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The Ultimate Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Using Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can enjoy a simple mammals homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures!

NOTE: All of the mammals homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your mammals nature study.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

Mammals Homeschool Nature Study Using Outdoor Hour Challenges (in Nature Study Membership)

  • Animal Tracks Hunt – Mammals Outdoor Hour Challenge
  • Bats – Summer course
  • Bear – Forest Fun course
  • Beavers
  • Cats – Spring course
  • Cattle and Deer – Winter Continues course
  • Chipmunks – Autumn course (An example of a chipmunks and squirrel study with Homeschool Nature Study here)
  • Coyote – High Desert course
  • Elk – High Desert ebook
  • Goats – More Spring Nature Course
  • Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel – High Desert course
  • Horses – Autumn course
  • Moose – Forest Fun course
  • Mountain Lion – High Desert course
  • Mouse – More Summer course
  • Muskrat – Creepy Things course
You can enjoy a simple mammals homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard.
  • Pig – Autumn Continues course
  • Pocket Gopher – High Desert course
  • Porcupine – Forest Fun course
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons – Summer course
  • Rats
  • River Otter – High Desert course
  • Sheep – More Winter course
  • Skunks – Summer course
  • Skunks and Badgers
  • Squirrels and Squirrels with Rodent Notebooking Page
  • Winter Mammals from Winter Wednesday course
  • Winter Mammals Hiberation – Winter Wednesday course
  • Winter Mammal Tracks – Winter course
  • Wolf, Fox, and Dog
  • Woodchuck, Groundhog, Prairie Dog, and Marmot
We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.

Additional Mammal Homeschool Activities Included with Membership

  • Mammal Outdoor Hour Challenge Notebook Page
  • Mammal notebook page
  • Running List of Mammals printable notebook page
  • Looking for Signs and Tracks
  • Mammal nature study journal idea printable. Mammals at the zoo.
homeschool nature study membership for families

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these mammals resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on mammals plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

first published 2011 by Barb and updated by Tricia 2022

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The Teacher’s Story: Hers and Mine

McGurks Meadow  marshy area

“All the facts available and pertinent concerning each topic have been assembled in the ‘Teacher’s Story’ to make her acquainted with the subject; this is followed by an outline for observation on the part of the pupils while studying the object. It would seem that with the teacher’s story before the eyes of the teacher, and the subject of the lesson before the eyes of the pupils with a number of questions leading them to see the essential characteristics of the object, there should result a wider knowledge of nature than is given in this or any other book. ”
Handbook of Nature Study, Preface. Written in 1911 by Anna Botsford-Comstock.

Anna Botsford-Comstock never meant for the Handbook of Nature Study to be the complete sum of information about any one topic. Her aim seems to have been to equip the teacher with information so she could ignite some questions in her students. The students armed with good questions would set out to complete a nature study that led to a wider knowledge of what was right in their own world.

The Handbook of Nature Study, if used wisely, can help parents become better nature study guides. This large volume gathers concise information and nature study starters into one book, giving more time to be outdoors with our children rather than preparing lessons from scratch.

I have found that using the Handbook of Nature Study has prepared us for the opportunities that arise….even months later. The photo above was taken on our recent trip to Yosemite. My son noticed this marshy meadow stream and he immediately started looking for tadpoles. There were none, but he did notice some damselflies and dragonflies which we had studied a year or so ago from the Handbook. He could tell me which ones were which by looking at their wings.

Yellow Bellied Marmot
On this same hike we encountered our very first ever Yellow-bellied marmot. (He was busy eating flowers!) We only knew what it was because we had done a study of rodents with the Handbook of Nature Study. The Handbook does not cover Yellow-bellied marmots, but we applied what we already knew about other mammals like the woodchuck and squirrel. When we got back home we looked up the marmot and realized that it is a kind of ground squirrel so we were not far off in our observations. The point is that we were equipped with some basic knowledge and then were able to apply some questions from a previous study.

I think Anna Botsford-Comstock would be happy to know that her ideas and her Teacher’s Stories are as valid today as they were way back in 1911.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #46 Mammals: Woodchuck/Groundhog, Prairie Dog, Marmots

Outdoor Hour Challenge #46
Woodchuck/Groundhog, Prairie Dog, Marmot

Here is an informational video about woodchuck/groundhogs:

Great video introduction.

Have you ever seen a marmot? Here is a cute video to introduce you to this mammal.

1. Read pages 229-232 in the Handbook of Nature Study. As you read, highlight or underline some facts you can share with your children. There are observation ideas on page 231 and many of these suggestions are ones that you can continue to make over the next few seasons.

Here is an additional fact sheet on woodchuck:
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/groundhog.html

Information on marmots:
http://www.marmotburrow.ucla.edu/marmots.html

Prairie Dog information with video:
http://www.desertusa.com/dec96/du_pdogs.html

2. Supplemental reading in The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Read Stories 7-8. After you read each story, pause and let your child narrate back some facts they learned from the reading. This could be as simple as looking at the illustrations on pages 48 and 54 and having them tell you a few things about the woodchuck, the marmot, or the prairie dog.


3. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors on a nature walk. Look for signs of mammals as you walk. Look for tracks, burrows, holes, or scat. If you are able to observe one of this challenge’s featured mammals, be sure to use some of the observation ideas from page 231. Be alert for any opportunity to observe a mammal during your outdoor time. So far we have learned about rabbits and squirrels, but be on the look out for more common mammals like dogs, cats, or horses.

4. After your outdoor time, if you observed a mammal, you can look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study. For your nature journal you can sketch something you saw during your outdoor time. One additional idea is to compare two animals that we have already studied. You can compare a rabbit and a prairie dog or a squirrel and a prairie dog. Make sketches or make a list of the comparisons. You may also use any of the additional resources for your nature journal.

Additional resources for this challenge: