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Living Books, Twaddle, Read Alouds, WHERE DOES IT ALL END???


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#1 Sweetpea3829

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:38 AM

Can somebody tell me where to start? Because so far, it's 2:30am here and I am thoroughly overwhelmed with the differences between Read Alouds, Living Books, twaddle, deedle and dum.

Mostly...I'm looking to incorporate a literacy-based science and social studies approach. Like FIAR...but not necessarily with the FIAR books.

I've got the entire series of Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus, but I'm feeling like that's probably twaddle?

Can anybody help point me to some good read-alouds that I can pull science and social studies lessons out of?

And P.S...if I seem to be rambling please forgive...IT'S 2:30AM!!!!

#2 serendipitous journey

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:49 AM

oh sweetie, go to bed!

:grouphug:

Many mamas include judicious doses of Twaddle, to leaven the learning experience: the Sonlight literature lists have my son reading pretty happily, and I'm sure that "Nate the Great" isn't on a CM living-book schedule!

If your children are learning from Magic School Bus -- great science for many children! -- and the Magic Treehouse, and you like what they are learning, whoo-hoo!

It's late here, too, and I haven't time to hunt down the science and social studies at the moment. You are showing a strong Charlotte Mason vocabulary -- you've seen their lists, yes? Holling C. Holling for geography (Beautiful Feet sells maps to go along at a reasonable price; if you like Providential History, which seeks to explicitly show the hand of God through history from a Protestant perspective, you might like their history guides); all sorts of history at Ambleside Online or charlottemasonhelp or Simply Charlotte Mason or Mater Amabilis or Milestones academy; and there are living science sources too -- that one I linked for you :). Also look at Sonlight & WinterPromise's books for living-type history.

#3 BugsMama

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:15 AM

Magic School Bus and Magic Tree House have educational value. Totally not twaddle in my mind.

Now, the Goosebumps series? Totally twaddle.

I think you're over thinking it, and should relax :) As long as you and the kids are reading, it isn't a waste of time.... even if it is twaddle.

We tend to keep a few different book baskets-

1. Books about history- can be myths, legends, fiction, non-fiction. Anything that helps reenforce what we are studying in history.

2. Books about science- I tend to rotate topics depending on what we are studying

3. Leveled Readers (so I can say, go get a number 2 book and read it!- These tend to be the books that I will talk to him about to practice comprehension)

4. Books for fun (twaddle!) Batman books, goofy books, things that my kids love for free reading time

5. Read Alouds- Basically these are "classics" that I want the kids to know and enjoy, that are either beyond their reading ability at the time, or have literary significance that I want to enjoy WITH them. (on our list this year- The Hobbit, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, James and the Giant Peach.... and a bunch more)

#4 Mom in High Heels

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:18 AM

I have no problem with twaddle because it means he's reading. Indy is dyslexic so seeing him reading is a huge deal. He loves comics (Star Wars) and graphic novels (Star Wars and Indiana Jones), which aren't exactly educational, but whatever. He's currently reading The Boy in the Painted Cave for school, as we're at the prehistoric age, and Young Indiana Jones and the Temple of Terror, which while not exactly historical, is set in Egypt and makes him ridiculously happy.
We do the more difficult books as read alouds, which I don't mind because I usually like them, and he's reading slightly easier books that tie in with history on his own.

We're not big fans of The Magic School Bus, but only because they have stuff written all over the page in the "extras" boxes, which distract him. We do like the videos though.
We read all of The Magic Tree House books (out loud) during 2nd, 3rd and part of 4th grade. They're not exactly historical, but they do introduce interesting bits of history that often led Indy to want to know more about it. We also got several of the research guides, which are historical. Some people don't like TMT, but we enjoyed them.

I think you have to know your child. Every child likes different things and can tolerate different reading levels and will not be interested in certain types of books. I also think if you want to foster a love of reading, you have let them chose books some time and if it's twaddle, well, at least they're reading.

#5 kwg

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:05 AM

Is there a reason you aren't going to start with FIAR? You can add the other books to it, but then you know you have the classics part covered :tongue_smilie: That is my plan anyway.

#6 boscopup

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:23 AM

I agree with the PP poster... RELAX! :D

Do you have access to a library? Science and history for that age is pretty easy to do with easy readers from the library. The "Let's Read and Find out" and other such books are interesting to read.

Magic Tree House books are GREAT for kids starting to move to chapter books. I personally can't read them aloud (I read one once and said never again!), but they are perfect for those kids that are making the transition from picture books to real chapter books. And even once the kid is reading really well, they may still enjoy them, as my son does.

Magic School Bus books have a lot of good science explanations in them. They're very interesting and funny.

My oldest does read some "twaddle"... I consider Star Wars books to be "advanced twaddle". :D But you know what? They got him moving to chapter books, starting with the easy type, and then moving on to the real novels that are around 5th-6th grade reading level. He always has 2 or 3 Star Wars books checked out from the library, and I'm completely ok with that! If it was the ONLY thing he was reading, I would be concerned, but he is reading non-twaddle also. I usually save twaddle for independent reading, not stuff I'll read aloud. If he wants to read Star Wars, he has to do it himself. ;) Star Wars really built his stamina for reading, and now he reads much faster than I do, and he can easily read for a long period of time (we're both reading the same book right now, and I was on the 3rd chapter when he started reading it Sunday on the way to church... 25 minutes later, he announces that he just passed me, and I can assure you that it took me at least an hour to get to where I was! :glare:).

Since you're wanting FIAR-like, have you checked homeschoolshare.com? It has FIAR-like activities for various books (and has extra activities for FIAR books themselves).

#7 Holly

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:34 AM

I agree with PP that Magic Tree House and Magic Schoolbus aren't exactly twaddle. When I think of twaddle I think of Disney movies, cartoons, etc. turned into books. ...Or all the books my extended family often love to buy my children. ;)

A few years ago, I heard twaddle being compared to junk food...a little isn't going to hurt anything (and can be fun). If we are only eating junk food, that becomes a big problem! There are some twaddle-ish books that we enjoy reading and find some merit in.

You also asked for suggestions. We love the One Small Square science books and the "If you ____" series (If You Lived in Colonial Times, If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, etc.). Also, it's not exactly a book, but my DC love the Magic Schoolbus science kits! To get more ideas, I often look at literature-based curriculum websites...oftentimes, the same books pop up on several companies' reading lists. It's a safe bet that those are excellent books and they are already organized by historic time period and/or age group.

#8 Sweetpea3829

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:36 PM

Thanks everyone!

To answer some questions...gosh, our local library is terrible! LOL! Maybe I'm spoiled, our library in the town we lived in before we moved to "the country" was fantastic...and if they didn't have a book, they could get it within a week through the State's interlibrary loan system.

Now we live in NY and I've yet to really master their ILL system. It takes considerably longer to receive a book I've requested and often, I can only keep it for two weeks and I can't even renew it! And because the local library is tiny, I have to request books frequently.

We do have FIAR on our shelves and I will probably use it here and there. I think I'm looking for books with a bit more oomph to them, than what is contained in the FIAR manual, which is mostly picture books (albeit classics).

Then again, I'm not really entirely clear on which direction I want to take with science and social studies, other than I'd like both to be literacy-based. I'm not even sure I want to do ANYthing formal with these topics just yet...my Bigs are only 6 and 5!

We spent the summer raising monarch caterpillars and that served quite well for science. But they are all emerging and flying off and now I'm wondering...what next?

And we've hardly touched on any kind of social studies at all.

So we're kind of just ambling along...I'm sure we'll come up with something.


ETA: You know what...Science isn't even really a problem. I'm sure we can find lots of different things to do with science and different ways to incorporate an "informal" science approach.

It's the Social Studies that are getting me! TWTM says this should be an Ancients year. What the heck should we study during Ancients? Social Studies has never been my strong suit.

Edited by Sweetpea3829, 18 August 2012 - 12:41 PM.


#9 serendipitous journey

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:09 PM

...

It's the Social Studies that are getting me! TWTM says this should be an Ancients year. What the heck should we study during Ancients? Social Studies has never been my strong suit.


Why not just go with Story of the World Ancients -- esp. the audiobook, easy to listen to in the car & the retention is surprisingly good. You can add the SOTW Activity Guide if you want: just doing the narrations/maps will provide some reinforcement if you want that.

#10 Sweetpea3829

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:18 PM

Why not just go with Story of the World Ancients -- esp. the audiobook, easy to listen to in the car & the retention is surprisingly good. You can add the SOTW Activity Guide if you want: just doing the narrations/maps will provide some reinforcement if you want that.


I may. But so far in my research, I'm a bit disconcerted with some of the negative comments towards SOTW, especially regarding accuracy!

So the search continues. I'm wavering now between a formal curriculum or the possibility of just dividing the year into quarters and spending a quarter on cultures, a quarter on notable people and a quarter on notable events. That leaves me with an extra quarter to fill in...maybe with geography, maybe with local? I don't know.

#11 tomandlorih

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 04:20 PM

http://www.amazon.co...history pockets

My dd loved this in first grade..

+ lots of books from the library(even Magic Tree House:D but check out other reading lists too.) + projects like making a Roman outfit (sandals, shield and sword out of cardboard)

IMHO, Ancients is the easiest time period to do sans curriculum because there is just so much out there..

#12 JennW in SoCal

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 04:23 PM

I may. But so far in my research, I'm a bit disconcerted with some of the negative comments towards SOTW, especially regarding accuracy!

So the search continues. I'm wavering now between a formal curriculum or the possibility of just dividing the year into quarters and spending a quarter on cultures, a quarter on notable people and a quarter on notable events. That leaves me with an extra quarter to fill in...maybe with geography, maybe with local? I don't know.


Just popping in to encourage you to continue ambling along on social studies and science. It is what I did with my kids until about 5th grade or so when history became a bit more formal, and I put off formal science until high school. Ambling served us very, very well. I can imagine it being more difficult if your local library isn't very good, but between your library, used book sales and some judicious purchases from Amazon, you'll wind up with more books on your shelves than you'll get to before they graduate.

We just brought home piles of library books every week -- sometimes the kids picked out books and sometimes I went by myself and picked things out. There was no real plan in the early grades -- I didn't stay up planning the year or even the week. We spent lots of time on Greek and Norse mythology and on Egypt through picture books, NOVA documentaries, legos and crafts. I hadn't planned on doing the ancients, but we certainly did the ancients long before Story of the World was even published! I read aloud every day (all the Harry Potter books that were out at the time, for instance), they read things like Magic Tree House on their own, and they listened to Jim Weiss story cds over and over and over again.

You are still in that wonderful stage where learning is fun -- revel in it while it lasts, enjoy your time reading aloud and don't sweat the twaddle. You've got years ahead of you to become structured, and many other sleepless nights to come worrying over math or college admissions -- so pace yourself!!

