Incredible Benefits of Horseback Riding

From this sweet scared little girl to this capable confident young lady.

I know several years have passed, and she has literally grown up. However, she has also grown so much from this experience. It has become so much more than an activity. The horseback lessons themselves have taught Caitlyn the value of hard work, even dirty work you don’t like. It has taught her to put something else’s needs in front of her own. It has given her poise and confidence.

She has also made two incredible little friends, who she lovingly refers to as her minions. She has had the opportunity to help them with their horseback lessons, read to them, and teach them little things. It’s good for her to have someone younger than her to be an example for.

Plus, Ms Michelle often generously and amazingly includes Caitlyn in fantastic activities. We have baked candy corn and horse treats. I can’t even count the arts and crafts activities. Michelle is an artist, and she does such a great job explaining the projects and concepts. Which is fantastic, because Caitlyn loves art and I stink at it!

This is now her happy place.

Solar Eclipse

In August, we were fortunate enough to be able to go visit my Aunt’s house for the solar eclipse. She lives in Missouri and her house fell right in the path of the total eclipse. Since we were traveling so far we decided to make more of a trip of it, and enjoyed some of the sites.

The Gateway Arch was at the top of my list of places to visit. We decided the view was enough, and that we didn’t want to go up inside of it. Richard found a great park across the river to go to for the view. He also offered to take us to the St Louis Zoo, which was amazing. The had an incredible butterfly house, which fell right in with our science studies.

It was fantastic to be able to just step outside to watch the eclipse. We were able to go in and out through out the afternoon, whenever we wanted. We were able to avoid the heat, and have a fantastic view with no crowds.

All in all, time with Aunt Kathy was Caitlyn’s favorite part of the trip.

Early Writing Forms and Mummification

Caitlyn wrote in hieroglyph (paper) and cuneiform (clay), and then she tested to see which would withstand the elements better. First we left it outside for a week, and neither form was impacted by that. Then we “flooded the Nile Delta”.

Unfortunately, our results were inaccurate (which happens sometimes). I used air dry clay, because that is what I had on hand, and I didn’t realize it wouldn’t harden the way baked clay does in the amount of time given. So, Our clay got slimy and gross, before there was any impact to our scroll.

While Caitlyn’s writing experiment was hanging out outside for a week, we started a new chapter of history and began the mummification experiment. I opted to do apples again. So we spent an afternoon weighing apple slices. Then burying wrapped (gauze) and unwrapped apples in table salt, epsom salt, baking soda, flour, and 50/50 mixtures of those. Each cup was labeled with the apple weight, whether it was wrapped or not, and which “preservative” was used.

Caitlyn hypothesized that the wrapped 50% table salt and 50% epsom salt apple would mummify the best. Then there was nothing to do but wait a week, and see what happened.

This was her reaction to the control apple, but the flour apple ended up being the grossest. It was complete mush and just had to be thrown away. We dug out, wiped off, unwrapped, and weighed all the apple slices again. Above is what the individual slices all looked like. Then we compared the weights at the beginning to the weight at the end to determine which apple slice lost the most moisture. Caitlyn was very close in her hypothesis, since the 50/50 epsom salt and table salt ended up being the most mummified. However, the wrapped apples all turned out worse, since the gauze trapped the moisture and prevented the preservative from actually touching the apple.

This may not have been Caitlyn’s ideal experiment, but she still loves hands on activities.

If you want a really cute comparison, this is the blog from when we did mummification four years ago.

Mummification Experiment

Book Club

Caitlyn’s new activity this year is book club. A local homeschool mom has organized a club for 4th-6th graders using the Arrow guides from Brave Writer. Caitlyn loves reading, and she was on board to give this a try.

She really liked the first book, A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett. She even read it twice to be prepared for the meeting, and took good notes on all the bad things that happened in the book. We also used the new poster that I made:

She was nervous about the first meeting, but I think she enjoyed it while she was there. She participated by answering questions, and responding to other kid’s thoughts on the book.

The group also painted eye rocks, to keep or hide around town (because that is a thing right now).


Flying creatures- Insects

In science, we skipped forward in the book and started our studies on insects. Caitlyn has done really well with observation and interest in this. She has done much better than I thought she would!

Our coolest observation so far was when Caitlyn found a newly molted cicada. It had just come out of its husk, so it still had wet wings. This was very interesting, and great for observation because it couldn’t fly away.

We have also observed and discussed their husks, dragonflies, and a caterpillar.

History Projects

We have done a couple of small projects for history already this year. We have cycled back to Story of the World volume 1, which is ancient times. In addition to the actual curriculum we also read The Boy of the Painted Cave by Justin Denzel, so this “cave painting” activity was a great extension.

When we studied ancient Egypt Caitlyn made the double crown of upper and lower Egypt.


Leia is finally able to join us in the school room most of the time without being a disruption. She and Caitlyn, are enjoying hiding in the tent this year when they can. I love that Caitlyn can do school and hang out with our fur baby at the same time.

Apologia Flying Creatures – Lesson 1

We started our study of Apologia’s flying creatures this year, after doing land animals and swimming creatures the last two years. The first lesson was a general overview of flight and also a look at how animals are classified.

We did this short simple experiment on air pressure. Caitlyn loved it, and she cracked up every time the water spurted.

She also built two gliders and did test flights to determine which design was more aerodynamic.

So far she’s really enjoying science!

1st Day of School

I made a few small changes to our school room, but mostly I just cleaned and organized all of our resources.

Caitlyn was so excited she got up and insisted on doing a couple of subjects before we even had breakfast.

Learning to code, using SCRATCH, has been her favorite so far. She was also intrigued by our new daily notebook, which is in Spanish this year.

Overall we had a good start to 5th Grade:

All About Caitlyn – 5th Grade Version

One of our back to school traditions is having Caitlyn complete an all about me worksheet. These were Caitlyn’s answers this year.

Activity: Horseback Riding and Baton


Favorite Place: Beach

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Song: Ride by 21 Pilots

Movie: Moana

Favorite Book to Read: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Favorite Subject in School: Reading

Favorite Food: Pizza or Mac and Cheese

Drink: Apple Juice

Favorite Animal: Orca

Best Friend: Sarah Day

Game: 7 Wonders

Toy: My Phone

Time of Day: 1:00 PM

Holiday: Christmas

When I grow up I want to be an: Author

We also did a new sheet this year, Caitlyn by the numbers. She really enjoyed this, surprisingly. 

Going clockwise around:

946 books read (on her Goodreads Account)

4ft 1.5 in tall

3 favorite animals

6 states she has been to

1 teacher

10 years old

2 years of having Leia

5th grade