Tag Archives: Homeschool

My Unschooler has learned to read and what we did today!

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Today the kids woke up earlier than usual, which means the grown ups at a sleepier start than we prefer. Papa and I sat around drinking coffee, talking about his new job that starts next week, and finalizing our Thanksgiving menu (that we are actually cooking on Saturday).

The big kids were busy playing together. I am not actually sure what they were playing there for a while, but they were happy and getting along. The baby was walking around getting into this or that.

It was time to start getting ready for the grocery store. I walked into the room where I heard the kids. Hailey was reading Elijah a book. Some parts she had memorized I am sure, but many other words she was sounding out or already knew. I was really surprised. I knew she had been reading more and more, but she had not quite been ready to show what she had learned yet. When she finished up she was so excited.

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We all got ready. While I was getting ready, Elijah asked if I wanted him to tell me a story. He told me a version of Jack and the Beanstalk where the Princess saves the day at first, but then the Giant comes back and terrorizes again until Jack is finally not afraid to stop him. I loved the creativity. A few months ago he would not have been able to be that coherent with a story.

We headed out the door. Hailey asked to bring some books in the car too. The kids stayed in the car with their Papa at the first store. We stopped and got some pizza for lunch. Then we headed to the nest store.

Hailey asked to read me a book in the car. This was a new book that she hadn’t had read to her yet. She read almost the entire thing with only some help on some longer words. It was a decent sized book too. I can officially say that she has learned how to read. We are really proud of her. Unschoolers can learn how to read with no lessons!

Hailey was asking some questions about different punctuation in the book. She had never noticed commas or quotation marks before. We talked about what they were and tried to think of some more examples.

At the last store we talked a lot about what we would be making for our big dinner. The kids helped me find the ingredients. Then they were making up silly rhymes. Elijah has just been learning what rhymes are this week from a library book we picked up that he really liked. So he kept coming up with rhymes and repeating some he had heard before.

On the way home Hailey said that she was a story store and would sell us a story for a quarter. So I gave her a quarter and she made up a brand new story for me on the spot. Then Papa gave her a quarter and she gave him a story too.

We got home and unloaded the groceries. Elijah asked me to put some face paint on him really quick. He is some kind of Pokemon superhero apparently.

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Hailey is playing the wii and Papa is helping her beat a big bad boss. Elijah is eating a smoothie popsicle. The baby is getting into stuff he isn’t supposed to and trying to eat crayons.

Please feel free to share about your day in the comments.

Unschooling Today 11/1/16

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The day after Halloween! I was a little nervous on how moods would be today from staying up later than usual, and basically replacing dinner with candy :P. We took it very slow and easy this mornings and early afternoon. We hung around, snacked on candy, and watched a new show on Netflix that Hailey discovered last night. We talked a bit about what shooting stars actually are. I picked up the house a bit, and got dinner marinating.

Grandma stopped by to say hello, which always makes everyone smile. We each visited with her for a few minutes. The baby took a nap and then we all got dressed. Today was a beautiful day, and I wanted to get out and get some fresh air. I don’t know how many more days we will have that are warm and sunny, so we should soak it up!

The kids immediately started playing a game together. They were birds and needed to build a nest. They collected rocks, sticks, and leaves. They played like this for well over an hour. Winter wondered around, sometimes following them; other times investigating sticks and random objects he could find.

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Hailey told me she named each one of the rocks based on what it looked like. This one was named Moon Rock because she said it resembled the surface of the moon.

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She also was grouping her rocks. Here she had them grouped into sets of three. When I commented that she grouped them she answered “Yep, right now I have nine”. Real world math and multiplication there.

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After playing for a while longer, we took a short walk and I finally caught my first Charmander on Pokemon-go!. We were getting hungry so we headed home. I cooked us up the dinner I had started earlier while Elijah played a computer game and Hailey watched her new show.

I just finished playing a game with the boys, who can be very rough and tumble and I am a little sore. Elijah was an alligator and Winter was determined to tackle everything. I got them settled down eventually with books for Elijah and nummies (our word for breastfeeding) for Winter.

Please feel free to share your day in the comments!