#13 corduroy

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

Hah, your title made me laugh. I totally go down the "But is this book terrible? Where are the good books???" rabbit hole when researching.

Someone here on the WTM fora (I'm sorry, I can't remember the username) linked to what I thought was a really smart thing to do with younger elementary kids:

http://myfamilyisete...-geography.html

She maintains a great list of books set in different regions and cultures. I think that having a wall map or a globe and working through this list would provide all the social studies you need, plus create an excellent grounding in geography for a little kid, setting you up to do SOTW afterward (if you wanted.)

#14 stripe

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:02 PM

If you read CM, she doesn't think adults should ever read twaddle either, but I know I don't just read great literature 24 hours a day. I am not sure I like the chatty kathy style of science, anyway...like this from Buckley:

First there is the hidden fairy "life," and of her even our wisest men know but little. But they know something of her way of working, and in Lecture VII. we shall learn how the invisible fairy sunbeams have been busy here also; how last year's snowdrop plant caught them and stored them up in its bulb, and how now in the spring, as soon as warmth and moisture creep down into the earth, these little imprisoned sun-waves begin to be active, stirring up the matter in the bulb, and making it swell and burst upwards till it sends out a little shoot through the surface of the soil. Then the sun-waves above-ground take up the work, and form green granules in the tiny leaves, helping them to take food out of the air, while the little rootlets below are drinking water out of the ground. The invisible life and invisible sunbeams are busy here, setting actively to work another fairy, the force of "chemical attraction," and so the little snowdrop plant grows and blossoms, without any help from you or me.

#15 Farrar

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:16 PM

I'm unabashedly pro-twaddle.

I'm also unabashedly pro-high quality literature.

Let them co-exist! Stop the segregation!

#16 54879525

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:23 PM

I'm unabashedly pro-twaddle.

I'm also unabashedly pro-high quality literature.

Let them co-exist! Stop the segregation!


YEAH!!!! :D

#17 laughing lioness

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:02 PM

Then again, I'm not really entirely clear on which direction I want to take with science and social studies, other than I'd like both to be literacy-

ETA: You know what...Science isn't even really a problem. I'm sure we can find lots of different things to do with science and different ways to incorporate an "informal" science approach.

It's the Social Studies that are getting me! TWTM says this should be an Ancients year. What the heck should we study during Ancients? Social Studies has never been my strong suit.


Science- sooo much great stuff out there! Usborne books, MSB, etc.
Social Studies- I'd drop that title and just call it history.
There are sooo many great readers for history- check out SL, Bethleham Books, Veritas Press catalogs for some great titles.

Twaddle? We do our fair share, but it's not total brain mush stuff- my youngers are into Redwall, but for the littles I don't do twaddle- everything is new to them- everything is fresh and fun- and there are so many great books that aren't twaddle that are still fun and nonsensical- poetry, Dr. Suess, etc.

#18 elfknitter.

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:15 PM

I'm unabashedly pro-twaddle.

I'm also unabashedly pro-high quality literature.

Let them co-exist! Stop the segregation!


:lol: :iagree:

#19 Violet Crown

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:39 PM

If you read CM, she doesn't think adults should ever read twaddle either, but I know I don't just read great literature 24 hours a day. I am not sure I like the chatty kathy style of science, anyway...like this from Buckley:

First there is the hidden fairy "life," and of her even our wisest men know but little. But they know something of her way of working, and in Lecture VII. we shall learn how the invisible fairy sunbeams have been busy here also; how last year's snowdrop plant caught them and stored them up in its bulb, and how now in the spring, as soon as warmth and moisture creep down into the earth, these little imprisoned sun-waves begin to be active, stirring up the matter in the bulb, and making it swell and burst upwards till it sends out a little shoot through the surface of the soil. Then the sun-waves above-ground take up the work, and form green granules in the tiny leaves, helping them to take food out of the air, while the little rootlets below are drinking water out of the ground. The invisible life and invisible sunbeams are busy here, setting actively to work another fairy, the force of "chemical attraction," and so the little snowdrop plant grows and blossoms, without any help from you or me.


I feel a little ... nauseated ... now. :ack2:

#20 sagira

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:13 PM

I may. But so far in my research, I'm a bit disconcerted with some of the negative comments towards SOTW, especially regarding accuracy!

So the search continues. I'm wavering now between a formal curriculum or the possibility of just dividing the year into quarters and spending a quarter on cultures, a quarter on notable people and a quarter on notable events. That leaves me with an extra quarter to fill in...maybe with geography, maybe with local? I don't know.


Twaddle is the opposite of living when it comes to books. It doesn't warm the imagination, it's insipid, not very interesting, and dull. It could also talk down to children, appeal to their basest selves instead of aiming toward higher goals. I think Magic Treehouse is not twaddle.

#21 HejKatt

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:39 AM

If you read CM, she doesn't think adults should ever read twaddle either, but I know I don't just read great literature 24 hours a day. I am not sure I like the chatty kathy style of science, anyway...like this from Buckley:
.


Ugh..that makes the engineer in me twitch. Imprecise and verbose, give me a bullet-point list or flowchart any day!

However, I thought a living book was defined by how it draws you in and is content-rich. Here's an example I consider 'living' (written by an engineer BTW :D ).

Taken from M. Ilin's 'Black on White: A Story of Books'
http://archive.org/d...itestor00inilin

"Paper doesn't look in the least like rags or wood. But there is, really, a great resemblance between them. Take a good look at a broken match and a
thread pulled out of a piece of cloth and you will see that they consist of very fine fibres. It is from these fibres that paper is made. You can easily see
this yourself if you will tear off a little piece of paper and look at the edge of it in the light.

