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I expect my 6 yo to have a lifelong special interest in dinosaurs and this newsletter was right up our alley. He specifically refers to his future career as scientist for dinosaurs. First grade homework had a prompt for what would a magic wand do for you and he wrote “The magic wand would bring back all the dinosaurs from the dead.” He spent an hour adding to his picture which was tough for me to watch as my own genetic mirror of perfectionism and hyper focus.

Thank you for speaking to the unsettled feeling, I also have it this year and I don’t know why. My kids started preK and 1st grade, part of our discomfort was suddenly seeing more explosive meltdowns when we had felt my ND oldest had a good support system down and we were all understanding brain differences enough to have a peaceful home. Reading seems to be very regulating for him so I’m glad for it to be in his regulation tool kit to bring his body back to safety especially as he becomes a more independent reader.

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There is something about dinosaurs... (And wow, I LOVE the question, "what would a magic wand do for you?" I'm going to use that at work 😂)

Lots of big feelings and meltdowns in our house too. Hang in there, friend.

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Solidarity to you. I’m an educator and the back to school transition still unsettles me every year. And the transitions to 1st and 4th are epic ones! They go from learning how to do school to learning through school, and from learning to read to reading to learn, respectively. Some of these changes start like a wave before these grades begin, but 1st and 4th are where they come to land — often with an increased cognitive load for both kids and their home grownups, especially if it’s a homework-assigning school. I love what you have to say about courage, hope, faith and an attentive orientation to the present. They do feel like the only real small rafts we have for moving with these waves, instead of being always pummeled by them. Wishing you a great year ahead.

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The homework assigning is tough for me as a first grade mom. My kid struggles with task initiation and even getting him to start the homework is a struggle. He is very capable of completing class work but homework is always a battle. We don’t have those battles with the reading but as a writer I hate to see him get overwhelmed with the task of writing even one sentence. We repeat “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good,” as a mantra at our house! I told him I still have the same problem as a 35 yo with ADHD/anxiety and I want him to feel better supported at a young age.

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My 1st grader also has homework and it frankly enrages me. We are still trying to get into the groove of a routine with it (for everyone, including my 9yo, who has a harder time even than my 6yo). I'm hoping that we can settle in soon... (but in my heart of hearts, I find homework to be fundamentally useless in almost every way).

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Yes I feel enraged. I have several friends who are former elementary educators turned SAHMs who taught 2nd grade and I point blank asked them their opinion on the value of homework. One friend said she thought the writing piece was important 1:1 because it was hard to give her students the focused attention they could get at home as far as needing potential supports. But my kid doesn’t have the motor development issue, it is all tied to him feeling like he can’t think of a “perfect” response to prompts and feeling frustrated with having homework in general. I could ask the same question and get a great response but framing it as homework makes him angry and I’m sure he senses my ambivalence too.

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The perfectionism is hard. My oldest struggled with that, too.

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Thank you so much for this, Ryan 💚 This is helpful and comforting.

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Sep 19, 2023Liked by Sarah Miller

Gah. These words. You're a paleontologist, an archeologist, an historian. You unearth and write.

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Love you 🩷

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Sep 19, 2023·edited Sep 19, 2023Liked by Sarah Miller

I was going to comment on the 3rd to 4th grade transition, but Ryan explained it so eloquently, so I'm just over here nodding. We're having a hard time with the 5th to 6th grade transition, even though our son is at the same school-- middle school is just entirely different. All of a sudden he is supposed to navigate all these new online portals for assignments, grades, etc. While the school communicates generally to the middle school parents, they communicate specifically to the middle schoolers themselves.

I love the idea of taking ownership, but the shift was quite sudden-- we could have used a bridge. :) It's overwhelming.

All this to say (once again) you are not alone. Fritter away, if it serves you!

(Also, Darcy should have her own newsletter! Just saying🤩)

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Thanks, Katie.

And Darcy SHOULD have her own newsletter 💯

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As a subscriber and dino-book author I can't help but humbly offer WHAT THE DINOSAURS DID LAST NIGHT as an addition to your wonderful list of dinosaur picture books. (Especially since we may or may not be about to announce another entry in the series...) 🦖❤️ Loving your Substack, btw!

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OMG YES! How could I forget this one?! I was a fan of the dinosaurs before they even became a book 😊 (and congrats on another in the series)!

I'm updating this post right now to include it... thanks, Refe!

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Wow, thank you! Always amazing to find an OG Dinovember fan in the wild. Crazy to think we've been at it 10 years now. Wish we had more time to keep it up but hoping to post at least few new photos this November :)

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Sep 19, 2023Liked by Sarah Miller

I don't know how I missed that one as we've read it and I thought it was hilarious. Requesting it again from the library.

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As a Dinosaur myself, I love this week’s books! 🦖😂

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😂 You are the most stylish, hilarious, and wonderful dinosaur I know

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Aww, you made my day, Sarah! 🤗

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My mom called me the other day all excited that she found a first edition of Danny and the Dinosaur.

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That's understandable, though I wouldn't really recommend that book anymore -- there is some very weird, micro-agressive stuff in there. Debbie Reese explains it far better than I ever could: https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2010/06/syd-hoffs-danny-and-dinosaur.html

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Thanks for sharing! I really don't remember it well. It was one of my brother's favorites though so my parents easily read it hundreds of times.

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Sep 22, 2023Liked by Sarah Miller

The long-awaited dinosaur post! I'm marveling at how many titles on this list are new to me when I thought I had reached the end of the internet in terms of searching for dinosaur books. Thank you, thank you! My favorite dinosaur moment was when I had my kids make first day of school signs that include what they want to be when they grow up. Claire responded "Dinosaur". Not a paleontologist or dinosaur scientist or archaeologist, but an actual dinosaur. I think she needs the magic wand mentioned below.

Uncertainty makes me squirm and I'm sorry you are finding yourself in the thick of it.

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The fact that you found some new dinosaur books from this list absolutely delights me, Darcy.

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Sep 27, 2023Liked by Sarah Miller

Tyrannosaurus Math and Dizzy the Dinosaur are both new to us and huge hits. Combining math and dinosaurs is genius. Thank you!

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I cannot tell you how much it delights me to be able to introduce YOU to new dinosaur books, Darcy 💚

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