 

Our Unschooling day 8/19/2016

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Today I had to get the kids up a bit earlier than usual because we had a chiropractic appointment. It was a bit of a rush to get out the door, and we were still 15 minutes late. We walked in, the kids didn’t have shoes on (they were with us but I couldn’t get them to put them on quickly and we were already so late), the baby has a crooked onsie snapped on by one button, and I was clutching the now lukewarm coffee I had not finished. At least we made it! You have to laugh at yourself to get through this life. Appointment went well as usual.

It was a really nice day out, and we had not been hiking much this past month due to the heat. We decided to head to a nearby metropark to play and hike. The kids played for a few minutes with the logs. Winter thought this was super cool.

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Elijah and Hailey pretended they had an office, with a kitchen I believe is what I was told.

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Hailey found a slug. We looked at it but didn’t touch it. She remembered how difficult getting slug slime off was from the last time she found a slug.

 

Elijah found a walnut in the shell and noticed that the smell was quite interesting. He asked me to smell too. Before today, I do not think I have ever smelled one. Smelled kind of pine like.

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We headed off to hike. The sun came out and we were not under shade for a few minutes, so it started to feel like a mistake, and the kids were not happy. We persevered though, made it to the shade and everyone was better. We came upon a creek. The kids played in the water a bit, pretending rocks were fish. When they were finished playing we had a snack. Hailey asked Papa questions about rocks, and Papa was more than happy to talk about rocks, the earths makeup, the age of rocks, etc. We kept on hiking. The kids pretended to be Pokemon while we finished hiking. We stopped for drinks of water, and the kids played in the water a bit. Winter loves the water so much. He laughed at the sight of the water fountain.

After we were loaded up in the car we headed to a store to get a few things I noticed were on sale. We drove home, making sure to hit some Pokestops. At home, Elijah helped me make dinner and asked if we could make banana bread with the super ripe bananas on our shelf. So after dinner, he helped me bake that.

Papa downloaded a flight simulator and played with the kids for a few minutes. We read our new library books and got in Pj’s.

That was on unschooling day! Feel free to share about yours in the comments.

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Our Unschooling Weekend

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We are in the middle of an extreme heat wave with excessive heat warnings out. I don’t handle these types of temperatures well, and neither does my oldest. Considering when we are out and about, I have an already sweaty baby strapped to me, I have not been in a hurry to get out this weekend; Even more so because Papa is working and I don’t have his help chasing after the little’s in this heat. So we have taken this as a sign that we needed some slow down time.

Saturday, Elijah and I started to make strawberry ice cream using yummy local ingredients. I forgot to chill the ice cream maker bucket so we didn’t get to finish it at that time. Winter found some hidden chocolate around the house and had a taste while I wasn’t looking. I had a good laugh about it.

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We watched some videos that a friend put of a baby squirrel she has been taking care of. Then we read some Bird and Squirrel book together. Hailey really likes this series. Elijah had a bath with all the toys to clean up from a bonfire with friends the night before. Hailey wanted to play “school” which was a hilarious take on what she must think public school is like. She quizzed me in math questions, that I got “wrong” and she had to teach me. I also got punished by being sent to kiddie corner. I thought it was interesting that she had an idea what time out might look like since we have never done that. We watched some Pokémon, read some more books, and just relaxed until bed.

Today, has been kind of rough. The kids started out in a fight. I lost my cool for a second, but gained composure and we handled it, and all agreed to start over. Elijah and I have been working all day to make this ice cream without the ice cream maker, since it wasn’t working. We laughed about the idea of learn nothing day. We watched a video of a baby bat.

The kids wanted to get face paint out. So I helped Elijah and Hailey painted herself.

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Pikachu!

We made snack plates. Elijah pretended to be many different things. At one point he was a vet and I was a dog who he was checking up on. At another point, he played dress up.

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Hailey wanted to play a drawing game in which I told her things to draw, and then she had to draw it and create a picture around whatever was the main thing. She made a bunch of drawings. She asked how to spell some words she was putting on her pictures, and sounded out others. She loves art.

 

We finished Bird and Squirrel. That about sums up our unschooling weekend. What has your unschooling days looked like lately?

