Parenting Online: Taking The Internet By The Horns

Last year I had this grand vision…which I know is a big surprise.  I have huge ideas about a lot of things, and most of the time I just make a list and sit on it.  I don’t really have the supplies to complete the groovy and hip cross stitch quotes I have logged away on a Sticky note on my laptop, or the time to devote to learning how to can properly.  Some ideas I have are just too time intensive, and I never get around to carving out chunks of our day to accomplish them. Some ideas I just have to let go, but most I just forget about while I finish the laundry.  I may be an idea-person, but I hardly ever finish the majority of them.

I’d like to think that I only complete the great ones.  (I’d like to think that…)

But this time was different…

This time I had a great idea, and after I sketched out the skeleton of the idea, I put in the effort and actually did something with the idea!  I sat down, and plotted it out and fulfilled the agenda and completed something great!  What was this incredible idea, you ask?

I had this big idea of creating a website hub for parents who were interested in education for their kids.

Yeah, I know it isn’t curing cancer, but it is something that would have significantly helped me when I first began homeschooling.

Homeschooling has been a part of our lives for the past 8 years, and it has been a fascinating journey.  Never did I see myself homeschooling my children, when we first began to have children.  I saw myself sending our little kids into a brick-and-mortar school, just like I had and just like my husband had.  Really, my husband and I met in German class in high school.  I just figured we’d do the same thing as our forefathers and foremothers.

When I first started homeschooling, the sheer volume of teaching styles, different curriculums, books, textbooks, co-ops, online sites, et al., was quite more than overwhelming.  The first two years we went through a virtual charter school that sent us their curriculum, and that worked well for the time.  However, by the third year I understood my kids’ learning styles and which methods of teaching worked, and which didn’t; so, it was a good time to move on and do independent homeschooling.  I got to buy my own curriculum and I got to pick which subject sets to use, since I had a better idea of what worked better as well as what the kids actually liked.  It was a liberating year, and I have sincerely enjoyed the creative avenues we have discovered through our homeschooling travels.

So what I wanted was a hub that would pull together all these resources that I have used over the years and put them all in one place, and organize it so the idea of teaching your 5th grader isn’t the most impossible idea on earth.

I called this idea “Breaking Orbits,” to symbolize breaking free of the normal orbiting routine, and exploring outside of the norm.

Through the filter of my hubris, I thought it would be the beacon of light for parents, and we would create this underground network and revolutionize the world.  I mean, if Twitter could revolutionize the world by tweeting a short sentence about what you are doing, then creating a place for parents to participate in educating their kids should be a piece of cake!  Who doesn’t want this?? Right??!

Anyway, so I am big on ideas, and I am not big on networking.  I just am not a networking-PR-Advertising kinda gal.  Unfortunately, I have an “Eh, it might work. It might not. It’s still a good idea.” thing going…which has 0% entrepreneurial foundation in it.

This all being said, I kept the website around and just plugged stuff into it over time.  Just for myself.  Because I still liked the idea.

Then I sat on this website for a few months.


One day, I found a really neat site with fun experiment videos for kids.  I showed the website to the kids after they were finished with their schoolwork.  I showed them the Science Videos 4 Kids site that I had linked on Breaking Orbits, that was originally put there to be a resource for other parents, and my kids spent all day exploring the website and finding experiments they could do at home.

Suddenly, I realized I could put things onto Breaking Orbits for my can be a hub for us!  I honestly don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that we could use it for ourselves; I thought it had to be this world-changing revolutionary thing.  It didn’t occur to me to do something just for me.

Everything changed after that day.

Now…now it is a truly amazing, revolutionary idea.

I am just sharing my idea with you in case you want to use this idea for yourself.  This is not a networking idea, because I am not a networking person.  I am an idea person, and I believe good ideas are meant to be passed around and grafted into other ideas.

So here we go: Breaking Orbits

Screenshot 2015-05-11 11.34.16

Breaking Orbits is the safe webpage that I can trust.

Because I made it.  I know what is on there, and I update it regularly so my kids will always find something new and interesting.

It is a site that encourages my kids to be curious and to explore topics of science, literature, programming and history.  They learn about music and art.  I feel comfortable letting them play around on this site on their own, because everything on the site was hand chosen by me.

The internet is an incredibly big place, and there are so many amazing things out there!  What I have found and organized into pages is a fraction of a fraction of the opportunities to learn.

So what kind of pages are on Breaking Orbits?

A page for Curriculum Resources and listings:Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.04.38

A page for eBooks and eTextbooks:

Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.04.53

A page for DIY/Make/Electronics:

Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.05.11

A page for S.T.E.M. resources:Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.05.22

A grok page for starting coders:Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.05.38

A page with links to the online school sites the kids use:

Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.12.39

And finally, my kids’ favorite page and the one I update the most – a page for kid sites and videos.  On here I keep it updated with bug information and identification sites, book videos, nature documentaries, musician videos, Nautilus webcams…and whatever else I find!  This is probably the most fun page, and definitely the one the kids visit all the time:

Screenshot 2015-05-11 15.06.59

So, visit Breaking Orbits and enjoy!  Or take the internet by the horns. make your own site!


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