The manufacture of paper consists of beating and unravelling the rags and wood into separate fibres, removing all resin, grease, and dust, then arranging
the fibres in a thin, even layer— a sheet of paper. How is this done? We'll begin the story from the very beginning. .."

#22 Mom in High Heels

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 03:40 AM

It's the Social Studies that are getting me! TWTM says this should be an Ancients year. What the heck should we study during Ancients? Social Studies has never been my strong suit.


Ancients is the easiest one IMO, and the most fun. Indy and I are huge ancient history fans though. We were so happy to start 5th grade this month because it meant we got to go back to the ancients. When Indy was in 1st, we did a lot of projects for history (I loathe the term social studies), including History Pockets, Classical Kids, Spend the Day (there are a couple of books to this series), Pyramid dig (there are loads of different kits for this), watched tons of Nat'l Geographic videos, built a volcano made a paper mache dinosaur bones, clay coins (Chinese and Roman), wrote his name in cuneiform on a clay tablet, learned to play ancient games and ate "ancient meals." When we studied Rome we made a few dishes out of one of the books about life in Rome and I bought some things like olives and flat breads and cheeses and we put the food on a low table and ate lying on pillows like they did in Rome. He had so much fun with this! When we did Egypt, getting the food was a bit more of a challenge, so we improvised and ate more modern Egyptian foods (felafel, etc) and sat on the floor talking about what it would be like to cruise along the Nile and what we would see.
One of the first books we read was Archaeologists Dig for Clues, and I set up a "dig" in our back yard. I used a patch of dirt under a tree and buried an old spoon, chicken bone, coins, and a few other things, in various places (within about a 4x4' area) and then we put up a grid like archaeologists do and started our dig. We used graph paper to mark out a matching grid and drew symbols for where things were found and he had to make a key to show what the symbols stood for. When we were done he examined each "artifact" and wrote down what he thought they could be and could have been used for. It was his favorite project ever. Four years later he still talks about our "dig."
We read a lot of fiction and non fiction books. He liked the You Wouldn't Want To books and the DK Eyewitness books. The possibilities and resources for ancients are endless!

#23 stripe

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:36 PM

M. Ilin's 'Black on White: A Story of Books'
http://archive.org/d...itestor00inilin


Oooh! That looks great!

#24 Bearcat

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:59 PM

I'm unabashedly pro-twaddle.

I'm also unabashedly pro-high quality literature.

Let them co-exist! Stop the segregation!

:iagree:

My son reads Jigsaw Jones and Magic Treehouse like there is no tomorrow. Both of those series make me cringe and I do consider them twaddle. I could never read them as read a-louds. I just make sure the books we do read a-loud and the books on his required reading list are of a higher caliber. We get a good mix.

#25 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:45 PM

I think even CM concedes that a bit of twaddle is acceptable at times.

Volume three, chapter 15, in a section discussing twaddle, CM writes:

We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature; and possibly such food is good for us when our minds are in need of an elbow-chair; but our spiritual life is sustained on other stuff, whether we be boys or girls, men or women. By spiritual I mean that which is not corporeal; and which, for convenience' sake, we call by various names--the life of thought, the life of feeling, the life of the soul.

So while I wouldn't say CM is pro-twaddle, it seems she at least once acknowledged that sometimes our minds may need a break.

#26 Farrar

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

I think even CM concedes that a bit of twaddle is acceptable at times.

Volume three, chapter 15, in a section discussing twaddle, CM writes:

We are all capable of liking mental food of a poor quality and a titillating nature; and possibly such food is good for us when our minds are in need of an elbow-chair; but our spiritual life is sustained on other stuff, whether we be boys or girls, men or women. By spiritual I mean that which is not corporeal; and which, for convenience' sake, we call by various names--the life of thought, the life of feeling, the life of the soul.

So while I wouldn't say CM is pro-twaddle, it seems she at least once acknowledged that sometimes our minds may need a break.


Ooh, nice. I have only read so much CM... I like many of her ideas, but not her writing style. (I keep wishing for someone to do a really great modern update of CM - like how TWTM is an update of classical education... anyone, anyone?) But I like that quote! Thanks for sharing it.

#27 stripe

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:15 PM

Ooh, nice. I have only read so much CM... I like many of her ideas, but not her writing style. (I keep wishing for someone to do a really great modern update of CM - like how TWTM is an update of classical education... anyone, anyone?) But I like that quote! Thanks for sharing it.

Not going to happen when a big chunk of those who adores her like to put illustrations of Victorian children in their book, or depict themselves wearing some lacy, high necked gown with lots of buttons.

I swear I've read some quote from her about having a child read the sort of books he (because it's always a he) would read as a man, or something that really stopped me short.

#28 Farrar

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:19 PM

Not going to happen when a big chunk of those who adores her like to put illustrations of Victorian children in their book, or depict themselves wearing some lacy, high necked gown with lots of buttons.

I swear I've read some quote from her about having a child read the sort of books he (because it's always a he) would read as a man, or something that really stopped me short.


Oh, I know. It's terrible, isn't it? But it's also sad because there's so many good ideas too... I wish someone would take the seeds of it and do for the whole thing what Julie Bogart has done with the seeds of CM's writing approach and make it modern and more relevant. Also, less lacy, less cloying, and with no 19th century free clip art involved.