Unschooling doesn’t stop on Saturday

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Once you realize that learning happens every day, and let go of the idea that it has to look like school, then you comprehend that unschooling doesn’t stop just because it is the weekend. There are not set days of the week that learning has to happen. We play and do our normal things that work for us every day.

Saturday we went to a program that I registered the kids for. It was Minecraft themed, and I just knew Hailey would love it. The first activity was making bow and arrows out of hangars. This was such a neat activity; one I never would have thought of. They spent a lot of time on that, and even more time with it a home.

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Then we inflated balloons with baking soda and vinegar. It was interesting experiment, but Hailey and myself talked about ways we could recreate it at home. Hopefully, sometime this week we are going to see if we can get the balloon so big that it pops.

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They played with Lego’s and made some crafts. After the program, we walked around a bit looking at the nearby river and the fountains. We were starving, and had the rest of the day to kill, so I messaged some friends and made a plan to meet up at Chick-fil-a to eat and let the kids play. They play for a few hours and had a lot of fun.

Back at home, Elijah was watching TV and Hailey brought me a library comic book over and had me read some with her.

She then wanted to take a bath and see if she could float in the bath water with her life jacket like she did in the big pool.

Elijah found a book that had a picture of stamps. He asked me if I would help him make a letter. So he drew a picture for his Papa, I helped him get an envelope and stamp, and write the address down. Hailey wanted to join and wrote one for a friend.

They wanted a before bed snack, and asked if they could experiment making one. They ended up tearing pieces of bread, spreading them with peanut butter, and placing a chocolate chip on each one. A tasty treat for sure!

Since Papa had to work on Father’s day they elected to give him his presents when he got home from work. The kids worked on cards for their Papa and my Dad.

Sunday, we took it easy in the morning. While I was laying the baby down for a nap, Hailey took it upon herself to find a sturdy butter knife and cut up an entire watermelon. I was shocked, but she was so happy with herself. Even Elijah told sissy “I so proud of you”.

We then headed to see me Dad for a few minutes. They don’t get to spend much time with him, so they were happy to see him, even if only for a short while.

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Then we met up with my Mom to head to see their great grandparents for a bit. It was nice to visit and chat, and of course have ice cream sandwiches.

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Back at home we made homemade Chinese food and read some animal facts in a book we borrowed. We ended the day with some audiobooks and cuddles.

We had a really fun weekend filled with friends and family, and of course plenty of opportunities for learning.

 

Unschooling this week.

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Back again for another peek inside our lives. We have been out and about so much recently, I have not been able to keep up in documenting it for you. Here is what we have been up to.

Monday we took the morning very slow and relaxed. In the afternoon we headed to a library program with some friends. The listened to a story, made crafts, had snack, and played dress up.

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We played outside for a bit before headed home.

Tuesday we went strawberry picking. This was a lot of fun.The farm was so beautiful.

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The place we were at was very family friendly and told the kids to feel free to snack while they picked. They all didn’t hesitate on that, especially the baby.

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Yummy! After that, we had a few errands to run and we stopped for some lunch as well. We headed home and relaxed for the rest of the night.

Wednesday started off by Hailey finding a workbook we bought a while back. She loves those and sat at the table for a bit with it that day, as well as almost every day that week. We met a bunch of friends at a park for a surprise party and playdate for a friend. We ate snacks, played all day, and had cake. Fun day all around.

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Thursday I had an eye doctor appointment. The kids walked over with Papa to get ice cream while I got checked out. Then we headed home in a hurry for an unexpected vehicle repair.We headed back out to our very last nature class that is taught by my friend. It was just us and her kids so we mostly just played. The kids made bird feeders.

Then we took a hike. A toad was found along the way and they took turns holding and petting it.

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The kids threw rocks in the pond and gathered the biggest ones they could find. Some of the grownups had a headstand contest.

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Today was grocery store day. The kids have their own little bags of money that they wanted to bring so they could pick out something and pay for it with their own money. At the first store Hailey picked out a croissant with chocolate in it. Elijah picked a nitrate free beef stick. At the second store, Hailey and Elijah both went for a chocolate coin and a tiny little dollar container of ice cream. They both helped count out the money and hand it to the cashier. I loved their faces, beaming with excitement. Hailey was so thrilled that she had her own receipt.

