The Best $99 a Year You Can Spend On Your Kids’ Education


Yesterday I did a talk at a school, talking about careers in information technology.  We had a great time with a demo of texting colours to lamps in the lamps in the class room – yes, Text-To-Lamp -  but it pains me to know that there’s little exposure locally to industry standard software for these children. 

I live in an area of the country where legislation prevents school boards from promoting services that store personal information outside of the country, or some such nonsense.  Now I get the privacy concerns – I’m a private person – but this really needs to change.  It’s nonsense because teachers here slyly promote US-hosted services like Twitter and Prezi because they know that children need to be technically savvy.  So sadly, overall in some places of the modern world, children here are not being exposed to great software and services and the skills to use them that can be taken into the job market place.  So here’s the deal.  It’s up to parents to do this in the home where they can…… 


You can go and buy Word for $119 for a single computer or Office Home & Student 2013 (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote) for $139 OR…  you can subscribe for just $99 a year to Office 365 Home Premium and install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access & on Publisher on up to 5 PCs (Windows 7 or 8)  or Macs (OS X 10.6+) or Android phones or iPhones and get free updates!!.  Note that the version of office for Mac is not as recent as the version for Windows and doesn’t include all of the application.  You can also Office on Windows Phone too (that isn’t part of the 5!).  Check out the link to see the full details.

So when I titled this post, “… Your Kids’ Education,” with the apostrophe after the ‘s’ I meant it.  A family with 5 devices, can all be covered by one subscription.


Also, regardless of the Office subscription, each person with their own Microsoft account (free!) gets 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage.   You need at least one Microsoft account to activate the subscription and from which the 5 installs can be initiated and managed.  Even though one person/account purchases the subscription which enables the 5 office installs on different devices, each person can log in with their own account and access their own documents on SkyDrive when using the copy of Office.  

The account under which the subscription was added, also gets a 20GB add-on storage bonus, as well as 60 minutes per month of Skype calling to phones in 60+ countries.

Next month, Microsoft is going to enable the subscription owner to share the benefits with up to four other account holders in a household so that those people can benefit from additional SkyDrive space and manage installs themselves.

Microsoft Skype

Once your family is hooked up with SkyDrive (even without the Office 365 Home Premium subscription), you can share cloud-based folders and files with each other.  One of the best things you can share is a OneNote notebook.  OneNote is in fact available in a free mobile app version  for Windows Phone, Windows 8, iPhone, iPad and Android.  It’s great for taking notes and organizing your thoughts.  I used to scatter Notepad files all over my hard drive.  With OneNote, I can make notes, list or capture web pages and links and neatly file them.  Best of all, I can do this on one device and then almost immediately pick up another device and see those notes synchronized – I don’t even have to click a Save button.

What if you’re on a friends’ computer to collaborate on a project and they don’t have Office installed?  No problem, just log into SkyDrive, find your document and open up Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents in a web browser version of the software, with basic Office functionality including enough to make basic edits and do your PowerPoint presentation from the browser!  You can even create new documents there too.

New updated browser app versions are rolling out today for those logging in with their account at or  Want to collaborate with a classmate when you’re not there to log into their computer?  Microsoft has announced new/improved live collaboration features allowing multiple people to collaborate on a document shared on SkyDrive –

Go back to one of your licensed devices to use the full power of Office application later and in some cases you can do live collaboration between the full applications and the browser-based ones.  If you have the account with then subscription you can even use Office On Demand on Windows 7+ to stream down the full office application temporarily only another person’s PC!


SkyDrive ties your life together for free and Office 365 Home Premium subscription brings the power of the full office applications to 5 devices in your family and gives your kids the exposure to up to date industry-standard software so they can learn the skills needed for the workplace.  Not ready for that $99 bargain.  Try it for free for 1 month today –

If you’re looking for another bargain, consider the Dell Venue 8 Pro 8” tablet for your children.  It includes an initial copy of Office Home & Student 2013, which you can then upgrade going forward as one device with your $99 a year Office 365 Home Premium subscription.

Full disclosure here.  I’m passionate about this, and no-one is paying me to write it.  Given the timing of this post, I will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card.  You know what I’ll do with that $100?  Pay for another key of Office 365 Home Premium subscription for my family. 

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