ETA: By the way, I've now had this conversation with people several times and a couple of times been told, "Oh, you should do that!" But then I would have to actually read piles and piles of CM and her followers and I know I'm not up to the task by a long shot!

#29 corduroy

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:26 PM

I would definitely read a modern update! I'm interested in CM, but find her writing challenging to extract information from. And a lot of the people talking about her ideas today are - exactly! - very into lace.

I'd love someone to thoughtfully discuss the challenges of nature study when living in a mega-city, for instance. I'd love to take my kid down to the picturesque meadow for sketching of dappled shadows, but alas.

#30 4blessingmom

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:08 PM

For a CM modern version: http://amblesideonli...ernEnglish.html




http://amblesideonli...urriculum.shtml Look through the booklists on this site. Start with Year 0 and move long through the levels as you go. The lists of extra reading make wonderful read alouds. (I skip parts and pieces. We use SOTW for history and use different things for science too.)


We do Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus, and much of amblesideonline in our homeschool. MTH/MSB fill a niche. They provide nice mental pegs on which to hang future learning, and they are readable for the child who has just learned to read. You can't hand most 7yo's year 1 of ambleside to read for themselves, but they can read MTH. (I don't read MTH/MSB aloud very often.)


As for bonafide twaddle, I don't think it's the worst thing in the world...but we don't have time for it to be read aloud. I might start a series to encourage a child to read it on their own (twaddle can help boost fluency/confidence), but that time I spend reading aloud is like prime real estate...if it isn't good/beautiful/true/edifying it gets cut.

That said, go crazy reading picture books while your 5 and 6yo's will allow. There are SO many out there that are really beautiful pieces of literature. So many books, so little time, and they grow so fast.

#31 Farrar

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:20 PM

I don't find Ambleside to be a modern update by any means, unless you count the fact that it's delivered via internet. But we can agree to disagree about that. :D

#32 4blessingmom

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:21 PM

I swear I've read some quote from her about having a child read the sort of books he (because it's always a he) would read as a man, or something that really stopped me short.



:lol:


I think you might referring to the idea of not dumbing-down literature for a child. Don't insult their intelligence thinking that they are too stupid to understand complex language, etc... Give them real ideas to mentally chew upon, not mere entertainment. (This breathes of the Classical Great Conversation.) Again, it comes from the standpoint that children are born persons and not little sponges to be filled (or little computers to be programmed for us 21st Century folks). The child is born with intelligence and deserves dignity & respect....just as much as he (or she) will deserve when 20 or 40 or 60 years old.


And while that kind of sexism was prevalent in CM's day, I don't get that vibe from *her.* (I have read probably 1/2-3/4 of her original writings.)

#33 4blessingmom

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:25 PM

I don't find Ambleside to be a modern update by any means, unless you count the fact that it's delivered via internet. But we can agree to disagree about that. :D



The curriculum? or the Modern Paraphrase?

#34 Farrar

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:39 PM

The curriculum? or the Modern Paraphrase?


Both. I've looked at the modern paraphrase before and it's just that - a paraphrase. I didn't make it past the city children who needed more oxygen in their air. I also didn't make it through The Charlotte Mason Companion or anything by Karen Andreola. See, I've tried!

What I mean is that I'd love to read a real update of her philosophy - someone who really has followed it but could bring the ideas she had forward and add their own interpretation of them in the context of today - no lace and no bad clip art (Ambleside fails on that alone). From what I know, I feel like The Writer's Jungle has done that in some ways - JB's idea of narration seems to be much closer to CM's and she talks about the importance of copywork in terms that seem to go with CM... but she also incorporates these much more modern ideas and isn't afraid to include technology and so forth. It's a seed from CM grown into something new - letting it be a living philosophy instead of stagnating in piles of Thornton Burgess books.

#35 4blessingmom

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:52 PM

Both. I've looked at the modern paraphrase before and it's just that - a paraphrase. I didn't make it past the city children who needed more oxygen in their air. I also didn't make it through The Charlotte Mason Companion or anything by Karen Andreola. See, I've tried!

What I mean is that I'd love to read a real update of her philosophy - someone who really has followed it but could bring the ideas she had forward and add their own interpretation of them in the context of today - no lace and no bad clip art (Ambleside fails on that alone). From what I know, I feel like The Writer's Jungle has done that in some ways - JB's idea of narration seems to be much closer to CM's and she talks about the importance of copywork in terms that seem to go with CM... but she also incorporates these much more modern ideas and isn't afraid to include technology and so forth. It's a seed from CM grown into something new - letting it be a living philosophy instead of stagnating in piles of Thornton Burgess books.



Ah. Yeah, you have to read CM in the context of her life, time period and all. We can take away the point that thought has to be given to the child's physical well-being and needs before we start thinking academics. That is the point of the oxygen talk. idk - I easily "translate" as I go. The living philosophy is right there. (CM never advocated reading stagnant books.;) That was clear part of her philosophy. I ditch many of the ambleside picks too, but...)

I think the Classical Writing Primers are wonderfully CM for the age intended, if you appreciate the book selections. I can look at something like ambleside and note the variety of types of books and plug in things we do like...exchange Burgess animal books for non-fiction animal books at the library...exchange their history for SOTW...don't let the booklists turn you away from digging into the philosophy. Don't discount literature on the account of the older language either. Part of the philosophy is preparing children for reading the Classics, which requires an ear tuned to comprehend complex language easily. (Keep the unabridged versions.)


