Tonight is the night of the full moon, and that means it’s time for a report from the Lunar Society of the River Houses.
The Lunar Society is one of our big and wonderful plans to encourage homeschoolers to participate in real online research projects and share their results with other homeschool families. Here’s an outline of the idea, along with a list of great projects that homeschool students (and their parents) can join and contribute to, from history to natural history to galactic exploration:
Browse through that project list and find one that would be a good fit for your family. Before you know it, your students will be learning a host of valuable skills, and your little home academy will be on its way to becoming a research powerhouse. 🔬 🔭 🖥 🦋 🔍 ⚗️ 📖 🌲 😊
Over time, it’s my hope that these monthly reports about the Lunar Society will evolve into something like a forum where homeschoolers participating in online research can share their achievements. As a simple example, here’s my own personal report for the past month on the two main projects I participate in, eBird and SETI@Home:
On the eBird site (eBird.org), sponsored by Cornell University, I’ve been tracking the birds in a small riverside park near me (ebird.org/hotspot/L6926932) and over the past month I’ve added 30 new checklists (daily observation reports), bringing my eBird total to 448. Here’s today’s list as an example: ebird.org/view/checklist/S50161311. When all the checklists are combined you can really see the distribution and migration chart for the year develop, with fall migration and spring migration pulses visible for a number of local species.
You can start keeping a similar list for a location near you — your backyard, or a local park or other natural area. Just pay a visit to the eBird site (ebird.org) and start exploring.
The SETI@Home project (setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu), sponsored by the University of California, uses idle time on your computer to perform complex calculations on radio telescope data, looking for extraterrestrial signals. (Really!) I’ve been participating in this project with my computers for a long time and I recently created a River Houses team page for future use (setiathome.berkeley.edu/team_display.php?teamid=208851). Once your computer is signed up to participate, you can print a “certificate of computation” that shows how much data you’ve analyzed.
I’m up to 21,604 “cobblestones” (units) of contributed computation so far. You can participate and get a regular certificate of your own — it would be just the thing for your homeschool bulletin board. 😊
The Internet provides exceptional opportunities for homeschool students to participate in real research projects like these in a variety of scientific and scholarly fields, something that would have been impossible only a few years ago. Pay a visit to our Lunar Society page (riverhouses.org/lunar-society) to see many more projects that your family can join.
What scholarly and scientific discoveries have you made in your homeschool this month? 😊
❡ Calling all photographers: If you’ve got a budding photographer in your homeschool, one group project you can participate in is the Wikimedia Commons Photo Challenge. Different themes are chosen each month; this month’s themes are “Bones” and “Measurements.” Just sign up and follow the instructions to submit your own entries. Once you’re a registered participant you can also vote for each month’s winners. Check the page regularly to find out about additional upcoming themes. 😊 📸