Share your unschooling adventures in the comments!

 

Our unschooling today 5/20/16

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We are not morning people in general. I try to find us activities and playdates that are scheduled a bit later. There are some field trips however, that are just too cool sounding to pass up, especially if we get to go with friends. A good friend set up a field trip to an ecological center and apiary. So we got up super early and made the 90-minute drive.

The first portion of the class was the Apiarist explaining why bees are important, how they do what they do, sharing some pictures, and explaining to the kids how to keep the bee’s and themselves safe. Some of this was a bit too complicated for my 6-year-old, and most of it was too much for the 3-year-old. But they made it through.

We headed to the hives. I will be honest; I was a bit nervous. The kids put on their hats and nets and were fearless.

We watched as Apiary Dave handled the bees.

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We got an up close look ourselves. We were even able to taste fresh honey.

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They were much happier when we were able to get outside. We checked out the pond and some of the farmland. The kids found some tadpoles and Papa helped them all take a closer look. It was such a beautiful place.

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We had a picnic lunch with our friends. Then we checked out the animals and let the kids run, play, and feed the chickens.

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This is actually a picture from yesterday, but isn’t he cute?

We also checked out the children’s garden next. They had an area where the kids could dig up dirt and plant seeds. They had a well water tap and watering buckets to fill and water the garden. Hailey really loved that.

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We packed up for our drive back. Unfortunately, we got stuck in a traffic jam on the highway and used up all of our baby is sleeping instead of crying in the car time. When he woke up and we still had over an hour to go, we decided to make a stop. The kids were asking for ice cream. A quick search led us to a locally owned ice cream shop. The ice cream was homemade and the people were friendly. It was a great find. We let the kids run and play in a grassy area and then headed back to the road.

Back at home we read some new library books and settled down to relax. A long, fun day.

Why many “educational” homeschool activites don’t work for us.

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I am pretty luck that the area I live in is very homeschool friendly. There are not only lots of neat parks with programs that welcome all, there are also lots of programs available that are open to homeschooled kids. Since my children are still so young, it is my responsibility to find programs and activities that I think they might enjoy and sign them up to check it out.

We have found lots of neat local places this way, discovered new parks, met new friends, and discovered new areas of interest. We have also tried some things out and figured out that it was not for us for one reason or another. As the kids get older, and they can express to me what programs they want me to find, and tell me what ones they don’t even want to bother trying.

One thing I have been coming to realize is that there is a certain type of program that just does not work for us. These are the activities where there are timed activities, and when the time is up on one then they are finished with it and must move onto the next activity; often due to time constraints, a more structured facilitator, or the belief that there must be as many activities packed in as possible for the most “learning” opportunities.

I found a really neat sounding activity on our local metropark site. The program was supposed to be about Legos and Lego challenges. My kids have both recently discovered Legos, and we do not have many at home, so I thought it would be a lot of fun for us to check out. I didn’t realize until we were there that it was set up with strict time constraints on each challenge, and when that one challenge was over the children had to move on to the next. My kids were not particularly happy about this, but this was the program rule so we followed it and they chose to stay.

They both still had a good time and enjoyed completing each challenge to the best of their ability. They were glad that we tried it, but would have preferred to be able to continue finishing their creative vision of the project they were working on and skip the next challenge. They do not do well with forced stations. I am guessing public schooled children adapt better to activities set up in that way, since they are forced to go with a strict schedule on a daily basis. This just isn’t something my kids have a lot of experience with, nor do I find reason to give them that experience.

Sometimes they want to leave before a program is over when it is set up in that way. If that is the case, we leave. If they are not having fun, then neither am I. Sometimes the activity is set up in stations, but the facilitator is more relaxed and okay with some kids not following the group if it isn’t working best for them. Mostly, we try to just avoid programs set up in that way. I am getting better at deciphering the program descriptions to figure out if they are set up in a way that my kids will enjoy.