If you don't like Burgess, don't use Burgess. Pull your copywork, narrations, dictations from books that you do value. SWB's WWE textbook is a great guide for using copywork/narration/dictation to prepare for the middle grades. There are differences in philosophy, yes. But overall, as long as you are in tune with your specific child and their development (not blindly and strictly following week-by-week no matter the tears), you cannot go astray with the WWE text. (my opinion;) I get 4th grade narrations and 2nd grade dictations out of one of mine, for ex...but we follow the course/the pattern.)


I think the WWE workbooks are less than CM b/c the kids don't often actually read the book before meeting with the cw/nar/dict. There is something lost. (Ex. Often when we do cw/nar/dict, the lesson flows naturally into some oral literary analysis. It's a natural conversation that doesn't happen when we do the wb lessons on books we haven't yet read.) Living books ooze ideas and conversation pieces...even in the midst of mundane lessons. CM would ALL CAPS SCREAM at you to "Choose books that live and grow and thrive in your home." :lol: (She changed her list of books every semester to fit the bill at the time.)

I have never read through the Writer's Jungle to compare.


There is http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com/ but I will warn you of the clip-art ahead of time. :tongue_smilie:

#36 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:09 AM

For a CM modern version: http://amblesideonli...ernEnglish.html



A word of caution-- Side-by-side comparisons of these show there are often added interpretations. In one instance, I found a sentence of a few words of CM's, which was clear and easy to understand, that was made much longer because writer of the modern version added her interpretation to it. In a sidebar, that would have been fine. To include it in the text without noting it was just a personal interpretation is misleading. I don't consider these versions original.

Edited by Hilltop Academy, 21 August 2012 - 06:15 AM.


#37 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:14 AM

. . . letting it be a living philosophy instead of stagnating in piles of Thornton Burgess books.


:iagree: (Although we did enjoy a few Burgess books when dd was younger.)

#38 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:41 AM

I don't find Ambleside to be a modern update by any means, unless you count the fact that it's delivered via internet. But we can agree to disagree about that. :D


:iagree::iagree::iagree:

#39 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:49 AM

Ah. Yeah, you have to read CM in the context of her life, time period and all. We can take away the point that thought has to be given to the child's physical well-being and needs before we start thinking academics. That is the point of the oxygen talk. idk - I easily "translate" as I go. The living philosophy is right there. . .


:confused: I think that if we do the bolded we are starting to lose what makes CM more that just academics. Does the information need updated? Absolutely! But taking away the idea of considering the child's physical well-being and needs before we start thinking of academics? :confused:

#40 stripe

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:59 AM

:lol:

I think you might referring to the idea of not dumbing-down literature for a child. Don't insult their intelligence thinking that they are too stupid to understand complex language, etc... Give them real ideas to mentally chew upon, not mere entertainment. (This breathes of the Classical Great Conversation.)


It's more specific than that. I will try to find it.

#41 stripe

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:06 AM

A word of caution-- Side-by-side comparisons of these show there are often added interpretations. In one instance, I found a sentence of a few words of CM's, which was clear and easy to understand, that was made much longer because writer of the modern version added her interpretation to it. In a sidebar, that would have been fine. To include it in the text without noting it was just a personal interpretation is misleading. I don't consider these versions original.


Yes, what's even more insulting is the anti-evolution spin that Ambleside or others give, saying that while she believed in evolution, if she lived now, she wouldn't. Um. How pathetic. If CM was okay with evolution, those who aren't, must simply deal with that and move on. Not try to change CM or remold her into an evolution rejectionist. Childlight had an article about this, in one of their back issues of The Review, I think. (One of the few non-anti-evoltion CM articles I have read!)

#42 sagira

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:15 AM

Ugh..that makes the engineer in me twitch. Imprecise and verbose, give me a bullet-point list or flowchart any day!

However, I thought a living book was defined by how it draws you in and is content-rich. Here's an example I consider 'living' (written by an engineer BTW :D ).

Taken from M. Ilin's 'Black on White: A Story of Books'
http://archive.org/d...itestor00inilin

"Paper doesn't look in the least like rags or wood. But there is, really, a great resemblance between them. Take a good look at a broken match and a
thread pulled out of a piece of cloth and you will see that they consist of very fine fibres. It is from these fibres that paper is made. You can easily see
this yourself if you will tear off a little piece of paper and look at the edge of it in the light.

The manufacture of paper consists of beating and unravelling the rags and wood into separate fibres, removing all resin, grease, and dust, then arranging
the fibres in a thin, even layer— a sheet of paper. How is this done? We'll begin the story from the very beginning. .."


That is a modern living book. CM herself believed in updating her lists of books, and the PNEU teachers used to anticipate the beginning of the new year, looking forward to the new books.

Read When Children Love to Learn as well. It will open to your eyes to not only assessing modern living books, but to living books from other countries and cultures.

I don't believe in clinging to lists that are old and dusty. Using old books along with new books is fine, but there are plenty of modern living books to be had. I have learned to recognize a living book by first using Books Children Love and selecting books from Penny Gardner's site. Learn to select for yourself and don't be tied to other people's definition of living books.

Edited by sagira, 21 August 2012 - 07:49 AM.


#43 Chava_Raizel

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:29 AM

Yes, what's even more insulting is the anti-evolution spin that Ambleside or others give, saying that while she believed in evolution, if she lived now, she wouldn't. Um. How pathetic. If CM was okay with evolution, those who aren't, must simply deal with that and move on. Not try to change CM or remold her into an evolution rejectionist. Childlight had an article about this, in one of their back issues of The Review, I think. (One of the few non-anti-evoltion CM articles I have read!)


