you could go designing your own history notebook for your child, one like my sample that could serve as your own textbook when finished or a less formal notebook that only holds snippets of information and pictures pasted in by your child to show what they have learned.

I hope you enjoyed learning how you can use OneNote to help our your budget home school history studies and join me later as I share how to create an interactive science textbook with OneNote, how you can turn OneNote into the one only home school planner/portfolio you will ever need and how to replace your child’s worksheets and writing notebooks with OneNote.