I am thankful to have found some really great places that are go with the flow. They have activities set up that kids can go at their own pace, or pick and choose what to do or skip. These places have facilitators that have understand children’s developmental capabilities. I have found groups of people that want the same environment for their kids, so that my kids have friends to go to these wonderful places with.

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I am glad that most of the time I can let out activities be about the process and not the end result. We focus on fun and play. We allow creative visions to be completed and make time for curiosity.

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What we have been up to lately

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This whole week or so has kind of been a blur. A mix of relaxing days around the house where we didn’t do much to write about and days we played all day.

Last Thursday we all decided to take a quick hike. The kids had some energy they needed to use and me and Papa wanted to get some sun. The baby fell asleep on me. I really love babywearing. I am not sure what my life would be like without it. Oh wait, yes I am sure. It would be a lot more frustrating.

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A nearby zoo was having a free admission after 5pm because of a concert. We headed up to play. There were not many animals out, but we enjoyed this up close and personal look at the snow leopard.

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The lack of animals didn’t really put a damper on the kid’s fun. They enjoyed walking around, listening to the music, and playing on the animal statues.

Friday was a sit around the house day. Papa worked on the van and Elijah loved “helping” with that with his tools.

Saturday I took the kids to a free gymnastics event. The kids love gymnastics. Both had fun and conquered some fears.

Sunday was church. After church we headed to visit with a friend who was visiting from out of state. It was so nice to catch up and let the kids play.

Monday was another take it easy kind of day. The only thing we did was go to the grocery. The kids were not exactly having an easy day. Everyone has off days. So we took lowered our expectations and took the cue to relax.

Tuesday we were also around the house. Papa and the kids had a lot of fun testing out our new virtual reality goggles that I got in to review. Me and Winter got a mommy baby date by headed out to run a few errands on our own. It was nice to spend some time with just him. He loved all the attention he was getting out and about too.

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Wednesday the kids chose to go to our local science museum. There is a lot to do there. Winter really enjoyed the water table.

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The kids all worked together building with atoms to make structures.

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Thursday We hung around in the morning and early afternoon. After a while we headed to a park to meet up with some friends at a super fun, relaxed nature program. My friend is an amazing teacher, if we couldn’t homeschool, I would want her to be there teacher. She set up some really cool activities.

We sang songs, played games, and got dirty. Elijah wasn’t so sure at first, so he participated for a while on my lap. I love that there was no pressure to participate.

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Of course, he warmed up quickly. When it came to the adventure hike portion of the program, he had no problem getting dirty with his friends.

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“I am a princess queen dragon king!”

Friday we had a picnic with a local group to celebrate mother’s day. Food, fun, friends. A whole day at the park and playing!

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We took a walk to the pond next to the park.

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We even saw say goslings! They were so cute and fun.

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We stopped by Hailey’s art studio to make some art with our city’s new semi pro soccer team. They had lots of fun stations, including an area to dip soccer balls into paint and throw them.

Hailey loves art. Very rarely does a day go by that she isn’t doing some form of art. It really is not my forte, so I am always looking for opportunities for her to do art in ways she might love.

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This week was a good mix of home and out. We did a bunch of playing. I love that in a generation of busied rushed over scheduled lives, my kids can play play play. I am thankful to give that to them.

A simple unschooling day

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Today was a pretty laid back day. As soon as Elijah woke up, he remembered that it was his Grandma’s birthday today. He was insistent that we bake her a cake. I had not planned on it, so we had to throw some things together last minute and make up our own recipe because I did not have all the ingredients for any of my usual recipes. Then he asked for paper to make her a card. Hailey had made hers the night before.

After baking the cake, we headed to church. We were late, but the kids made it to class. They really love their class, so they were both happy.

When church was finished, we headed home. We had to frost the cake, and both kids wanted to help. We watched a few minutes of TV and waited for Grandma. Grandma got to our house. The kids excitedly gave her their cards, and showed her the cake. We sang happy birthday and played with Grandma.

I guess I got a little distracted talking to my Mom, because Winter crawled over to the art supply bucket and had a good taste of marker. 😛

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After Grandma left, the kids and I took a walk to a nearby field. They ran, rolled down the hills, and gathered dandelions.

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Simple things really can make kids very happy.

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