:iagree:

On the subject of a Charlotte Mason education - I love the idea of CM's philosophy. I love the idea of reading "living books" and using narration, dictation, copywork, etc. But the CM curricula's out there are so old fashioned and outdated. I must have looked over Ambleside Online a few dozen times but I could never make it work for my family. Living Books Curriculum was the same thing, but more expensive because you had to buy all the books and a guide - but for the most part they were the same books. They try to include books that CM would have used, but the books are always so old fashioned in both tone and language - we could just never get through them. Some books are classics because they are timeless - I'm sorry, but there is nothing timeless about Parables of Nature or The Little Duke. :tongue_smilie:

As far as living books vs. twaddle go - for me, a living book is one which is well written, gives you something to think about and tells a good story. This will be different for different people. I don't consider Magic Tree House twaddle, because they are great stepping stone books for beginning readers. When you have a struggling reader - anything you can get them to read is a living book. I'm a big believer in letting a child read whatever they want until around 3rd grade. This gives them some freedom with their literary choices and also helps reading to become an enjoyable pastime.

#44 Farrar

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:07 AM

:confused: I think that if we do the bolded we are starting to lose what makes CM more that just academics. Does the information need updated? Absolutely! But taking away the idea of considering the child's physical well-being and needs before we start thinking of academics? :confused:


Yes! To me, those are the things in CM that need the most updating and which I would most like to hear in a modern context. All her ideas about being out in nature and the need to be mindful of a child's whole being - those are really true and could be reworked and put in a context of what we know about real mind-body connections and their importance. But when I've tried to read about those things in her work (such as in the modern paraphrase linked) I just come away going huh. She was a product of her time and her lack of modern medical understanding makes it quaintly laughable.

The books are also stagnant to me - I understand the idea of preparing for the classics and reading books with complex language. I believe in that strongly. But I also believe that our idea of "the classics" has changed and expanded. CM died in 1923. While I want my kids to read many things from before she died (all the way back to antiquity and way before), many of the great works I want my kids to read in high school were written after she died. Language changes and great books for children evolve too. I think there is a resistance to mix the best of the past with the best of the present. Just look at the AO lists - looking at this year (third grade for us) there's nothing on the list other than a math book and a science text (which is an alternate resource) from the last 60 years.

#45 stripe

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:30 AM

Yes! To me, those are the things in CM that need the most updating and which I would most like to hear in a modern context. All her ideas about being out in nature and the need to be mindful of a child's whole being - those are really true and could be reworked and put in a context of what we know about real mind-body connections and their importance. But when I've tried to read about those things in her work (such as in the modern paraphrase linked) I just come away going huh. She was a product of her time and her lack of modern medical understanding makes it quaintly laughable.
.


Yes, there is something about why you need to wear a wool coat that made me chuckle:

Children should be dressed appropriately for their outings, preferably in wool, serge or flannel. Wool is better than cotton and linen because it helps retain some body heat but doesn't attract the sun's heat. So a child wearing wool who is hot from playing won't get a sudden chill from losing heat too quickly like a child wearing linen. And he stays cooler in the sun and warmer in the shade.

From vol 1, p 85

And too many instructions about things like airing out pajamas. But, that is why I sold my series and them repurchased vol. 1, 3, and 6 -- because all I wanted was the educational material. I reject the idea that I have to be a total and complete follower of her every move.

I think Mater Amabilis has much more modern suggestions, by and large, and is one of the better resources in terms of awarenss of racism and that all users are not white -- because I personally won't have my children read material that is racist and belittling to them personally, but sometimes other mothers will say they will teach their children to evaluate this in context, and that "they" aren't really savages or whatever. But when the "they" who is being described as sub-human, for non-white children, it's not "they" but "I." Anyhow many of MA's suggestions are more sensitive to anti-Catholic bias and many of the users appear to struggle against racism and search for appropriate materials. I give them credit for this. At least they talk about it. It is not all new, but it is, by and large, not mostly 19th C.

When Children Love to Learn is a nice book, but one should be aware that material by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is fairly influenced by her very conservative Christian outlook.

I do think there are other aspects of her work that have stood the test of time, and most of all, her idea of nourishing the soul through wonderful ideas.

I saw this interesting piece last night on the PBS newshour about remediating middle school, public school kids in Providence, RI during the summer
http://www.pbs.org/n...hool_08-20.html

And I think this is one of the most wonderful articles about nature study I've ever read!
http://articles.lati...school-20120416


In that setting, Leo Politi Elementary School wanted only to make a dreary corner of campus more inviting to its 817 students. Workers ripped out 5,000 square feet of concrete and Bermuda grass three years ago and planted native flora.

What happened next was unforeseen. It was remarkable.

The plants attracted insects, which attracted birds, which attracted students, who, fascinated by the nature unfolding before them, learned so much that their test scores in science rose sixfold.

In the words of Leo Politi's delighted principal, Brad Rumble, "We've gone from the basement to the penthouse in science test scores."

As Rumble stood in the garden recently, 10-year-old Jacky Guevera fixed her eyes on an orb spider spinning a web near a pair of bush**** building a nest in the limbs of a crape myrtle tree.

"At our school, flycatchers drink the water in the vernal pool," said Jacky, who dreams of becoming an ornithologist. "Scrub jays hang out in the oaks. The snapdragon's red flowers attract Anna's and Allen's hummingbirds."

"I can identify each of these birds when I see them," she added confidently as she sketched images of the garden's wildlife.

