When we first started Story of the World, these planning pages from Barefoot Meandering are what I used. They worked really well for the first year or so. We didn’t watch many videos at all & nearly all the books were physical books. As I started to incorporate more digital books & videos, though, those pages didn’t work for me. I needed a place on the computer where I could link them up. I tried Word & Excel but I had to remember to transfer the updated document to whatever I’d be schooling from (the laptop or iPad). I tried Google Drive and it worked better but I wasn’t thrilled with any of the set-ups I could make.
Then I was reading on the Well-Trained Mind forums and learned about Microsoft’s free program, One Note. Able to link digital items? Check. Free? Check. Easy to list future ideas? Check. Syncs across platforms? Check. I used it just for history & science originally but now I also do my yearly overview planning on it as well as long-term planning. I have tried it for Elizabeth’s weekly planning but she really prefers paper-and-pen. (I will cover those in future posts.)
Also helpful? I can insert .pdfs directly into One Note (as an attachment or in worksheet view), I can add audio files right in, while using the iPad I can handwrite in notes using a stylus and the checkbox to-do list is great for prep planning!
Setting One Note Up
Along the top, I create separate sections that I can use to plug in ideas I gather. When I’m ready to plan a new chapter, I can refer to these sections for inspiration.
Then I created new pages with each one being titled the name of the chapter. The indented pages were part of a month-long break we took to study more in-depth.
After that, I went into the first chapter and used “Insert–>Table” to create a daily plan which I then copied into the following chapters. After that, I can go into each chapter, plug in the curriculum spine details and fill in the rest, as needed.
The chapter above is a little on the ambitious side for us. We really enjoy history, though, so most of it will be finished. As I mentioned in my video, I aim for a couple supplemental books and a couple videos plus an image or two per chapter. Those items may relate directly to the chapter but more often they relate to the time period.
A few more notes:
1. I try to link as many things as I can–links to videos on Netflix/Amazon, links to the books on Overdrive, etc. I find that I stay on top of things more if I do.
2. Labeling where I can find the books is KEY for me. Otherwise, I forget to get them from the library, spend too much time trying to find them on the bookshelf when it’s really on my Kindle, etc.
3. Ditto to movies! If we are going to watch it on the laptop or iPad, I will link directly to it from OneNote. If it is on a DVD or we will watch it on the TV, I note that. If it’s an episode in a series on TV, I always note the season & episode–one too many times I’ve wasted time going season by season looking!
4. If it is something on YouTube, I like to add how long it is (see: Wednesday short media, above). In case we are running behind or have extra time, this allows me to quickly scan other days and adjust.
If you have any questions or need clarification, please let me know!