#46 4blessingmom

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:47 AM

A word of caution-- Side-by-side comparisons of these show there are often added interpretations. In one instance, I found a sentence of a few words of CM's, which was clear and easy to understand, that was made much longer because writer of the modern version added her interpretation to it. In a sidebar, that would have been fine. To include it in the text without noting it was just a personal interpretation is misleading. I don't consider these versions original.


:iagree: CM is by no means The Bible, but these conversations quickly feel like a theological debate.:confused::lol:


:confused: I think that if we do the bolded we are starting to lose what makes CM more that just academics. Does the information need updated? Absolutely! But taking away the idea of considering the child's physical well-being and needs before we start thinking of academics? :confused:



From that instance, yes...

If we take CM's own writings and apply them to our modern day lives, we must change certain things. I don't think replacing an outdated idea with the *intent* behind it is going to cause us to lose "what makes CM more than just academics." I think the opposite is true.

The argument may lie in what the intent should be...



Yes, what's even more insulting is the anti-evolution spin that Ambleside or others give, saying that while she believed in evolution, if she lived now, she wouldn't. Um. How pathetic. If CM was okay with evolution, those who aren't, must simply deal with that and move on. Not try to change CM or remold her into an evolution rejectionist. Childlight had an article about this, in one of their back issues of The Review, I think. (One of the few non-anti-evoltion CM articles I have read!)



...again with the theology...:lol:



That argument is moot imho. I'm not looking for CM to tell me what to believe. I'm looking for her philosophy of education.


Yes! To me, those are the things in CM that need the most updating and which I would most like to hear in a modern context. All her ideas about being out in nature and the need to be mindful of a child's whole being - those are really true and could be reworked and put in a context of what we know about real mind-body connections and their importance. But when I've tried to read about those things in her work (such as in the modern paraphrase linked) I just come away going huh. She was a product of her time and her lack of modern medical understanding makes it quaintly laughable.



Well, don't take her medical advice.:tongue_smilie: I think what we want to hear is how CM could be applied in *our* home. You are either going to have to sift through and translate her own words, finding her intent...or you are going to have to deal with someone else's interpretation, who may apply CM to her own life which is vastly different than yours. (No lace in your house.:lol:)



The books are also stagnant to me - I understand the idea of preparing for the classics and reading books with complex language. I believe in that strongly. But I also believe that our idea of "the classics" has changed and expanded. CM died in 1923. While I want my kids to read many things from before she died (all the way back to antiquity and way before), many of the great works I want my kids to read in high school were written after she died. Language changes and great books for children evolve too. I think there is a resistance to mix the best of the past with the best of the present. Just look at the AO lists - looking at this year (third grade for us) there's nothing on the list other than a math book and a science text (which is an alternate resource) from the last 60 years.



The AO lists were made with the cost in mind...public domain books were given top priority b/c they could be found for free on the internet. If all you do is copy AO book-for-book, you are not really doing CM.

I know I'm not the only one who uses AO as a kind of template. For that, it is excellent. Many of the books *are* keepers. There is a reason for them, and a reason for the progression. (I've used AO in some form for over 4 years now, and there is a huge difference between the books my 9yo enjoys and the books most other 9yo's enjoy. Learning to love literature takes an investment. Twaddle is candy...which is OK in moderation...which I think, iirc, that was the question that started the thread.)


...off to teach...


The books - in a true CM education - cannot be stagnant. It's not possible b/c the teacher chooses them herself every year.

#47 sagira

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:16 AM

The books - in a true CM education - cannot be stagnant. It's not possible b/c the teacher chooses them herself every year.


:iagree:

That said, her reading doesn't feel stagnant to me at all, because she stressed the importance of using the science and technology of the day (the most current body of knowledge) to bear in using a method of education.

All I do is add in our contemporary knowledge and change a few things here and there, but truly, she was indeed ahead of her time in a lot of ways.

I am a middle-of-the-road Catholic, and When Children Love to Learn was just fine. I especially enjoyed the chapter about using living books that are culturally appropriate and current. There are many living books today, but they don't necessarily look like Parables of Nature. That one would most certainly have been discarded in favor of newer, more modern language books.

I find AO stagnant, not the CM Method. I do understand AO's philosophy and why it's offering older books (free online), however it's not for me. I've been teaching using CM's methods for more than four years now and I haven't made use of AO.

#48 Farrar

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:59 AM

:iagree: CM is by no means The Bible, but these conversations quickly feel like a theological debate.:confused::lol:

...

The books - in a true CM education - cannot be stagnant. It's not possible b/c the teacher chooses them herself every year.


I guess that's just it. When I read things by people who are really CM, it is very much about original intent and so forth. I'm not interested in that. I'd be interested in seeing someone build on what she did and not worry about whether she would have liked it or not. About letting the ideas be changed by the times.

As for the books, every CM curriculum I've seen weights old much heavier than any other factor in choosing and the parents who follow CM seem bent on choosing almost totally older books. Even if you're making choices for your children every year, if your list of potential choices never updates, I find that stagnant.

#49 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:14 AM

I'd be interested in seeing someone build on what she did and not worry about whether she would have liked it or not. About letting the ideas be changed by the times.


Yes--standing on the shoulders of giants.

ETA: I have ongoing arguments with Charlotte in the margins of the books.

Edited by Hilltop Academy, 21 August 2012 - 10:25 AM.


#50 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 10:17 AM

Childlight had an article about this, in one of their back issues of The Review, I think. (One of the few non-anti-evoltion CM articles I have read!)


I wasn't aware of this article--thanks!


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